I'm 28, maybe I can share a bit of insight, being a
millennial... I was first introduced to ham radio probably 20
years ago in cub scouts, found it fascinating. The cost of
entry was always the issue for me.
In college I started playing around with the RTL-SDR dongles
(~$25) and got really interested in decoding or listening to
everything out there.. shortwave, air band, adsb, trunked p25,
pagers, sstv, etc. I built a lot of different antennas in this
time and also learned a ton about radio and programming, mostly
through reading websites and experimenting.
I've always had a CB around for work or other reasons, and
whenever I'd hear a signal from across the country I thought,
"wow I really need to get in to ham radio, that's really cool."
I think about 3 years ago I came across the Baofeng HTs (~$35,
yes I know..) and decided to finally get licensed.
I used an app on my phone to study. I'm a civil engineer, but
the first few years of engineering school have a lot of overlap
and I found the test to be very easy. Probably the most fun I
had was working SO-50 with a homemade yagi and my 5w HT shortly
after I got my license. Living in an apartment made it
difficult to come up with a good HF antenna scheme. Eventually
I did get kind of bored with it.
After moving to a house with space for an HF antenna, I came
across the bitx40 which was a nice, affordable reason to go
after my General.
I've tried to get a few friends in to it but so far it hasn't
stuck with any of them. One friend and I set up dipoles in our
attics and put CBs in our houses so we could talk to each other,
but that's as far as it went. Another friend actually did get
his Tech but still hasn't bought a radio. I demonstrated
working SO-50 to another friend who thought it was cool but
wasn't really interested in pursuing a license.
Maybe that will help provide some insight?
On 12/15/2017 11:24 AM, Jack Purdum
via Groups.Io wrote:
I changed the
topic to narrow the focus. You're right, Joe, the social media
sites have a lock on young people. My club gives the FCC exams
every month (except Dec.) for free and we always have people
show up; sometimes as many as three dozen. Most are going for
the Tech license to get their toe wet. Then they buy a 2M HT and
we never see them again. I did run into one guy almost a year
later and asked how he was enjoying his license. He said: "I
haven't done anything for the past several months. It doesn't
even let me do what my cell phone does." We need to get Tech's
more than just a small slice of 10M in the HF spectrum.
Otherwise, I think they are missing out on 90% of what ham radio
has to offer. When I was a Novice, we had small chunks of HF
(e.g., 40M) to play with. True, you were rock-bound and limited
to 75W and CW, but I spent almost all of my time on 40M. Britain
has had more success than we have with young people, and I think
part of the reason is because they give their Tech-equivalent
hams small slices of spectrum on all bands, including HF. They
are limited to 5W, but at least they can chase DX. Other than
the rare atmospheric events, DX on 2M is a couple of counties
away with the HT that most end up buying.
I look around at my club and I can almost hear the arteries
calcifying. I can say that 'cuz I'm two years younger than dirt
so I know the aging membership issues quite well. We need some
younger members; perhaps younger than those who are recently
married and starting their families. The real solution: I don't
know, but there are things we can do. I have a FB account, but
probably use it twice a year. I'm not on Twitter. I need to root
around there for a while and see what I can do for the cause.