We had the good fortune of attending and speaking at the Boxboro Hamvention this past weekend. We shared three presentations related to our club’s activities and projects. I wanted to share copies of these presentations here.
All of these presentations were well attended. In particular, there was great interest in the second presentation among other clubs in the New England area.
Also, we are planning to have our 2.0 Satellite Station setup at our upcoming Technician License Class on Sept. 30 – Oct. 1. If you are in the area and would like to see the station in operation, please contact us at [email protected] to arrange for a visit. If you’d like to register for one of our license classes, you can do that here.
Videos from our Boxboro Hamvention Presentations
Our High-Altitude Balloon Launch Video
Growing HAM Radio – How Clubs Can Help
Satellite Station 2.0 Operation and Contacts
You can find more information about our HAB Project via this link. Also, you can learn more about our club’s portable satellite station activities via this link. Finally, you can visit Anita’s and My Station Project Blog for more articles and information about Satellite Station construction and operation.
Recently, many articles have been written about the so-called ‘demise’ of Amateur Radio and how to attract younger people into the hobby. Here is an example from Hackaday:
Amateur Radio Just Isn’t Exciting
AMATEUR RADIO JUST ISN’T EXCITING by Jenny List
Re-posted by Layne, AE1N
August 1, 2017
[EXCERPTS] As ARRL president, [Rick Roderick, K5UR] spends a significant amount of time proselytizing the hobby. He’s delivered this talk countless times, and is used to a good reception from audiences impressed with what can be done with radio. But when he delivered it to a group of young people, as Southgate ARC reports, he was surprised to see a lack of interest from his audience, to whom DX or contesting just don’t cut it when they have grown up with the pervasive Internet. Writing in the 2016 ARRL Annual Report, he said:
“Change generally doesn’t come easy to us. But when I looked out at that group of young faces and saw their disinterest in traditional ham pursuits, I realized that I had to change. We have to change. It won’t come easy, but it’s essential that we get to work on it now.”
It’s fair to say that amateur radio is a hobby pursued predominantly by older more well-off men with the means to spend thousands of dollars on commercial radios. It is also fair to say that this is hardly a prospect that would energize all but the most dedicated of youthful radio enthusiasts.
Were Hackaday to find ourselves in the position of advising the ARRL on such matters, we’d probably suggest a return to the roots of amateur radio, a time in the early 20th century when it was the technology that mattered rather than the collecting of DXCC entities or grid squares, and an amateur had first to build their own equipment rather than simply order a shiny radio before they could make a contact. why should it be a surprise that for kids, amateur radio just isn’t exciting?
What is very interesting to me, though, is reading through the 158 comments to the Hackaday article. (Keep in mind that these were gleaned by an Old Timer Age 72 who has been hamming 59 years and still immensely enjoys operating. So here goes: Interesting comments (to me) on the article:
- “I used to think amateur radio was uninteresting. Then I found TAPR, AMSET, and a host of amateur radio enthusiasts who are more experimenters than operators. They are out there and their numbers are growing.”
- “Too many rules and regulations; no broadcast; limited data communications; etc. It all leads to super-boring conversations with by-the-book types. RF is cool; but amateur radio and tis byzantine structure is not.”
- “From my talks with young folks (and new potential newcomers) I’ve heard 3 things: 1. The need to go take a written test about electronics is daunting. And honestly, I understand that. 2. If you’re buying your hardware, in small solid state form, understanding the electronics IS more difficult. 3. The internet made the world smaller than even shortwave had.”
- “Amateur radio was interesting in the past because it could let you communicate with people you otherwise couldn’t communicate withy. With the internet, this is not true, and it will never be the same again. The chief motivator is gone, and now it’s pursued for its own historic sake rather than by the novelty of talking with faraway people. Like so may things, amateur radio was a product of the times, and that world will never come again. Rather than lament this and wish for what was, better to appreciate it and move on.”
- WA4MP: “I might have taken this article seriously about 5 years ago, but not now. In the past few years, ham radio has taken off is some quite interesting new directions: Inexpensive QRP SSB radios aren’t just for voice. Many can take advantage of the new digital modes that seem to be popping up every few months, modes than can exchange messages at below the noise level. There’s also WSPR, for exploring propagation and, as commercial services are going to satellites, new spectrum is opening up for hams in parts of the spectrum where we never has space before. No, today if ham radio has a few, it’s that there’s too much new stuff going on for anyone to manage.”
- “Amateur radio is not a hobby but a collection of hobbies united by their shared use of licensed radio spectrum.”
- “Been an amateur radio operator for 46 years and enjoy every minute of operating, repairing, building equipment. Use the knowledge and skills learned from the Amateur Service every day. I am the chief technical person at my job. Amateur Radio has helped me to THINK!’
You’ve just got to time it right.
Source: You Can Talk to the ISS With Nothing But a Ham Radio
Adrian Lane of Gloucestershire, England, got in touch with the International Space Station the other day. Thanks to impeccable timing and a prime location under the ISS’s path above the Earth, Lane was able to have a brief conversation with space station’s crew via ham radio. It must be surreal to have a casual chat with humans who are floating up there in the void, but technologically, it’s really not even that hard….
This article is a fun read about a man in the U.K. who made a chance contact with an astronaut on the ISS. We are considering working local schools as we did with our HAB project to see if we can secure an ISS contact for a group of local students. If you are interested in working with us on this project, please contact me at via email at [email protected].
Looks like the ARRL Board is headed in the right direction on Amateur Radio License changes to make Amateur Radio more accessible to new people and you folks.
Reposted by: Fred, AB1OC
Source: ARRL Board Explores Entry-Level License Options, Ways to Face Future Challenges
Meeting July 21-22 in Farmington, Connecticut, the ARRL Board of Directors took steps to chart a firmer future for Amateur Radio by enhancing the value of the entry-level license and by providing ongoing support for new licensees. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, chaired the second regular meeting of 2017.
“The general goal here is to have an entry-level license that offers a way for a newcomer to experience multiple facets of Amateur Radio,” the committee’s report said, “encouraging them to get on the air, meet other licensees, and engage in a lifetime of learning while using Amateur Radio.”ARRL New England Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, presented the report of the Ad Hoc Entry-Level License Committee. He said the committee’s initial, informal survey attracted nearly 7,900 responses. A second random survey drew another 375 responses. “A clear majority favored a revision to the Technician rather than a new entry-level license,” the committee’s report said, noting that this would require no change to the Technician examination, which already covers more material than necessary for an entry-level examination.
“This choice requires the simplest revision to FCC rules,” the committee report said. The committee suggested expanded digital access on 80, 40, and 15 meters, where Technicians already have CW access, as well as the addition of Technician phone privileges on those bands. Frenaye pointed out that while the Amateur Radio population is growing, the annual rate of growth has stagnated at about 1%. “There is a general consensus…that something needs to happen,'” the committee’s report said, noting a generally favorable attitude toward attracting newcomers.
Later in the meeting, the Board charged the ARRL Executive Committee with developing a plan to implement the ad hoc committee’s recommendation to make the current Technician class license more attractive and useful by expanding its operating privileges on HF to include phone and digital modes. The Board asked the Ad Hoc Entry-Level License Committee to further research and develop the details of a second recommendation to improve successful outreach to prospective radio amateurs and help them through the licensing process.
Read more …