The 2019 State of the Hobby Survey, a comprehensive questionnaire for ham radio operators (and other interested participants), opened this week and will be available throughout March.
Dustin Thomas, N8RMA, got the idea for a comprehensive ham radio survey while browsing Reddit back in 2017. “I started to notice an influx of surveys being posted, almost all in regards to highly specific topics in amateur radio,” he says. “I made sure to complete the surveys but always wondered what the results were. So I decided to host my own survey, make it broad enough for anyone in this diverse hobby (not easy) and publish the results as hard as I solicited responses.”
First licensed in 2014, Dustin upgraded to General in 2015 and looks forward to reaching Extra. His personal ham radio interests include contesting, DX, and Field Day operations. But as he got into the hobby, he wondered where it was headed. They survey is a way for him to make a meaningful contribution toward the hobby’s future.
“I always wanted some baseline questions to compare from year to year, as well as specific issues impacting amateur radio today,” he says. “The State of the Hobby was born.”
Dustin pointed out some highlights — and surprises — from the 2018 State of the Hobby survey:
- Concerns over HOA’s came in as the third most reported issue (fourth overall as the biggest single issue) yet 75% of respondents reporting not being effected by an HOA
- Respondents ranked HF award nets (such as 3905 Century Club and OMISS) very low – on par with believing there should be a code requirement for licensing
- 68% of respondents claimed to have talked with a new ham in the last 12 months
- DMR seems to be growing in terms of local repeaters, outranking both YSF and D-Star
Why should you bother to take the survey?
“It’s important for independent bodies (independent from the ARRL or commercial organizations with unknown agendas) to solicit and publish the opinions of ham radio operators,” Dustin says.
“This survey will give us insight into what is working and what is not, new or emerging trends in modes or activities, and successful ways to increase membership and licensing.”
He said interest in the survey has surprised him and that several clubs have reached our to say they’ve used insight from the survey to promote ham radio and establish new activities.
Dustin hopes to get more opinions this year from folks who may be studying for their license, or on the fence about whether to get involved. “This year I’ve also included a second for those not yet licensed, but who are interested,” he says. “This will give us a great insight into how new operators are preparing, what works / what doesn’t, and what recently caused them to be interested.”
2019 survey link: