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:
As an auctioneer based in Kansas City, David Schulman, WD0ERU knows a lot about selling things. But Schulman is a little different than most auctioneers: his specialty is selling ham radio equipment.
His business, Schulman Auction, offers an end-to-end solution for those families or hams who want to downsize their current estate, or completely liquidate their amateur radio or vintage electronics gear. They pick up estates from all over the country and take care of all the logistics of the selling process.
Although he’s been a licensed ham for four decades, he didn’t immediately appreciate the amateur radio community’s need for full auction services.
“I had a very large ham estate that I was selling at a weekly consignment auction,” Schulman says. “It did so well that I started thinking about taking ham gear online and see what happened.”
His auction business has grown substantially in just over a decade and he now has buyers from around the world and sellers from all over the United States.
While it can be easy to list gear on eBay or Craigslist, sometimes sellers don’t realize that they’re losing money when a buyer can’t verify that an item is actually “as described.” Schulman related one such case where he was working with a seller to auction a Hewlett-Packard signal generator.
“You could buy them for $300-$400 all day on eBay and other venues,” he says. “This one particular unit brought close to $1,000 dollars.”
Why did this particular one sell for almost three times the going rate? Schulman says for many buyers, getting the best price is about seller credibility. “When I asked what was so special about this unit, he said, ‘you tested it and provided all the data I needed, and I was willing to spend the money necessary to get it because I just never know what I’m getting on eBay.’”
What’s hot in the market right now? He says there are a few different things that seem to get the attention of serious buyers:
- Collins gear, both S-Line and the black boxes, such as 75A-4’s, generate quite a bit of interest, as do the “newer” vintage gear from the 80s and 90s.
- Anything Kenwood, Icom or Yaesu
- Equipment that is difficult find such as a Hallicafters SR-2000 Hurricane Transceiver with matching PS-2000 power supply or a Hammarlund HC-10 SSB Converter
- Military R-390’s and R-390A’s command decent prices and get a lot of attention
- Hewlett Packard test equipment from the 80s-90s does extremely well. They were built tough, and are still extremely accurate if they were kept in decent shape
Schulman says that no matter how you sell your gear, you should watch out for some common shipping pitfalls.
“Always check with the shipper and get an estimate first. You don’t want any surprises,” he says. “In each lot listing we have in an auction, we include the dimensions and weight of an item. The shippers contact information is also included. Some folks are truly surprised when they only spend $10 on something, to find out that it will cost over $50 to ship.”
It’s important to remember that the value of an item doesn’t dictate the shipping cost. “All shippers — UPS, USPS, FedEx — charge based on dimensional weight of an item,” Schulman says. “If your 10 pound item that cost you $10 has to be packed in a box that is 20 inches on all sides, you’ll get charged at the 60-pound rate. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is in the industry now, and we have to keep that in mind when bidding on these items.”
Another piece of advice: don’t skimp on the packaging. Here are his tips:
- Let the pros do it. Not just any UPS or FedEx location, but those that have the knowledge of packing and shipping this type of gear. Even though a vintage radio might have only cost the buyer $25, that radio might be one of a kind and irreplaceable.
- Use double wall cardboard boxes and double box when necessary.
- Wrap your radio in bubble wrap or plastic sheeting so that the packing materials don’t get lodged inside the chassis — but be careful because in some cases bubble wrap can chafe against the face of a radio and cause permanent cosmetic damage!
- Styrofoam peanuts are difficult to remove from chassis due to static and breaking down and disintegrating — don’t use peanuts if at all possible on items that weigh over 30 pounds.
- Use Styrofoam planking or foam inserts instead. It’s much more difficult for a heavy item to move around inside the box using these materials.
Buyers really like to know what they are getting as opposed to buying on self-service sites like eBay and Craigslist where they often see “I have no way to test this” or “powers up” — or worse. “I think this is one reason why our auctions have become so successful,” he says.
“I’ve talked to many families of SK’s who would have just scrapped their loved one’s ham gear if they didn’t find me,” Schulman says. “That is one of the things I love about doing what I do. I can’t save it all, but I know what I do sell will generally get into the hands of other hams who will use and enjoy the equipment.”
NooElec and AmateurRadio.com have picked the winners of our
March 2018 NooElec Giveaway!
Prize Package Winners
w/ aluminum enclosure, TCXO module & ANT500 antenna
w/ aluminum enclosure
NESDR SMArt HF Bundles
Ham It Up Plus HF Upconverters
Ham It Up Plus Upconverter PCBs
NESDR Nano 3 OTG Bundles
Flamingo AM & FM Filter Bundles
NESDR SMArTee SDR Bundles
SMA Cable Connectivity Kits
NESDR SMArTee SDRs
SMA Adapter Connectivity Kits
Ratlsnake M5 Antenna Bundles
Claiming Your Prize
Winners will be receive an e-mail shortly.
We must hear back from you by Saturday, 3 March 2018 at 20:00.
You can get future winner announcements by
subscribing to our free Amateur Radio Newsletter (subscribe below),
following our posts via RSS feed, via Twitter (@amatradio),
or via Facebook (facebook.com/amatradio).
Sign up so you won’t miss our next prize drawing!
Thank you to NooElec for offering these fantastic prizes!
HackRF One SDR Transceiver Package
Over 49 other great prizes!
That’s 50 prizes — over US $2,000 worth!
This giveaway is open to
licensed ham radio operators worldwide.
…and NooElec will even pay the shipping!
The deadline to enter is Sunday 25 February 2018 at 20:00 UTC.
“In the case of an electromagnetic pulse from a blast, 90% of people may be without communication and ham radio is actually one of the ways that you’ll be able to hear what’s happening.” That’s the report that NBC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff gave just moments after the nuclear all-clear was given during the recent scare in Hawaii.
Check out the great 8-minute video below featuring Hawaiian hams and how they’re preparing for the unthinkable in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
AmateurRadio.com and KB3IFH QSL Cards are proud to announce
the winner of our free prize drawing!
Visit their gallery to see some of the great designs they’ve done.
Sign up so you won’t miss our next prize drawing!