I do love my radio. I really enjoy getting on air and always like the qso’s I have, even the rubber stamp ones. But recently, I’ve started to think about other aspects. The cost of equipment is one such thing (I’ve blithered on about that before) and the other is that in general you don’t see a very diverse age group in the hobby. There are you people who get into it through a number of different means and I’m fairly sure many drop the mic / key / keyboard. I suspect that getting on air is a costly business and that the pub may be a more alluring draw. A large portion of the people I have met or are involved with Ham Radio are ‘of a certain age’ ; i.e not in the 16-24 year old bracket. A bracket that I left behind nearly 20 years ago.
So I thought I’d write to the RSGB to see what their thoughts were and they decided to publish my letter. I didn’t offer any solutions but merely an opportunity to open the debate. I think its safe to say that the door has been shut now. The response to the letter was fairly swift and I read it is ‘We’re doing alright’. I remain unconvinced. I am very disappointed that they seem reluctant to grasp the nettle.
I’m a clanky by trade and the IMechE (along with just about every other professional body no doubt) make it part of your chartership that you must spend time mentoring the next generation. I spent 2 years teaching to 6th form students and thoroughly enjoyed it. Other ways include being on the young members board, who were represented at a national level. I firmly believe that the next generation is the key to this hobby and engaging them will bring us strength, diversity, enthusiasm and energy. I don’t know how much it costs to sponsor a trophy but I’ll be looking into it as a way reward the next generation. If there are any ideas I’d love to hear about them.
We’re in the same pot on this side of the lake, what to do, what to do? We..I say we, our club has been trying to come up with a solution to that problem here in just little old Indian River county Florida. We’re still beating our collectives heads against the wall, trying to come up with some thing that will draw today’s youth into the magic of this great hobby.
Whenever there are public events, we try using computer or smartphone technology, pairing it and ham radio. Don’t remember what else, don’t think there was much else. Wish I had the magic key to unlock this secret, I’d darn sure find the lock and open that door as wide as it would go, let every one in on the secret.
Keep the faith my friend, this is still the greatest show going, by us keeping it going, who knows maybe it will rub off on that one person who will bring in the next generation of hams. Stay safe.
I’m doing the same thing, and it’s not easy. Too many hams still want to keep the hobby “pure”, which means keeping anyone different from them out. They’d be okay with 20 year-olds that think, act, and speak like a retired guy.
When old people try to ‘mentor’ young people, they usually fail because they are trying to teach young people how to navigate the world of the past. Also, just because someone is willing to listen to an old guy, that does *not* mean that they want to *emulate* them.