The Future(s) of Amateur Radio

The Sutton & Cheam Radio Society in England invited me to give a talk via Zoom recently. The topic was the future of amateur radio. As a Sociologist and Statistician, I’ve commented frequently both in this blog and on the ICQ Podcast about how to “future” on a given topic. Social change is challenging to forecast in specific terms. But more importantly, knowledge of how to “future” can lead to changes in organizational aspects of the social fabric that gave rise to the present. A mouthful? Yes, but so is “The magnitude of the complex impedance is the ratio of the voltage amplitude to the current amplitude; The phase of the complex impedance is the phase shift by which the current lags the voltage.” (Source) And, we hams can follow that, right?

The ICQ Podcast decided to use the audio portion of that talk as the feature in Episode 326. The disadvantage that podcast listeners face is not having access to the slides that the Sutton & Cheam Society members were viewing as I spoke. I’ve included them here for those who wish to more fully follow my talk. A video of 10 seconds per slide is below. The future is for amateurs to help make. Your ham radio associations are a vital element of which “future” you choose to help make for there are many futures available!

This talk will be revised into a written version, launching a column on my companion website,, under the Social Circuits tab. Understanding amateur radio must be approached for what it is, an organized social behavior focusing on the use of specific radio technologies. This periodic Social Circuits column will examine amateur radio as such.

Frank Howell, K4FMH, is a regular contributor to and writes from Mississippi, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “The Future(s) of Amateur Radio”

  • Richard KWØU:

    Could not get the audio and midway it stopped due to a network error. But read the slides and they were very interesting. Sadly we’re barely in the public consciousness as it is, and in a politicized world that isn’t good.

  • Goody K3NG:

    This is the best synopsis I’ve ever read of what we’re facing in amateur radio today. The challenge to the future of amateur radio isn’t technology, it’s culture. In my opinion we have a large segment of members who actually enjoy creating polarization, as if it is its own sub-hobby within amateur radio. The comment about Makers and going to where they are hits the nail on the head. The Maker movement is a vast group of people with energy and ideas, and could be a prime source of radio amateurs into the future as baby boomers age out. I fear we don’t have the organizations or right culture to attract them.

  • Arne K5ARN:

    Very good talk, I enjoyed it very much. You hit the nail on the head many times.
    73 or 73s!

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