We just wrapped up our Technician license class sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association. Thirty people took the Technician exam with 27 passing (90%). Four people went on to pass the General exam.
We offer the class twice per year and it always fills to capacity. Invariably, we wonder “where are these new hams coming from?” and instituted a survey to try to find out. Here’s the data from the most recent class, which is typical of previous classes.
The class was almost all male (90%) and mostly above the age of 30. From time to time, we’ve had groups of Boy Scouts come through the class which shifts the age profile a bit lower.
We ask about how they found out about the class. These responses overlap so we have them check all that apply. Most of these people find out about the class through normal “ham radio channels”, including the ARRL web site. A few people in the “other” category mentioned notices published in local weekly newspapers.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Why do they want to get their amateur radio license? Disaster and emergency communications continues to be the most common answer at almost 90%. This is followed by the closely-related Backcountry/Remote Communications (about 80%). About 60% of the respondents selected radio and electronics as a hobby. More than half said they want to learn about radio communications.
Not to be overlooked is the influence of family and friends at 45%. We often see family members of current radio hams that were
badgered encouraged to get their radio license. We do see more than 20% that see a ham radio benefit to their involvement with fire, search and rescue, law enforcement and similar agencies.
Emergency and disaster preparedness rank high in the reasons why these people are interested in amateur radio. This may be fueled locally due to the recent devastating wildfires in Colorado. Many people experienced first hand what happens to the mobile phone and landline systems when disaster strikes. When All Else Fails. The other major motivation is the traditional hobby aspect of amateur radio. People like to learn about technology and have fun experimenting with it. Lately, this has taken the form of the Maker Movement.
73, Bob K0NR