Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stop the presses: HAM RADIO VANISHING!

At least that's what it says, right there on the main AOL home page. The story references a web site that is running a series titled "The top 25 things vanishing in America."

Some have been mentioned before in this blog: Yellow Pages, classified newspaper ads, news magazines/TV news, movie rental stores.

Others are a given: dial-up Internet access, landline telephones, VCRs, incandescent light bulbs, cameras that use film.

Some are news to me, like Chesapeake blue crabs (oh, no! Those are the best reason to go to Baltimore!), ash trees, and stand-alone bowling alleys.

But one sort of got to me. "Vanishing thing" #16 is ham radio. Clearly, I disagree. The nature of the hobby is changing and the numbers are down slightly, but I believe the hobby is as vibrant as it ever was. Most of us still enjoy "old-fashioned" aspects like CW, FM and SSB, but there are so many new things happening in digital communications, Internet control, satellites, VLF propagation, and the like, I see no way our hobby is "vanishing."

See the article about ham radio HERE.

See the primary article that links to all the "vanishing stuff" HERE.

Don Keith N4KC


Anonymous said...

Hi Don!

Wayne, K9YNF, here in sunny Wisconsin.

As you may know, I have been a licensed Amateur Radio operator for nearly 50 years. I am a keen DXer and I have a state-of-the-art station.

Ham radio vanishing? I get so tired of these 'Negative Nellies" who think it is their duty to promote their negative self-fulfilling worldview.

Ham radio is no more "vanishing" than breathing air in and out is, no matter how one tries to twist the statistics.

I am a firm believer in the worldview of "BE what you wish to see" which is a positive self-fulfilling prophesy which sees young DXers and contesters entering the fray, technology advancing and being adopted by cutting-edge hams at a smart rate, and so on.

I never let these doomsday folks ruin my day, especially when it comes to my enjoyment of the finest hobby this world has ever seen.

So let them chatter on, Don. In fact, I hope they quit ham radio so that us forward-thinking hams can enjoy more spectrum that has been occupied by these sorry individuals who have no imagination.

Just my take on things.

But I AM what I want to see! The Ham Radio glass is not only half-FULL but it is overflowing with a future so bright that it blinds its small-minded detractors.


WWII Radio Heroes said...

Ham can't vanish. I just discovered it a little over 2 years ago!

I disagree with the original article. I live in Pittsburgh and our city paper has had ham radio events noted in the last several editions. We always seem to have something ham related going on.

In fact, I put my discovery of ham operations from WWII in a book. I was that impressed.

Kudos to all of the hams out there. My hat is off to you.

Lisa Spahr

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I don't think ham radio is vanishing at all. We will never have the spectacular growth it once had, but I think the hobby is undergoing a metamorphosis that will only make it more exciting and, dare I say it? Fun!

As Wayne hints in the former post, people love to look for negativity. Negativity sells! Things going well is not news, doesn't sell books, and doesn't get much notice in web postings.

Don N4KC

Anonymous said...

Hi again, Don!

I want to follow-up my original post.

Sure enough -- the doomsday author of the #16 "Vanishing things" is, and apparently has been, only a Technician-class licensee since at least 2002, per

It's no wonder that many Techs, after hitting the wall of the capabilities of their stations, feel that there is nothing to retain their interest.

Ahhh! Enter HF and its worldwide DX, Contesting, and QRP magic, and the picture changes to one of brightness and never-ending fun on the bands, even in the sunspot minimum!

One thing is certain and that is that ham radio needs a media makeover. Since 9/11, many of the "official" emergency organizations are bypassing the hams and their particular skill set learned prior to 9/11. That is a hard pill to swallow for some old-timers, I am sure.

Still, after nearly 50 years of non-stop enjoyment of this most excellent of all hobbies, the thrill is still there for me, for you, and for many, many others who eagerly adapt to the new technology and the new times ham radio lives in.

I feel sorry for people who find themselves seemingly cut off from what is wonderful and better for their own self-worth, waiting just around the seemingly darkest of corners.

No, I am not the Dr. Phil of ham radio. Hi!

Wayne C. Long, K9YNF

Anonymous said...

de KR4RO
Ham radio has been dying since I was first licensed in 1988, and that was long before the widespread use of the internet. I think it's significant that the writer of the article has had so little to do with Ham Radio. (356 lookups on QRZ? That is not an active ham!) Oh, well... Ham Radio will be dead when they pry my bencher from my cold dead hands!

Anonymous said...

John, it's been dying since I got licensed, 25 years before you! Seems like it would have vanished by now, doesn't it?

Everything changes. Change is inevitable. Some change is bad. Some is exciting and beautiful. I honestly believe the best years of our hobby lie ahead of us, and I plan on being a part of them.

Don N4KC

John Krupsky said...

Another counterpoint to the "Vanishing #16" article is this one about the rejuvenation of ham radio:


Anonymous said...

Good article, John. Thank you for posting.

Don N4KC