What Was Your Amateur Radio Summer Like?

September sort of marks the end of the summer around Long Island. Crazy city traffic to the Hamptons slows down a bit, farm stand and vineyard traffic also begins to ease off and the locals can venture out to the store without being inundated with foreign traffic out on the east end’s two lane roads.

Personally I think the summer of 2020 was the worst ever in the 72 years I have lived on Long Island. COVID-19 restrictions didn’t keep the city folks from jamming the beaches but the local haunts were all shuttered tight for quite some time. Visiting with family and friends were all but off limits for us seniors.

Now that restrictions have been eased here in Suffolk County, I just don’t understand how bars are operating (maybe not all bars). This past Thursday I stopped at a local bar/restaurant to pick up our take out dinners. It’s a restaurant we dined at for years before COVID-19 locked us seniors down. Entering the bar, I was kind of amazed to see customers sitting side by side without masks. I know, drinking and masks don’t mix. Do people that hang out at bars develop some sort of special immunity?

From an amateur radio perspective, the summer here sure was the pits. While I am sure it was much the same nationwide, it really hits home when there is a direct impact on the things you enjoy doing (like field day) as an amateur radio operator.

With the never ending cancellations of amateur radio events, I had to disable the blog’s ham radio special events and hamfest pages. Perhaps I am a bit too optimistic but I think these event pages will be back online next year.

Trying to fill the void, I activated the Parks on the Air program a few times and operated from spots near water. The image is a recently discovered, semi-quiet spot in Patchogue NY near the Davis Park Ferry launch. Finding any semi-quiet operating spot near water is difficult during a Long Island summer.

I’d have to say the highlight of general amateur radio activity this summer was found in a virtual setting. With Dayton Hamvention closed, attending the first ever Virtual Ham Expo was a fairly good experience. As I recall it is still running until early September in a limited way. For more information about Virtual Ham Expo check my blog post here.

What was YOUR amateur radio summer like?

73 de KE2YK
What is the future of Amateur Radio

What is Amateur Radio’s Future?

The radio spectrum has always been a place to attract the minds of engineers and homebrewers that conduct experiments and create inventions. During its history, research by amateur radio hobbyists have had a significant impact on science, engineering, industry and social services. Amateur radio has helped to empower nations and save lives.

Now that the Internet connects billions around the globe, many potential amateur radio operators have been diverted away from amateur radio. Time is also taking its toll on the number of amateur radio operators. New licenses continue at the anemic pace of around 7,000 per year. In 2018, the number of U.S. licensed amateurs were only about 750,000. With active ham radio operators primarily in their 60’s and 70’s now, statistics offer a bleak outlook for the future of amateur radio.

The question amateurs have been kicking around for years comes into play. How and what do amateur radio enthusiasts do to attract young people into our ranks? There seems to be a deep divide regarding these questions.

With social media as their method of global communications,, it appears that young people who do take an interest in amateur radio view it as a form of community service. In their world, a transceiver is no longer required to chat around the world.

Simple cheap handie talkies can connect to the Internet by way of local repeaters now. Within amateur radio itself, an expensive transceiver and a huge antenna are no longer required to talk around the world.

What do you think Amateur Radio will look like decades from now?

73 de KE2YK

FCC Proposes to Reinstate Amateur Radio Service Fees

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the national association for amateur radio, connecting hams around the U.S. with news, information and resources.
— Read on www.arrl.org/news/fcc-proposes-to-reinstate-amateur-radio-service-fees