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?