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ARRL Idaho Section

A message from Dan Marler, K7REX, Acting ARRL Idaho Section Manager...

February 13, 2019
The Changing World of Amateur (Ham) Radio 

If you’ve been an active ham for a while, you’ve seen changes that for some have been devastating. It isn’t so much how these changes directly affect us as it is how we see it affecting the future of our hobby.

I understand how some feel knowing that today’s ham doesn’t think twice about using their cellphone to make a “radio” contact; that a $35.00 VHF/UHF hand-held is maybe the only radio many will ever use and then having to rely on programming software to change how their radio works. It is frustrating at best to see that many of the new hams don’t understand the basics of communications. In light of all that and more, it is understandable why many fear where the hobby is heading.

That said, as scary as it may seem these same new hams are the future of our hobby and many of them will grow into it in a different way, but maybe just as challenging as we old timers did. We already see the benefits of new technology; it will be this new generation of hams that will carry that forward.

At the same time, nothing is going away; no one has to give up anything. It doesn’t matter what mode of communications you prefer, it is still there to enjoy. You might be in the middle of a CW QSO, pounding away on your key only to find that the person on the other side is using a keyboard, but you’re still using your key and you are still making contacts. There is plenty of room in this hobby for all of us.

These are the same kinds of challenges that the ARRL faces. They too have to adjust to change if they are to move forward. What has worked well for years now needs to be revisited. We are seeing this now with ARES as the League sorts out what is working and what isn’t and we’ll be seeing changes within the ARRL as an organization, as well.

For the past few months I have been posting and sending out the QST article called “Second Century” that Howard Michel WB2ITX, ARRL CEO writes. Howard sees the ARRL going down the same path as did Eastman Kodak and many others who refused to change; he is right. The parallel common interests of the hams and the ARRL are such that we need to pay close attention to what happens as the ARRL navigates through this critical period of time.

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