Gee Whiz … somebody finally agrees with me.

When I was more involved in the club scene a few years ago and we were doing courses the question seemed to always come up “How do we get more younger people involved in this great hobby.” I use to point out that 20 years ago people of all ages were amazed how we could talk to people on the other side of the world with a flip of the switch. Today, you tell that story and the young kid pulls out their cell phone and says I can do that also but with no noise level involved. Back in those days my comments seemed to go over like a lead balloon. Apathy rained supreme when I told that story. The older generation Amateur seems to forget that way back when somebody got them excited about the hobby. Now it’s our turn to get get the younger person involved.

While scouting around looking for interesting items for the site I came across an item on Southgate ARC from the president of ARRL who came across what I’m talking about above: .Traditional ham radio leaves youngsters uninterested.
This is his story, comment if you wish.

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, expressed his surprise when he discovered his usual amateur radio talk didn’t impress young people

In the 2016 ARRL Annual Report Rick writes:
“I prepared my usual talk about some interesting ham radio stories over my 50 years as a ham, how we can talk all over the world, and I brought some QSL cards from rare places to show the group. I have given that talk many times, and it usually impresses people — but not this time. I was surprised to see flat, uninterested faces.”

“I realized that I had to change my approach to the presentation if I was going to keep the attention of these young people. After all, what could ham radio offer people who grew up in homes that had computers hooked up to the internet? Today’s young people are used to riding down the interstate at 70 MPH as a passenger while watching high-definition videos on their iPhones.”

“What we’re hearing from what I call the “new-generation ham,” is that they don’t view ham radio as being about talking around the world, contesting, or traditional aspects of our hobby.”

“Change generally doesn’t come easy to us. But when I looked out at that group of young faces and saw their disinterest in traditional ham pursuits, I realized that I had to change. We have to change. It won’t come easy, but it’s essential that we get to work on it now.”

Download the 2016 ARRL Annual Report from

When radio amateurs speak about the hobby to potential newcomers they frequently talk about things that took place in the last century.
For many young people even events that happened in 2010 will still be half-a-lifetime ago!


2 thoughts on “Gee Whiz … somebody finally agrees with me.

  1. This is something I’ve given thought to. When I was growing up there were heroes of the Apollo program that get technology its glitz. But this does not exist any longer. The best advocate we have now is Chris Hadfield who is doing a great job, but we need more new heroes.


  2. I’m not sure the hero we need is a human, Chris. Maybe your favorite Whisper mode is part of the answer. Maybe the challenge to the younger generation is to form groups and each group to install and antenna system and then send out a Whisper signal. Can they improve on the their performance by a different antenna? Something like that might grab their attention and them talking about different ideas on how to move forward.


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