Are you an active ham?
The United States leads the world in having the greatest number of licensed amateur radio operators. There are about 763,000 among all US License Classes. About 8,000 of those have Novice licenses, 387,000 have Technician Licenses, 179,000 General, 38,000 Advanced and 150,000 Extra Class. About 160,000 people, not all licensed, are members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
The US is 4th place (behind Japan, China and Thailand) in the percentage of the total population holding an amateur radio license. It’s about 0.23%. A tiny number. And, for those looking for comparisons, more Americans have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in 2020 than the number of Americans who have a ham radio license.
Pennsylvania has about 24,000 licensed amateurs. That’s about 0.19% of the state population, so PA trails the national average. California not only has the greatest number of licensed hams among all US states at over 106,000, and also has the greatest percentage of the state population licensed at 0.27%. Texas has over 53,000 and 0.24% of the population licensed. Alabama has barely 12,000 but 0.25% licensed and Virginia has over 20,000 and 0.24% licensed.
How many of these licensed ham radio operators are active? No one really knows. Some are Silent Keys (ham radio jargon for deceased) whose licenses have not yet expired or cancelled. Many students got a ham radio license for extra credit in high school Physics class, and never really had much intention to ever getting a radio station on the air. Some started out with great intentions, then either left the hobby or put it on hold as life interrupted. Many of today’s “new hams” were licensed 20 or 30 years ago, left the hobby, and as they become “empty nesters” or look for a retirement hobby they return.
If you are an active ham, what are you doing to encourage others to become more active? If you are an inactive ham, is it involuntary, or have you simply not found the time?
If it is the later, What is required to get you back on the air? Stealth antennas? Portable operations? Satellite activity?
Even if you don’t have a ham radio station or antenna you can enjoy some aspects of the hobby by using EchoLink. EchoLink is PC-based software which uses the Internet in conjunction with traditional ham radio.
Our own club – the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club – conducts some of its activities using the Zoom Web Meeting application. If you would like to familiarize yourself with the type of activities that are of interest to today’s ham radio operators I invite you to connect into one of our Wednesday evening 8:00 p.m. get-togethers.
eMail AF3I@RadioClub-CARC.com to tell us what is on your mind and to request a meeting invitation with ID and Password. We are glad to help and will welcome you.
Check out our Know-How Resources tab for some ideas and more information!