Out of frustration I shot a letter out to ARRL– who is the one beacon of light for HAM radio operators out there– and probably one of the better (not great-better) resources. I am frustrated with the elite-ism the hobby has and if not changed- it will die off. There is an important place for ham radio- just look at what is going on in the wake of Sandy. Still, I cannot get anyone here within a 250 mile radius to host a class we are willing to sponsor….really…Salt Lake is the nearest class….
I have been a HAM just a little over 10 years (KC5YJQ)- and honestly have had a difficult time finding an area to plug in. I have tried clubs where organizational politics are more important than furthering the hobby, I looked into interest groups, but it seems self-absorbed “I know more about technology than you” is a turn-off for those of us who enjoy reaching out and talking- but are not highly technical in food chain that includes names like Tesla and Edison.
I have recently reached out to my own peer group to try to drum up interest (35-50 yr olds- with good incomes) to see if there is an interest in including with activities such as geo-caching, desert exploration, etc. I have offered to pay for exam prep materials for friends–only I cannot find local exams in my area (Boise, Idaho) or someone willing to come out and work with me to recruit and train new operators.
I grew up in an era where my Dad (KBX5983) had to have a license to operate CB and would talk to other CBers in other countries…back when you had to go look for people to talk to.
Its frustrating that this hobby has ordained itself as being elite- that we cannot get outsiders interested that not only would help further the hobby- but also protect airwaves from being delisted or sold off. We do not even have a radio shop in our town…
I have recently reached out to several clubs in my area to appear on my podcast in hopes of generating interest in the hobby and have not had a single response.
I want to see the hobby grow–or at least not die a slow death- and feel frustrated. When the “old hams” die off- there is not a group of enthusiast to carry on. The hobby is doomed unless we do something different.