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Ham Radio Licenses Top 700,000, An All-Time High 358

Velcroman1 writes "The newest trend in American communication isn't another smartphone from Apple or Google but one of the elder statesmen of communication: Ham radio licenses are at an all time high, with over 700,000 licenses in the United States, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Ham radio first took the nation by storm nearly a hundred years ago. Last month the FCC logged 700,314 licenses, with nearly 40,000 new ones in the last five years. Compare that with 2005, when only 662,600 people hammed it up and you'll see why the American Radio Relay League — the authority on all things ham — is calling it a 'golden age' for ham. 'Over the last five years we've had 20-25,000 new hams,' said Allen Pitts, a spokesman for the group."
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Ham Radio Licenses Top 700,000, An All-Time High

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  • by rwade ( 131726 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:13PM (#38136572)

    From FTA:

    While the number of licensees has grown considerably over the years, we realize that these numbers include some who are no longer active in Amateur Radio. A recent survey of ARRL members, however, indicates that more than 80 percent of those responding are active.

    I did see that, but that data is irrelevant to the question of how many of those holding licenses are alive.

    This is not a survey of all active hams, but of ARRL members. And it only counts those responding to their survey -- ie. it doesn't even count those that are members of ARRL but didn't answer the survey. The dead won't respond to a survey. All that this data says is that 20% of the members that respond to a survey from an organization that you have to pay to be a member of are actually active in radio.

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:44PM (#38137092) Homepage Journal
    What? I fish strictly as a means to obtain fish. It's a skill that can be honed into a survival skill--there are star anglers that catch fish for fun, not waiting out hours and days to land the big one but continuously pulling up fair-sized pan fish and throwing them back because they want the BIG big one. You can leave at 4am, go to the river, at 5am have yourself sat down checking the trout out, and at 7am head home with 8 or 10 good fish for the next few days. Do you know how much fish costs?
  • I gots one. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nblender ( 741424 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:50PM (#38137170)

    I got mine. As an old geek, I just challenged the exam and got it first try. My offroad club decided to switch away from CB towards HAM. It has improved our communications immensely as well as been useful in some remote medical and mechanical emergency situations. I also use an APRS transceiver to do some home automation type stuff at our cottage. I use my amateur license as a means to an end, not as an end itself. ie: I'm not interested in the hobby as it is, I'm interested in the benefits I can derive from having access to the equipment and spectrum.

    I do support the local repeater society (financially) because I use their infrastructure.

  • Re:Survivalist (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epall ( 632054 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:51PM (#38137192) Homepage

    I first got my ham license precisely as a hedge against the apocalypse. If things really go bad, what use is a programmer? Anything requiring a $6 billion fab to get going will be out the window, so I've got to have some other useful talent. Ham radios can be built from scratch fairly easily, so I figured I'd learn to build and use radios so I'd be useful post-apocalypse.

    What ended up happening is that I got into my first real hobby, and I've been enjoying making contacts with my little handheld radio. Soon I'm going to be putting together a rig for talking to people around the world! Sure, you can use the internet, but it's not about the messages: it's about the medium. Being able to build your very own personal communications device that can reach around the world feels awesome.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.