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New Entrants are Everywhere

The hobby of amateur radio has been around for a long time. It was here before I was born and it will be here after I become a silent key.
The same is true for you. While there is a recurring discussion about the death of the hobby, the reality is that our community changes continually. People come and go all the time. Reasons for change are as varied as the number of people you care to look at, from interest through to family, from money through to time, from boredom through to excitement, from life through to death.

As our community fluctuates, our skill level varies. We see new people come into the hobby, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for a new adventure, at the same time we have people who are experienced, or jaded, or both, participating in the community and finding themselves answering the same questions over and over again.

What radio should I get? Is this radio better? How do I do HF? How do I get my license? Where is everyone? How do you participate in a net? Which antenna should I buy? What is a QSO or a QTH? How come this and why that? At some point I was that person and I have no doubt that at some point you were, or are that person.

The challenge in maintaining a semblance of community coherence is to balance the needs for new and aspiring amateurs with the expectations of those already in the community. How do you answer the same questions while staying fresh and encouraging, when all you really want to do is ignore the noise and get on with the hobby?

The answer is simple.

You need to recognise that the change in the hobby is fundamental. New people coming in, new technologies, new hardware, new modes, new rules, new customs, all of it is in flux all the time. It shouldn't be seen as a threat, but as par for the course, something that is part of our community and part of why and how we exist.

To draw an analogy with something else, cooking. We've been doing that for a while, some suggest as far back as 2 million years ago. Every day new people learn to cook, new people invent or reinvent recipes, cooking classes abound, television shows with competitive cooking, new ingredients, new tools, new techniques and relearned old methods, there's celebrity chefs, awards and the more you look at cooking, the more you understand how it changes and continues to change. In many ways cooking and amateur radio are the same.

The idea of teaching your child, or a friend, or a person on social media how to cook something is accepted as how it is and how cooking evolves.

In amateur radio we can do the same.

It's easy to dismiss silly questions, or to give snide answers, or to ignore new arrivals, but that's not something that grows our community, strengthens it, or broadens it.

Of course, how much you participate in this is the real yardstick of how much of an amateur you really are. Said in another way, if an amateur calls CQ into a dummy load, does anyone care?

One of the challenges as a new entrant into the community is to figure out where to go and how to learn more. It's never been easier than it is today, even if you think that it's hard. In a bygone era you had to go to a library, or to find another amateur, or go to a club to even know that our hobby existed, these days the access to our community is within reach for any person on the planet.

We have endless resources, in the form of web-sites, books, both electronic and paper, clubs, virtual and physical, social media, podcasts and articles such as this, video channels, and an endlessly growing and evolving community that cannot help but document its adventures and exploits.

Amateur radio today is as close as the nearest search engine and as far as you want to take it.

Never be afraid of asking a question and consider it a right of passage if a grumpy bugger tells you off for asking a stupid one.

The worst question is the one you never asked.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB

SMRC's Mailing Address

Short Mountain Repeater Club
P.O. Box 330914
Murfreesboro, TN  37133

615-787-7672

Use our contact form

 

Repeater Trustee:

 W4WRB (Randy Bee)

Trustee email

Club Officers

 

2019 Officers 

President:  W4WRB (Randy Bee)

Vice President:  WA4IVD (Russell Bryant)

Secretary: KM4UIH (Jacob Slater)

Treasurer:  KM4UII (Dennis Slater)

 

2020 Officers Elect

President:  W4WRB  (Randy Bee)

Vice President:  N4MEY  (Curt Porter)

Secretary:  W4GLK  (James Detlefsen)

Treasurer:  KM4UII  (Dennis Slater)

 

 

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