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!