Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
State of the Hobby
And the results are in….
The results of N8RMA’s 2019 State of the Hobby Survey are now in. As my ICQPodcast co-
host, Frank, K4FMH, this isn’t a scientific study, as those who responded to the survey
weren’t randomly chosen, but it’s still an interesting survey. Here are a few observations:
53% of the respondents are Extra Class operators. Since more than 50% of hams in the
U.S. are Tech Class operators, this survey isn’t representative of all hams, but rather
active hams. On a related note, respondents report an average of more than 30 years in
the hobby. For all licensed hams, that’s got to be a lot less.
The question, “Which common areas of an amateur radio test are most worrisome to
you?” elicited pretty much the expected response. Technical topics top the list, although
I am a bit surprised that antennas and feedlines scored so low.
DXing continues to be the most popular activity, but digital modes is a close second. Of
course, the two are, or can be, related. I wonder if digital modes will surpass DXing in
future surveys? FT8 is far and away the most popular digital mode.
Nearly half of CW operators say that a dual-lever paddle is their favorite key, while just
over a third are still clinging to their straight keys.
The questions, “How many hours per month do you spend operating?” and “How many
contacts do you make per month?” also point to a survey base of amateur radio
operators. The responses, respectively, are 27.64 hours and 67.45 contacts. That’s
probably right around where I am, but I think that if I polled our club members, the
numbers would be much lower.
When asked about issues facing the hobby, the two tagged as being most problematic
were “operator base ‘aging out'” and “general lack of interest.”
I’ll leave the rest for you to discover. I’d be interested in hearing what you may have found
interesting or surprising.