September 2018

September 2018

DEC Bulletin

The next time you attend an amateur radio club meeting or gathering ask the attending members for a definition of the Amateur Radio Service of today. My guess is if you get a definition at all it will be of what the service use to be, not what it is or can be. The Amateur Radio Service has for years always been on the cutting edge of technology. Many amateur radio operators are responsible for new technology developments in today’s industry. But, when it comes to amateur radio we are in a time when we put more effort in an outdated technology and are slow to adapt to a new technology.

“Hindsight is twenty-twenty” is a true statement. The CW, AM and SSB will always be an important part of our amateur radio history. For the most part this is probably why the definition you get will be what it is. In today’s Ham society when you here the phrase “when all else fails”, so will amateur radio. No mater how sound the older technologies were, our systems will fail today because we are failing to progress. Without advancement amateur radio is on a collision course to failure. It will die do to the lack of interest. It will fail because the primary modes of the new communication will be over the heads of the growing population of the ageing, uninterested amateur radio operators.

We need to ensure that we continue to recruit new younger Hams and continue the development of new technology in the Amateur Radio Service. “Elmer or Elmering” is a term that is hardly ever used anymore in the local amateur radio clubs. The term “Elmer” means to foster, train, and promote growth of new Hams. Elmers do not need to know the future, but they shouldn’t hold new Hams in the past. For amateur radio to progress Elmers should pass on knowledge and assist in getting the new Hams station on the air. Let the new Hams have their own new experiences.

We should not ridicule new or upgrading amateurs for wanting to adapt to the new technologies or modes. We should not condemn them for not wanting to spend time learning the older technologies, just as we cannot condemn the older Hams for their wanting to spend their time on SSB or CW. Through the new amateur’s accomplishments, we will keep the history of amateur radio alive. We need to continue to build a bridge so that the old remains the important part of our history but providing new technology will lead the service into the future of communications.

Rest assured that when the freshly graduated engineers enter the workforce they spend no time learning the old programs or technology. They are put to work using the new knowledge and technology they brought to the table from college. Older technology will die and pass away making room for new technology. Some of the old traditions will be lost, but new ones will be formed and take their place. We in amateur radio are no different. We cannot hold back the future. One thing is for sure in life – it will change. So, get onboard and help the Amateur Radio Service move on into the future.

Questions and comments are welcome and encouraged regarding this article. Send an email to the address shown below.

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT
DEC, District 6 – Far West Texas