May 17, 2021

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Conventional Newbie Radio Contesting Faces a Demographic Cliff

2 min read
04/08/2021

Frank Howell, K4FMH, adopted up his two-portion Countrywide Contest Journal (NCJ) collection, “The Demographics of Contesting,” with a post to his Social Circuits blog site, known as “Lemmings above a Demographic Cliff?” (His unique content articles appeared in the July/August and September/October 2020 difficulties of NCJ.) Howell factors to knowledge showing that radio contesters are more mature than the average ARRL member. Using into account information from the Bureau of Labor and Figures on Leisure Time Use, Howell opines that this really should be expected.

“Leisure pursuits are highest in the course of youth and youthful adulthood but significantly taper off about ages 25 – 34 till age 55 and in excess of,” Howell mentioned. “This hollowing out of leisure and activity time is a predictable end result of competing and extra essential routines.” According to Howell, the most important competitor to radio amateurs partaking in on-the-air or workshop pursuits is television (now far more broadly referred to as “screen time”). No surprise there.

A Brookings Establishment examine on the subject matter working with the 2005 – 2015 Time Use Survey paperwork how “free time grew to become display time.” About 2007, monitor time (not just Television set) surpassed other active leisure things to do in regular time put in. By 2015, the gap favoring display screen time was more than 1 hour, reflecting an typical of some 11 hrs for every 7 days of exercise. Howell argues that formats of main radio contests might serve the leisure interests of set up contesters — those people on the much end of the demographic spectrum — but may possibly not present the most effective working experience for contesting newcomers.

“Traditional radiosport is facing a demographic cliff of aging ham contesters,” Howell asserts. “Those hugely invested in the status quo won’t be all around to experience the diminishing [number of] members, [but] they now have the political clout to immediate strategic actions.”

The ability for solitary operators to compete at a higher stage in a big contest requires time, devices, and talent that are probably further than lots of in the “caterpillar” phase, ARRL Contest Update Editor Brian Moran, N9ADG, recently observed. He indicates that most school-aged operators really don’t have the time to remain in the chair all weekend.

“Those privileged to be able to be part of seasoned groups of multioperators at well-outfitted stations have a distinctive contesting practical experience than individuals plugging absent solo,” Moran claimed. “With the opportunity for mentorship, camaraderie of a team work, and a likelihood to be section of some thing more substantial, they’ll be extra probable to emerge from their expected dormancy time period as a contest butterfly.”

Howell argues that demography does not have to be future. “It does need taking the blinders off tradition and evaluating it for what it is right now and what it implies for the future,” he concluded. — Thanks to Frank Howell, K4FMH, and The ARRL Contest Update 

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