Posted by: GW7AAV | November 8, 2009

Amateur Radio must Evolve or Die

There is an article worth reading over at The K3NG Report called Spectrum is Oxygen. The title comes from a quote by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. The basic premise of what Anthony K3NG is saying is that our bandwidth is under attack and due to the latest technologies, such as LTE and WiMax it is going to be under attack like never before.

It may be that our HF spectrum is safe or at least safer than our VHF and UHF allocations but we could have a fight on our hands. We have masses of space up in the Gigahertz bands because at one time no one else was interested but now this is prime real estate and prime real estate that is seriously under populated.

There is a real danger that we as radio amateurs are becoming seen as a bunch of dinosaurs using outdated techniques. In the past amateur radio was at the forefront of technical advances but except for in a few cases that is no longer the case. If we do not want to be seen as mere obstructions we need to move not with but ahead of the times.

G4VXE in his weblog talks about keeping a broader sense perspective of how the many fascinating aspects of the hobby are in some ways divisive. We are divided and open to conquest when we should be working to a common goal. Tim mentions a discussion on a CW group he is a member of and how wrapped up and passionate the discussion on the meaning or ‘R’ was. He goes on to say “Next year; they’re planning something exciting. No, not awards and encouragement for people who are interested in Morse, but, a new Constitution.”

Tim finishes by saying, “Look outward and not inward. Look the wrong way and you won’t see the future looming.”

The future is looming and what are we going to do about it? We need to all pull together and do something that drags amateur radio in to this century and ensures it still exists in to the next. Much is being done to get more people in to the hobby but I question if we are attracting the right people. It is not just quantity but quality we need. We need to attract the wiz kids and the technologically savy, these the ones who are going to take amateur radio to the next level and we need to make much more use of those higher bands.

It may be that we need to change some of our preconceptions of what amateur radio is, the discussions on what constitutes real radio proves that. It may be that we need to campaign for broader terms of reference that would allow us to do things we are not permitted to do by our present licences. Should we maybe looking at some form of networking using wideband in those vast empty chunks of the microwave spectrum or how about allowing some form of open access digital TV? I really do not know where the future will lead, but we need to grab hold and lead the future or we will be mere flotsam in its wake.

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