Young Hams and JOTA

The Upcoming JOTA/JOTI has caused me to reflect on young people's engagement in Amateur Radio. The very fact of JOTI... Jamboree On the Internet.. gives us a little clue as why things seem to be going downhill in terms of participation. Ham radio doesn't have a very good image either. Where it used to be the high tech cutting edge hobby, the image is now that of old me with expensive toys discussing there illnesses and operations on HF. Somehow the achievements in moonbounce, meteor scatter and aircraft enhancement haven't made it into view. I wonder why? Is it the nerdy nature of the hams in these fields, is there some social disconnect or have we simply not taken the effort to showcase those facets.

Under the auspices of Steve Munro, VK2FSRM, we are at least seeing a few diversions from the usual HF efforts with some geocaching and construction projects. As cycle 24 fades into obscurity we will need to do even more to maintain even that modicum of interest. I can't see a bunch of kids sitting around waiting for a rare opening while watching their peers carve up the internet! So what can we do?

So, instead of just communication, which kids can do any time by cellphone or internet, we need to give them something different. Meteor scatter would be a good start. It ties up both Ham radio and IT and it's spectacular to watch the pings arriving. Moonbounce may be a bit of a stretch but it shure would set some goals. Best of all, you can see and hear the pings without having to transmit... no license problems!

Then I suppose we could just ignore it all. By the time we shuffle off this mortal coil it won't matter! I'm alright Jack. Pull up the ladder.