THE WASHINGTON AMATEUR RADIO TRAFFIC SYSTEM
THE STATE OF HAM RADIO 20 YEARS AGO
THE ONLINE PARASITE
(FROM THE ARRL ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1986)
"In a membership organization like ours, no responsibility of an officer or director is is greater than the job of maintaining relations with our members."
"Novice Enhancement is the cornerstone of our recruitment effort, which has as its objective the increasing of the ranks of U.S. radio amateurs to 600,000 by 1990."
"I believe that the most important challenge facing us is to recruit new amateurs (of all ages) and to retain a satisfactory percentage of those who obtain their first license. The key to this is a sustained program of recruitment."
"League membership is on the increase in all states in the Northwestern Division. However, club membership is generally down and some clubs are on the verge of termination. It is obvious that the moment of truth has arrived and that new and younger members must be vigorously recruited."
"We are still having trouble recruiting new young people into amateur radio…The number of high school and junior high school radio clubs is much lower than it was ten years ago. We need to rebuild those clubs through the existence of existing clubs."
The year of 1986 opened with anticipation of the ‘Enhanced Novice License. ARRL Director Mary Lewis, W7QGP surveyed the Northwestern Division to find that the average age of the holder of a Novice license was age 59 and the average age of a General licensee was 57. In year 2006 the Novice license is no more. The average age of the newcomer to Amateur Radio is now age 57.
When the WARTS Net was first formed the average age of its members was age 24 and of course by year 1986 age 57. In year 2006 that age has now crept upwards and is approaching age 70. Nine members are in their 90s.
What were the priorities of the WARTS Net in 1986? Almost every week there would be an announcement of a new Novice class started by an area radio club. The amateur license question pool had just been placed in the public domain. Now 20 years later such announcements are found on web pages. By the year 2006 even the WARTS preamble has been revised to exclude the mission and purpose of the net and invitation to check in. Stay tuned and come back in another 20 years. Traffic, where art thou?