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Internet Saps Ham Radio Popularity

Source ::: The Peninsula - Qatar's Leading English Daily

Doha: Proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio, the world's only hobby governed by international laws, Timothy St J Ellam, Vice-President, International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), said here yesterday. The number of ham radio operators worldwide has dropped by about 10 per cent over the last decade, he added.

In an interview with The Peninsula, Timothy said, easier access to the Internet had weaned away youth from taking up amateur radio as a hobby. Amateur of ham radio is a hobby that allows enthusiasts to communicate with similarly licensed and equipped persons across the globe. Such radio communications are used primarily as a hobby. However, ham radio has also served excellently in establishing contact between the world and disaster hit areas, where other, conventional forms of telecommunications failed due to a breakdown of the infrastructure.

The official estimated that about 3m people around the world pursue the ham radio hobby but in most countries, the number had either declined over the years, or remained stagnant. In India, for example, he said, the number of amateur radio operators was stagnant though there was an increase in hams in China. He pointed out that amateur radio nowadays was not confined only to Continuous Wave (CW) contacts through Morse code or Single Side Band and Frequency Modulation voice communications. Developments in technology now also permit hams to communicate via data, he added. Timothy is representing the IARU at the ongoing 4th World Telecommunications Development Conference being held in Doha, along with IARU's Region-1 Vice President, Tafa Diop.