Hi. I hope this posting finds you all healthy and doing well.
A lot of things have changed since COVID-19 became a concern for us. For a lot of people, it was a call to become more prepared for future events. Starting a garden, keeping a well stocked pantry and learning some new skills. Among those skills, becoming a Licensed Ham Radio Operator. Here is a clip from a recent article on DesignNews.com:
“HamRadioPrep.com claims to have experienced a huge surge in new students in the last few weeks of March 2020, stating that the number of persons signing up for the amateur radio license courses, “has soared more than 706% since news of the coronavirus outbreak dominated headlines. At the same time, the FCC shows a 7.1% uptick in new amateur licensees in the first week of March in 2020 vs the same week in 2019.””
There is definitely an increase in interest in our hobby. In the last 2 weeks I have had 4 people, from where I work, ask me about getting a Ham Radio License. I think the need is out there and now is a good time to spark an interest in others. If you have had anyone ask you in the past about getting a license, now is a good time to bring the subject back up. Now is a good time to promote the hobby and our club.
There has been a lot of discussion on the Internet about on-line and remote testing. As it turns out, the FCC already allows remote testing, it is just something we have never done in this hobby. Except for 1 or 2 exceptions, like testing in remote areas of Alaska. There are a number of groups working on setting up some standards for Amateur Radio remote testing and we will hear a lot about that in the near future. With the calming of CONVID-19, we will also see the allowance of small groups of people to gather. So testing new people will not be an issue.
I encourage everyone to take some time to find people who may be interested in this hobby. Get them connected to the people and tools needed to get them started. We talk about getting new people and club members at our meetings. I think this is a chance to actually do it.
You all know there are good study materials out there by the ARRL, Gordon West, Dan Romanchik and others. There are also a lot of good videos out there on YouTube for studying. I noticed the other day that HamRadioPrep.com is running a 70% off special right now on all of their study courses. For those people that want to upgrade their licenses, this might be a good opportunity as well.
Please take the time to share your hobby with others and get more people involved. We all have varying amounts of free time but together we can support these new people and get them excited about all that Ham Radio has to offer. I do have a good list of reference materials on my MOTA website and would be happy to have you point people there for more information.
If someone asks you about getting into Ham Radio, do what you can for them or refer them to someone else that can help. It would be great to see lots of new faces at club meetings and events like Field Day and the Swap Meet.
73, Stay Healthy, John, WJ0NF