[AMRadio] RE: future of AM radio

VJB wa3vjb at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 21 10:43:02 EDT 2007

Responding to John, K5PRO who asked:
how long will amateur AM be a viable form of

We will probably outlast many of the other activities
in the hobby, because we are actively connected with
the radios we use and have stronger ties with others
who are like-minded.

It seems like there's a trend among those who
primarily use SSB on HF to buy a radio and use it only
as a means to an end, be it contesting, Dog X-Ray, or
rag chew.  The hardware gets a few years old, there's
no factory support, and the radio gets tossed. 

I base this observation on the ads and the text that
accompanies individual For Sale listings on QRZ.com
and elsewhere. There's just no affinity for the gear.

After a while of this I will guess many operators
start feeling the same way about the hobby: easy to
discard because they have not invested very much of
THEMSELVES in the activity.

Most of the people I communicate with on AM, by
contrast, are into the hardware to a much greater
degree. They're building, repairing and restoring, so
they have a loyalty to the equipment because they have
put a lot of time, energy and expertise into it.

Sharing that environment with the rest of us builds a
friendship and comraderie that are a lot harder to
just toss out.

AMers on 160 already comprise one of the largest
identifiable groups regularly found on the band. Their
enthusiasm is represented by the consistent presence
and extended hours of operation here.

I have a hunch we on AM are already on our way to
becoming such a presence on 75 meters in comparison to
 other voice-mode groups who happen to be using SSB.  

I was shocked and delighted to recently learn from an
ARRL Directors survey that nearly 20 percent of the
League's subscribers listed AM as among their HF

The poll, which crew about 3000 responses, was across
the Great Lakes, Delta and Atlantic Divisions. The
number and geographic variety of respondents validates
the percentage within a fairly tight margin of error.

With 140,000 subscribers at latest count, the ARRL
thus would have tens of thousands of "members" who
participate in AM on HF in some fashion.

They have to go out of their way to get on AM, and I
suspect that this creates a loyalty that will carry
the mode and activity forward for many years to come.


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