Recently, CQ Magazine contest column editor and all around Big Gun, K1AR reported on an age survey of contesters. Although this was an admittedly unscientific survey, the results were pretty much what we all know - contesters are getting older. The average age for American contesters was 55; the average for European contesters was 45 years of age.
This has resulted in another round of collective hand wringing about how to get more youth into amateur radio in general and contesting specifically. Worthy goals, but we'll leave it to mo' smarter folks than us to figure out how.
From our vantage point here at Lost Island, we've taken a different perspective on the aging of our fellow amateurs. (Who woulda thunk?)
Age is a numerical counting of the time we've spent on this spinning rock making laps around Ol' Sol waiting for sunspots to open up 10 and 15 meters again. They say a man is only as old as the woman he feels, but we try to keep this a family friendly blog so we won't pursue that line of thinking.
Nevertheless, our point is that numerical age is but one way of counting. Perhaps a more important measure of a man, and a woman, is a measure of their maturity and growth as a human being.
With this in mind, we decided to conduct our own highly unscientific survey of our fellow amateurs by turning on the radio and seeing the current state of ham radio, judged through its own medium.
After spending an evening listening to the pileups for FT5GA, we tuned down to the upper ends of 40m and 75m SSB.
The good news is that the reported aging of amateur radio appears to be premature.
Our best guess is that the average age of the operators we heard on the air is about four.