(Source: Southgate ARC)
The number of Americans obtaining their ham radio licenses is soaring as the country comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.
Just as shoppers are hoarding necessities and food in panic buying, more people have quickly studied to become amateur radio operators to ensure they can maintain communications with others in emergency situations and disasters.
More than 765,000 in the United States already have their amateur radio licenses from the Federal Communications Commission, however, data from the FCC indicates a recent uptick in the number of new hams, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide. In addition, HamRadioPrep.com, a website that teaches prospective hams what they need to know to pass the FCC tests, also has experienced a huge surge in new students in the past two weeks as news continues to evolve about the pandemic.
In a comparison of the time period from March 5-13, 2020, to the same days in 2019, the number of persons signing up for amateur radio license courses on HamRadioPrep.com has soared more than 700% since news of the coronavirus outbreak dominated headlines. At the same time, the FCC shows a 7.1% percent uptick in new amateur licensees in the first week of March in 2020 vs the same week in 2019
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I maintained interest as hobby evolved into work. I had my general class license since 1984. i am going for my extra class license this year. while in US Air Force in Europe, I was DA1OU in what was West Germany. Technology offerings change over time also in Ham radio.
Cheers & 73s
Is it really> What are the sales figures?
For the most part I suspect these are either the tin foil hat crowd or survivalist loons.
I just applied for a callsign, passed the exams in 1988. Not because of the virus but rather to play with some new tech and modes
True, but according to the article, the “FCC shows a 7.1% percent uptick in new amateur licensees.”
Fear has an interesting effect on people. Inquiries for shortwave radio recommendations have spiked on https://www.reddit.com/r/shortwave/ during the last weeks. The radios are another facet of home defense that people consider after stashing the toilet paper hoard.
This would certainly explain the increase of inquiries I’ve received about purchasing shortwave radios. I actually made a boiler plate response because so many of the folks don’t really know what a shortwave radio is.
Interest doesn’t mean they’ll be licensed. I knew kids in high school who were interested but either took years to get a license, or eventually lost interest.
Is it more more likely that if people are stuck at home, they may be looking for things to do? And just taking a “course” doesn’t mean they’ll follow through.
When I was a kid, you learned about ham radio and immersed yourself in it. So by the time I was licensed, I knew a lot. I wasn’t just passing a test.
But then, the test took effort.