I recently read this article describing a group of personal computing enthusiasts who are learning about the Ubuntu distribution of Linux. What caught my eye was that this effort is part of an Older Persons Commission. In other words, it’s a group of senior citizens getting together to further their own education and interest in a technical hobby.
You aren’t likely to see much of this sort of thing in amateur radio in the United States. Even though we are a rather large collection of senior citizens ourselves, we apparently like to pretend otherwise.
Especially when it comes to the ARRL. Even suggesting that ham radio is a wonderful hobby for retired persons is anathema to their way of thinking. They would much prefer to show you an eight-year-old making a satellite contact on the cover of QST magazine, as though that were typical, than to even hint that there are “old” people involved with amateur radio.
While I’m an ardent supporter of the League, I consider it gross malfeasance that they don’t run recurring advertisements in AARP publications promoting amateur radio. Especially considering it’s actually possible to convince 100,000 senior citizens to give ham radio a try while it’s nearly impossible to attract even 1,000 young people.
You can take the blue pill (most hams do) and pretend that there’s some secret formula just waiting to be discovered that will cause young people to suddenly flock to amateur radio, but we both know that’s bullshit.
The ranks of ham radio are filled with incredibly smart people, none of whom have been able to discover the fountain of youth – because it doesn’t exist.
We need a lot more retirees, quick!