Sure, it’s just another day — but who would have thought we would have made it this far into the 21st century? Certainly not me, but since we did make it, I wanted to take a moment to wish you good health, good DX, and much happiness in the coming New Year!
For many years, I’ve served up my own form of prognostication on what to expect over the next twelve months. My results have been about 50-50, about what you might expect from taking a wild ass guess at reading the tea leaves. Sorry, I don’t have much inside information to share this time around, but I’ll make an effort to amaze and amuse you.
First and foremost, I’m sick unto death of “twenty-something” being the year. Tired of it, I’m adopting “Two-Kay-Fifteen” as the official label for the date. I understand there is a long, long way until we get to say “twenty-one-something” so I’ll only practice this aberration for this year. Next year we can go back to it being “twenty-sixteen” but until the ball drops again in Times Square, it’s going to be 2K15. Got it?
Digital voice is dead. Probably. Okay, maybe. Look, I appreciate advances in communications technology as much as the next guy with classic good looks, but honestly, what’s the point? We can’t coax anything resembling a crowd to press the microphone button and talk on the thousands of silent FM repeaters we have now. Why does anyone think converting from analog to digital will make folks suddenly appreciate repeater activity? Besides, DV has forked so many times that I think the thing is just forked-up. Echolink to IRLP to D-STAR to P25 to AllStar to DMR to whatever comes next, (and it will doubtless come very soon). Who are these ADD afflicted dudes who can’t stick with a protocol for more than fifteen minutes before moving on to the next shiny thing?
Postal QSL’s are dead. Doesn’t matter how much you enjoy the practice, or how poetic you wax while trying to convince others that the final courtesy requires printing, and envelopes, and postage and in the case of DX, cash. QSLing was an insane practice from its first day and I’m convinced that it started because one ham didn’t believe it when another ham told him that he worked someone in a faraway place. The QSL card was confirmation, “proof” that the fellow making outrageous claims about the properties of RF wasn’t wearing flaming trousers. The Post Office is going to go out of business before everyone agrees that the QSL card is really dead, but trust me, the practice of exchanging paper cards is already brain dead. Someone just needs to pull the plug.
Radio Amateurs in 2K15 are going to make more contacts, participate in more contests, run up bigger scores, buy more gear, erect more antennas, use more power, spend more money on the hobby and have more fun than in any other year since radio was discovered. Despite that, hams will write more than 1,000,000 words detailing how the hobby is dying. Twenty percent of those words will be dedicated complaints about Hara Arena. Six thousand hams who live a thousand miles or more from Ohio will suggest that the “Dayton” Hamvention be moved to another city.
And finally, I repeat my annual prediction about CW. I’ve said this same thing every year since 2005 and have nailed it every time. 125,000 hams will resolve to learn or improve their Morse code in 2K15. 43 of them will actually follow through on that. Because when you get down to it, it’s a lot more fun to buy keys and wax nostalgic about the good old days, than it is to actually learn or improve Morse skills. I hope that’s not you — I’d like for us to enjoy many CW QSO’s in the New Year. But the numbers suggest otherwise.
There are a few more things. Like the HF bands are going to begin to show weakness as the disappointment of this solar cycle begins to take firm hold. Operators will need more power and bigger antennas and spend a lot more time on 30 and 40 meters to be successful, and they will, but many will learn the hard way that life is indeed, too short for QRP.
Art Bell, W6OBB will return to broadcasting – via the Internet in the summer of 2K15. There will be less blogging and fewer blogs but more Twitter and Facebook this year. Doesn’t matter. The signal to noise isn’t likely to improve…
I could go on, but here’s where I leave you. With another New Year. Clean slate. Fresh start.