If you work in industries that use radios as tools, they’re rarely interesting devices. They are boring. When I thought I wanted to learn to fly, the comms component was a breeze. So many students found it hugely stressful. I gave up because I have terrible special awareness, but comms was a breeze. Marine people are totally clueless in general on even how to use a mic. Antennas? Power? Total mysteries! The Police don’t understand how radios work. If they unexpectedly are in a black spot, they wont think to maybe stand on a wall and hold the radio up clear, they just report it faulty at the end of the shift.
Ham radio has ALWAYS been a technical hobby, like wood turning, or electronics or even music. Some people use it to help their job. There has always been a clear path for a few in technological progress. Marconi, BT and Defence Industries still see the benefit in ham radio, but for many, the desire is low level. Friends, well-being, inclusiveness, or just plain conversation. This was recognised and entry made easier. Of course this creates friction. The aim of a ham licence was always self-training in radio communications. This still applies I think.
I’ve noticed the hams well ahead of me in technical prowess are actually still around, but they’re in the higher bands squirting video across the channel, or experimenting with all sorts of clever kit. In my area, they might be in the wind farm industry or the gas/oil business. They use the ham bands to experiment. The pioneers and leaders have always done this and they still do it. They just keep themselves quiet on the bands where people are, er, less knowledgeable but happy.
It’s very clear to me that a ham call sign is like a degree is. Years back, a degree from a former poly was somehow a novice degree, but one from Cambridge or Oxford was a proper degree, like a G3 call sign. Now, a degree is so common, it doesn’t really matter who awarded one, and an MA or Doctorate is the quest for some.
Is a degree from 1976 better than 2016? They’re just different, and it’s context that matters. I don’t have a clue what the call signs mean anymore. I relicenced ignorant of the changes. Everyone on HF was a shock, but I don’t use HF or CW because I don’t want to. It’s not an issue. I used to have long beams and rotators. That’s of no interest now. I hear people on 2m and 70cm. I could talk to them, but I don’t. I have no idea what exam they too,, but it’s their conversations that stop me pressing the button. In person, face to face, we have no common ground. I choose who I want to talk to in real life, why is radio any different. If I found a really interesting conversation on 446 and somebody had a problem I could help with even though illegal, I’d probably join in. Because of how I see these people. I did a job for a fisherman on his charter boat. While doing it, I replaced the rusty connectors and he got about four miles extra range. I don’t do house calls. Now, his friends are calling me. I realised I did the job because I liked him, but I don’t like some of his friends. Hardly any marine working people seem to have taken their practical exam, but most have a licence and call sign! Weird!