Local enthusiasts say Amateur Radio still has a role in digital age


Big Island ARRL News, 27 June 2017, 14:25 hrs, UTC, Post #239.


Reporter:  Max Efrein (“The Daily Courier”).

Accessed on 27 June 2017, 14:25 hrs, UTC.

Please click link to read the full story.


Despite the somewhat negative implication of Max Efrein’s ARRL Field Day report for “The Daily Courier” newspaper, the article maintains a fairly upbeat tone and does a good job of explaining how Amateur Radio serves local communities.

The article is more of a cautionary tale and a warning of what may happen to Amateur Radio as more of its licensee age and retire from the hobby.

The interview with Yavapai Amateur Radio Club (Arizona) members Art Protas and Brian Vlastelich provides an inside look at how this Arizona ham club supports its community with vital communications.

Although Vlastelich says the club has about 280 members, it’s still looking for more radio amateurs to fulfill its community projects.  Vlastelich says growth is important, especially among younger folks, if Amateur Radio is to survive. Vlastelich adds that “if it doesn’t grow, the FCC will take away our privileges.”

Protas and Vlastelich are pinning their hopes on younger hams, such as twelve-year-old Jackson Fuller, to keep the Amateur Radio Service alive.  Although the young operator enjoys the challenge of Amateur Radio, he is concerned that his friends totally ignore the hobby:

“Twelve-year-old Jackson Fuller officially got his amateur radio license about a year ago. He’s the only youth he currently knows practicing this old-school pastime.”

“I see mostly seniors using it,” Fuller said. “I kind of like it that it’s a unique thing for my age.”

“Attempts to lure his schoolmates into trying it have failed miserably, he said.”

“Believe me, I’ve tried,” Fuller said. “They rather play videogames or sports.”

“He finds this unfortunate, for he has developed a sincere interest in the hobby.”

“I don’t want it to die,” Fuller said.

“According to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Fuller’s fears don’t look to be coming true anytime soon.”

“At the end of 2014, the total number of radio amateurs in the FCC’s Universal Licensing System database reached an all-time high of 726,275…”

Hawaii Island radio amateurs celebrated the 2017 ARRL Field Day event with portable stations set up at the Eden Roc park and community pavilion.  Hawaii hams joined more than 35,000 licensed radio amateurs this past Saturday and Sunday (24-25 June 2017) in one of the largest emergency communications exercises in the United States.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

You can find more Amateur Radio news at these websites: (this site). (breaking news for radio amateurs). (Simple Ham Radio Antennas). (weekly podcast issued each Friday afternoon).

Please send your Hawaii Island Amateur Radio news items to at least two weeks prior to your event so I can notify our local prints and broadcast media in a timely manner.

Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Cooridinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

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