Yes, yes, I know. You’ve heard this before. It’s been pronounced when FM was introduced, screamed from the mountaintops when no-code came to be, and continues even today with BPL. However, I have seen some disturbing trends lately, and I think that they point towards the slow and painful death of the hobby we hold dear. Please, indulge me for a moment as I explain.
Sitting back afterwards, I began to realize a few trends that had been slowly emerging:
1. Ham Radio (well, ARES anyway) has largely become the free communications auxiliary to the Red Cross.
2. The Red Cross doesn’t need us.
3. Cell phones, mutual aid repeaters, Blackberries are replacing Ham Radio as the inter-agency communications glue.
Now, you may say that this isn’t the case in your area. You might even be right. However, I think we have seen the end of the era in which Amateur Radio saves the day as a matter of course in this country. In fact, the only example I’ve seen lately of Ham Radio coming through where all else fails is in the Hurricane Nets to the islands like Cuba, Grenada, and Haiti. In other words, those outside the US.