If 2200 hams responded to the Radio Amateurs of Canada survey in regards to questions about a proposed Foundation License, then just how many active Hams are there in Canada.
Ask yourself: Is you club repeater busier now than in past years?
How about you club? Are there more members now than say 10 or 20 years ago?
Are you on the air yourself more or less than a few years ago?
Does everyone look older…a lot older 🙂 Me too !
So if you’ve noticed a decline in activity, how many Hams do you think are really active in Canada?
Because Industry Canada gave up keeping track of license numbers and RAC either doesn’t know or won’t say we really don’t know our true strength.
If we believe the last rumoured membership numbers for RAC, then I’d guess there are maybe less than 4,000 RAC members (and falling) and if there are less than 4,000 RAC members then would it be a fair guess to suggest that the total number of active Hams in Canada is likely less, perhaps much less, than 8,000!
Sure you’re going to hear some people say we’ve got 40,000 licenses issued in Canada but that includes dual licensees and club calls. Since almost no XYL I know would bother to inform Industry Canada when the OM becomes an SK I bet we’ve got a ton of dead guys still holding licenses.
One of the ways we can determine activity is to look at the reports that are published following some of the largest contests like the ARRL DX and CQ WWs. Canadian participation is down around 250 out of 8,000 in the last CQ WW DX SSB test.
Contesters are some of the most active amateurs in Canada and we’re only seeing a relative handful showing up.
The plunging numbers of active licensed breathing Amateur Radio operators in Canada is due almost exclusively to neglect. We’ve neglected to recruit newcomers and young people to our ranks. We’ve neglected to create a national organization with any relevance to existing or potential members. We’ve neglected to care!
So RAC is proposing a quick cure: The Foundation License.
Instituting a Foundation License will only work if we put an extensive mentoring program to support it.
Since we can’t seem to create a national organization that can provide sufficient value to existing members to encourage them to renew in meaningful numbers, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll be capable of creating a mentoring program to serve newcomers who are interested in the Foundation License.