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N8RMA's 2019 State of the Hobby

Your chance for an opinion on our hobby

Dustin Thomas N8RMA, got the idea for a comprehensive ham radio survey while browsing Reddit back in 2017. “I started to notice an influx of surveys being posted, almost all in regards to highly specific topics in amateur radio,” he says. "I made sure to participate yet often wondered what the results were. I then decided to host my own survey, to collect the opinions from the community on a variety of topics for comparison over the years. I wanted to ensure I made the results widely available for anyone to consume for whatever reason."

First licensed in 2014, Dustin upgraded to General in 2015 and looks forward to reaching Extra. His personal ham radio interests include contesting, DX, and Field Day operations. But as he got into the hobby, he wondered where it was headed. They survey is a way for him to make a meaningful contribution toward the hobby’s future.

“I always wanted some baseline questions to compare from year to year, as well as specific issues impacting amateur radio today,” he says. “The State of the Hobby was born.”

Dustin pointed out some highlights — and surprises — from the 2018 State of the Hobby survey:

Concerns over HOA’s came in as the third most reported issue (fourth overall as the biggest single issue) yet 75% of respondents reporting not being effected by an HOA
Respondents ranked HF award nets (such as 3905 Century Club and OMISS) very low – on par with believing there should be a code requirement for licensing.
68% of respondents claimed to have talked with a new ham in the last 12 months
DMR seems to be growing in terms of local repeaters, outranking both YSF and D-Star
Why should you bother to take the survey?

“It’s important for independent bodies (independent from the ARRL or commercial organizations with unknown agendas) to solicit and publish the opinions of ham radio operators,” Dustin says.
“This survey will give us insight into what is working and what is not, new or emerging trends in modes or activities, and successful ways to increase membership and licensing.”

He said interest in the survey has surprised him and that several clubs have reached our to say they’ve used insight from the survey to promote ham radio and establish new activities.

Dustin hopes to get more opinions this year from folks who may be studying for their license, or on the fence about whether to get involved. “This year I’ve also included a second for those not yet licensed, but who are interested,” he says. “This will give us a great insight into how new operators are preparing, what works / what doesn’t, and what recently caused them to be interested.”

More information:

2019 survey link:

If you have not had a chance to see the results from previous years, they are listed here:

Thanks to feedback and inquiry from hundreds of participants, Dustin has made a few minor changes to the survey. He says: "This year I've included some questions specific to 2019, which of course will change year to year. I hope to keep the core portion of the survey mainly intact (for that comparison) and continue to modify the annual section as deemed fit."

Please, help spread this survey to those whom you know in amateur radio. This will help strengthen the survey results and spread awareness of the results. Results and future surveys will be posted to so make sure to subscribe. 

Thank you for your time and participation.

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