Cycle 25 Sunspot – from https://www.spaceweather.com/
Imagine a hobby where tens of thousands (maybe more?) are waiting for sunspots and are patient enough to wait 6 – 7 years at a time (actually they migrate to other bands or parts of the hobby in the meantime). Imagine a hobby where they still communicate using Morse Code!
After reading The Secret Listeners, at the end of the book, the author mentions that in 2009, there weren’t many British Y Service members still on this Mortal Coil. (My Mom passed in 2002 and my Father, 2006 – both of that generation). He also mentioned in the book how Ham Radio Operators were the last to use Morse Code – that there were no more commercial or military uses for it – in fact, at the end of WWII that was already changing.
I feel very lucky to have been a part of what was the end of the Cold War – and listening to International Shortwave Propaganda. Even though it was state run brainwashing – we knew this, and so it became kind of a comedy of sorts to anyone in the Free World. Anachronism is an understatement.
I think I built the Heathkit SW-717 when I was 11 or 12 – I know it was right before I received my WN2QHN callsign – which arrived in the mailbox on my 13th birthday. I also remember it took me a while before I actually transmitted. The National SW-3 and Collins 75A4 are receivers built and used before I was born – so I even have taken a nostalgia trip back in time – in a period of my parents generations prime.
I have had days where (after my DXCC addiction subsided) where I wonder “What’s Next?” as far as Ham Radio is concerned. When I look at the new gear, I just don’t get excited any more. I do still get excited hearing XV1X or JD1BMH calling CQ and working the pileups on 40M – CW or course. XV1X has had more than his share of health and other problems – but he is chugging along. I do like the fact that there are die hard JA’s – and JD1BMH who are on the bands still – calling CQ after all these years.
Besides my silly little FREQ 300 – I don’t have much I care to do in the hobby – but I do still like just hearing the sounds of stations on HF and realize that I could be one of the last of the vanguard of “Secret Listeners” left on the planet.