The average age of the 659,000 licensed ham operators in the United States is in the 60s, according to the American Radio Relay League, a national association for enthusiasts, based in Newington, Conn (2007)
And with age comes a love for tradition and to re-live the past.
"Amateur Radio used to be technology leaders. Today its the last bastion of otherwise obsolete 'museum modes' like AM, CW and ATV while the real world technologies of digital wide band modes are exploding. Not that having a place for museum modes is bad -- in my opinion we just shouldn't hold on to them at the expense of the future." --Bill - WA7NWP. (Mar 18, 2007 to the digitalradio yahoo group)
Amateur Radio is supposed to be an exciting cutting-edge communications technology hobby where you are free to explore the latest communications techniques and communicate with other Amateur Radio operators, or "Hams" all over the world using any methods the operator chooses.
The Average age of the members of the ARRL board of directors
15 Directors - average age 64.3 (range 49 to 82)
15 Vice Directors - average age 56.7 (range 27 to 65)
ARRL President Joel Harrison W5ZN is 49, and the youngest ever ARRL President. The ten ARRL Officers average 60 years old.
The average ARRL member is 55-60 years old.
Ten years ago, the average licensed ham was around 50 years old. And going back even further, in 1985 the average ham was 46 years old (per 73 magazine)....
And going back even further yet... The ARRL, paid an independent survey company in 1960 to do a study of amateur radio. The report showed that 80% of all ham newcomers were teenagers, with 50% being either 14 or 15 years old. (Further, they found that 80% of these newcomers ended up pursuing high-tech careers as a result of their interest in amateur radio.)
I think a new ham radio appearance would help to make the hobby more appealing. If you ask me, it needs to be more appealing for younger folks if the hobby is expected to survive.
So to do my very small part, I have been pointing out ham radio in popular culture. Specifically in the Simpson's, and other "cartoon" shows.
CQ Magazine recently did a survey of their "fans" on Facebook and found the average age was 45.
Or the higher speed mirror: