Monday, June 1, 2009

Revisting ham radios image and marketing

My first blog was about creating a more modern image for the hobby.

What I have noticed is that the oldest advertising and marketing trick in the book, using the sex appeal has significantly dropped off in the hobby. About the only really prominent in practice example are the Icom girls.

Going back looking at some older material, I have to hand it to Wayne Green, publisher of 73 magazine. He not only knew how to market his publications, but he knew how to inspire. That is something noticeably absent in ARRL publications.

Observations as of recent years show there are some operators who really are cutting-edge, advancing the state of the art and all … But on the whole there are way too many hams who are woefully inadequate in technologies that are already mainstream, and that most employable people are expected to be proficient with.

Sad but true. Instead of inspiring hams and using old marketing techniques to get their attention and sell stuff, the latest trend seems to be the Emcomm push.

But when it comes to creating a good image and turning hams off I have to say there are number of old school practices that really need to go, or at least be revisited.

Burt,  K1OIK comes off a bit cranky in some of his youtube video rants, however if you can get past his cynicism, he does have some very valid observations.

Truth revealed about ham radio; The Real World Of Ham Radio; and, Ham radio, a critical evaluation.

Yes I am suggesting that some of these old school formalities are entering the lid category. Speaking of lid, I'm fairly thick skinned but I have had to lock a channel or two out of my scanner to a local lid who refers to himself in the plural sense much to often.


31) Make people think you have a split personality by referring to yourself in the plural sense. When you're in conversation and are alone at your radio, always say "We're" or "We've" instead of "I'm" or "I've" (i.e. "we've been doing this...", "we're doing that...", "we're clear"). Everyone knows you're by yourself, but when they ask you who is with you, make up somebody important like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bill Clinton.

Now getting back to the whole Emcomm push. You may have noticed that basically the ARRL directors come off as a bunch of ambulance chasers. This mentality is also used to help suggest "new"(cough) technologies for the hobby that such persons/ groups feel need to be implemented. An example is the ARES Winlink push. And now I see Icom has some nifty little PDF's along the same line trying to promote D-Star the same way. All this Emcomm/ARES mystique stupidity of course is prompted by money. A push for ham clubs can apply for grants to be able to implement such "new" technologies.

I feel that Ham radio does not need to become a back-up for the internet and other commercial IP communications. Nor does ham radio need to be a backup for voice communications. This is a hobby for experimentation and learning. Sadly there aren't many old school guys left that want to learn and experiment. Most people come here for "fun"? Which explains why most newly licensed hams go inactive in a short amount of time. The EmComm backup communications business is directly related to the huge frequency allocations that we are squating on. This is justified if we can provide backup communications and dedicate time to civic ARES/RACES exercises.

Just recently Google has Urged a National Inventory of Radio Spectrum. The worst part is that most hams and the ARRL won't put up an argument because they see this as no loss as there is little ham radio activity on these bands.

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