Some time ago I did a survey of HAM operators to try and get a handle on the types of users for a Sociology paper we presented at the Eastern Sociological Society. Here are the results.
First you can download the HTML version, the postscipt version of the pdf version. For most people the HTML version would be sufficient.
- Raw Results
- Background and Further Explanation of the Present Study (based on a paper presented to the Eastern Sociological Society, March 2002.)
- Presentation at the ESS (Slides)
Raw Results Summary
Approximately 70% of respondents were active within the previous 48 hours. Activities included receiving or receiving and transmitting in various modes.
Like the internet having multiple protocols each designed for specific purposes, such as web, or email, HAM operators have at their disposal various operating modes ranging from voice, typewritten digital information, television and Morse code. This chart summarizes the percent of respondents using each of various modes.
This chart summarizes the relative interest ratings of respondents for different activities. The most popular activities included such items as “learning about cutting-edge technology”, “rag chewing” (i.e., talking at length with friends on the air), experimentation with antennas, and voice communication on the high frequency bands and participation in organized events.
Selected opinions about the relationship of the respondent to Amateur Radio were collected using five point Likert scales coded from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” with statements. This table summarizes some of these findings. Below is a key to the Likert items presented in the table.
Key to Items:
FACINATE Ever since I was a kid, wireless communication has fascinated me.
MOREINT I am more interested today in Amateur radio than when I was first licensed.
FIVEYEARS Five years from now I picture myself being an active, on-the-air amateur.
COMPMORE Computers and the internet are more interesting to me than amateur radio.
BORING Too many on-the-air conversations are boring.
HAMBORING Amateur radio is boring.
Effects of Gender:
Gender was strongly associated with differences in levels of interest with different aspects of the hobby as expressed in the Likert scales presented in the previous table. Here is the same information broken out separately for males and females.
Gender and Activities:
Technical versus people oriented activities. Further analysis of gender differences revealed that females were more interested in ‘people oriented’ activities than ‘technically oriented activities’ as compared with the males. For example, females were most interested in ragchewing (on the air conversations), talking to friends and club activities; while these were also popular among the males, they were far more likely than the females to be interested in experimenting with antennas, tinkering with equipment and working with experimental modes.
Clear differences in activities, interests and opinions were observed in analyzing the cohort of the respondent. Defining cohort in terms of the year in which the individual was licensed, older cohorts showed, for example, a much stronger affinity for c.w., (Morse code) than younger cohorts.
Specific effects of cohort on the Likert opinion questions are summarized in this chart. Note the relative stability of opinions across the cohorts.
This chart shows a marked decline in the use of c.w. (Morse code) across the cohorts: hams licensed before 1968 were roughly three times as likely as recently licensed hams to use the code.
This chart shows a consistent decline with level of agreement with the Likert item “Ever since I was a kid, wireless communication has fascinated me” across the cohorts: the younger the cohort, the less the strength of agreement with the statement. On the other hand, the absolute scale value of this decline is small, representing a shift from ‘strongly agreeing’ to ‘agreeing’.
Which is more interesting-ham radio, the internet, or are they both equally interesting to you? This chart summarizes the responses across cohorts. The bottom line: very few hams find the internet more interesting than amateur radio, while there is a slight tendency for recent cohorts to rate them both of ‘equal’ interest.