The president of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) told delegates to the association's Region 1 general conference in September that amateur radio must broaden its scope in order to appeal to the next generation of prospective hams, and the South African Radio League (SARL) has offered some specific recommendations.
According to the ARRL Letter, IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, told the group representing amateur radio societies in Europe, Africa and the Middle East that his personal observation is that many younger amateurs are interested in ham radio primarily as an adjunct to other, possibly unrelated, interests – rather than its traditional aspects – but urged member societies to "embrace these individuals in their activities and … promote amateur radio as meeting their needs, rather than promoting the historical view of what amateur radio has to offer."
The South African Radio League, responding in a commentary in its online SARL News, said amateur radio "needs a renaissance (and) the first step is to break away from this hobby attitude and to realize that it is an amateur radio science with which to experiment, research and pioneer. Secondly, the amateur radio service should broaden its field and include radio astronomy for future space communications," adding that a "wider radio field enhanced by the latest radio technology will be more exciting, attractive and have a far greater appeal to the new generations with their open and inquiring minds." This change in approach, the SARL concluded, "could extend the lifespan of amateur radio … for another 100 years."