Speculation on non-contesters in the future

The other day, I have called CQ on 40m in vain for almost an hour. In the end, someone sent  "yawn" as soon as I finished calling CQ. Oh, yeah, I knew my CQ had been boring to him. I decided not to repeat calling CQ more than 3 times at that time.

This experience urged me to think of what would go on with non-contesters in the future. The majority of non-contesters are playing contest type QSOs on plain week day. Just exchanging reports and QSLs. There are always dozens of such operators in Japan. They exchange JCC/G number for the QTH. Oddly enough, they have invented other area numbers which stand for the lake or the hot spa they are operating from. Ever lasting inventions of new awards. They may go on in the same way as real contesters since they are not essentially different from each other at all.

Maybe, a software of virtual HF QSOs may replace their real activity on HF to the internet or to the software itself in the future. Yes, some people are already starting QSOs in the  internet. I am sure a software materialize virtual contest style QSOs very shortly. They really don't need the partner. But the virtual station could do with them in software. It may reflect the band condition like QRN, QRM or QSB. It won't be necessary for them to prepare costly big antennas or expensive radio gears. A software may let them enjoy virtual QSOs on a HF band without investing so much money.

Some conversation oriented hams may enjoy QSOs through the internet. It is stable and free from any factors the inosphere determines. There still should be a minority who try to enjoy the old fashioned QSOs on HF bands as they have done in the past. But there should be much less chance to see each other then. They might keep schedule QSOs each other. Or they would fall asleep while calling CQ again and again. I bet such scheduled QSOs might be the only royal road to enjoy ragchewing. So try to find out such a partner in the near future!

Seriously, ham radio would be replaced to the internet communications in the near future. Or it is already in the on going process for now. Yes, ham radio, especially CW communication, would survive despite of that drastic change. The most active areas in the world would be those of developing countries. In the near future, South East Asia and Africa would be the areas where you could hear CW operators conversing most frequently. There could be new ham gear manufacturers in those areas like Kenwood or Yaesu 30 years ago. If ham radio, prefarably CW communication, survives in this way, it looks like one of the best possibilities to me. When I was involved in XU, I always wondered if ham radio won't be able to offer a window to the outer world to those in developing countries. I am sure those without the infrastructure of the internet etc would enjoy communication on HF bands as we did half a century ago. We should be ready for such a movement, I believe. 

So what will happen in the coming decade?  


  1. Dear Shin-san,

    Don't lose heart, there are those of us who still enjoy a good rag chew, as well as contesting and dxing! I'm afraid I'm guilty of having a short attention span, always in a hurry to make a qso and move on to the next one. But your writings are a good reminder to slow down and smell the roses once in a while. I hop to qso again soon on 40 or 20. 73 de Tom, NU7J

    1. Hi Tom,

      I am not discouraged at the present situation. I just wanted to overview the future of ham radio. Maybe, it sounded too cynical or even sarcastic. I believe in the good essence in ham radio. It won't die but will be taken over by new comers. So far, we should enjoy it in the best way. New comers may judge and do what they think is the best.

      I often meet Fred K1NVY in your morning hours lately. Whenever meeting him, I always remember of you. See you again soon.


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  3. Shin
    I think CW contesting will go the way of the digital modes. Software will improve to such an expent that you won't need to know Morse code. It will be a numbers game. And it will happen very soon, within a few years at most. In fact it is happening already.
    Ragchewing will be a hobby for a decreasing number of operators, as they go SK. At the moment there are probably only a couple of thousand ragchewers left in the world. The number of new young CW operators who know Morse code, coming into ham radio, do not keep up with the rate of SK's.
    Ragchewing will (has) become a speciality, but that makes it more challenging.

    1. Hi John,

      Yes, I totally agree with your opinion.

      We might go on with a serene bright pessimism for the future.

      By the way, it is the month you get ashore now, isn't it? Any trip to UK? Have a sfe trip home. See you.