I have brought my amplifier to a radio shop near by for repair. The amp acted up, as I posted, by an inductive lightning strike yeasterday. I used to visit that shop quite often in '80s through '90s. It is almost only radio shop in this area.
Surprisingly, there were no visitors in the store. It should have been most crowded in a week. Was the business taken over by the net shops? I could not help feeling it had reflected the shrunken market. There was only one person who used to be the head of the personnel at the store years ago. He told me Yaesu had had a plan to produce another amp named VL2000. It has not come into the market yet and possibly will not. We might be living the age when our hobby is vanishing, or, if it is too unreserved to say so, is downsizing itself.
What has made this hobby dying now? One reason should be that there is very few things in the QSO content which attract young people. Investing thousands of USD for radio and antenna, most hams are doing a stereo type QSO just exchanging reports. I don't think it looks worth to young people spending that money and time for such a hobby. Young people could instinctively hold something real and meaningful.
In Japan, another problem is the bureaucracy in licensing system. We should get the operator license followed by the station license. Even though the use of internet has simplified the process, the station license is still ridiculous. We should ask a private company to "guarantee" our equipment to be legitimate. I have already written about this system elsewhere in this blog. Of course, most of our equipments are made by commercial manufacturers like Kenwood, Icom or Yaesu. We should apply for guarantee for those equipment in paper form to that company. They would judge only the application form but never check the function of each equipment by themselves. We should pay some money for this guarantee process. Of course, this private company is told to have employed those retired from the relevant government agency. We could not modify any equipment. Once modified, it would be out of guarantee. And since each station license is given for applied equipment, any special event station should use the very same equipment when it is operated at a place away from the licensee place. They are transferring the licensed equipment by post or something to the next place. What ridiculous bureaucracy! This system has been executed for decades. I think young people or anyone with common sense won't be committed in such a hobby regulated by ridiculous rules.
I have written too much against our bureaucracy. It seems, however, just one example of the lesions in the society which hurt our country very seriously. Deregulation has been claimed to be necessary in the society. It is realized only for those with power or money. But such as this license system has been "guarded" by the authority as well as for the authority. Young people won't be interested in such a hobby meaninglessly regulated.
There was a tribander on the roof of the radio shop. But it has already taken away. Only a couple of whips for VHF/UHF were set at a side of the roof. Without the sign, no one could know it was a radio shop.
I left there feeling a bit blue for the future of this hobby.