The ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) Manager Maria Somma AB1FM has reported another successful year, increasing the number of Amateur / Ham Radio Licences issued.
New licence issues were up by 1% compared to 2015 - a third year of increases. In 2016, 33,552 licences were granted.
Since the removal of the requirement to pass a morse code exam in 2007, the number of amateur’s in the US has continued to rise. Since 2007, the net rise of Ham Radio Operators is nearly 87,000.
The FCC database shows the number of US licence holders currently stands at 742,787.
Potential Changes to US Entry Exam
The ARRL are currently consulting members in relation to possible changes to the US entry level exam.
For consideration is to either make changes to the existing Technician licence, or to introduce a new entry level exam before the Technician level.
An online member survey has been created to gather feedback - http://www.arrl.org/license-1
Declines in Australia and Germany
To counter the success of the increase of operators in America, worrying statistics show a decrease in operators in Germany and Australia.
In Australia, the total number of licences is 14,617, a decline of nearly 1%. To counteract this decline, the WIA is looking to modernise the hobby to recruit more members.
Germany has shown a decline in operators, losing 4,000 operators since 2010.