Welcome to 2020!

Greetings fellow operators! I hope 2020 finds you well and excited for another year in amateur radio!

I wanted to drop a quick note to let everyone know I've already begun work on the 2020 State of the Hobby survey, which will hopefully be released in mid-March. I typically kick the survey off when March begins, but this year I will be traveling during that time. I want to be able to devote the appropriate level of time to the survey so will prep ahead of time and release mid-March. Be sure subscribe (if you have not already) to the blog to get an email notification when it's released.

I wanted to go over a few things for 2020, both what has changed and what has stayed the same.

What Has Changed

  • Anonymity - This survey can now be taken completely anonymously. You can provide a call if you'd like, but it's not required nor is a Google sign-in. I suspect there will be many attempts at data manipulation (there has been every year I've done this) and working with Google I have a some strategies to combat that. Hopefully this change does not render the survey ineffective.
  • Likert Scales Explained - In the past I've tried to explain the 1 through 5 Likert scaling best I could. This year I will be given specific examples of what each level (2, 3, and 4) also mean. Hopefully this results in better quality data and less confusion.
  • Minor Question Revisions - This is general clear up, removed some questions, added some for 2020, reworded some, etc.
  • Pateron / Project Funding - I had opened up a Patreon account to see if this initiative was something people were passionate enough about to make a donation. I have found that we're not there yet, and that's okay. This is not, nor never will be about making money, but if this was a entity or cause people wanted to donate to help support, I wanted to make that an option.

What Has Not Changed

  • Venue - I had hoped to be able to afford a more robust survey platform, but alas that is not the case. I will again be using Google Survey which is sufficient enough for my use.
  • Mission - The mission of the survey is the same, this is a non-scientific survey with the goal of spreading awareness in the community, sparking conversation and to be fun.

With all that said, I couldn't be more excited about the survey this year (my amnesia is in full effect). I'm looking forward to working with members of the ham radio community as well as read the opinions of all of you, many of whom I call friends. Hopefully, this will be a year devoid of death threats, but I doubt it.

Be sure to subscribe to the blog and be on the lookout mid-March for what is hopefully the best survey to date!

Dustin N8RMA


  1. Well done Dustin. Would it be possible in the future to be able to filter some of the charts based on age groups? I think this might be telling, especially when it comes to areas of interest in the hobby. I suspect those 55+ have one set of interests while the newer younger hams have totally different interests. Due to your large bias towards 55+ US Extra's I think your list of interests is clearly skewed to their interests. We need to know what's drawing in the young hams. I'd also suggest that you add an interest for "Prepper's" since they appear to be a growing population.

    1. Jim - thank you! When it comes to filtering the charts, I've considered this and would love to have that level of dynamism. One suggestion I've had was to put the data in to a public Tableau dashboard, so it can be sliced up in a variety of ways. There are some challenges to doing that while maintaining the integrity and privacy of respondents, but I am looking at how to do so. Each year as the survey grows I hopefully reach a wider audience, including those under the age of 50, non-Extra class license holders, and even those who are not yet licensed. When doing analysis, if there is a large statistical gap between age groups or license class, I try and highlight that - for example when I asked about tech's getting more HF privileges in 2019. Excellent points and I really appreciate you stopping by and for the feedback!

  2. I just stumbled upon this and had never heard of this survey before. You seem to be worried about privacy. Simply make everyone use their call to fill out the survey to prevent multiple responses and then strip off the calls before dissecting and publishing the data. Dividing by age would be very interesting. I keep hearing how the new young licensees aren't interested in the same things as older hams. Then I see them learning CW, getting on HF and participating in contests. Seems like a lot of mixed messages. - N2OA


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