When listening to radio hams talking, it can often seem to a teen that it sounds like a bunch of old men. Yes, there are a lot of old-timers on the air and because many of them are retired, they have time to chat with their old friends. The truth is a lot of pre-teens, teens, and college students are getting their ham licenses because of the avenues into technology that ham radio provides, including voice, digital, and CW communication through ham satellites and to the International Space Station! Besides, it's fun. It's like fishing... you never know who you are going to catch, or where they are located.
The above picture came from an 11 year-old friend of mine in Shanghai, China. It's a class he attends right now (2021) in Shanghai learning ham radio.
I was 11 when I started, and it was with a group of boys similar in age. There was one difference to today: morse code was required and that was all we could use. We became licensed, talked to other hams on CW, and continued to learn about ham radio as we built up our CW speed, understanding of geography, and knowledge of technology. On morse code, you have no idea how old the operator is at the other end, or who they are. Age differences disappear... that's a major benefit, particularly for a teen. Everyone is equal, and on CW everyone goes by their first name. Twenty some years ago, there was a radio ham who said his name was Hussein when talking to other radio hams. New hams didn't have any idea that they were talking to the King of Jordan. He was just "Hussein" on the air.
I'm going to make a suggestion to all teens, pre-teens, and those parents and mentors who are helping them enjoy ham radio. Learn CW. Young people take to morse code very quickly and easily. And it is a "foreign language" of sorts that is like knowing a secret language most people don't know. Do you realize that with a Technician license, the new ham can get on the HF bands on CW and make contacts far and wide? 10 meters, 15, 40 and 80 are included! The segments of the bands for the new Technician using CW are much larger than when I started as a Novice licensee.
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Here is the link to my page explaining how to learn morse code. LINK.
Gary W4GAL / VK6GAL