USE IT OR LOOSE IT!
Every ham radio operator reading this should pay attention. If you don’t start actively using your local ham radio infrastructure, some or all of it will likely disappear over the next few years. The trend has already started.
John Loze, one of my mentors, used to say something like “the hobby is just a reflection of our society, so we can’t be that surprised by what we are seeing.” Oh John, you had no idea how true that was then and now!
There seems to be a sense of selfish ‘entitlement’ among far too many in our ranks. Sometimes this is intended, but often it’s just folks never really thinking about it. Many seem to think repeaters, digipeaters, nodes, gateways, and other local ham radio infrastructure should be there year after year regardless of activity, support, and so forth.
A lot of our RF infrastructure is installed and maintained by private individuals or small groups with limited resources of time, equipment, and money. Time is a resource that is increasingly scarce even if money is available for now. Putting stuff on the air is easy, keeping it on the air is often the bigger battle as the years go by.
Regardless of your political leanings, our country seems to be hell bent on a policy of chasing clean energy mandates with a plan that will make existing key energy sources scarce and/or more expensive than they have to be. I find it insane that we can’t pursue an energy policy that results in increasing usage of clean and/or renewable energy over time without forcing existing sources to become scarce and/or increasingly expensive. If it’s a truly better solution, then it will sell itself. If we really want economic growth, then we MUST have cheap and plentiful energy supplies…PERIOD. Energy drives everything!
So you can bet that a lot of ham radio infrastructure owners/sysops are going to be seeing their energy costs continue to climb and likely skyrocket in the near future. For example, in increased electricity costs. I should NOT have to explain what this will mean for the future of unused or hardly used ham radio infrastructure. You best think about it.
Sysops don’t mind maintaining stuff that sees frequent usage. But few are going to tolerate an ever increasing hit on their budgets to keep stuff on the air that isn’t being used much or at all. In short…USE IT OR LOOSE IT!