The number of licensed ham radio operators is on the increase in the United States. The number of licensed ham radio operators in 2012 was 700,000+. There are currently three classes of license, as follows:
- Technician - Entry level and has limited privileges.
- General - Grants operating privileges on all operating modes opening world-wide communication capabilities.
- Extra - Grants all operating modes and full privileges.
The higher the class, the more privileges (the more frequencies) are available to the user.
With the advent of cellular phones why would anyone want to get a ham license? Cell phones don't require a license, and they are short wave radios that anyone can buy. As you know, when cell phones become extremely busy - like during emergencies, you lose service. Many people are beginning to realize that amateur-based short wave radios NEVER loose service during emergencies. They are used by amateur radio operators during emergencies like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy to provide assistance and to direct help to people in the affected areas.
As a consequence, the new push to get a ham radio license is on because many more people are becoming concerned with the idea that there may be some sort of upcoming emergency. This is often referred to as "WTSHTF." (When the shit hits the fan).
Surprisingly, the greatest increase in ham radio licenses comes from one particular area of the United States. Hams call it "Area 7" which includes Utah, Montana, and Nevada. If you stop and look at that information you should realize that the Mormons occupy a large portion of that part of the USA. Mormons are required to stockpile a year's supply of food to provide for all family members. Hence, they represent the newest numbers of ham radio operators.
Unfortunately, they are not active operators. They are simply in compliance with the federal law. They are not joining any ham radio clubs, or volunteering in community activities like parades, bike-a-thons, and so on.
So what do the Mormons know that we don't? Are you prepared for an emergency when there is NO COMMUNICATION?