There are those that love ‘tinkering’ with radios and electronics. Amateur radio keeps our interest alive and in the process we are hopefully able to get a better understanding of communications, electronics, space, science, technology and whatever else that is related.
Others prefer to learn about new modes and technologies, chasing satellites, learning about orbital mechanics and studying propagation on HF and or VHF
Communication in whatever form is a life skill to be continually developed no matter your age. Amateur radio is an extension of this life skill with technique and technicality providing the potential for a lifetime of learning and achievement.
Amateur radio keeps us technically adept in repairing equipment, building circuitry and fiddling with antennas, keeping essential skills practiced which could be used at work or any situation that would need these skills.
Radio amateurs practice radio procedure during every QSO. They know where the next active amateur station is when help is needed. From experience, radio amateurs know what bands (frequencies) to use at what time of day.
Some radio amateurs take part in search and rescue practices and are on call in case of emergency. In many cases where amateur radio was not used, communications were a disaster. Radio amateurs have the technical expertise to establish communications.
Amateur radio keeps you going, long after other purposes in life have ended. It is a means of social contact for the elderly long after mobility and health fails them.
Many licensed radio amateurs like working toward goals and earning rewards e.g. DXCC, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, AAA and chasing DX
Others prefer to combine family activities e.g. SOTA, POTA or IOTA.
Amateur radio is fun. It is seen as only a hobby for some.
Radio Amateur Services cover a very wide realm from the fun side of a hobby, rendering a service to the public during disasters in some countries, to the more serious field of experiments, research, pioneering and can be used to explore all avenues including radio science and advancement into the future!
There is a certain magic regarding good old fashioned wireless. There is still so much to learn and explore.
Thanks go to the many hams from South Africa who took part in this survey. Their passion for the hobby and the many years of practising ham radio can be clearly seen!