I have been hearing for 45 years that ARRL and Amateur operators must grow our membership and be active on the HF bands or we might lose these valuable bands. This wisdom is often given as a reason for easy exams - "attract young members in order to keep our bands". I read somewhere that QsoNet is a conspiracy to get hams off RF, so THEY can steal the ham bands.
Here is a question... Who are THEY and why do they want our bands? Before the era of satellites, fiber optics, internet and microwave, I would agree the HF bands were valuable. Today I hear a few religeous broadcast stations and WWV on HF. Am I missing something? *hi* The AM broadcast band in my city is now totally dead, except for one station.
If the hams of the word got together and decided to sell off the 40 meter band on Ebay, who would bid and how much would they pay?
While I take what ARRL says about their membership growing with some doubt, I do believe we should be active as much as possible on the frequency sprectrum we have been granted. I have not heard about the conspiracy of which you speak and even if I had; wouldn't believe any of it.
It's not so much that other broadcasting services want to steal our spectrum as it is the old use it or lose it scenario. Often possession is 9/10ths of the law! 3rd world countries continue to use HF for military and commercial use. Fishermen, truck drivers, CBers and just about anyone that needs cheap international communication would not mind taking our frequencies. Part 95 devices (in the USA) would not mind using this spectrum to gain extra range with wireless devices. Failure to use the HF bands might result in BPL restrictions being lifted. Failure to use any of the amateur spectrum may result in the FCC, RAC, FTZ or whomever from proclaiming it a dead, useless service. Licenses could be revoked.
If those that use CQ100 or whatever VOIP program feel it is superior to amateur radio, who am I to suggest they do differently. Perhaps someday something like CQ100 will replace amateur radio.
Perhaps someday you will need a license from the government to be called an amateur internet chatter and the application will arrive with your ISP membership paperwork. The computer and internet connection you will use must be type certified by the government and no tinkering or experimenting will be allowed.
Perhaps this scenario competes with the magic of building your own radio equipment and antennas or the satisfaction of working a distant station via aurora or meteor scatter or bouncing a signal off the moon. Amateur radio is far more than just chatting! Of course when the infrastructure of the internet ceases to exist, so will you and your ability to communicate.
Ah yes, let's do sell all of our amateur radio spectrum, all of our radios and yes you may as well just send your license in because you won't need that one anymore.
For anyone reading my rantings for the first time, I am not against CQ100. I use it and enjoy it. I think it is fantastic for those who are unable to put a station on the air or those who periodically use it because of bad propagation, etc. I think our use of CQ100 should be judicious and balanced.
I don't know in fiscal terms what our amateur bands might be worth if peddled, but I can tell you personally that they are priceless to me!