*note: Wow! Seems there are about 50,000 less licensed ham operators than there were in 2003 when I got my General License!
This is getting to be tragic, as with membership dipping as low as this, amateur radio is in peril. There are so many reasons we should support amateur radio - not the least of which is to support the people's access to the airwaves.
Amateur radio needs to keep its membership up in order to preserve the ham radio frequencies from encroachment by corporations and commercial interests. We need numbers to be able to lobby congress to keep amateur radio alive here and around the world.
The technician license is not that difficult to obtain. Purchase a book, read and study a bit, do the practice tests in the book (all the answers to the questions are in the book) - and find out where there is a place in your local area to go take the 30 minute test. The license fee is only about $15 and good for 10 years. You do not need to learn morse code! That requirement was dropped for the Technician and General Class licenses.
If you flunk the test - you can retake it. The electronics you need to study are not difficult. Just general principles.
If you want to get on the air, you can do it with a Tech License! For the price of a handheld radio (about the cost of a TiVo) you have a complete amateur radio station for the local repeater bands. As long as you keep the batteries charged - you will always have contact with the outside world in any emergency - unlike land line and cell phones.
Even if you do not intend to get on the air yourself, or buy any equipment - you can still join the ranks and support ham radio!
Remember the SETI Teams? Maybe we could launch an amateur radio licensing drive and encourage each other here on the forum.
We used to have active participation in the ham radio threads, and several of us encouraged each other and got our ham licenses.
Get involved. Get other family members involved, especially the kids. I think you only have to be 12 years old to get a license. Maybe there is no age limit. We can check that out.
It's a worthwhile cause, a great hobby, and something 'we the people' can do to be self-sufficient and prepared. We can do it for Art Bell because ham radio is one of his great passions.
Anyone here already have a ham license?