Ham Radio Market Analysis

Goals

To assess the potential demand for online prep courses for ham radio tests in the US by providing insights regarding the ham radio licensing process to include:
  • How many people get licensed annually?
  • How they study for the exam (what are the different exam prep options available)?
  • Are licensed ham radio operators required to renew their licenses, and how often?

Early Findings

Initial Findings

  • There appears to be significant information regarding the ham radio industry, also known as the amateur radio industry.
  • The number of resource providers for ham radio operator tests is quite limited, indicating a limited number of competitors.

Overview

  • The number of ham radio operator licensees has increased at a rate of 1% over the past few years, with 7,000 new operators licensed annually to a total of 755,430 hams as of 2018.
  • Most operators in the space are usually "White American males in their 60s and 70s."
  • Potential ham radio operator licensees study for their license exam using free or premium paid study materials, taking an online class, taking a local class, and/or using mobile apps. Hams can also take online practice exams.

Study Materials (Books)

  • Hams can make use of review books such as "The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, 4th edition, Technician Class 2018-2022, by Gordon West WB6NOA, Pass Your Amateur Radio Technician Class Test the Easy Way (2018-2022 edition), by "Buck" K4IA."
  • There are different books available online. However, the AARL provides manuals that hams often use as a reference since they are more comprehensive and might take a long time to read.

Online Classes

  • Online class options are available to hams via phone, tablet, or computer and often include additional training material such as videos and mock exams.
  • The available online class options for hams include "HamTestOnline™ and HamStudy.org."

Local Class

  • Hams can access local class prep options for the technician-class license. This option includes regularly scheduled hours for classes weekly or studying for the whole day of the exam and taking the exam afterward.
  • Hams can search for local classes for this license category using the "AARL online search service" or contact a local club.

Mobile Apps

  • Ham Radio Prep provides a free mobile app to study for the exam available on iOS and Android.

Online Mock Exams

The following services provide online mock exams for license test:

License Renewal and Frequency

  • Hams can renew the license manually or electronically using the Universal Licensing System (ULS). The former requires the licensee to "submit a paper FCC Form 605" within 90 days of the license expiry date and two years after expiration.
  • Licensees can apply electronically by visiting the ULS homepage and following the instructions here. Applications follow the same timeline for the manual renewal method. This method is recommended.
  • The renewal service is free.
  • Hams are expected to renew their license once every ten years.

Summary

  • The ham radio market is growing at a slow pace with a 1% increase in new licensees over the past few years since 2018.
  • There is a market opportunity in this industry since the majority of operators are in their 60s and 70s. Companies can attempt to attract the interest of a younger demographic as that area appears to be largely untapped.

Research proposal:

Only the project owner can select the next research path.
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