As ham radio fades, last MN store closes

I got a ham radio license about five years ago — I needed it for a tracking device I’d installed on an airplane — and I’ve yet to utter a word on the radio. I don’t see what the point is in 2018. Most of the chatter is guys talking about their ham radio equipment and little more.

The little handheld radio is gathering dust in the den and that is about as invested in equipment as I’m ever likely to get, particularly now that the only store for ham radio enthusiasts in Minnesota is closing Fox 9 reports.

Dan and Maline Fish, of Mounds View, are closing Radio City.

“It’s one of only a handful of ham radio stores left in the country,” Dan Fish said. “It’s a place where folks can find a router like this one to help their TV antennas or some of the newer technologies like this transmitter that works over Wi-Fi.”

Ham radio has its benefits. It’s likely to work when all other forms of electronic communication go down.

“That’s become a tiresome public relations trope,” said Chris Warren, who writes at Off Grid Ham. “Ham radio for EMCOMM is overrated now that cellphones and advanced public safety comms systems have nearly 100% uptime, even during stressful situations. I’m not saying EMCOMM is not worthwhile or not relevant, I’m only suggesting that it’s not much of a selling point to bring in new hams, particularly the young.”

Like many technologies from an earlier era, ham radio is largely made up of older men trying to come up with ways to make it appealing to a younger demographic that isn’t that interested.