Amateur Radio growth in the US continues to soar. At the end of 2014, the total number of radio amateurs in the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) database reached an all-time high of 726,275. The trend has continued in the first 2 months of 2015, which saw the ham population rise to slightly more than 727,000. The figures exclude expired licenses that are within the 2-year grace period, and club station licenses. Outside of a little dithering last fall, growth in the Amateur Radio Service in 2014 was steady, according to figures compiled by Joe Speroni, AH0A, on his FCC Amateur Radio Statistics web pages. Over the past decade the number of Amateur Radio licenses in the ULS database grew by some 8.1 percent. But 2014 also was a banner year for the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC).
“For the first time in the ARRL VEC program’s history, we have conducted more than 7000 Amateur Radio exam sessions in a year, an important milestone,” said ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM. “A total of 7216 ARRL-sponsored exam sessions were administered in 2014, compared to 6823 in 2013.”
Somma said the number of new licensees spiked to more than 33,000 in 2014, up by about 15 percent from the previous year. Successful license upgrades rose last year by an unprecedented 13 percent over a year earlier.