Survey Results – 2014 Ham Radio Digital Voice Survey

2014 Ham Radio Digital Voice Survey, results, VA3XPR, amateur radio, DMR, digital mobile radio, D-STAR, NXDN, System Fusion, P25

In effort to understand how the ham radio community is currently using digital voice modes or their willingness to use them, a short survey was put together and made it available to the ham community on March 21, 2014.

Survey Methodology

The following methodology was used in carrying out the survey.

  • The survey consisted of 20 questions;
  • Participation in the survey was open to all hams around the world, regardless of whether they have used digital voice technologies or not;
  • The link to the survey was shared directly to a number of online channels, including the VA3XPR website, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Yahoo! Groups. It is important to note that while the survey was directly shared with the aforementioned online channels, hams were free to share the survey with any other online channels, social media networks or email contacts;
  • There were 213 total respondents;
  • The survey duration was 9 calendar days (March 21 – March 29th)

 

Survey Results

Below are the results to each of the questions presented in the survey.

Question 1

Are you currently capable of operating on any of the ham radio bands using digital voice modes?

 

Yes 179 84%
No 31 15%
Not sure 2 1%

 

Question 2

How frequently do you use ham radio digital voice modes?

 

Daily 119 56%
Weekly 43 20%
Monthly 13 6%
Yearly 7 3%
Not sure 5 2%
Not applicable 26 12%

 

Question 3

Which ham radio bands have you operated on using digital voice modes in the past 12 months? Please choose all that apply.

 

HF (160m – 10m) 32 9%
6m 5 1%
2m 111 31%
1.25m 5 1%
70cm 167 47%
Not applicable 27 8%
Other 7 2%

 

Question 4

Which ham radio digital voice modes are you capable of using? Please choose all that apply.

 

D-STAR 102 30%
Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) 120 35%
APCO Project 25 (P25) 49 14%
NXDN 8 2%
System Fusion 7 2%
FreeDV 21 6%
Not applicable 25 7%
Other 10 3%

 

Question 5

What type of equipment supporting ham radio digital voice modes do you have? Please choose all that apply.

 

Base 88 19%
Mobile 127 27%
Portable 168 35%
Repeater 60 13%
Not applicable 27 6%
Other 5 1%

 

Question 6

From what manufacturers do you have equipment for use on the ham bands that supports digital voice? Please choose all that apply.

 

BFDX 1 0%
Connect Systems 37 10%
Hytera 16 4%
Icom 106 28%
Kirisun 3 1%
Kenwood 13 3%
Motorola 106 28%
Tait 1 0%
Harris 1 0%
Vertex Standard 12 3%
Yaesu 16 4%
Home made 19 5%
Not applicable 29 8%
Other 14 4%

 

Question 7

What ham radio digital modes have you used over the past 12 months? Please choose all that apply.

 

D-STAR 112 32%
Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) 118 34%
APCO Project 25 (P25) 50 14%
NXDN 11 3%
System Fusion 6 2%
FreeDV 16 5%
Not applicable 24 7%
Other 12 3%

 

Question 8

How likely are you to invest in equipment for use on the ham radio bands that is capable of digital voice within the next 12 months?

 

Very likely 135 63%
Somewhat likely 38 18%
Neutral 16 8%
Somewhat unlikely 6 3%
Very unlikely 17 8%
Not sure 1 0%

 

Question 9

If within the next 12 months, you are to invest in equipment for use on the ham radio bands that is capable of digital voice modes, which digital voice mode will it support? Please choose all that apply.

 

D-STAR 83 24%
Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) 151 44%
APCO Project 25 (P25) 44 13%
NXDN 16 5%
System Fusion 11 3%
FreeDV 14 4%
Undecided 23 7%
Not applicable 5 1%

 

Question 10

What is the reason(s) that you have invested in equipment that is capable of using digital voice modes on the ham radio bands? Please choose all that apply.

 

I wanted the benefits of digital voice 138 39%
I wanted to try something new 140 39%
My ham radio friends convinced me 36 10%
Not sure 2 1%
Not applicable 20 6%
Other 20 6%

 

Question 11

What as the reason(s) that you have not invested in equipment that is capable of using digital voice modes on the ham radio bands? Please choose all that apply.

 

Too expensive 56 20%
Too many technology choices for digital voice 25 9%
Not any better than analog voice 13 5%
My ham radio friends are not using digital voice 18 6%
No coverage for digital voice in my area 35 12%
I need more information first 14 5%
Not sure 1 0%
Not applicable 115 40%
Other 9 3%

 

Question 12

What aspects of ham radio digital voice modes do you enjoy the most? Please choose all that apply.

 

Audio quality 121 20%
Local coverage 80 13%
Global connectivity 152 26%
Specific features only found with digital voice equipment 109 18%
Equipment quality 94 16%
Not sure 7 1%
Not applicable 17 3%
Other 13 2%

 

Question 13

What aspects of ham radio digital voice modes do you enjoy the least? Please choose all that apply.

 

Audio quality 49 18%
Local coverage 26 10%
Global connectivity 31 12%
Specific features only found with digital voice equipment 17 6%
Equipment quality 17 6%
Not sure 23 9%
Not applicable 78 29%
Other 25 9%

 

Question 14

What equipment aspects for ham radio digital voice modes would positively influence your purchase intent the most over the next 12 months? Please choose all that apply.

 

The ability to support multiple ham bands (i.e. dual-band, tri-band, etc.) 126 21%
The ability to support under-utilized bands (220 MHz, 902 MHz, 1296 MHz) 66 11%
The ability to support multiple digital voice modes (D-STAR, DMR, P25, etc.) 140 23%
Easier to use equipment 36 6%
Front keypad programmability 86 14%
Less expensive equipment 97 16%
VFO capability 43 7%
Not sure 7 1%
Not applicable 7 1%
Other 5 1%

 

Question 15

How much would you be willing to spend on equipment that supported your desired digital voice format?

 

$1 – $99 2 1%
$100 – $199 21 10%
$200 – $299 42 20%
$300 – $399 38 18%
$400 – $499 25 12%
$500 – $599 23 11%
$600 – $699 6 3%
$700 – $799 7 3%
$800 – $899 1 0%
$900 – $999 4 2%
$1,000+ 17 8%
Not applicable 9 4%
I prefer not to say 13 6%
Other 5 2%

 

Question 16

What type of equipment supporting ham radio digital voice modes will you be purchasing over the next 12 months? Please choose all that apply.

 

Base 46 12%
Mobile 122 32%
Portable 125 33%
Repeater 41 11%
Not sure 30 8%
Not applicable 11 3%
Other 7 2%

 

Question 17

Where is your age?

 

18 – 24 3 1%
25 – 39 38 18%
40 – 54 78 37%
55 – 69 79 37%
70 – 84 10 5%
85 – 99 0 0%
100+ 0 0%
I prefer not to say 5 2%

 

Question 18

What is your gender?

 

Male 203 95%
Female 3 1%
I prefer not to say 7 3%

 

Question 19

Where are you located?

 

North America 162 76%
South America 1 0%
Europe 43 20%
Asia 2 1%
Africa 0 0%
Australia 5 2%
Antarctica 0 0%
I prefer not to say 0 0%

 

Question 20

How many years have you had your ham radio license?

 

1 – 5 32 15%
6 – 10 22 10%
11 – 25 77 36%
26+ 79 37%
I prefer not to say 3 1%

 

About Don Trynor, VA3XFT

Don Trynor, VA3XFT
Don is a 16-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a licensed Canadian ham radio operator since 1988. He is passionate about VHF/UHF repeater communications, especially using digital modes and he has owned and operated a number of ham radio repeater installations over the years, including ones in both the provinces of Ontario (VE3/VA3) and New Brunswick (VE9). In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.