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An early snapshot of the 2014 WIA Membership Survey

Date : 05 / 05 / 2014
Author : Chris Platt - VK5CP

The members response to the Survey was most heartening, with a total of 834 completing it by the closing date – some 18.4% of the membership, a significant sample. In all, 654 completed it online, while 180 returned the paper-based option published in Amateur Radio magazine.

The following is a global overview of highlights from the survey results. I have not yet had time to analyse it all on the basis of, for example, license type, age, location or duration of amateur license holding. I have also not included a detailed examination of the free text responses provided to Question 29 (on what changes would you make if you were WIA President), which will take time to properly analyse.

Responses to two questions have proved most interesting for the Board – Questions 20 and 21, on rating the importance of WIA functions, and the value of the cost of membership, respectively.

Among all survey respondents, the most highly valued of the WIA’s 25 functions , activities and services – with an important-to-most important rating of 90% or more – are, in order:

1. Protecting our Spectrum
2. ACMA Liaison / Lobbying
3. Publicising the Hobby
4. AR Magazine
5. WIA Website
6. International Representation
7. Promoting the WIA

In rating the cost of annual membership – considering all the functions, activities and services the WIA offers – 67.5% of respondents rated it as reasonable-to-excellent value, more than a quarter believed in being a member regardless, while only 6.48% considered it poor value.

AR Editor, Peter Freeman VK3PF, will be pleased to know that around 90% of responders read the magazine on a monthly basis, at home.

Full WIA members accounted for 76% of survey respondents, 19.8% were concessional members, with the balance made up of student, family and overseas memberships. Approximately 30% of respondents had been WIA members for less than five years; the next largest group had been members for over 30 years in total (which would include membership of former Divisions).

A surprising result was the response to Question 19, about how much money respondents spent in 2013 – on books, magazines, parts, equipment, subscriptions and attending events. More than 30% spent $1000-$4999; the next largest group, 28.9% of respondents, spent $100-$499. While those with a modest spend of $500-$999 amounted to 18.82% of respondents, 12.23% spent less than $100, while 6.35% spent more than $5000. So much for amateurs having deep pockets and short arms!

It should be no surprise that, as amateurs, we have embraced the computer world. The bulk of respondents own one or more computers; only 11 respondents – 1.32% – did not own any sort of computing device. Over 80% own a desktop PC and a similar number a laptop/notebook. Ownership of a tablet was just over 30%, an iPad just under 29%. Of operating systems, almost 94% run Windows, followed by Android (38%), IOS (26%), Linux or variant (24%), followed by Apple at 20%.

The Internet is ubiquitous, with 90% of respondents using it every day, the bulk of whom have ADSL speeds or better. Almost all respondents use the Internet at home, with 40-50% also using it at work and on the move.

The most commonly-used amateur radio related websites are the WIA Website, with 90% of respondents accessing it regularly over each month, followed by VK Ham (70%), VK Classifieds (69%), VK Logger (42%) and VK Logger Forums (32%).

The vast majority of respondents (over 80%) hold Advanced licenses, followed by Standard (12%), and Foundation (6%).

The most common entry points into the hobby were the old Limited licence (34%) and old Novice licence (21%), followed by the Foundation license (21%). These results probably reflect the entry-level license options that were available at the time, and show the importance of the previous Novice, and now the Foundation, licenses as feeders into our hobby. Over 50% of respondents upgraded their license within two years, and almost 70% within the first five years.

More than a third of respondents (37%) are aged between 61-70, with the next peak (25%) between 51-60. About 6% are under 40, while 3.5% are over 80 – there is hope for us yet! Only four respondents preferred not to indicate their age bracket.

While 57% of respondents live in the suburban and inner city areas, 28% live in rural areas (including semi-rural) with 12% in fringe/outer urban areas.

Over 70% of respondents prefer to pay their WIA membership subscription annually, with 24% taking the 5-year option, and 7% using the recently introduced quarterly automatic payment option.

Surprisingly, 30% of respondents are not members of a radio club, and 25% who said they were a member of a club were not aware if their club was WIA affiliated.

Pleasingly, over 80% of respondents who contacted the WIA National Office or a Director/Office Holder were satisfied with the level of service provided. Disappointingly only 10% of respondents had attended a WIA AGM and Conference Weekend in the last three years, with the most common reason for absence being a preference for a location nearer to them.

Further analysis will be undertaken over the next few weeks. The information gleaned will be particularly useful to the Board in setting the long-term WIA strategy, and prioritizing initiatives.

Thank you all for your participation.

Christopher Platt
VK5CP Vice President






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