I’ve noticed two things in recent years, and I’m not sure if it’s just me or I’m really on to something different with American radio amateurs. The first observation is that there seems to be more “homebrewing” or construction of equipment outside of the US. This isn’t to say there isn’t homebrewing within the US, far from it. Obviously there is an active and vibrant QRP community in the US. But as a general trend, there seems to me to be more equipment construction and “rolling your own” in other countries. I’ve noticed with the number of inquires and feedback emails I receive for my open source amateur radio hardware projects, foreign amateurs outnumber US amateurs by a ratio of 10 to 1. Most are in Europe, however I’ve heard from amateurs in India, Japan, Australia, and other countries outside of Europe. I think US amateurs spend a lot of money on the hobby, but there seems to be more of a buy it and operate mentality where DX amateurs tend to be more frugal and more apt to construct things.
My second observation is that US amateurs seem more down about the future of amateur radio, in general, than foreign counterparts. US amateurs tend to complain about the state of the hobby, ARRL, the FCC, code tests, incentive licensing, young people, etc. US amateurs tend to be more negative online. They’re much more apt to bring up partisan politics in QSOs and online, and they often make mental leaps connecting the perceived decline of amateur radio and the social and political climate in the US.
These are just observations, and I have no scientific data to back this up. I’m especially curious about what radio amateurs outside of the US observe with those in their countries. Is the US unique in some regard with attitudes about amateur radio? Do you feel there’s more low-level technical experimentation outside the US? Is this all just my perception and not reality?