It’s a sign of the times. AJ4UX says the WBCCI sponsored 20-meter International RV Service Nets [are] Discontinued.
When WBCCI was created in the 1950’s, the primary need for amateur radio was for communications for caravans which roamed far and wide across North America and into the rest of the world.
Because we have been unable to recruit volunteers to manage these two nets, the low participation primarily due to poor propagation, and the replacement by an extensive network of mobile telephone service over North America, the officers decided to discontinue sponsorship of the two 20-meter nets.
The other three nets, all operating on 40 meters, are healthy and have a full complement of net managers and net control stations. These nets, spanning the lower 48 states and into all Canadian provinces, continue to provide excellent contact among net members for social, technical and communications purposes.
The 40 and 20 meter bands are popular for mobile operations. 40 offers regional propagation characteristics most of the time while 20 is better for DX or distance contacts. For local communications, the 2 meter amateur band, often with repeaters, and the CB radio service were used. CB does not require any testing or paperwork for a transmit license so it was very common for in-site rally news and communications. 2 meter with repeaters did require some paperwork and a technical and regulatory test for a ham license but it worked well for metropolitan area coverage.
Cell phones now cover most of these communications needs for sitewide, metropolitan, regional, and national coverage. In addition to voice, they also provide SMS for short text messages and I’net access for information sites and discussion forums. As the cell network has built out and the technology has become more prevalent, the need for CB and ham radio communications has dropped. CB is now nearly just a vestige and ham radio moving more towards the hobbyist aspects with the Preppers coming in because they see it as a doomsday backup.
There is more here, though. “unable to recruit volunteers” and “low participation” bespeak of change. This change is related to the recent ‘rogue Trustee‘ brouhaha in the WBCCI. It is about the Annual WBCCI rally being an order of magnitude smaller than in its heyday – despite Airstream cranking out trailers as fast as it can and despite the iconic nature of the brand and its vintage attractions. The need for in-person meetings to make decisions and printed matter distributed by the post office to communicate and inform and the disappearance of special costs and fees for long distance telecommunications, are technological advances that have diminished the need for the traditional local club operating in the traditional manner with a newsletter and a monthly gathering to decide what to do and how to do it. There are also social changes that divide personal loyalties and provide alternative means for satisfying social needs that diminish the need for the traditional local club.
For each of us, these changes provide more options for us to express ourselves and find satisfaction and meaning in life. For traditional groups, it means finding ways to adapt to a membership that is not so bound to the group. This is not going to be easy. It will be exploring many new ideas. It means tripping and stumbling and growing and exploring. Errors will be made. Ideas will die. But some ideas will surface and flower. People will get angry and do harmful things. Our mettle will be tested.