Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Where is the Spirit of Amateur Radio?

Richard E. Fusinski (K8NDS) on August 26, 2011 
I have been licensed in Amateur Radio for 47 years now. The hobby has undergone some drastic changes both good and bad. The good are the many new aspects of radio merged with the aid of computer technology, which offer many interesting avenues to the technically inclined. There are so many modes and choices available that even the younger generation can find something of interest.
Many new Radio Amateurs do not have a clue of the amount of technological advancements in communications were contributed by amateur radio experimenters over the ages. It is sad to see that there is not much of that existing today. It seems that the largest percentage of Radio Amateurs are just operators which can't even carry on an intelligent technical discussion. I guess I will call them appliance operators. Most just buy equipment, antennas and large towers, which anyone with the cash can do.
The world is a very different place then back in the 60's & 70's when it was hard to find someone on the bands that I couldn't learn something from. Forgive me but "5/9 (even when the S- meter reads S4), 73 & see you down the log" does not in the least interest many others and me. It is a real shame this is what Ham radio has turned into. Many of us have migrated to the 30, 17 & 12-meter bands just to get away from the 5/9 & 73 mentality.
For years I have enjoyed the 17-meter band just to enjoy some rag chewing and technical discussion while removing myself from the chaos. Lately it seems that 20 meters isn't satisfying enough for the appliance operators, they are now migrating to 17 meters. One of my pet peeves is spit frequency operation on 17 meters. This band is already too small when conditions are good. Did anyone ever think of the consequences of operating spit on the 17-meter phone band? Operating split takes up 17 kHz of space on the small 157 kHz phone section; that equates to 11% of the band for one pile up. Just in case of argument this figure includes 3 kHz space on either side of the mess, 3 kHz for the listening frequency, 5 kHz for the offset plus 3 kHz for the transmitting station. I have had many rude operators come on and ask me if I would move off frequency when I happened to be holding a QSO for at least ½ hour somewhere in between this mess way before it started; excuse me for utilizing only 3 kHz instead of 17 kHz.

Hopefully the ARRL will never justify contesting on these bands, that will be the day that I sell all my equipment and turn the hobby over to the CBer's. The Hams that are left which carry on the true spirit of the hobby need to police these situations, don't let these rude & crude appliance operators chase of off the only sanctuary that is left on the HF bands.


  1. Technology is changing the world, from broadcasting (1 to many) to peer-to-peer (1 to 1) communication. Today, it is very easy to contact with other people PRIVATELY, from any place at any time. So it is about privacy, convinience and precise communcation. Now, the 'technology' or information is discussed or shared PRIVATELY.

    Most of the radio amateurs in Malaysia are using amatuer radio as secondary hobby or 'appliance'. They are concentrating more on their primary hobby or activities. Tranceivers and antenna are installed or tuned by professionals, Technolgy also makes the radio very easy and relaible to operate but at the same time, very complex to be modified or repaired by the typical user, so the technology also is indirectly changing our mindset too.

    Anyway, there are still radio amatuers who are still have the 'true spirit' of the 'real radio amateur' like you, who want to 'broadcast' the 'spirit' as wide as possible. :)

    Thank you for the post.


    1. Tnks for giving some comments...The article was written by K8NDS i am very sure not many people agree with his statement...but i really like what he wrote "....It seems that the largest percentage of Radio Amateurs are just operators which can't even carry on an intelligent technical discussion......." Yes for sure they are Hams who can talk about technical especially those who are in that industry...but if most of the Hams don't do any reading how are they going to carry on an intelligent technical discussion .......We have more than 11,000 radio hams in Malaysia...we are hopping that ,there are some changers...and hopefully more hams can think out off the box......

  2. Hello Richard; I agree with you, even though I've only had my license for a month and some days! It's the maturity of age that gives us a different perspective on life, and on the depth of our work. I've been a electrical/computer engineer for thirty and five years. What we are seeing is more or less a decline in the general civility of the population here in the USA. People are more inward, and more selfish. The web has just exacerbated the problem with people's heads buried in their PDA, smartphone or iPod. Me? I enjoy the technical challenge. Once it's designed and running, I'm not so much a "user", except a work. When computers came to the forefront, before miniaturization, I was always building and rebuilding the hardware and software, expanding the system's dimensions yearly.

    I find RF to be absolutely fascinating. In University, we always looked at RF as "black magic". Well, it was a respectful remark, indicating that only the truly talented could be successful in such a field. Now, with the empty nest nearby, I have time to delve into these areas. I can envision myself building and tearing down Ham stuff regularly. I look forward to my first HamFest, and I look forward to discussing with like-minded people how in the world to build a decent antenna systems. Thanks for your blogs!