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.