Thursday, July 03, 2008

What a diverse hobby we have to enjoy

As ham radio operators, we enjoy a diverse range of different things that we can participate in within our hobby.

Contesting, DX'ing, CW, SSB, VHF, UHF, Satellite, County Hunting, DXCC, SSTV, PSK31, IRLP, and RTTY are all different facets of this wonderful hobby that we can partake in.

Each of us have a favorite mode or part of the hobby that we focus on, and we tend to forget that there is this wonderful range of options that we have.

A good analogy to this is the world's population. We have Caucasian, African-American, Latin, Asian, Europeon, and Arab races just to name a few. In today's world we have to be more tolerant of race and culture because we have a worldwide culture now. Bias and ignorance have no place in today's world wide society.

As hams, we need to be more tolerant of fellow hams that practice different modes than what we like. Myself, I focus on contesting, dxing, and cw. Even though I focus on those areas, I do not belittle those hams that enjoy their own aspects of ham radio. I feel that we need to have people that enjoy all these different aspects of ham radio, that those different areas help keep the hobby alive and people interested.

As a long time ham, I have been a CW operator since 1974. When no-code was proposed, there was a roar of disgust from the ham populace and a bias against no-coders. Eventually that has died down, although some hams are still biased, the majority of the ham populace has come to accept, if not embrace, the new hams.

It should not surprise me though, that some of the new hams themselves would harbor their own biases.

I wrote about the History of Field Day in a blog post here

In the town I live in, there was 3 different Field Day operations.

The FD operation I participated in, the 4 of us, was with a dx'ing and contest group (KY Indiana DX Association) and our focus is contesting. We do the 160 contests, and usually play in the SS contest but we focus on FD each year the past few years.

The other groups were casual operations, which is perfectly fine and fulfills the needs of those operators. Some people just want to get together for the companionship and the cameraderie and that is a wonderful thing if that is what all the operators want to do.

Some people view FD as a test of their emergency equipment and a test of their endurance and skill sets. If a group of people are focused on that as a group, that is certainly fine as well.

The point is, that there is something in FD for everyone, whether you are a casual operator, or a hard core operator or somewhere in between.

Later on after FD was over, on the local 2 meter repeater, there was some of the new hams that were rag chewing and talking about the different operations. The point was made that FD should be a casual operation and be about the fellowship and comraderie of being together and that working FD like a contest is not what it is about.

As I listened, I couldnt help but think about the biases we see all too often in ham radio and it just isnt the bias of the older operators either.....

Rag Chewers hate Contesters or Traffic Handlers hate Contesters, or DX'ers hate List Operations, or PSK31/RTTY ops hate AMTOR/PACTOR stations, or SSB operators hate AM operators, No-Code vs CW .......repeater operators hate IRLP, etc etc etc.

The fight for frequency spectrum continues to grow. Our frequency allocations could be a very rich bankroll for the FCC if they ever decided to auction off our frequencies.

As hams, we need to put aside our internal biases and learn to work together and co-exist in harmony, because if we don't, and we don't increase our numbers, we may find that our valuable frequecy bands will be put up for sale to the highest bidder.........

73, Jack K4SAC


Milt Poulos said...

Hi Jack,

Great article on ham radio. I'm trying to maintain my blog at but with a very busy life I forget to write something at least weekly. Keep up the good work.

Milt Poulos KA9FON

K4SAC said...

Thanks Milt.

I am fairly new to blogging also. It takes dedication and sometimes RL stuff takes over and takes precedence.

Thanks for the comments, Milt and 73, Jack K4SAC

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