ARRL

Secure Site Login

Forum Home - Rules - Help - Login - Forgot Password
Members can access, post and reply to the forums below. Before you do, please first read the RULES.

Ham Radio's High Horse

Jun 12th 2017, 20:12

ralphm

Joined: Jul 15th 2016, 22:48
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I know that some of what I write here will raise the hackles with some members, while others may agree and some may not care, but I feel this topic needs a visit once in a while.

We "ham operators" have an obligation to be cooperative with all our neighbours, both on and off the air. Amateur Radio isn't just about putting up a big antenna with a high tower, or running 1kW linear to make QSOs a 1,000 miles away. There are many other interesting aspects of this hobby which can be happily pursued even by the veteran operator, like working QPR or (re)learning CW. Those alternatives might put some fun and mystery back into the hobby for many.

Hams need to be good ambassadors to the hobby, and should practice empathy towards their neighbours. When a compliant arises, try a conciliatory approach first; you’ll find that it pays dividends. If you annoy your neighbours without regard, you’re going to find it a pretty lonely place to live, and you’ll see these people on a daily basis. Not a nice scenario.

If your neighbours protest about your plans to erect a high antenna tower, then why not consider alternatives, like a Zepp, inverted-V, or end-fed long wire? If they complain to you about RFI, then remember, 6dB is only 1 S-unit, and it’s not the end of the world to give up some ERP. Most readers will know that 100W on a fairly modest antenna still goes a long way. If you’re booming in at the other end of the conversation at 20dB/S9, then reduce your transmit power by factor of ten and still enjoy a solid QSO, well above the noise floor. And, there might be another operator trying to use the same frequency and he can hear you, but you may not be able to hear him.

Finally, the old argument that ham operators will “save the day” during times of natural disaster may have been true 20 years ago, but I think that “ship has sailed” with the advent of many more cellular sites and more citizens now owning satellite phones.

Some of us may need to get off that high horse and recall that our pursuit is a privileged hobby not an essential service to the community.


Jun 23rd 2017, 16:52

WB4ZSC

Joined: May 7th 2003, 12:33
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Just as every CQ deserves an answer, every post deserves at least one comment - either in support, or in opposition. This reply narrowly addresses your last two paragraphs. I agree that last decade - or even older - amateur technology won't save the world, but we should not surrender so easily. The public service and emergency aspect of our unique and privileged hobby is worth saving. In light of the current FirstNet initiative, we have our job cut out for us. We have to find our singularity that earns us a chair in the EMCOMM bunker. I may even have to stop saying "A radio, an automotive battery, and a piece of wire - and we are in business." We need to honestly assess what we are - and that starts with assessing what we are not. If we do not find ourselves still at the table when the dust settles on FirstNet, we may indeed be relegated to "just a hobby". And, guess what - hobbies don't get the measure of regulatory protection and privilege we have enjoyed all these year.
Jun 25th 2017, 19:26

ralphm

Joined: Jul 15th 2016, 22:48
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Thanks for putting my comments into a clearer perspective. I think you make a very good point regarding FirstNet.

Ralph
VE7DQS
Oct 12th 2017, 21:49

ralphm

Joined: Jul 15th 2016, 22:48
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I'll bet FirstNet was not useful in Puerto Rico, but Amateur Radio was! Pretty tough to top mobile or portable HF with a battery and a solar panel.

Back to Top