Return to Radio?

The last contest I worked was CQP back in October, 2010 as K6B, which was cut short due to my parents arriving in NoCal. I knew this and had planned for it. Unfortunately since that contest I have not even turned on the rig. The end of 2010 and early 2011 are usually consist of a great group of contests, such as ARRL RTTY Roundup and the NAQP CW, both taking place this weekend! RTTY RU was one of my best contests in 2010, unfortunately I forgot to submit the log.

So why has operating been non-existent? Fantasy football took a large portion of my time since the beginning of the season. Now that the NFL regular season is over it’s on to playoffs through February. Another reason behind the “no radio” time has been the lack of time off from work. Any time I have taken has been to continue working on the remodel, which STILL continues. With any luck cabinets will arrive next week and by February we should be back to something that resembles normal.

Not sure if that will result in a return to radio. I am guessing it will be a very down season for any operating until I can accrue more vacation time and stockpile floating holidays. Right now, I don’t have much of either, so operating will only be on a very sporadic basis. This could be a blessing though, as it will hopefully give me some additional time to get caught up on my QSLing. I am well over a year behind in cards and even electronic QSLs. My K6B operation resulted in some 900+ contacts, of which I have uploaded the logs for the NCCC special event, as well as CQP. If I was sent a QSL card with money for postage or a SASE, I have returned those, but for those other cards I have received, I have not had time.

There have been some great deals I have seen come across the NCCC Reflector about towers and have been excited e-mailing the owner. Unfortunately a tower in my backyard, even freestanding if probably out of the question…still. Those deals have probably already lapsed, which leaves me back at square one and looking at a taller mast from Channelmaster or Rohn.

Thankfully this is a very relaxing hobby for me and while I do miss out on working RTTY and CW during a contest it will not take much to get back into it, if and when I have some free time to give to radio. Hell, depending on what we have going tonight I could put in time on both NAQP CW and RTTY RU on 40/80M and then tomorrow morning/afternoon on 15/20 for RTTY.

The 6th Thought: Let it Go!

I don’t think a day ever passes that somebody does not take a cheap shot at another in a hobby related Internet forum. I am sure I can call myself on this in years past supporting a game I helped in developing since I was the big, bad “Forum Nazi” and rather quick to bring the hammer down on threads and forum goers. Personally, I saw nothing wrong with removing or editing questionable content or applying a ban to an individual for questionable actions.

Actions like this of a moderator are usually met in protest with shouts of “freedom of speech” and being able to express their thoughts without any sort of repercussion. I must disagree, if you participate in a forum, you have no rights to act like a complete ass and ignore guidelines set in place.

I am moving away from my original point, that is the fact that it’s amazing to see amateur radio operators taking shots at each other continuously. One of those “hot button” topics is contesting. There seems to be no middle ground, you either like it or hate it. There is a subculture to contesting, those who participate in CW as opposed to SSB. Guess there is something special being a CW contester as opposed to a SSB contester, still haven’t figured that one out.

I just find the animosity difficult to swallow on a daily basis. Right now, some might be thinking, “If you don’t like it, don’t read the forums.” You are exactly right! There are those ridiculous topics I usually end up avoiding because they don’t provide any useful information and nothing is ever resolved.

As I mentioned I am sure every hobby is similar in this way, sure we are licensed by the FCC, but we must govern ourselves. I am still appalled at the attitudes of some amateurs who feel they are high and mighty and above everyone else. Conversely, there are some real great individuals who always prove timely and sensible information relevant to any discussion. For those individuals I thank them.

Of course my complaining about it is no better than those partaking in these arguments, but why these ongoing arguments continue on a weekly (monthly) basis is just mind boggling.

Attitudes

I guess I am no better if I decide to complain about those who seem to make a habit of complaining about the state of ham radio on what seems like a regular basis. I do understand that the Internet is NOT ham radio. Forums, such as those that support our wonderful hobby are public, where ideas and opinions are expressed and exchanged, not always agreed upon. Much like the sphere that encompasses ham radio, individual interests in what draws them to the hobby vary.

Complaints dealing with complainers makes me no better than the next, I know. Much like our hobby if you don’t favor one aspect of the hobby, for example contesting or Emcomm, then you choose not to participate in it. But the Internet, as I eluded to earlier is not ham radio. There are many amateurs I have come in contact with via the Internet who are experienced, very knowledgeable and one I hold in high respect.

Much like any community, the voices of the few usually end up being heard, more so than the masses who are relatively well behaved. Maybe it’s these voices that should heed an old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.” Of course that is easier said than done in a public forum. I do agree there are many questions that come up time and time again. For example, the newly licensed Technician who posts, “What first rig should I get?” I do understand responding to the same question over and over can cause some frustration, but should it?

I came to the Internet in search of resources for ham radio and I have found many sites that support my radio hobby. Not all information on the Internet is “good information.” Even coming from forums, information posted in variety of thread can be misinformation or provide no information at all. If you are around forums long enough the same cast seem to cast a negative light upon the hobby. If that is the case, then I do take my own advice and don’t even bother with the thread.

Going strictly by forum activity you would think the hobby of amateur radio is coming to an end. Licensing seems to be given away as opposed to earned, there is no CW requirement, Emcomm is ruining the hobby and young people seem to have other interests these days. I make ham radio enjoyable for one person, myself. I don’t need to worry about things that are out of my control or I have no interest in. I control what I can and continue to enjoy the hobby. Hopefully this trend will continue to many years to come, even if change is necessary.