Does Burt make some good points?

If you’ve never heard of Burt Fisher, K1OIK, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. Well, not quite. But the video above has garnered well over 90,000 views in the couple of years it has been online. In the world of Internet video, that’s fairly respectable. How does he do it? By making fun of just about every aspect of our beloved hobby, that’s how!

Many people will view the video and get upset. Or they’ll be offended. Or annoyed. Don’t worry, that’s just what Burt was hoping to accomplish! But there is something more to this video than just some jerk on the Internet with an axe to grind. More than trying to tick anyone off, I think he’s trying to get you to think. To turn a critical eye on what we do and why we do it. To self-evaluate and change the parts of Amateur Radio that don’t make sense or that are self-destructive. He makes some good points. Some may not like his condescending style, but do you know why he’s so annoying? He’s very often right.

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of Contact him at [email protected].

16 Responses to “Does Burt make some good points?”

  • Yes, he does! As a sociologist who studies social change, ‘gadflies’ like Burt are useful for fostering change…often by making what is largely perceived as heresy through speech which makes detractors review the basis of those values….if hemlock isn’t served first!

  • Ian Boot, ZL1TXZ.:

    I really enjoyed the comments by Burt Fisher, K1OIK, in his monologue, heard through your daily Newspage,( . He echos so much of what many of us think.
    It is a wonderful hobby but there is so much that is bulltwang as Burt says. I suspect that you think along similar lines too. I am an oldie,(73)and a realist, not too one eyed about our hobby.
    Ian ZL1TXZ.

  • Bill K1Lp:

    You never know what you’ll find when you turn a rock over.

  • KF7ATL:

    Burt says some things that are meant to be provocative and stir up controversy. That is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when many of them are right. He may offend some people, but if it makes us think, perhaps that’s okay. As hams, we often do things that don’t make a whole lot of sense, just because that’s the way it has always been done. Maybe it is time for us to re-evaluate our operating practices with an eye toward doing things better, and eliminating those things that don’t make sense.

  • Mark KJ6EUO:

    Ya but the guys an ass. So he has some good points, sure. Lets have a discussion about how to solve our problems and make the world a better place. I see no valor in his combative approach. He offers no solutions. Grow up Burt. Lets leave making fun of the fat kid for the 3rd graders on the playground. One problem with hams is we have a reputation as a bunch of guys sitting in our shacks complaining about things. He’s not helping that cause.

  • Peter KG5WY:

    Burt is RIGHT ON in every area. It’s the truth.
    It may hurt some, but think about it: Those who feel hurt have no sense of reality. They want to feel needed and wanted. Most people do.
    Emergency and message traffic doesn’t exist to a great extent anymore with our newer technology. Many years ago, during the Vietnam war, I talked to my Dad at home via MARS and through an amateur radio operator. THAT was true welfare or message traffic.
    Today there is internet and cell/satelite phones.
    Having mentioned the newer technology, I still use CW, because it’s FUN.
    And, I actually LAUGH on the radio and not say “HI HI”.
    Just think about his comments and don’t take things personally. He is only telling the TRUTH. 73s, Pete

  • Peter KG5WY:

    Do you have some recommendations or solutions??

  • GB KC5GB:

    Burt quit too soon. Many more foibles in Ham Land. I didn’t find anything really derogatory in his comments, but did get a laugh out of them.
    And, Mark, expressing the problem is the first part of solving it. If we can see ourselves has others see us, etc.
    I’ve been a ham since the sixties, and on phone things seem a little better – except in pileups(Chuckle). Don’t read the mail – excuse me – listen in on 80, though. ‘Funny’ phonetics and all the rest may still have a home there.


  • Rafael NN3RP:

    I’ve seen this before and I also laughed out loud (haha) of the topics he covered. Makes one kind of exert cautious when operating.

    Does he have a 2nd edition?

    73s de Rafael (handle)

  • Steve Jenkins, AA4SJ:

    Great video. Maybe you need to include more of the useless CB radio days jargon, like 10-4 good buddy and “listning” If you ID, then you should be listening.Maybe we need to make a list of more wasted expressions or phrases.

  • Most of what he says is true, but I disagree when he says the basic mode of communications is code. He argues that when people say code is ancient, so is walking. Actually, talking is ancient and the code is not. Voice communications is the basic mode of communicating, not Morse code. People don’t communicate by making Morse code sounds with their mouths.

    I’d like to hear his thoughts on the online amateur radio world. 🙂

  • Matt W1MST:

    Actually, this video is not even a fair representation of the videos (over 100) he’s posted online. Most are actually interesting and informative. This just happens to be one of the most thought-provoking (read: inflammatory). 🙂

  • Stephen Slater G0PQB:

    Very cynical and perhaps time to pack in amateur radio and watch the grass grow instead.

  • Anthony Shutt kj6haq:

    I have just liste4ned to Burt Fisher (k1oik) and I agree whole heartly with what he said regarding many many ham radio operators,I have only had my general license since April of this year and I have experienced, all the Burt was talking about, many years ago I was a CB operator and the same sort of think went on then. I ended my Cb station in 1956, I came to USA 12 years ago and decided to try for a license,after two tests I got my general and thought I would enjoy conversing with othe operator,but I soon found out you have to have the best equipment and a large antenna with 1500 watts, and if you do get in contact it is as Burt said always either a group who keep themselves to thier little group and I always get a 59 report even when I’m using a piece of string. All I can say is good for you BURT.73s


    That’s my dad! I can’t believe how articulate, confident, good on camera, and witty he is with his observations. I’m not into the whole ham thing and find it quite boring but he makes me proud!


    My dad! I am so much like him! I have the same observations on stupid pointless phrases that people commonly use that lack meaning. The phrase “have a good one!” drives me insane. When I heard him lament over the ham phrase of “hi-hi” it introduced me to an equally annoying mindless greeting. Like my father, I also tend to observe things that typical people wouldn’t notice. I like him and can appreciate his struggle to make sense of things that do not make sense to logical thinkers. People that point out details and themes that others aren’t aware of until they are challenged by someone who is aware of them should be lauded and appreciated. These are the people that inspire change in the world and that are able to identify disparities that challenge progress and the advancement of society. All of you criticizing him, I would like to see you exemplify so much presence, confidence, and humor in an argument. His presentation was completely cogent, direct,and easy to understand even by audiences that know nothing of the subject topic. I also thought the interjection of ham stereotypes was brilliantly executed, timing was precise and it was amusing. I would like to see more videos like these as opposed to the ones he does about boring ham radio equipment. I don’t know anything about ham radio but have the sense my father is the last of a dying breed that offers critical thinking analysis and a rebel in a land of many sheep and those that would like a change but haven’t made the effort to be outspoken about it.

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