Handiham World for 30 June 2010

Welcome to Handiham World!

Raining on a parade


Now that Field Day is over, we can look forward to a relatively quiet time on the HF bands. Summer thunderstorms are making a lot of racket, and even the 6 m band may have already peaked for the summer season. June is typically a good month for 6 m, and some activity was still being heard early yesterday morning. Sometimes sporadic-E skip can help make the VHF bands exciting during the high summer months, but you have to be on the lookout. Ducting can occur and enhance long distance communications, even on 2 m repeaters. One way to check conditions is to set your radio to scan, especially in the early morning hours. You never know what you might hear!

So let’s get to the topic at hand. I’m sure you have heard the expression “raining on a parade”. What it means is that someone has mostly negative or uncomplimentary things to say about someone else’s idea or event. After all, no one enjoys going to a parade and then having a rainstorm come up so that everyone gets soaked and the parade is ruined, right? When someone disrupts an activity for someone else, whether by simply proselytizing against it and saying negative things or by actually getting in the way of that activity, that is “raining on the parade.”

I was tuning the HF bands, listening for potential contacts, as were many other people during last weekend’s Field Day event. While my interest lies mainly in the social aspects of the contest rather than the point score, I do still enjoy listening around the bands to find out who is making contacts and what the HF propagation conditions are like. I ran across an unfortunate QSO — if you can even call it that — around 14.270 MHz. There seemed to be some kind of argument or perhaps even a monologue going on about one guy suing another guy, and then there was a CQ for a “no contest contest”, during which the caller went on and on without much listening time and sparse identification. It didn’t take long to figure out that he hated Field Day and was not shy about letting everyone else know his opinion.

Of course anyone is entitled to an opinion and the regulations say that you only need to identify your station at the end of the series of transmissions and once every 10 minutes. While making domestic contacts, there is actually no requirement to identify your station right away. The thing I find disturbing is that it seems so confrontational to behave in this ungentlemanly manner. Field Day is a popular operating activity, and this really amounts to “raining on the parade”. Why not just let people enjoy the contest during this one weekend out of the year and let it go at that? Or, if one really wanted to operate without competition from contesters, one could just as easily get on one of the bands that is not used in the contest.

Most of the amateur radio operators one meets either in person or on the air are really friendly, but a single loudmouth can give our service a bad name.

My advice?

Ignore the loudmouths and lead by giving good example yourself. Avoid the temptation to make a contact with anyone who seems primed for a verbal confrontation. Avoid giving them the satisfaction of knowing that they got your attention. This is pretty much the same thing we have been told by seasoned operators about how to deal with people who cause interference on repeaters or during scheduled nets. While it is seemingly passive to let someone blather on and simply ignore them, it is probably the most effective course of action because it does not lead to an escalation of the situation on the air. Of course willful violations of rules and regulations should be documented and reported to the governing authority, the FCC in our case, if the situation is ongoing and serious.

Wise old Elmer says:

Always identify your transmissions.
Be polite while sharing the bands.
Welcome those who are new to operating, and be patient with them when they make mistakes.
Be thoughtful and kind to others.
Respect the fact that other operators may have different operating goals, and give them their time and space on the bands to pursue them.

For Handiham World, I’m…

Patrick Tice
[email protected]

Pat Tice, WA0TDA, is the manager of HANDI-HAM and a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

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