I must lead a sheltered life!

A topic being discussed on the CWOps e-mail reflector is about two letters to the editor in the May issue of QST.  I won’t re-print them here. If you get QST, they are to be found on page 24 and the header is “Proud to be a No-Code Extra”. These are in response to another letter to the editor in the April edition of QST bemoaning the fact that the Extra license “is not what it used to be” now that the code requirement is gone (in essence – not the exact words).

The authors of the May letters are steamed by the concept that they are some how inferior because they did not pass the 20 WPM Morse Code test that used to be required to earn Amateur Extra.

I guess they have a point; but as usual – both sides of the arguement have their merit.

Perhaps what we need to do is just get over with labeling everything!  It seems all human beings (not just Hams) love to do that – label, compartmentalize, file and designate.  The problem is, as human beings, we rarely fit neatly into any one compartment.

Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, gay, straight, Extra, General, Technician, and on an on and on and on until it makes your head swim. And don’t let’s get started on the nationalities or religions – too many to begin even thinking about listing here for the purposes of this discussion.

I think one of the worse trends that has ever happened in the last few years is all this “celebration of diversity”.   Seriously. We have come to the point where we concentrate too much on what makes us different instead of how so many of us are so much the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t meant that we should ignore our differences – we should not all become just some amorphous, giant blob of humanity. We should be proud of our races, nationalities, creeds – but not to the point where they become exclusionary.  We need to look at each other, as well ……. people.

Whether you’re white, black, brown, red, yellow, or purple – whether you’re a man or woman, whether you’re Polish, Italian, Kenyan, Afghanistani or whatever – we all have the same needs and dreams.  We want roofs over our heads, food on our tables, and we want our kids to have a better life than we’ve had. We want to be loved.

Once we realize that despite our apparent differences, that we’re all basically the same – maybe then we’ll truly have peace some day.  Pie in the sky?  Maybe.

Sorry – I didn’t mean to get all “Kumbaya” on you; but some times I get really tired of what are basically, silly arguments that in the end, don’t amount to a hill of beans.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

10 Responses to “I must lead a sheltered life!”

  • I saw those letters in QST this month and I can understand their frustration and I can’t fault them. The people they are directing their statements at do not have much, if any merit. There’s not an equivalency of merit or reason, in my opinion. Those who criticize new Extras or the testing requirements are perpetuating a useless discussion, and one that is ultimately harmful. The licensing tests are what they are, and those taking the test today can do nothing about it. The new Extras didn’t start this; they just want to enjoy the hobby like the rest of us.

    I agree that we should celebrate what makes us the same, what holds us together — our love of radio, and just put the code/no-code debate to bed.

  • Ron W8VZM:

    When I was a new ham back in 1978 at the age of 16, I noticed the divisions in the Ham community. You had the FM, RTTY, ATV, CW, SSB, AM, DX, Rag chewers, and oh so many more groups. While the differing likes were a wonder to a 16 year old kid like me, getting in to those groups was a different story. When I tried to get my nose in to one of them there was always some cranky OM who ranted and raved about the “new guy” who didn’t know anything and who didn’t need to be in his little corner of the hobby. Fortunately there also was someone there to welcome me in and show me the ropes. If it weren’t for those guys I would have gone by the wayside. I have found the same thing in the work area, church, sports, school, neighborhood, life in general. Today we just use cute terms for them. I quickly learned that these people just needed to be ignored and go on about your way. I have made many friends in radio over the years and have survived well without those kind we are discussing. Sad but true fact of life…Some people aren’t happy unless they are complaining! Nice post Larry.

    Ron W8VZM
    http://www.w8vzm.com

  • Ray Buck VK4ZW:

    What a great post! I thoroughly agree with the sentiments even though I don’t have access to the articles discussed. We in Australia have a similar discussion going on, albeit quite muted, about our no code licenses.

    I agree with the comment about emphasising the things that we share. Amateur radio is a great hobby and one that unites people across the globe. Lets keep our differences and our preferences but respect those who differ and celebrate what we share.

    Ray VK4ZW

  • Al N9KXS:

    great post i’ve been a ham for 20 years as a TNC and like if i had the time and the money i mite just upgrade. who knows if i’m using a key or a keyboard. lets just enjoy our hobby and invite more to join.

  • Richard KJ4ZIZ:

    Yes lets all enjoy the hobby and get along as humans…It is what it is.
    73

  • WR9H:

    I read both letters in QST. When I items of this kind I always think of this quote:

    “No one can make you feel inadequate UNLESS YOU LET THEM!!!!”

    73
    Herb/WR9H

  • Tom AJ4UQ:

    I thought the letter was an April Fool’s joke, and almost took the bait with a response.

    If the goal of Amateur Extra is to be versed in all areas of the hobby, shouldn’t these new “super communicators” (or whatever his term was) be required to demonstrate skill in CW, digital modes, APRS, D-STAR, satellite operation, and all other areas?

    I’ve played in many areas of the hobby just to understand them. I don’t think we emphasize just how much you can do (and spend) operating with just a technician license — RACES/ARES, APRS, weak signal, EME, etc. That’s what we should be focusing on, not whether you could have earned a license 15 years ago.

  • Terry VE3XTM:

    The hobby has developed so much over that past number of years that CW is just one of many of the modes that can be used to communicate. I am sure that some of the old timers who have honed their skills on CW have a lot to be proud of, but there are a lot of new digital modes that allow for more ways to be heard on the air. These new modes are technically challenging, involving new ideas and techniques, a knowledge of computers and a whole lot of new ways of doing amateur radio.

    To imply that the newly licensed no-code amateurs are in some way of inferior quality is overlooking a lot of new developments that are now part of the knowledge required for advanced licensing levels. Do these same OT have the same knowledge levels regarding digital modes as the newcomers or are they only seeing advanced CW skills as being what sets them apart from the newcomers? CW is great, especially when band conditions are not great for phone operation, but the new digital modes can sometimes reach even further than CW.

    Pitting one side against the other is really counterproductive to the growth of amateur radio and in the long run does none of us any good. Let’s be happy that we have those whose CW skills are top notch, but at the same time be equally happy that many of the new modes are requiring many of us to develop new skills that keep the interest in amateur radio growing and hopefully attract newcommers to the hobby.

    Terry

  • Joe KB3PHL:

    Complaining that new Extra’s are somehow less genuine or not as competent as older Extra’s because they did’nt have to pass a code requirement, would be like an older math professor saying that the newer math professors are’nt as good because they never had to use a slide rule.

    73’s Joe KB3PHL

  • CHUCK N4UED:

    I WORK CW ALMOST 100% BECAUSE I LOVE IT .
    I WAS ON 40 M SSB THIS MORNING WHEN A SSB NET BAND ROVER CAME ON .
    IT SEEMS AS THOUGH I WAS TO CLOSE TO A FREQUENCY THAT THEY OWNED .
    IF YOU LISTEN UP AND DOWN 40 M SSB IN THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON YOU WILL FIND THE FOLLOWING .
    NETS EVERY WHERE , SOME I NEVER HEARD OF UNTIL TODAY .
    THEY SEEM TO OWN THE AIR WAVES .
    IT HAS BECOME WORSE SINCE THE GENERAL SSB BAND HAS EXPANDED .
    THESE PEOPLE ARE NVIS ANTENNA NUTS .
    MY 40 M ANT IS A HOMEMADE 40 M EXTENDED DBLE ZEPP AT ALMOST 80 FT .
    IT IS HORRIBLE THEY HEAR MY SIGNAL A COUPLE OF KC’S DOWN .
    MY ANSWER IS SIMPLE , FROM NOW OWN ILL GO TO 10M AND WORK THE LOCAL FOLKS .
    THE NET POLICE SCAN WITH THEIR HUGE EAR LOBES LISTENING FOR ANYONE THAT THEY DEEM TO CLOSE .
    IF YOU WANT TO OPERATE 40 M SSB TRY 12 NOON UNTIL EARLY AFTERNOON , THEN AGAIN LATER ON AT NIGHT .
    THE BEST ADVICE IS TO JOIN ME ON CW AND ENJOY MEETING PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD .
    CW IS LIKE LEARNING SPANISH IN SCHOOL , HOWEVER ONLY BETTER .
    ON CW EVERYONE AROUND THE WORLD CAN TALK EVEN IF ON SSB WE COULD NOT UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER .
    DONT BE AFRAID TO TRY CW .
    IF YOU ARE SENDING 5 WPM , ILL SLOW DOWN IF IT TAKES GOING UNDER 5 WPM .
    CW STILL IS THE MODE THAT GETS THROUGH .
    THE DIGTAL MODES PUT ME TO SLEEP .
    MOST WANT A RSQ AND THEN MOVE OWN .
    ENJOY THE HOBBY , HOWEVER BEAWARE OF THE NET POLICE , THEY ARE ROVERS THAT PREVENT YOU FROM USING THEIR BAND .

    “It is not the class of license the Amateur holds, but the class of the Amateur that holds the license.”

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