R is for Readability

A couple of times I have been told by a station I was in contact with that my signal was “Radio Five”. I was a bit offended. As a classical music lover I would have preferred to have been “Radio 3”, or at least “Radio 4” which is the BBC’s highbrow channel with news, arts and current affairs programming. But joking apart, what were they trying to tell me?

I don’t want to sound like one of those curmudgeonly old farts who believe that it would have been better if newly licensed hams had never been born in the first place. I’m well aware of how such an attitude can, and has, put off newcomers to the hobby, and don’t wish to discourage someone who might just have plucked up the courage to make their first QSOs by telling them they are doing it wrong. At the same time, I’m afraid that if one does nothing, says nothing, these nonsensical phrases will slip into common usage like a virus as others hear them on the air and think that’s what they are supposed to say too.

So let’s set things straight. The only “Radio” you need to mention during a contact is the make and model of the box you are talking to me with. If you are giving me a report on how well you are receiving my signal then the term is READABILITY.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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