Posts Tagged ‘manners’

Nasty OT Ham – Reality or Myth?

Every now and then I wander over to eHam. net. And sometimes I wonder why I bother to wander.

It's not uncommon for me to read the articles, and then inevitably, come across some comment by a self-proclaimed "newbie" wherein he or she begins to bemoan the treatment they've received from some "old fart", nasty, mean ol' Ham.

The common scenario seems to be:

"I'm new, bright-eyed, bushy tailed, full of exuberance and spit and vinegar -  but yet somewhat lacking in knowledge and experience. I've gone to WB#XYZ repeater or to the Amateur Radio Club of Greater Podunk, where my inquiries were met with laughter, ridicule, sarcasm and down right meanness from Joe Ham. I am now going to sell all my Amateur Radio equipment because I'm traumatized and I never even want to hear the words "Amateur Radio" again."

I've seen this retold several times, in several different instances. I hate to question the veracity of the people making these claims - but can they be true? This has become a pet peeve of mine.

I've mentioned many times now, that I've been licensed for over 35 years. In all that time, I have never, ever, not even once come across treatment like that from an older Ham. Don't get me wrong, I've had to withstand my share of newbie ribbing, and have received my share of friendly and gentle reprimanding when doing something wrong - but nothing like these guys are describing.

A case in point. Shortly after upgrading to General in 1979, I joined the Old Bridge Amateur Radio Association.  They owned and operated the KB2TX repeater at the time (well actually, it became the KB2TX repeater after Walt, the owner, changed his callsign to KB2TX - I forget what it was before that). Anyway, I had installed a used non-Icom microphone with a DTMF pad on my Icom 2 Meter mobile, so that I could make phone patches if the need came up.  Back in those days, (am I dating myself?) it was rare for a mobile microphone to come with a keypad pre-installed. Unbeknownst to me, the microphone's element wasn't working. The DTMF tones were making it through, but my voice wasn't. So Walt got on the air and in his usual gruff  and no-nosense manner announced, "Hey! Whoever's sending the tones - you've got no audio. Stop it and identify yourself".  I was saying "KA2DOH (my call at the time) testing.", but it wasn't coming through.  I had Walt's phone number and gave him a call, explaining the problem.  After listening to my profuse apology, he got quiet and thought for a few seconds. Instead of giving me a tongue lashing, as technically I was breaking the rules, he suggested that the impedance of the microphone element might not be the proper valuthat the rig was looking for - a mismatch. Sure enough, that's what it turned out to be.

I listened and I learned something (that had never occurred to me) and was able to remedy the situation by going to Radio Shack, where I purchased and soldered into my microphone an element with the proper impedance.  Walt could have dressed me down, and read me the riot act, but he didn't. He was that way to everybody. In fact, in dealing with all the Old Timers throughout my Amateur Radio career (there were many) - they were all like that.  I can't ever remember a time where I received a snotty, snarky or sarcastic reply to a question. In fact, in my dealing with experienced Hams, they have always been helpful, accommodating and educational. And I live in New Jersey, too - supposedly the home of unfriendly, sarcastic, snarky and just plain mean ol' human beings in general!

So where does this curmudgeon live?  DOES this curmudgeon live? Or have we become so hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism that even helpful criticism is taken as an incidence of ego-shattering reprimand?

Maybe they do exist, and maybe I'm lucky that I've never come across one.  Maybe I just need to go down on bended knee and be grateful that I've never run across the "No kids, no lids, no space cadets" type of Ham.  I can tell you that I have become dear friends with several "Old Timer" Hams who did have very rough and gruff reputations, only to find out after spending some time talking with and listening to them, that they had hearts of pure gold. Sometimes that's all it takes, just listening for a bit instead of always chattering and insisting that we know everything, and that we're always right - when maybe, just perhaps, we're not.

Food for thought.

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

"QRL?" – please !!!!!

I did go out to the Jeep during lunch today, and no, the bands were NOT dead. But before I go there, I must digress.

I was involved in a 2X QRP QSO on 14.060 MHz with Tom, KC9RXI in WI. He was about a 449 to me; and I'm sure I was no better to him, but we were having a QSO.  I'm sure at times, that to people who may have been listening to the frequency, that it sounded like it was dead.

It wasn't.

All of a sudden, out of the blue, another QRPer started calling CQ/QRP on frequency!  The call will be omitted to prevent embarrassment (but it is forever burned into my brain).  Not so much as a single, solitary "QRL?"

Yes, I am sure that both Tom and I were weak, but we WERE in the middle of a QSO.  Coming on to a frequency, plopping yourself down and commencing to call CQ without asking is just - arrgh! And to top it off, the CQer was calling CQ DE WXXXX/QRP !!!!  I'm sorry, but QRPers, above all Amateur Radio ops, should know better. No excuse - period. If he had sent "QRL?" waited for a bit AND THEN had started calling CQ on top of us, I may still have been annoyed, but I would have thought to myself, "Well, he just didn't hear us."

Unfortunately, while Tom was trying to talk to me, I had to transmit "QRL. PSE QSY". He immediately QSYed (so he was able to hear me!), but at that point I had lost what Tom was trying to say. Shortly after that the QSB went off the Richter scale and the QSO came to a premature end. The "meat" that I could have copied was drowned out forever by needless QRM.

A bit after that debacle, I went to 12 Meters and tuned around for a bit. I heard 7QAA in Malawi quite loudly.  He was loud enough to work - even QRP. I don't think I broke the pile up, as again there was a lot of QSB. If I had more time (lunch hour was running out) I'm pretty darn certain I would have worked him. This time I had the patience - I ran out of minutes.

So , even with the G4 geomagnetic disturbance, Malawi was coming in the best I've heard them so far. Go figure.  Luckily, the station will be on the air until early April and I'm taking a vacation day on Friday. I just may make it into their logbook yet!

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

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