No, CW doesn’t make bad amateur operators. But tuning over somebody does. Is there a connection between the two? [hint: probably not]
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago when, prior to a net on HF, a few members we’re ragchewing for a bit beforehand. As seems to be all too common, somebody started to tune on top of them. Then came a comment from one of the operators who mentioned how he wished they had never done away with making CW a requirement to get your Amateur Radio license. He connected the two: no CW and bad tuning practice. I was at a loss — thankfully I wasn’t talking then, just listening.
I fail to see how the two are connected. I am grateful that CW is no longer required. Even if I had to, I couldn’t make out any code with the exception of S.O.S. But that doesn’t make me any less of an operator than one who knows code does it?
Does my lack of CW skill/knowledge mean I will disregard common courtesy — and FCC rules — regarding tuning my antenna? Again the answer here is no. Sadly I know many who know CW yet do that very thing. Some of them tune at full legal power.
Common courtesy would be to pre-tune at low power prior to making the final adjustments at the power level you will use for the QSO. Sadly, there’s a large number of Amateur Radio operators out there who disregard that courtesy.
An ideal solution is for all of us to play by the rules. Unfortunately that probably won’t happen. So what can we do? For starters, listen before tuning. Pre-tune. When someone starts overpowering you by tuning, wait for a lull and politely remind the tuner that it isn’t OK to interfere with another operator’s signal. Another thing we can do is keep talking about this problem, and any other problems on the bands. We’re supposed to ‘police’ ourselves. We have a nice code of ethics yet we don’t talk about them much.
Another idea, and this is one that I can’t do, is to find a new way to tune. There are lots of very smart, savvy engineers in our hobby evidenced by the many different modes and protocols, more being added almost daily it seems. What if some of those programmers were to work on a better way to tune?
Maybe a subaudible tone? I’m sure that someone out there could come up with a solution. I’m asking on behalf of all of us on HF who get annoyed by tuners who lack courtesy. Will you help us?