An open letter to all DX contesters

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KW4TI, Apr 10, 2018.

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  1. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Excellent post. Choose a secondary frequency, a "if this, do that" directive, or some manner of a Plan B. Good backups aren't just for computer hard drives, you know. Most cars have a spare tire for a reason, don't you know.
    WQ4G, NX6ED, W3MMM and 1 other person like this.
  2. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dear Amateur Radio Operators and net operators in particular,

    Net operations have always been an important part of Amateur Radio, in both testing the limits of technical knowledge and achievement as well as providing interest in the practice of amateur radio. However, I believe that frequently net operation is currently operating to the detriment of other use of the HF bands. There are other equally valid uses of the HF bands to communicate, via contests, communications and equipment testing, and even ragchewing. The FCC and other telecommunications regulatory agencies require these frequencies to be operated in a manner to advance the radio arts as given in Part 97 and in particular:

    ยง97.1 Basis and purpose. The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

    (c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.
    (e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

    I often participate in various contests, typically on weekends on the non-WARC bands only. Such contests often play an important role at getting amateurs involved in DX communications, and for example contests like the ARRL DX contest helps amateurs work towards awards such as DXCC, while a contest like Sweepstakes helps them earn Worked-All-States (WAS). Many participants are on several weekends per year, some as runners, some as 'search and pouncers'. These contesters could not be nicer or more helpful to newcomers, offering a gentle introduction to working a contest and making contacts.

    Unfortunately, the contest is often subject to malicious QRM communications, often those who mock the one of the goals of the contest to introduce newcomers to contesting, without identification of course. Furthermore, the contest is often subject to nets who do not even attempt to establish if there is any use of a frequency, and simply call for check-ins until other users of the frequency give up the frequency.

    Without these newcomers, there will be few new hams interested in joining organizations such as ARRL, and few new hams advocating for the continued allocation of the HF bands for amateur use. While particular nets may achieve bragging rights over their peers, the entire service suffers and may eventually fall into disrepute and disuse.

    If the amateur radio service is going to degenerate into an arms race of more checkins, more nets and louder net controls, who are able to simply shout down any other traffic, and no consideration is given to the multitude of amateur radio operators operating with modest power and antennas simply sufficient to communicate, perhaps hams should no longer be entitled to the privilege of communication on the HF bands, and these should be allocated to others who will use the bandwidth more responsibly.

    It would be helpful if band plans allocated specifically for nets, but this would require voluntary compliance on the part of net operators, and if some net operators do not even check if "their" frequencies are in use, there is little hope they will voluntarily move which frequencies they use. I hope that the ethos of net operations can somehow incorporate sportsmanship in the form of being considerate of other amateur radio operators. Only if each operator realizes that the use of radio spectrum is a privilege conferred with responsibilities can the service persist.


    KC3BZJ, WQ4G, K2XT and 11 others like this.
  3. W0VRA

    W0VRA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, a QRP forum I hang out on has an informal net, and they have a secondary frequency in case of QRM, and it doesn't take a lot.

    And I got a kick out of, " know. ...don't you know."
  4. KW4TI

    KW4TI Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Amateur Radio service is aging rapidly. It is extremely hard to interest new operators in the age of the Internet, and frankly this attitude is part of the reason why. I know all of you are concerned about only your traffic, but if you actually care about the future of the service, perhaps you should consider other newer operators' needs. I realize this would fall on deaf ears, but I felt saying something would be better than saying nothing. It's too bad that the people who benefit most from the amateur radio service are willing to do the least for its continued survival, or at least advocate for civility. Frankly, if amateurs are not really supporting the precepts put down in Part 97, the Service has no reason to further exist.

    Daniel Marks
  5. K2HAT

    K2HAT QRZ Volunteer Volunteer DX Helper QRZ Page

    40m Above 7.200 is not in use by DX. ;)
    KD8OSD, K2CD, N2EY and 1 other person like this.
  6. W0VRA

    W0VRA Ham Member QRZ Page

    It sounds like you really care about this, and I'm interested in where you're coming from.

    What do you see as the newer operators' needs? How does this discussion about DX contesting pileups relate to those needs?

    Yes! Lots of support for this idea!

    I saw somewhere on here earlier today that it was handy for national defense to have a bunch of people who knew their way around radio and code. I also read that during the space race and cold war the government saw ham radio as a way to get people into technical hobbies that might lead them to STEM careers, eventually helping with those efforts.

    While getting kids interested in STEM is still important, ham radio ain't where that's at.

    So, for all practical purposes, the Service exists solely for the pleasure of the hams. (Apologies in advance to all of you who do serious work for disaster response or emergency comms. You are a noble and valuable minority.)
  7. K1FBI

    K1FBI Ham Member QRZ Page

    7.200 is the perfect frequency to move the "net" to.
    W4NNF, KJ3N, K3XR and 1 other person like this.
  8. K1FBI

    K1FBI Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are awards new operators can EARN. They don't need a "net" to facilitate this by Elmering them on how to cheat at it.
    KD8OSD, VE6NS, W4NNF and 2 others like this.
  9. K1FBI

    K1FBI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I caught a fish in a barrel..:mad:
    KC3BZJ and N2EY like this.
  10. W0VRA

    W0VRA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do new operators want awards?
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