FCC\'s Hollingsworth Says \"Radio Rage\" Hazardous to Ham Radio

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, Jan 23, 2001.

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  1. Guest

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    From the ARRL...

    NEWINGTON, CT, Jan 18, 2001--Entering his third year spearheading the FCC's Amateur Radio enforcement effort, Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth says "radio rage" could become a bigger danger to the future of Amateur Radio than rulebreaking.

    "It's the infighting and arguments and juvenile spats," Hollingsworth said this week. "That's going to come back to haunt us if we don't just grow up. It will do the service in, if the ham community doesn't put a stop to it."

    Hollingsworth said that he's encouraged that the FCC's enforcement program has the support of "99.9%" of the amateur community and that the vast majority of hams follow the rules. But, he said that radio rage "can degrade the bands just as quickly as outright rulebreaking." Some amateurs take the hobby too seriously or are too quick to take offense, he said, and he suggested that they need to stop and think how they'll sound to others before they get involved in on-air squabbles or frequency fights. "The FCC can't do anything about that," he said. "It's up to the amateur community."

    Hollingsworth said he listens "a lot" on HF--and so does the FCC's HF Direction Finding facility in Maryland. While much radio rage technically is not illegal, he said it reflects poorly on Amateur Radio--especially to newcomers and those outside of ham radio who might be listening in--and can balloon into an enforcement issue. More important, he said, rude or intemperate on-air behavior might provide just the sort of ammunition that an entity seeking additional spectrum will use against Amateur Radio.

    Hollingsworth pointed to reports of a spectrum crunch in the 108-137 MHz aviation band--on the doorstep of the amateur 2-meter band--as just one example. He suggested that someone listening to some of the antics on one of the more-notorious repeaters might quickly be persuaded that Amateur Radio is not putting the spectrum to good use.

    "We can get the bad actors one at a time, but the overall attitude of 'rights' over 'responsibilities' has got to change," he said. "Rules are not the sole solution for on-air behavior."

    Hollingsworth predicted that the departure January 19 of FCC Chairman William Kennard and the changing of the guard the White House the next day will not alter the course of the current amateur enforcement effort. He said he sees nothing but positive changes ahead.

    "I'm willing to bet my SX-115 that we won't miss a beat," he said, referring to one of his latest acquisitions of vintage ham gear, "as long as the amateur community lets it be known it still wants enforcement."

    Hollingsworth said it was pressure from the ARRL and individual amateurs that prompted the resumption of amateur enforcement in 1998 during Kennard's tenure, "and it's the type of program that needs that continual pressure to keep it going," he added.

    "I get constant e-mail that the bands sound better and that there's more courtesy. There are fewer specific enforcement complaints," he said. "But no one can be complacent."
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