The Soapbox

This is my spot to air some of my opinions and pet peeves about amateur radio as I see it.

  • Stateside stations asking for SASEs for paper QSL cards: It is a pet peeve of mine to see stateside hams insisting on you paying for their hobby even though they have this expensive ham radio equipment on their desk but they won’t spring for a fourty-nine cent stamp.  I figure that if you’re going to have paper QSL cards, you should be prepared to spend the few cents to send it off in the States.  DX stations, however, are different and I can understand that their country’s postal service postage isn’t cheap like here in the States.  I’ll happily confirm a DX QSO with LotW for DXCC if a paper QSL card isn’t possible.
  • Using the term “73” incorrectly: “73” means “best regards”.  Using “very 73” is fine.  Using “73s” is not.  You don’t say “best regardses”, do you?  So you shouldn’t use “73s”.   There is also “best 73s”.  “Best best regardses” doesn’t make any sense . . . but you should.
  • Using “Q codes” or “10 codes” on a VHF/UHF repeater: As with the above “73”, you don’t go around saying to your boss, “I gotta get to the home QTH to go 10-100!”  “Q codes” are acceptable on HF with SSB and CW (with the possibility of computer digital modes but that’s another story), but when using nearly crystal-clear FM, you can use proper English and speak like a functioning human being.
  • Saying “for ID” when using your callsign on a repeater: For God’s sake, people, your callsign IS your ID!  Just giving your callsign identifies yourself.  When you say “for ID”, you sound like an idiot.  Please, only your callsign.  You don’t hear the repeater add “for ID” after it identifies itself, do you?
  • Using only the suffix of your callsign to identify yourself while working a DX pileup: That’s not only really impolite, it’s illegal in the US.  Many a ham in the US really should read the DX Code of Conduct and live by it.
  • Using an amplifier to make a short-distance contact: The US rules state that an amateur radio operator should use the minimum power necessary to maintain a contact.  Sometimes, I wonder if these guys are making up for other shortcomings in their life by doing this.

I’ll add more to this over time.  It’s a never-ending buffet of “buffoon-ness” out there on the airwaves it seems.