Category: Operating Tips

Return settings to normal before logging off

Mouse pad & mouse

Did you change anything but the VFO setting?  If so, please reset the controls you changed back to these “normal” settings so that the next user will not be confused: 

  • RF Gain 100%
  • Power output: 100 W
  • Squelch: Open
  • Split mode: Off
  • Comp: On
  • AGC: Slow
  • Transmit meter:  Either Power out or SWR
  • ATT (attenuator) Off  (This is sometimes mistaken for the antenna tuner.)

Thanks, and enjoy the remote!

73 – Pat
wa0tda@arrl.net

HF Remotes Policy: Political rants & hate speech

Pat, WA0TDA, wearing headset and holding licensing manuals.
A word from the Admin’s desk. 

I never thought I’d have to write something like this, but we live in strange times, don’t we?

The HF remotes are available to help operators who need access to a resource that will help them stay on the air when they are traveling, living in circumstances that preclude antennas, are unable to access their own stations due to age or disability, or who simply want to use this technology as a convenience to operate from a location within the propagation zone of a particular remote station.

These shared resources are a community place where standards of The Amateur’s Code are valued and followed. There is zero tolerance for any kind of hate speech, bullying, or rants that incite conflict.

Think before you speak. I am quite tolerant and realize that everyone makes mistakes. A cuss word may slip out. Someone else may say something awkward or inappropriate. Handle it as if you are speaking to a gaggle of church ladies.

Remember that we in ham radio have a potential worldwide audience of listeners of all races and ethnicities and religions. What is a joke to one may be a hurtful slur to another. If you need an example, I need to dig no further than my listening to a guy on a 75 meter net call Covid-19 the “Kung Flu”. Do that on one of the remotes I administer, and you will be banned. Everyone should know better. Thankfully this did not involve a remote user.

Once banned, it will be necessary to supply me with a physical written letter delivered by the USPS explaining how this will not happen again before reinstatement can be considered.

We are all in this together. Let’s be thoughtful and helpful to each other.

Sincerely and 73,
Admin

Patrick Tice
wa0tda@arrl.net

Yes, you can say it… But should you?

Ham station with laptop PC connected to DMR radio for programming.

A laptop PC is connected to DMR radio for programming. The IC-7200 station is in the background.

Cast your thoughts back to the middle of the 20th century.  Yes, I know many of you can do so – you were born in that era and, though childhood memories may be a bit fuzzy.  Lots of us are old guys who grew up in a Minnesota that was much more rural and young and Christian and white. We pretty much agreed on most things.  That made it relatively easy to manage our politics, but even back then we knew our best bet was to keep our traps shut about that topic during Thanksgiving dinner.

In fact, when I got interested in electronics during high school, the more or less default advice on being a good ham radio operator was to never broach any of three deadly subjects on the air:  sex, religion, and politics.  

That was good advice then and it’s good advice now.  In fact, it’s even more so in 2020, when our new Minnesota is so diverse and our political landscape is so polarized.  We come to ham radio because we share a common interest in one or more of its many facets – circuit building, antennas, public service, contesting, DX, hidden transmitter hunting, space communications, digital modes, CW, DMR, SOTA, portable operation, special events, teaching and volunteering, and so many more.  Most of us leverage those topics by making them part of our on the air activities.  

No one is suggesting that talking about non-ham related activities is a bad thing.  In fact, it’s fun to connect with others who share your interest in other hobbies or topic areas like history, science, aviation, firearms, or stamp collecting.  

But much of life is about being practical.  Making good choices. Thinking about consequences. 

So yes, we can talk about the toxic three: sex, religion, and politics. The question is whether we should, because going there is like stepping into a minefield.  You may get through unscathed, but like as not someone is going away unhappy. Back in mid-20th century Minnesota, we were more alike than different, and the mines were further apart.  Today, we are way more diverse – different in our ethnicity, age, religious background, and yes, politics. That makes for a minefield with a lot more mines.  

Don’t assume that the op you are talking with on the air shares your beliefs on these toxic three.  You may be surprised that even those in your own demographic think differently on one or more of them.  Furthermore, the damage can filter outward from such conversations and be bad for Amateur Radio in general.  I have lost count of the remarks about “old dudes on 75 m” that I have seen on social media platforms frequented by younger folks.  Guys going on about their politics and religion are a MASSIVE turn-off to young people who might be interested in ham radio. 

Are we in it for fun, friendship, public service, and learning?  Yes!  

Are we in it for arguments and proselytising?  Not me. Let’s make better choices on the air. Please. 

Split mode operation warning

Some operators use the radio in split mode. That’s fine, but please be considerate and turn split mode off before you log off the system. Others may log on and not notice that the radio is in split mode when they want to transmit, so this is a problem. Leaving the radio in split mode when you log off will result in being banned from the system.