Saturday 7 November 2009

Believing the worst?

Yesterday I was driving home from a work appointment. In my car I have a VHF/UHF rig coupled with a dualband Antenna. I don't like using a hand microphone in the car so I have a 20 year old Yaesu switchbox which allows me to just switch between tx and rx. Whilst motoring along I heard a very strong station calling CQ on S20, quite an usual event these days, so immediately I returned his call.
When I replied, unknown to me my trusty PTT switch had failed and I ended up transmitting a blank carrier with no audio. Now the reason I am relating this fairly mundane tale is that at this point, the other station assumed I was an idiot, a jammer,an IQ0 whichever term you prefer. To be honest his response was perfectly polite but it was clear he thought I was someone who was out to disrupt. Realising what had happened I didn't transmit again, and today I have fixed the fault, a bad solder joint on the plug from the microphone that goes into the PTT box.
This got me thinking- how often do we  dismiss someone as a poor operator or an idiot when in fact they are a genuine amateur perhaps with a problem with their equipment or perhaps lack of operating experience? Now I am not talking about the misguided souls who insist on jamming and blocking repeaters with inane comments and strange noises. I am sure they know what they are doing! What I mean are those stations with poor audio or perhaps have not adjusted various settings properly or with what to us is poor operating technique. The latter often occurs when the newcomer doesn't have experience of listening on the amateur bands.Years ago most amateurs started out as shortwave listeners and by the time they obtained an amateur licence that already had a good idea of operating procedure.In these days of repeater abuse and the general poor operating that seems to happen in the UK on 2 metres in particular,it is all too easy to dismiss someone as an idiot. The next time I hear A blank carrier on 2 metres FM I will try to see if I can help first!!

Bas, PE4BAS has challenged me to try WSPR on one of the more difficult bands following my good results on 30 and 40 metres.This afternoon I tuned up my 830S on the 17m WSPR frequency and unleashed my 5 watts on the unsuspecting radio world. Nothing heard as yet but I will report back. I suspect in any case there are far fewer stations using WSPR on 17m than on 30 or 40 metres so that will limit my results but we will see. As an aside my inverted L is a fairly good match on 17metres, It shouldn't be really but I was suprised to see the ATU was not required.

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