NU9N SSB Audio News Editorial - February, 2004
TOLERANCE AND THE HAM SPIRIT
WHERE HAVE THEY GONE?
Tune across any HF Amateur Radio band and become
When I was a young man at the age of about 9, an older neighbor kid saw me playing with my new "walkie-talkie" and invited me to his house to check-out his Amateur Radio operations. I quickly accepted the invitation and was awestruck
by his "Station" and the contacts that he let me share in. The "Hams" that he and I talked to were polite, very knowledgeable and was an inspiration to me on how good clean fun and intelligent operating was supposed
to sound like. I don't remember hearing any QRM, bickering or self-serving diatribes about the operations of others. I did not hear anything that was not totally uplifting toward other fellow hams, no matter what their personal interests
Perhaps I am remembering the yesteryears of Amateur Radio through rose colored mental glasses, but I am convinced that people in general had a higher respect for each other long before there were "Politically Correct" guidelines
to follow. Hams didn't need to be told to be more tolerant or courteous of each other, they just naturally were! What happened?
As I listen and operate on the HF phone bands, I constantly hear disgruntled operators shredding their Amateur Radio brothers to pieces because of petty differences in operating style and preference. In fact, it is reaching a point where
I am wondering if this hobby is where I really want to spend my time. After all, ham radio is supposed to be fun, exciting or fulfilling in some way isn't it? Should it not be a place where technically minded operators who work hard for
their station's signature sound be able to share and learn from others interested in the highest quality signal possible?
I have found the very opposite to be true! At lease a dozen times a week, I hear bickering because of a station who has worked very diligently on their audio, producing an exceptionally full and clean sound. Discouragement instead of encouragement
seem to be the norm nowadays. It seems that AM'ers hate SSB'ers, and vice versa. The low-fi guys hate the hi-fi guys, the DX'ers hate the rag-chewers, the non-contesters hate the contesters and everyone seems to think that because they
have used a frequency for 150 years that they have the right to be there even if it is already occupied... The old-timers licensed for 50 years use their veteran status to poke fun at the beginner who has only done it for 20 years... The
young hams think that the old hams are out of touch with reality... If you don't personally like "Echo-Link" you get chastised for being "Narrow-minded" and are a lost cause beyond hope. You secure a clear frequency
somewhere and someone moves into your passband complaining that you are interfering with them! ________ E N O U G H ___ A L R E A D Y ________
No one has respect for the other operator because it doesn't mean anything special to us anymore. Even more than that, other people do not mean anything special to us anymore!! There was a time when a candidate had to prove their proficiency
and qualifications to be in the prestigious ranks of "AMATEUR RADIO". It was a special privilege that required dedication and some relative form of intelligence. This, in and of itself, commanded some degree of respect throughout
the Amateur Radio ranks. But, not now, and it is only going to get worse! And this is only a "slice" of a bigger problem in our country not limited to just Amateur Radio.
However, I honestly believe that the primary reason we are so intolerant of everyone else, is because we love ourselves too much. There is no room for anyone else. The "EGO" will do anything it takes to elevate self. And sometimes,
in order to do that, we will chop our neighbor into small pieces until self is all that is left. So what happened to tolerance? The self-serving attitude of a selfish heart never sees beyond self or cares about the interests of others.
I wish I had a magic recipe that would restore respect for others, but there is none other than walking after the Spirit of God Himself.
The thing that really makes me sick to my stomach, is the fact that I am guilty of not considering the interests of others all of the time either! It's like a terrible sickness that is hard to conquer. The problem is not just with Amateur
Radio... It's prevalent in all areas of life where humans are involved. However, it is getting worse... With morals tossed out the window, and God removed from our lives and learning institutions, it leaves us to our own divices, as our
own authority without much thought or concern about any consequences to ourselves or any hurt that it may cause someone else. It is my sincere hope and prayer that our country will rediscover the God that our forefathers put their trust
and hope in and the God that made this country a great nation. I fear we are loosing our country, not to forces abroad, but from forces within. When we consider others more important than ourselves, our country will be on the mend and so
will the "Spirit" of Amateur Radio.
If you are intolerant of other hams for ANY reason, check yourself... You just may love yourself a little too much !!
-John Anning, NU9N