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NU9N SSB Audio News Editorial - November, 2005
eSSB Operating Courtesy & Good Amateur Practice

eSSB Operating Courtesy & Good Amateur Practice
eSSB and "Good Amateur Practice" Need Not Be Mutually Exclusive !

NU9N News - November, 2005

About NU9NPlease... let's use common sense and respect for others when operating eSSB.

As much as I love the extended fidelity and full pleasing sounds of eSSB operating, I have noticed some eSSB operations lately that have been less than responsible.

First, I would like to address eSSB operators about considerate conduct and attitudes.

Second, I would like to address the Non-eSSB operators regarding their considerate conduct and attitudes.

Finally, I would like to address ALL amateurs regarding "Good Amateur Radio Practice".

To eSSB Operators:
When initially looking for a frequency to operate eSSB modes, i.e. 3kHz or more of occupied RF bandwidth, listen for a few minutes in the direction of the desired sideband which will be used. If you will using a 6kHz bandwidth for example, then make sure that there are no existing QSO's within that 6kHz bandwidth. Then, if your desired TX passband is clear, ask several times if the frequency is in use. This seems like good old common sense and you may be wondering why I even mention such a fundamental procedure... But I have observed those lately who do not employ this basic pre-QSO formality. There may very well be a QSO in progress with a station transmitting that you cannot hear. So, never assume that a frequency is clear just because you do not hear anyone initially.

Note: It is highly recommended that you set up your receive bandwidth to be equal or in excess of your transmit bandwidth so that you will know immediately if some starts up in your occupied TX bandwidth after you have secured your frequency.

If, after asking if the frequency is in use several times, you are absolutely certain that the desired TX passband is clear of traffic, then have at it.

If, after you have started your eSSB QSO, and someone knowingly or unknowingly moves into your transmitter / receiver passband, you should, as a courtesy, inform them immediately that the frequency they have chosen to operate on is in use. Explain to them diplomatically that if they stay, not only will they be interfered with, but that you will be interfered with as well. Your attitude here is very important.

They may not understand why you need 4, 5 or 6kHz of spacing from them and that's okay if they do not understand. They may indeed understand but not agree that you should be using that much bandwidth for your eSSB operations. It is okay if they do not personally agree with your wider operations, as long as they understand that you secured your bandwidth ahead of time and that they are in violation of good amateur practice if they continue to interfere with you.

They need to understand that the "First Come First Serve" philosophy of frequency usage applies to ALL stations regardless of bandwidth, or opinions on what is or is not acceptable in their opinion. The FCC does allow for eSSB operations legally and even ethically if the proper "Good Amateur Practice" operating procedures are followed.

If they do not accept your explanation and continue to interfere with you (and choose to to be interfered with) keep cool!. At least you will know that you did everything you could do in good faith while being patient and courteous. The only option you will have at this point is to narrow up your signal until they're done, QSY or simply go QRT. Sad, but some operators just do not care about operating ethics and it is a grim fact of life. I have found that most operators will show respect and yield to your eSSB operations if you are polite in explaining the situation. And, even if they do not display a positive attitude, that is no reason for you to conduct yourself as anything less than exemplary in your conduct.

eSSB and "Good Amateur Practice" Need Not Be Mutually Exclusive ! Remember This !!

To Non-eSSB Operators:
If you are not interested in eSSB (Extended Single SideBand) operations and/or are not familiar with the inherent wider RF spectrum is requires, please check your desired operating frequency before starting a QSO with someone. There may very well be a few stations that you will be interfering with, or that will interfere with you if you proceed. The same courtesy that applies to eSSB operations still apply to you as well. Make absolutely sure that you are not starting a QSO in an occupied passband, whether is is occupied by 2.4k stations or a 6k stations. There is no difference in good amateur radio practice and courteous operating! Courtesy should be administered to ALL, despite differing bandwidth philosophies.

If you have secured a clear frequency, and an eSSB operator starts up in YOUR passband, just like above, explain to them in a courteous manner that they are interfering with you and to please find a frequency somewhere else. It is still "First Come First Serve" when securing a frequency and this should apply to everyone regardless of occupied bandwidth.

If an eSSB operator does not yield to you, keep cool. They are clearly in the wrong, and should be discouraged from this type of inconsiderate behavior. But try not to react in anger or rage, as this will only make matters worse! It is amazing how far a diplomatic, gracious and savvy request will go.

To ALL Operators:
Regardless if you are Low-Fi, Hi-Fi or No-Fi, we all need to respect and accommodate each other as our RF neighbors. Some of the petty disputes I have witnessed are simply silly in nature and could have been avoided if the new station(s) starting a QSO would have been respectful to those who were already there, regardless of the bandwidths being employed. Opinions on this subject are varied, and probably always will be. But that is no excuse to not being a friendly and considerate RF neighbor. You can respectfully disagree about particular amateur practices without being disagreeable !!! We are all in this together... Let's start treating each other as such. The world is messed up enough without amateurs fighting each other.

Remembering Our Identity as Amateur Radio Operators:
We are FCC licensed Amateur Radio Operators ready and willing to serve our communities and country with assistance in emergencies and disasters should they arise, or at least willing to stand by while other capable operators perform these critical services.

We are educated in the science and art of communications, and the equipment and antennas used for the amateur radio service.

We are experimenters, inventors and tinkerers looking for better ways to develope R.F. / I.F. / A.F. communications and skills.

We are international goodwill ambassadors of our country, because RF does not recognize international borders. We need to conduct ourselves as such!

We are hobbyists who simply enjoy fellowship with each other, sharing information about everything from A to Z, technical and non technical, serious, non-humorous, inspiring, not so inspiring. We do not always agree or see things the same, nor should we, but it is this diversity that keeps life and amateur radio interesting. We are DX'ers, Contesters, AM'ers, FM'ers, SSB'ers, eSSB'ers, Moonbouncers, Satellite Bouncers, Rag Chewers, Packet Radio operators, Net's and Computer Buffs. We are VLF, LF,HF, VHF, UHF and Microwave operators. We are from every ethnic and educational background imaginable. We are blessed that we live in a country that allows us to speak freely about our philosophy and beliefs, no matter how controversial they may be. We are a fraternity that is active 24 / 7 / 365 globally. There is more... But this is getting long.

"Good Amateur Radio Practice" Checklist:
How do you score on the following directives?

  • Operate cleanly. (Use test equipment to evaluate your signal purity)

  • Be polite, nonjudgmental, forgiving, courteous, responsible, understanding and encouraging.

  • Exercise the "Golden Rule" when it pertains to our conduct with others regardless of mode, bandwidth or personal interests.

  • Be cool, collective and professional when something goes bad.

  • Offer helpful assistance when someone does not understand what they (or you) are doing.

  • Foster international good will... Remember, we are ambassadors of our country!

  • Be considerate of "Gentleman's Agreement" frequencies like "RTTY", "AM Windows", "DX Windows" etc... when looking for a frequency to operate on. It is easier for you to find a different frequency rather than moving entire groups that meet on these recognized call frequencies daily.

  • Remember that "Emergency Traffic ALWAYS has top priority above everything else, no matter where and when it may occur! Your cooperation may save someone's life!!!

  • Remember that Amateur Radio is a radio service that is a granted privilege, not a right.


John Anning, N U 9 N
John M. Anning - NU9N
Phone: 1-815-631-5042
  e-Mail NU9N
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