Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Amateur Radio Losing It's Family Friendliness

For many, rough humor on the Hf Amateur Bands is nothing new. Adult language during the late night hours is often seen as something safe to do. Those who don't want to hear it usually just spin the dial and ignore it.

Is this really a practice we want to encourage? Does ignoring bad practices, even if they're illegal make them any more innocent or any more legal? Some would venture to say it doesn't matter to them and others would say that part 97 says it is totally illegal, period.

More arguments say that the FCC doesn't care one hoot if no one complains and even if there is a complaint filed, the action is slow and inefficient because those breaking the law are usually just given a slap on the wrist.

Let's step back to examine this from the view of an outsider who just may be considering becoming a licensed radio amateur. Everyone has differing sensibilities, and most who want to get involved want to be with folks who are capable of being professional, friendly, outgoing, etc. Long time tradition on the 75/80 Meter Amateur Band has been to whoop it up as if it were 11 meters.

Don't forget that there are people listening and that while you may get away with it for a period of time, that day may come when your fellow radio amateurs will say enough is enough. Would you want your own kids running into some of the topics being discussed with the vehement language & gross descriptions being used on the air? Would you want your family members to hear your on the air hijinks?

Let's all play by the rules. There's e-mail for the more explicit stuff you may wish to engage in. Take it to a private discussion, take it anywhere else, but keep it off the air. Our image needs to be as polished as it can get if we are to keep being taken as a serious group of technical professionals, much less if we want to be taken seriously at all.

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