What is happening to amateur radio?

I’ve been involved in amateur radio for about 20 years now, having obtained my license over 20 years ago. Prior to that, my interest in radio began with citizen band communication, where I discovered my passion for this hobby.

Throughout the years, I’ve witnessed acts of terror, pandemics, corruption, wars, and various forms of utter stupidity. It makes me question whether the world has completely lost its sanity.

When I initially received my license in the early 2000s, there was a strong emphasis on operating skills, displaying courtesy on the airwaves, and understanding the fundamental principles of radio operation. However, I’m not certain whether the recent pandemic has caused an influx of foolishness on the airwaves, if people are merely bored, or if they have become too engrossed in FT8 and have forgotten the basic principles of decency and respect towards fellow amateur radio operators, especially during DXpeditions or general QSOs.

A prime example that highlighted the state of amateur radio was the 3Y0J Bouvet operation, one of the most sought-after DXCCs worldwide. It revealed a shocking lack of respect demonstrated by certain operators when they went on the air. There were individuals playing music, shouting, and screaming phrases like “shut up,” “listen up/down,” and “split.” It resembled more of a circus than the amateur radio community I once knew. It leaves me wondering, what is happening to ham radio?

MM5AJN Duncan, has also experienced the stupidity during the recent DXpedition to Easter Island

Over the past 3-4 years, it appears that some operators have completely lost their sense of reason or their moral compass. The behavior displayed by a few is disheartening, and it raises concerns about the direction in which amateur radio is heading.

I sometimes find myself expressing my frustrations and concerns about operators and operating practices on my website, and I realize it may come across as complaining. However, as a passionate young individual, I genuinely hope to carry forward the legacy of this wonderful hobby, especially considering the aging population of hams.

It deeply troubles me to witness the current state of our small community. There seems to be an increasing amount of tension, anger, and a lack of proper operating etiquette. These issues have the potential to leave lasting impacts on the hobby unless individuals begin to recognize the need for change.

My concern stems from a genuine desire to preserve the essence of amateur radio and ensure its continued success. It is disheartening to see behaviors that undermine the principles of respect, courtesy, and cooperation that have been integral to this hobby for generations. Some hams would turn in their graves knowing what a pileup now sounds like in 2023.

I believe that by addressing these concerns openly and encouraging a culture of constructive dialogue, we can foster a positive shift in our community. It is crucial for individuals to reflect on their actions and make a conscious effort to adopt better operating practices. Only through collective efforts can we safeguard the future of this hobby that we hold dear.

A few good reads for those who do not understand basic radio priciples when calling a DXpedition or into a QSO.


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