PROTOCOL AND ETIQUETTE FOR AMATEURS

With M3s and 2E1s or whatever they are flooding onto the HF bands, I thought a few words on protocol and etiquette might be in order. It’s all too easy to get onto 40 metres and start loading up and calling CQ, but there are such things as politeness and gentlemanly behaviour.

HOW TO OPERATE ON 2 METRES

You call CQ on channel S20. You make a contact and want to QSY to channel 22. This is how it’s done. You move to CH22 and ask whether the frequency is in use. Now, this is where most amateurs go wrong. If someone comes back and says that it IS in use, you DO NOT return to S20. You simply use the channel anyway and, if the station already there asks you to QSY, you tell him to sod off.

THE CORRECT USE OF 40 METRES

You decide to have a go on 40 metres but, first, you need to tune up the ATU. The band is pretty busy with nowhere to tune up, let alone call CQ. You don't have a dummy load because they are expensive and why should you waste good money on a fat resistor when you could spend it on booze? The good radio amateur loads up his aerial on full power on any old frequency within the band. No doubt some old sod will start complaining, but that is his prerogative. When tuning is complete, you then begin to call CQ, hopefully jamming out the complaining station. From experience, you know that he will go away if you persist.

Another trick used by the experienced amateur to clear a busy frequency is to make strange noises and keep whistling until the frequency is vacant. Of course, you don’t let on that it was you behaving like an arse. You wait until all goes quiet, and then ask whether the frequency is in use. Should the station previously occupying the frequency answer you, all you say is, nothing heard, and then begin your CQ. Of course, the radio amateur with real experience doesn't give his call sign when trying to clear a busy frequency. All he wants is the frequency, not a letter from the RA admonishing him.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN'T FORCE YOUR WAY ON TO A BAND

You'd like to have a go on 80 metres but the band is packed. Wait a minute! There seems to be plenty of space at the bottom end of the band - apart from some sort of bleeping noises. Recalling an old war film you saw, you reckon that this could be CW. No problem. CW is a thing of the past so you load up and begin your CQ. No doubt some miserable old bastard will ask you to QSY. The good radio amateur increases power, winds up the speech processor and over-drives his transmitter... And the miserable old bastard goes away.

THE CORRECT USE OF 2 METRE REPEATERS

The good radio amateur runs full power when working through his local repeater. A lot of hard work has gone into your local repeater and there's no point in allowing some arse to go over the top of you. Bear in mind that repeaters are there to be abused. A weak mobile station trying to gain access should be denied access at any cost. And remember, fellow radio amateurs just love listening to your music. You might even consider wiring your music system directly into your 2 metre rig. This will eliminate your unintentional giggles being picked up by your microphone.

ENJOY YOUR HOBBY TO THE FULL

Amateur radio is a fine hobby. But it can become boring at times. The keen radio amateur knows how to brighten up those dull times. He finds a QSO going on between a couple of M3s who are new to HF. Gleefully, he breaks in with the odd derogatory comment. To begin with, he might suggest that one M3 is running more than 10 watts. If this doesn't fire up an argument, he then suggests that the M3 wouldn't have a clue as to his power. To add fuel to the fire, he comments on peak envelope power in an effort to make out that the M3 is thick. As a last resort, he tells the M3 that he should go back to CB, where he belongs. After an enjoyable ten minutes or so, the radio amateur has brightened up his hobby and can sit back and grin.

DEALING WITH PIRATES

The average radio amateur has worked hard to get his ticket. And nothing pisses him off more than pirates. The clever radio amateur leaves 40 metres and slips down to 6.6mHz, where the pirates are having a chat. Loading up on top of the pirates with 100 watts, the radio amateur then starts whistling. Chucking in such comments as, bloody pirates, makes the amateur feel good. These people have no right to be there and it's the radio amateur's duty to tell them so. The fact that he is pirating doesn't come into it. After all, he has a FULL license.