[amsat-bb] Proper operating procedure?

Darin Cowan yet.another.squid at gmail.com
Tue Feb 24 10:54:24 PST 2009

W9VNE wrote:
>>Upon my recent retirement I decided to equip my station with 
>>a satellite setup. I have a substantial amount of money invested 
>>( $3500 ) in antennas and transceiver. I can work just about 
>>anything that I can hear. Since August 2008 until December I 
>>made more than 800 QSOs in 200 grids and 15 countries. I met a 
>>lot of fine people who gave me good advice.
>>Unfortunately the operation of AO 51 is a large embarrassment. I 
>>have never in 56 years of operating ever seen demonstrated such 
>>poor operating procedures. I am not writing this note to trash 
>>AMSAT. I could continue to operate, experiment and enjoy HF and 
>>VHF radio and ignore the Satellite operation. However, I have 
>>always thought when you see something that is terribly wrong you 
>>have an obligation for the ( Ham  and AMSAT ) community to speak 
>>out. That is the spirit in which I write.

Not to be catty, but other than writing about it, what have you done to
positively influence the operating procedures of other radio amateurs?

I should have put this in the other message I wrote on this topic.

In the various publications, in the clubs, and apparently on this list,
there is much writing and speaking devoted to how operating skills are
declining, how it was better in the old days, yadda yadda.  In fact, I'm
even going to go so far as to say that I agree with a lot of it.

The problem is, that aside from grousing, very little is done.

The older, experienced operators use poor operating procedure all the time -
not just on satellites, but on HF and VHF radio as well.  Those that care
tend (in my experience) to belittle rather than mentor.

When teaching opportunities are presented, radio operation is overlooked.
One of the local clubs here offers an excellent exam prep course for getting
one's licence - but it includes almost nothing on operation, and certainly
no practical work.  Graduates get their tickets and are tossed to the
breeze.  This is contrary to my training in the military where we spent many
hours on operation and less on technical stuff.

Operating procedures also change.  Just because you learned it as a rad-op
in Korea back in '52 doesn't mean it's done that way now - "niner" and
"fife" being a fine example.  People who use those terms merely date
themselves.  We don't use Q-codes in voice modes because it makes
communication less clear?  I suppose that is true, but if you understand
what is being said, who cares?  If you don't understand - ask.  That's
called communication, and I bet Mr. Q-code will give up having to explain
himself repeatedly soon enough.

The spirit of amateur radio is friendly communication with an eye to
learning.  The primary operating procedure everyone needs to learn is "be
polite and don't interfere with other stations".  Everything else comes with
practice in the fullness of time.  But if you're not leading by example...
not operating the way you expect other people to operate... and not being
polite, it's unfair to expect any improvement any time soon.

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