Wednesday, 3 November 2021

My Es prediction worked and politics on the radio.

Well, that worked. My suggestion that there might be Es over Halloween was right.

50MHz Es contacts at GM4FVM on 31 October and 1 November 2021

23 Sporadic E QSOs over two days during late November/early November is very nice, but so is knowing when the Es would happen and being ready for them.

Even the one tropo QSO - to M1BTR in JO03 - was new square.

There was some auroral propagation on 2m but none of it reached this part of the world.

Solarham is at it again. I am not sure if this one will reach Earth. Solarham say "hopefully no near misses this time".

Solarham warning 2 November 2021.

Anyway, it is good to see the Sun coming to life with some sunspots and now a sizeable Coronal Mass Ejection. NOAA is predicting a K number of 5 for overnight 3/4 November and 4/5 November. Whether this happens as predicted remains to be seen, but I will be ready just in case.

I keep reading people who say that data modes are ruining the hobby and we should all appear on voice more often. Well, whatever happened to free will? I am hoping that I can decide these things for myself. I do feel a certain pull towards data modes and this largely due to the objectionable content of what passes for conversation on amateur radio round here.

I turned on the local FM simplex channels to hear somebody bad mouthing a local politician. This was not just about her politics, which he insulted, but also about where she was born (not Scottish enough to get elected he told us). Then I happened to hear the local FM repeater, which is not noted these days for high quality discussion. There I heard a local spouting out his opinion about vaccine denial, and putting around some views I found pretty objectionable. After that I switched to DStar to hear another GM tell all who would listen about what motivates the President of the United States and why his policies are misguided.

I am not a believer that there was a "golden era" of amateur radio when everything was perfect and everyone toed the line. We have always had our ramblers and our pontificators. In the past the licence was more restrictive than it is now, but it has never forbidden the discussion of politics in my day. It used to say that we could send "remarks about matters of a personal nature in which the Licensee, or the person with whom he is in communication, has been directly concerned". Now it says we can "discuss any topics of mutual interest with other Amateurs, and to seek to receive and impart any information and any ideas".

So the discussion which disturbs me does not seem to be specifically against the licence. What bugs me is that it is now routine to discuss things on the air that were once considered taboo. It seems to me that discussing poltics and political figures is fairly poor behaviour. My reason for this is that what we consider to be fair comment is insulting to others. Actually, insulting to me.

It seems to me that talking about politics is driving radio as a topic off the airwaves. I would quite like to talk to somebody about radio, but most of the time nobody ever discusses radio, technology, propagation, conditions, or even just what they do on the radio. The best I can hope for is somebody occasionally saying that they have bought an antenna.

The basic reason why I do not do much phone is because nobody I hear there talks about radio.

I am happy to talk about other things of course, apart from politics. I have really enjoyed discussions about pig rearing, valve gear on steam engines and the theory of relativity. These are things I know very little about and I learned something from those discussions. But they were not about politics.

Everything was not great in the old days, in fact most things were worse than they are now. However, then I never heard politics discussed. It was considered not to be polite. There are plenty of other things to discuss, and I have no wish to talk about politics now or any other time. So I have free will - and the best way to stay out of it is for me to avoid that stuff entirely.

I cannot say that politics does not intrude onto data modes either. Some time ago a station used to send a political message constantly on 28MHz using PSK. However, I have not yet heard politics on MSK144. Not in 72 millisecond bursts. Not yet.

I know this is a personal preference. I just do not like listening to other people's bellyaching. So I do not need to, I can go somewhere else. I do go somewhere else. But then do not blame me for not engaging in discussions about things which to me are not amateur radio.




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