Tipping Point

One of the charms of blogging is that any­one with a plat­form for vent­ing is sub­ject to the temp­ta­tion to vent about things that are at best, ephemer­al. It hasn’t gone without notice that in the ham blogosphere the most commented on posts are those that begin something like this:

“I was on 40 meters last night enjoying a nice rag chew with a fellow in Wyoming when all of a sudden some LID started tuning up right on top of us…”

Grievances, real or imagined, are fertile fodder for endless discussion even if puerile in nature. I’ve tried to avoid that sort of thing here, though I am not immune. And not only am I failing by offering up what is essentially a whine, I’m doubling down on the sin by offering no constructive ideas for improving the situation.

For that, I apologize in advance.

A note appeared in yesterday’s inbox from the current EP6T operation from Iran that started like this:

“We are constant aware of the unbalanced amount of “EU-NA-VK-AS” QSO’s. We do our best do bend this fact but 10 days is perhaps to less time to satisfy everybody. We are trying to call for certain area’s, but are not always have the control on the hard to find “HAM spirit”. Jammers, calling with fake calls and disrespecting the operators, sending disgraceful emails and calling us names is sometimes to much for us. PLEASE A LITTLE MORE RESPECT is needed”.

Just the day before, in that very same inbox, I received a message from a friend in the early stages of planning a DXpedition but who was suddenly questioning if it was even worth the effort considering the hijinks and bad behavior that now regularly attend these kinds of operations on a non-stop basis.

Two cups of coffee after clearing my inbox, I visited the blog of JA1NUT. Shin has been a constant in my RSS reader for a long time and I find his thoughts on a lifetime spent in this hobby to be of great value to me. I read this from him:

“I still understand it is a big challenge for DXers to chase and get new entities. I won’t comment on their way of enjoyment. It was, however, obvious that it was not the area I stayed on any longer. I again realized that and quit the mess of pile ups. — Anyway, it was a morning when I realized again DXing is a thing of the past for me.”

And all this comes on the heels of N6PSE’s painfully pointed question, “Is there no honor left among DXers?” in which he excoriates the bad behavior — of even Honor Roll members.

And didn’t we all just watch and wonder what had become of us when K6VVA laid out a proposal for some future operation where two-step authentication may be used to thwart pirates and other abusers?

Sorry friends, but it’s hard not to have all that smack you in the face without at least wondering if there isn’t something considerably less irritating (and expensive) than what John Q. Ham endures in pursuit of a hobby. It leaves me sad, depressed and uninterested in chasing DX — or continuing to support these endeavors.

To be fair, radio has always been an activity where one “bad apple” could spoil the bunch. It’s just the nature of the medium, especially on the shortwaves, where dregs of society can wreak havoc without fear of reprisal.

But that was in the days of “one” bad apple.

Today, attempts to continue a 20th century passion like ours, that’s infested with so many bad apples, it seems fair that we all begin to question the health of the orchard that produces so much bad fruit.

This present turmoil will likely result in the propagation of yet another ‘code of honor‘ or three. It always does. But right now I’m convincing myself that a tipping point may have been reached and now we may be witnesses to the end of ham radio DXing as we have come to know it.

Welcome to this brave, insane, new world.

Author: Jeff Davis