Something must have happened to get Bob, K0NR to fire-up the Wayback Machine to replay something he wrote long ago about the need for hams, (especially old hams, everyone seems to despise old hams), to be kinder in doling out wisdom to new hams.

Always good advice if one desires to be a decent human being who is interested in perpetuating our hobby - which should be the default position for us all.

But permit me to play the role of curmudgeon for a moment and toss a little shade on the notion that all questions are equal and worthy to be answered in a congenial manner…

Bob’s article implies that there are those who are unkind to newbie type questions and further implies that crusty codgers often blame these “dumb” questions on modern ham radio testing not being rigorous enough. I’ve no doubt some harbor that belief, but I’m not one of them.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem here though.

Far too often someone acquires a complex new transceiver, tosses the manual in the dumpster, and transports immediately to YouTube to discover how to turn it on. If they can’t find that in 90 seconds or less the next move is to a mailing list specific to that hardware where they begin asking basic questions.

There seems to be some unrealistic expectation that it is the responsibility of “others (I guess the old guys?)” to learn how to use the complex new hardware, and then freely share the simplest details with those who can’t be bothered to do some basic digging.

Of course some configurations can be difficult and abstract and it’s perfectly fair to ask for and receive help in these circumstances. But asking where the squelch knob can be located should earn the person asking that question a swift rebuke!

Same goes for slightly more esoteric matters. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve read someone ask “how long a dipole should be for 40 meters” I would be writing this from my personal island. It takes much less effort to type that exact same query into Google than to ask on a mailing list - and Google will cough up a thousand answers in two seconds, many of them written by actual experts.

While I agree with the spirit of Bob’s article, let’s all be kind to one another and promote the hobby with a smile, let’s also acknowledge that many ham radio related questions are not asked out of ignorance, but are lazy attempts to get someone else to read the manual for them.

If you’ve read the manual and done a few online searches and remain perplexed about something, you should ask and most will be happy to help. But if you come asking where the on-off switch or squelch knob are located on a particular transceiver, you might get your feelings hurt and that’s neither unfair or cruel.