One of the interesting aspects of our hobby is that with few exceptions (ATV, DATV, etc.) operators work others with no visual clues about the person on the other end of a contact except what has been proffered (by ourselves) online. In other words, I wouldn’t have a clue about your race, creed, education, financial status, religion, if we were to simply work using CW. If you put those kinds of details on your QRZ bio, your web page or social media sites then I might see those, otherwise, radio pretty much levels the playing field.

In his 1941 classic work, CALLING CQ, author Clinton B. DeSoto wrote:

He finds amateur radio "the means of communications with others on equal terms, of finding friendship, adventure and prestige while seated at one's own fireside. In picking his human contacts out of the air, the amateur is not seen by them.... He is not known by the company he keeps nor by the clothes he wears, but by the signal he emits.

This worked pretty well for decades. Then came the internet with its infections and suddenly we all know too much about each other. With blogs (like this one), Facebook pages, mailing lists, forums, etc. we now enjoy endless ways of being cruel to one another. It only follows then that there are those now dragging the hobby into the culture wars, a nightmarish landscape where everyone is perpetually offended about everything and everybody.

This has driven a few enlightened souls to an epiphany; their noble mission in life now is to educate the rest of us about how we should live, act, and approach the hobby. If only ARRL would be more welcoming, more inclusive, then radio amateurs would become nicer people enjoying prejudice-free lives. This is clearly the fault of those old, straight, white, men at ARRL and among the rank and file.

My plan for navigating these battlefields in amateur radio is to ignore them and if that becomes impossible, I’ll move on. There are so many other forms of electronic communication that don’t require a license, or sensitivity training, that it would be nuts to waste unhappy moments in the ham radio world.

Damn it! I just said “nuts” and that’s bound to be offensive. My apologies, but I’m an old, white, straight, man, and I guess you will just have to sleep well in the knowledge that I’ll spend eternity in hell for it.