Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On whether it is more blessed to receive than transmit...

If you come from a DXing background like I do, then one of the lessons that will have been drummed into you is that you listen, listen some more and then listen again! The great DXer listens and makes his/her transmissions count. And that makes perfect sense if you're combing the bands looking for new ones.

But how does that translate into our activity on the 'day-to-day' chat bands, like VHF/UHF or even some of the HF bands. Quite often you hear people saying, 'I listen an awful lot but I don't transmit very much'. And of course, I know that sometimes it isn't convenient to transmit - it might be an RFI thing - you might not have time - you might not want to disturb the household.... these are all good momentary reasons.

But sometimes, I think we could all be a bit more active on the bands within the constraints of our day-to-day lives. It was Sunday afternoon and I was sat in the lounge entertaining the cats (if you have young cats, you'll know how important this is to avoid curtains being swung on and bookcases scaled....). I had my iPhone with me and I dialled up a few interesting looking repeaters on Echolink and called through them. Perhaps no-one wanted to speak to me - but certainly no-one called. D-STAR was a bit more productive and I had a couple of nice chats. But even so, the systems I listened to were hardly buzzing with activity!

Perhaps we are spreading our activity too thinly across many bands/modes/repeater systems/digital modes? I think there's some of that and I've certainly heard the view expressed that on D-STAR it's easy to lose the activity with so many different reflectors (remember D-STARUSERS.ORG is your friend).

Sometimes though, I think there is a sense of wanting our leisure time activities to be laid on for us and for us just to 'watch'. I get disheartened seeing people sitting in front of the TV apparently endlessly. They may well be watching informative programmes (or they may not). But what bugs me about it is that it's a one way street. There's no engagement or activity. I've seen a similar trend on Twitter with people who signup and look at other people's tweets but never share what they are doing or thinking.

If there's one thing I've learned about Social Media it's that you must engage to make a success of it and get the best of it.

And so it is, I think, with amateur radio which was probably the world's first social media platform. To me, just listening does not equal engagement.

So get out there. Call CQ and answer a few more calls through the repeater or on the bands. Have fun and I'll see you on the air!


Paul 2E0PCZ said...

Hi Tim, good comments, especially true for 2m locally, I am just as guilty as the next for just listening.

Tim said...

Hi Paul,

Don't worry - I'm conscious that I'm not as active as I could be in some areas! Will look forward to chatting on the air!


Julian said...

I think many people find the internet meets most of their needs for conversation about the hobby. If they aren't DXers they may not find many compelling reasons for transmitting. One blogger who writes about construction recently mentioned he made his first contact in over a year - to test something he had finished building. You're certainly far more likely to have an interesting technical discussion online than on the air.

Tim said...

I think that's true, Julian.

Being 'mobile' means that I have lots of contacts where I probably wouldn't if I was at home - and the contacts I make there are quite refreshing and different.

Certainly on HF, I feel much less inclined to have 'chat' type QSOs - more interested in propagation testing type sesssions like WSPR (I liked your QRSS tests recently too).

It's the old 'medium is the message' stuff, I suppose!


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