[CQ-Contest] Feb 04 QST op-ed article

WA7VNI wa7vni at dayshaw.net
Mon Jan 19 12:45:56 EST 2004


Please read what I wrote. The ONLY thing I criticized was
the "wealthy Yachtsman" statement. I even snipped the other
stuff out to try and ensure that was clear. I just don't
think that such broad generalizations or stereotypes are in
our best interests.

Regarding the new issue you have interjected, their
"quasi-commercial" activities, I agree. SOME do that and it
is clearly illegal. However, I have also heard the Net
Control stations reprimand and then send stations away to
the Marine SSB channels when they have tried to pass traffic
that was of a commercial nature. So some of those folks do
try and "self-police" their users in compliance with both
the letter and spirit of the law.

The folks I know all use the SailMail service via the Marine
SSB channels for email because 1) it's legal, 2) it's cheap,
and 3) it's actually more reliable than the Ham band
equivalents. Their Ham band activities are restricted to
position reports, exchanging weather information, medical
information and other "health and welfare" type traffic all
of which are acceptable under Part 97. Do SOME violate the
law, sure just like SOME contesters behave badly without
regard for others or the law.

I just think that we would be better off basing our defense
(as others have noted) on facts and data, meaning numbers
backed by documented objective evidence, rather than angry
rhetoric. I'd just rather not see us stoop to using the same
emotional arguments that some in the anti-contest community
use. I recognize that "The Amateur's Code" is long dead but
it just seems to me that numbers are far easier to defend
than emotion in cases like this.


-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Subich, K4IK [mailto:k4ik at subich.com] 
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2004 10:21 AM
To: 'WA7VNI'; cq-contest at contesting.com
Cc: 'Michael Keane, K1MK'
Subject: RE: [CQ-Contest] Feb 04 QST op-ed article


> Sorry Mike, but that is an inflammatory statement that is
> merit in many cases. Are some of those folks wealthy?
Sure, however 
> many others are just "regular" folks who busted their
butts in hourly 
> wage factory type jobs, saved their pennies and managed to
buy a small 
> boat (often under 30 ft. in length) and are out there
seeing the world 
> on a shoe string. I personally know several who are doing
so with 
> budgets that do not exceed $10,000 a year total, meaning
food, boat 
> maintenance, port fees, etc. Here in the US at least
that's hardly 
> considered "wealthy". As a result of such budget
limitations those 
> small boats do not enjoy the "commercial comms" you refer
> Additionally, the operators are in fact Hams and have the
same rights 
> to the freq.'s that we in the contest community do.

You're off base ... nobody cares a bit about the financial
status of the yachtsmen but their activities are certainly
quasi-commercial and have NO BUSINESS on amateur
If there is an emergency (e.g., taking on water, capsize,
etc.), all bets are off.  However, to be ordering supplies,
scheduling port visits, updating schedules, receiving and
sending mail, getting news, weather forecasts or any other
day to day activity they should be using commercial
If they can't afford the commercial services, do like
"normal people" and go without. 

I suspect ANY contester, even the biggest of the multi-multi
stations would voluntarily relinquish the frequency in the
face of an emergency (MAYDAY).  Contesters have avoided
frequencies designated by the FCC under communications
emergencies domestically and by request of non-US Amateur
societies (flood relief, earthquake relief, etc.) for years.

However, to demand a 5 KHz "clear channel" 24 x 7 x 365 for
non-emergency, quasi-commercial traffic is not in the spirit
of amateur radio.  

> I am NOT supporting the proposal made by the QST author
nor lining up 
> on the anti-contest side of this argument but as others
have pointed 
> out inflammatory statements of any kind ("regular" folks
against the 
> "wealthy" in this case) don't help the debate but only
serve to make 
> us look unreasonable.

This isn't a case of inflammatory statements (other than
Mike's reference to the "wealthy") ... this is a long
overdue instance of pointing out that the emperor has no


   ... Joe, K4IK 

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