Monday, October 10, 2011

Like a moth to a flame

I admit, sometimes I see things on e-Ham and I get drawn into the fray.  Not often, but if I see something that I feel strongly about, I will say something. I really shouldn't, and should stay out of the argument, but like the title says ..........

My grandfather (my Mom's father) once told me when I was young, "If you get into an argument and you're not sure of yourself, it's better to keep your mouth shut.  But by the same token, if you're right AND you know you're right - don't be afraid to speak your mind".  That advice raged through my mind as I read the following, entitled "Dust Off the Old Amplifier' by Mike Higgins K6AER:

"I know the conventional wisdom is if you can’t hear them you can’t work them but there is a corollary to that saying and it is; ”If they can’t hear you they won’t call you.” This is a call for those of you who own an amplifier to use them when you call CQ. For those of you that have never tried to call CQ, CQ is what you do when you don’t hang around a net all day to make a contact. It is more honest than asking for a radio check.

At this point I expect the replays descend into a class warfare battle between the QRO crowd and the QRP minimalist group. Let’s skip the replays who have worked 100 countries with 5 watts for even a blind squirrel will find an acorn if they look long enough."

Skipping the rest.

Now, before I begin my rant, I want to state, for the fact, now and forever, that I do not have anything against people who choose to operate QRO.  For me, QRP is a fun choice, and I have no need or desire to force it upon anyone else.  For that matter, Amateur Radio is a big enough hobby for everyone, whatever mode, style of operating that they choose.  My motto is, "As long as it's legal and within the rules, and it's not interfering with your fellow Hams - knock yourself out"

But I have to admit that I was really irked by the "At this point I expect the replays descend into a class warfare battle between the QRO crowd and the QRP minimalist group. Let’s skip the replays who have worked 100 countries with 5 watts for even a blind squirrel will find an acorn if they look long enough."

In my humble opinion, that statement showed a true lack of practical knowledge on the part of the author. Wouldn't it have been better to have written (perhaps) "At this point I expect the replies to descend into a class warfare battle between the QRO crowd and the QRP minimalist group. Let’s skip the replies from those who have worked 100 countries with 5 watts, for this article's intended audience is folks who have amplifiers and don't mind using them".

Unfortunately, the original paragraph resulted in exactly what the author desired to avoid.  Personally, however, considering the words he chose to use, I'm not so sure that he intended to avoid a "class warfare battle".  And of course the arguments devolved into the classic "Everybody knows that it's always the receiving station that does the heavy lifting in a QSO with a QRPer".

I hate that! I have had my eardrums blown out repeatedly by W1PID, N4BP, N9NE (at 1 Watt!) and countless others to know that this argument is utter BS.  Yes, there are times when QRP signals are so weak that even I wonder how they can be copied at all.  But this is NOT the rule.  It might not be the exception, either; but it's not a hard and fast rule.  Received signal strength is due to a multiple of variables. While output power may be an important one, it's not the ONLY one!  Antennas, propagation, band conditions all play into the equation.

The best response I saw, was from a person who identified himself a STRAIGHTKEY:

"And likewise, even an unskilled squirrel can crack any nut by purchasing and operating a steamroller.

Congratulations on condemning class warfare and then turning around and engaging in it yourself."


A bit snarky perhaps?  Yes, but it was straight and to point, and I wish I had thought of it.  I might not have posted it that way, but it is what I was thinking.

Anyway, a very sincere 73 to ALL Amateur Radio ops, everywhere!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

Paul PC4T said...

Hi Larry,

Since Aristotle discovered duality, we can’t do a thing about it. There is always a battle between good/evil, dark/light, qro/qrp. Unless we can see the whole, there is no problem at all.

73 Paul