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The Gift of Friendship

David E. Greer (N4KZ) on August 24, 2014
View comments about this article!

I entered the ranks of ham operators in the late 1960s while a high school student. While there were many hams in the former Soviet Union in those days, most contacts with Soviet operators consisted of signal report, QTH, name and rig type - almost always homebrew or converted military surplus - and little else. The political situation there prevent them from engaging in old- fashioned ragchewing. We worked many Soviet hams but never really got to talk with any of them.

But all that changed as the Soviet Union entered a period of glasnost - openness - in the mid-1980s. By the 1990s, many aspects of Soviet life had changed, including the lifting of travel restrictions for many of its citizens. That led me to have a most remarkable QSO with a Russian ham in the mid 1990s. I've told this story on the air several times but decided it was time to share it for a wider audience. When this story was first shared with me by a Russian ham several hundred kilometers east of Moscow, it put a lump in my throat. It was a great illustration of the generous nature of hams worldwide.

And, no, I don't remember his call sign. I still have my stack of 32 paper logs before I switched to computer logging in 2000. But I was too lazy to search for it. Perhaps a reader or two in Boston has direct knowledge of this and can verify the facts.

It was the mid 1990s and I was on 15 meter SSB one day. I began conversing with a Russian ham who spoke terrific English. We were having a wonderful ragchew and I kept thinking how much times had changed since this would have been impossible years earlier because of the political situation there.

The Russian operator told me that for the past several years, he had regularly worked some American hams in the Boston, Mass. area on 20 meter SSB. He got to be good on-air friends with the group. In the meantime, the Russian had been saving his money and travel restrictions had been eased, he explained.

He made the decision to fly to the USA and meet his ham radio friends in the Boston area. It was a wonderful visit, he said. He and his friends dined out and shared great times over food and beverage. He stayed in the homes of several of his American friends and was treated warmly and shown great hospitality.

But the best was yet to come, he said.

He was invited to attend a ham radio club meeting in the Boston area on a Saturday afternoon. He didn't know it but club members had passed the hat beforehand and used the money to buy him a good used HF rig.

So the meeting was progressing nicely when the club president paused and asked the Russian visitor to come forward. It was at that point the president explained that their visitor would soon be returning home after a wonderful stay in the Boston area and that his ham friends wanted him to have something to remember them by.

At that point, they produced a used but like-new Kenwood TS-440S transceiver and presented it to the Russian ham. At first, he told me, he didn't quite realize they were GIVING this rig to him. He thought perhaps they were merely showing it off.

But slowly the news began to sink in, he said. The club members were giving him this Kenwood as a gift. Something he could take home and keep forever and forever.

"I cried like a baby," he said to me. "I could not believe how generous they were."

So, the Russian took the Kenwood TS-440S home and put it on the air. He told me that hams in his country knew of such equipment - they regularly saw the advertisements in ham radio magazines - but few, very few of them had ever actually seen much less owned this type of ham equipment. Today, many or even most Russian hams have very nice commercially manufactured rigs. But that wasn't always the case.

"Having this rig in my shack made me very popular," he said. "Many Russian hams rode trains for very long distances to come to my home to see this rig.

"And they just kept coming. Every weekend for months and months."

This story made a huge impression on me even though it's nearly been 20 years since I first heard it. It put a lump in my throat then and still does.

Member Comments:
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The Gift of Friendship  
by KJ4NOO on August 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
That spirit is still alive and well in ham radio. I have only had my license a few years. Right after I took the test and got my Technician license I sent an email to an old Navy buddy of mine who was a ham when we both were in the service. I wanted to let him know that I had passed the test. He asked if I had purchased any radio equipment yet. I told him that I had not yet as I was in between jobs but hoped to build 1 of the tuna tin can transmitters and could use a shortwave receiver that I had. He offered me his backup radio that was an FT-101EE ,some spare tubes, the external VFO , speaker phone patch ,an MFJ tuner and some coax that he was not using at the time. I had to drive to the next state to pick it up but was very grateful to have it. When he pulled it out to check it after it had been in the closet for a few years it wasn't working. So I took it home and cleaned all the switches and it came back to life. I still have the radio today and use it from time to time to keep it in good working order.I offered to pay him for the radio when I was employed again but he would not accept any money for it. I have since bought more equipment from him when he decided to sell his station. I have had many hams help me from time to time and do my best to help others when I can. To me that is the true spirit of ham radio. You hear all the time about the dark side of ham radio and I have seen some of that also but I have seen a lot more good than bad ! Your story is a prime example of the giving nature of ham radio and just one of many !
The Gift of Friendship  
by K0CBA on August 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
""most contacts with Soviet operators consisted of signal report, QTH, name and rig type -""

Nice article....I am of the same generation as the writer and remember QSLing via "BOX 88, Moscow" (I think it was Box 88, it's been a loooong time ago).

It seems the '5x9(9)..TU' contacts permeate the higher bands now. It used to be when you mentioned being a ham and talking to a guy in lower Slobovia or where ever, they would appear interested and ask things like what was said. You could tell them he did such and such for a living, he enjoyed photography, stamp or coin collecting, etc. .... you get the picture.

Fast forward to now, if the subject comes up and IF someone is even aware that ham radio still exists and they ask the same question, what can you say? Well, he said I was 5x9(9)and thank you.

I'm not sure where or when this 'contact' vs. 'QSO' thing started but it sure has become entrenched. There sure is a difference.

Oh well...... maybe try having a QSO instead of just a contact. It might be nice for a change.
DX is fine. CONUS no so.  
by AI2IA on August 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It seems to me that goodwill and courtesy abound in DX.

However, if you are looking for areas that certainly could use some improvement listen a bit on continental U.S. activity and local activity especially.

It seems that even in contests there is room for improvement. It is possible to be fast without being absolutely harsh, hyped up, and abrupt.

A little more courtesy, a wee bit slower in babbling out the call sign, and a quick thanks would go a long way in re-establishing good will and friendship.

The most important person is the other guy, the one on the other end of the transmission, because without him, we would all be reduced to SWL.
RE: DX is fine. CONUS no so.  
by W0WCA on August 24, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
In the early ‘80s, the Russian QSO’s were still very brief but what I remember was that the Russian station always signed “73 my friend”. Always “my friend” that has stuck with me through the years.
RE: DX is fine. CONUS no so.  
by HAMMYGUY on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
That restriction on radio equipment is still in place by the Russian federation.

I was going to ship a rig to the area and thankfully the postmaster asked what it was. She pulled out the customs sheet of what is legal to ship to Russia and all forms of communications equipment was banned from coming into the country. Except for one type of Panasonic wireless phone! The rig would have been held up in customs for a long time.

This was just a short time ago and I imagine the ban is still in place. Obviously there are probably ways around it since I see Russian amateurs advertising wanting equipment and have an American shipping address!
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by K1DA on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Of course it was Box 88, even in the dark days of the Cold War. Someone over there had a good sense of humor.
The Gift of Friendship  
by K1FPV on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
In early 1964 while still a novice on 15 Meter CW, I remember working a Russian ham. I vividly remember him telling me there in the former Soviet Union, it was mandated that Russian hams then had to build their own transmitters as it was a requirement.

Oh yes, and P.O. Box 88, Moscow was the QSL address for all Russian hams as well as the other Soviet Republics. It was a nice leisurely conversation as a novice on CW.

Thanks, this was a pleasurable reading experience that brought back memories.

BOYCOTT or Expose Hams in Totalitarian Countries  
by WA4D on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
While there are instances of friendship to be found often in Ham Radio, this idea that we're all friends just because we use the same medium to communicate is silly.

Using your radio to demonstrate unrestricted conversation to those living in totalitarian states is far more meaningful. Discussing issues and out right confronting hams who live in nations where their freedom of expression is limited.

Example: in the 80's I often confronted Russian hams who came on and said 5/9 and then closed with their phoney declaration of being "My Friend". I would tell them that my country had spent 100's of billions of dollars working to upend their authoritarian communist government and many lives in proxy wars. The Cold War was a serious matter. But Hams are supposed to be friendly Ambassadors to those who live in nations we oppose? How ridiculous!

Here's one way I used Ham Radio to express International Disgust with another Nation.

In 1986 Libyan intelligence bombed a Disco in Berlin. The bomb exploded kiling a Turkish Woman, 2 American GI's and disabled others. President Reagan (Not one to dither) 9 Days later ordered the bombing of Tripoli. [For the Libyan raid, the United States was denied overflight rights by France, Spain, and Italy as well as the use of European continental bases, forcing the Air Force portion of the operation to be flown around France and Spain, over Portugal and through the Straits of Gibraltar, adding 1,300 miles (2,100 km) each way and requiring multiple aerial refuelings.]

US Network TV showed massive Anti-US demonstrations throughout France and much of the Arab world. 10's of thousands crowded the streets of Paris. The raid launched with FB-111's from the UK (Maggie Thatcher approved!) was successful but 2 US pilots were killed.

My country chose to Kill those who had blown up Americans. ----- And Ham Radio operators are to go on talking to French hams as if they were best of pals. "Send me a QSL my friend, you're 5/9 in Peoria!"

When I heard US Hams on 20 meters talking with French hams, I joined the convo and immediately confronted the French Hams. (Who one assumes supports their government just as most US hams support theirs.) I rhetorically blistered the French for their hypocrisy and called for an "International Boycott of French Hams" on 20 meters for the remainder of the month of April 1986. The French Hams were hardly insulted, they discussed and argued their view with me. It was the Americans who were indignant having been brain washed by the ARRL and their Sunday school teachers to be nice to everyone. Many American Hams showed what they are made of, jamming my signal, cussing me out, threatening to call all manner of Law Enforcement. It was a Hoot! American Hams by and large don't believe in free expression. Indeed they have long held that only the narrowest range of topics are acceptable on Ham Radio. Their insecurity and inability to communicate beyond the most bland discourse is well established.

So, the next time you hear a Ham on in a nation that you disagree with their policy...... Don't try to establish a "phoney friendship". Tell them you disapprove of their nation's conduct. And see if they will discuss it. And explore the differences. Ham radio is not a "Kum ba Yah" medium. Or a Diplomatic channel. This is not the age of Robert Young and "Father Knows Best". --- We live in an explosive information environment, where messages, propaganda and disinformation are as likely to be found as journalistically vetted articles.

Use your radio to express your views and expose International hams to a dose of American liberty. This is the era of Social Media, and those who use communications platforms to make powerful message deliveries. I give you the ISIS YouTube of the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

[Yes I realize the vast majority of the Middle Aged to Elderly Men that make up the US Ham population have no understanding of Social Media)

This story reads like a junior high civics propaganda piece from 1955. Ignore N4KZ's sappy world view. Come into the 21st century and use Ham Radio to enlighten and confront Hams who live in totalitarian states.
RE: BOYCOTT or Expose Hams in Totalitarian Countries  
by HAMMYGUY on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

"Who one assumes supports their government just as most US hams support theirs"

Far from it. This is entirely the reason most hams keep their politicking off the airwaves and restricted to social media.
RE: BOYCOTT or Expose Hams in Totalitarian Countries  
by WA4D on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@HAMMYGUY. Point noted.

Mike wa4d
The Gift of Diplomacy  
by AI2IA on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Could a foreign ham from a country with a hostility to your own country possibly save a life in a distress call, for example. Yes.

What exactly is "good will" toward other hams?

Well, if you never engage the topics of politics, sex, or religion, you have made a step in the direction of courtesy.

If you restrict your rag chew to radio subjects, weather, geography, even language structure, you are on the right track.

If you can offer or exchange tips on antennas, propagation, or radio operation, someone may come away with something useful and be thankful.

If you end by wishing the other ham well, then you have spread some good will. Hostility never solves a problem. It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness. There is nothing beyond this.
The insecurity of Ham Radio  
by WA4D on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

Your "never engaging" in any topic other than radio and displays of faux friendship clearly illustrate my point.

Ham radio operators at large are intolerant indeed "hostile" to open discussion.

Last week during the civil disturbances in Ferguson I called CQ Ferguson. ( if I were in Ferguson I'd have been on the air from the riots and make it a Special a Event station). Several Hams took offense when I called CQ for African American Hams to get their perspective. --- Recall the 2009 blunt assessment of race relations in the United States, by Attorney General Eric Holder ? He called the American people “essentially a nation of cowards” in failing to openly discuss the issue of race.

I would take his remarks further and say that. The majority of American Ham Radio operators are "cowards" when it comes to discussing any subject outside their narrow world view . One need only tune any band to confirm my assertion.
The Gift of Friendship  
by AD0AR on August 25, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
When I was visiting Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina last year, I saw a small shack located behind the residence where a cousin of mine resides.
When I finally saw some activity at the shack, I brought my brother in law with to assist with any translating.
The station was a outpost from the parent station E71EZC which I am sure some of you other operators have worked before.
A gentlemen from the station gave my brother in law and I a quick tour of the facility, and then brought us to a storage room full of old radios where he said something to my brother in law. My brother in law translated to me that the gentleman would like to give me one radio from this collection as to remember this moment! There were Yaesu, Kenwood, and a few other brand names the size of phone booths that I did not even recognize. I ended up choosing a smaller Kenwood TS-811E as it would be luggage friendly for my trip back to the states.
After I got it home, it needed a little tune up and a new mic, but it is working great for a single bander all mode UHF!
You betcha I will remember that visit!
That was a definite "Gift of International Friendship!"
Some day I plan to pay it forward too!
Objectivity and good will abound on DX  
by AI2IA on August 26, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
WA4D reacts to my suggestions of courtesy and diplomacy with his assertion: "I would take his remarks further and say that. The majority of American Ham Radio operators are "cowards" when it comes to discussing any subject outside their narrow world view . One need only tune any band to confirm my assertion."

It is sad to see that some ham operators have such an extremely distorted view of one of the main purposes of ham radio.

For the most part, American ham radio operators are good citizens,often veterans of war time service, and know full well the values of ham radio and its service to the community and internationally as well.

They are easy going, easy to get along with, for the most part, and are not up tight, wound up ideologues, and doctrinaire world changers with extreme views that they are driven to impose in their QSOs and thereby lose the joys of technical objectivity.

The type of rag chew consistent with WA4D's attitude would last about one or two minutes before the ham on the other end turns the big knob. I think that most of us, fortunately, know this to be quite true from years of experience.
The Gift of Friendship  
by NU1O on August 26, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It's a wonderful article but in Putin's Russia I can't get any Russian hams to go past a signal report and a run down of their equipment. Today's Russia isn't a whole lot different than the Soviet Union when it comes to free speech.

I usually stay away from politics on the air but on several occasions I've talked about political topics but other than with fellow Americans it is always with the hams of only one foreign country: Great Britain.

It seems the hams from the U.K. and the U.S. are the only hams willing to break the unwritten taboos about topics which aren't supposed to be discussed over the radio. Perhaps that's a major reason why the U.K. is our most loyal ally. Neither of us are afraid somebody from the government is going to visit us in the night and cart us off to some prison for expressing our opinions.
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by G3RZP on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
One reason for the RST/QTH/Name/73 type of qso was (and is) the limited English of many operators.
The Gift of Friendship  
by JOHNZ on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

Expressing your opinion has already become a risk here in the good ole USA. Been watching the news lately?

Opposing political views are being criminalized. College campuses now have "Speech Codes." Spiritual beliefs can result in criminal prosecution. Even our military personnel are being ordered to keep certain spiritual and lifestyle opinions to themselves or risk being charged under the UCMJ. Preachers are being threatened with criminal charges for expressing certain long and well established spiritual beliefs from their pulpits. Differing opinions are now labeled as "hate speech," while at the same time politically correct speech is protected by law. Certain classes of people are now protected from criticism by law. Certain ideas in the arena of public affairs are now considered criminal hate speech.

The days of American free, open, and robust discussion of ideas in a public forum are limited and endangered, as never before. Eventually, "speech codes" will spill over into amateur radio, in the not too distant future. Moreover, we, as ham radio operators, do not help the situation, when we insist that only certain topics can be discussed on ham radio, while other topics should be prohibited from ham radio.
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by F8WBD on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

by G3RZP on August 27, 2014

"One reason for the RST/QTH/Name/73 type of qso was (and is) the limited English of many operators."

Exactly. A point often lost on and not understood by American operators.

Everyone in the world is not bi-lingual in English.
The Gift of Friendship  
by KC2QYM on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Gee, you'ld think the Russian was on his last rouble and that his choice was between a radio or a loaf of bread. It brought tears to my eyes, etc....That guy had a free stay thanks to some really nice people in the US and an unexpected gift..But what was wrong with his radio back in Russia that didn't get him on the air to organize his free stay. Sorry but I'm just not touched by this fairy tale. Americans are amongst the most naive people on earth.
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by NU1O on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

I have been paying attention to the news and I find those cases you mentioned to be repugnant. I didn't mention them because I was trying to be brief and to confine my message to amateur radio.


I've been a ham long enough to realize many hams speak "radio English" but I hope you aren't suggesting a Russian ham fluent in English would speak negatively about his government's policies or criticize Mr. Putin.

I often hear hams criticizing their countries policies and their political leaders but it's invariably done by hams from the UK or the US.

RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by WA4D on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@johnz. Most relevant and insightful observation of the thread. Made me think! We move closer to Totalitarianism each week. Largely driven by technology. Did you see the NY Times piece on cell phone tracking surveillance ?

Thanks for a smart and literate response JOHNZ
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by W7ASA on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
What a fine article. Thank you for posting. It does bring back-memories of ham during the Cold War years and especially when I had a German ham license while working in Europe.

After I had returned home and using my Ten Tec 505 QRP rig, one contact I remember more than most was a fellow who was a TV&radio repair person in Managua, Nicaragua during the early 1980s'. This was at the peak of our well known support of the opposition forces and our less known secret bombing during this international proxy war. Despite what must have been tremendous control, materials shortages and mental stresses, this fellow would often take his noontime break to tap a little code and etc. We bumped into each other a few times on the air and it was nice to see that in the middle of all that terrible mess, he at least could take a bit of his lunchtime, tap code and do something enjoyable.

I also remember contacts from the former Yugoslavia during the U.S. bombing of Serbia. Hmmm, with all these bombs dropping around the globe and roughly 3.5 million hams world wide, maybe there could be a new award for this; we could call it.


Worked All Countries Bombed by the USA.

Oh, and then there was the medical student during the invasion of Grenada... //but I digress.//

I enjoyed the article and let's remember the the other ham on the other side of the radio link is probably not the one making policy for his country, any more than we are (not). Let's discuss anything, bot not try to excoriate the other fellow because of some politicians in his country.

73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by K6CRC on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Great story. It is rare to have more than a 59/73s conversation with anyone outside the US, save Canada and down under. I understand there is a language barrier, but sometimes I have to wonder how much of that is on our side. I have been a ham only for a few years, but have to say that most conversations with domestic hams are quite boring. Most hams seem to talk about themselves and their rigs for 5 minutes straight, then say the YL is coming and they have to go. Or, if you say you are from California, you get an earful of their politics.

It would be a great benefit to the hobby if US hams would travel a bit. See some of the world. Read more. Maybe turn off Cable News (both sides) for a while. I have not met many hams from outside the US, but the ones I have met are fairly well travelled, well read, and seem to like to talk and listen. Cannot say the same for many of the US hams I have met.
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by K6CRC on August 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
"Eventually, "speech codes" will spill over into amateur radio, in the not too distant future"

Can't see that. There are all kinds of morons on the ham bands in the US. And the FCC has many more pressing issues that chasing them all down. I will keep spinning the dial until the morons have completely taken over.
RE: BOYCOTT or Expose Hams in Totalitarian Countries  
by K1CJS on August 28, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
WA4D, it works both ways, you know. You speak of how other countries and governments are adverse to our version of liberty and freedom, but do you ever stop to think of how the US government has imposed--yes, IMPOSED--their version of the same on other countries? With the opening of various files and the stories now in the public venue here in this country, it's obvious that the US has hardly been the saint of countries either.

In short, sure the US government stands for liberty and freedom (at least it used to) but imposing it's views and it's ways on other countries is NOT giving them liberty and freedom, it's making them over in the image of the US--and some of them do not want that.

That's why it's better to just keep politics out of ham radio. Most of us both here and abroad just want to live in peace. It's the politicians and military leaders--and the warhawks among the people--who want the opposite.
The Gift of Friendship  
by KC2QYM on August 28, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Associated with the comments where some of you believe that we should keep political discourse off of HAM radio.... If you don't want to discuss politics because you're afraid of big brother, don't have a clue about what's happening in the world, or just just don't have the skills to discuss a topic in detail, then don't. If you want to discuss the issues, current events, and ridicule ours or other governments then go ahead; you have a RIGHT to do this. Until some government agents break down your door to put you off the air then I say go for it. You guys that self impose limits to free speech are not free!
The Gift of Friendship  
by JOHNZ on August 28, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

I believe speech codes, or their equivalent, will eventually be applied to amateur radio operations, as well as to all Americans. I base this on current events and emerging technology. I doubt the FCC would be involved in enforcement of speech codes, more likely a national agency which specializes in policing American speech will ultimately enforce politically correct speech on amateur radio, as part of its duties. Amateurs will be encouraged to submit reports of "hate speech" and other politically incorrect speech committed by their fellow hams.

Think that sounds far out, like a conspiracy theory? Look no further than United States Marine Colonel John Merna, a 24 year highly decorated combat Marine. He was what we call a Marine's marine, a Chesty Puller type Marine, respected and admired by subordinates who would follow him anywhere into harm's way. However, none of that made a difference when Colonel Merna made the unforgivable mistake of remarking that a fellow officer was acting "gay." Merna was summarily trashed, kicked out of his beloved Marine Corps, sent packing, because his speech was politically incorrect.

Merna is not alone. Our men and women in the U.S. military are being bullied and intimidated into politically correct silence, or else.

The Gift of Friendship  
by JOHNZ on August 28, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

K1CJS said:

"Most of us both here and abroad just want to live in peace. It's the politicians and military leaders--and the warhawks among the people--who want the opposite."

That is almost word for word what a foul-smelling bearded long-hair wacky-weed smoking hippie said to me in 1969 outside Travis AFB, hours after I had just returned from two years in Viet Nam.

RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by W0AEW on August 29, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Urgh....I smell the odor of jingoism. Someone open a window and let in some fresh air.
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by K1CJS on August 30, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
JOHNZ said:

That is almost word for word what a foul-smelling bearded long-hair wacky-weed smoking hippie said to me in 1969 outside Travis AFB, hours after I had just returned from two years in Viet Nam.

Well, I'm not long haired--never was, and I bathe regularly--always have. Add to that that I've served and have great respect for the men scarred by their service.

I can only believe that you wanted to troll and cause arguments--as you usually seem to want. I'm not biting. 73.

The Gift of Friendship  
by JOHNZ on August 30, 2014 Mail this to a friend!

I am -not- into personal attacks or trolling.

I was addressing the -substance- of your statement, as to where I last heard almost those exact words. It was -not- you personally whom I last recalled saying those words.

How about supporting the substance of your position, versus claiming someone attacked you personally?

When I did last hear those words, in 1969, outside Travis AFB, I engaged said hippie in a discussion (holding nose), as to why he believed in what he was saying. Turned out he was quite passionate about his beliefs and was willing to verbally defend his statements.

If you think I engage in trolling on a regular basis, you are mistaken. I carefully stick to facts, as well as my personal opinions. When someone addresses what I said, that is their choice. Many people do what I do, and that is simply to ignore certain posts.

Have a nice day!

RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by K1CJS on August 30, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, my error. As to discussing the point, quite a few people, both amateur and not, both American and foreign, express the same opinion. All they want to do is live their life in peace. They have no interest in imposing their will or their way of life on any other people in just about any country.

Just ask the people in Iraq who are being attacked and slaughtered by the ISIS extremists now. They're begging for help, yes, but they would rather just go about their daily business and live their lives like the people over here do. And yes, this may well be a case where the conflict and the defending of these people by the military of other countries is justified.

But consider this. If it weren't for the extremists and the misguided politicians who start these conflicts, there would be no need for war, and the young people who want to serve could well be put to work in other endeavors--useful, PEACEFUL endeavors--rather than risking their lives and their physical well being fighting in conflicts for nothing but the satisfaction of a few politicians/extremists.
RE: The Gift of Friendship  
by KQ9J on August 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Good article and discussion, with the exception of a couple nutjobs. Most of the foreign hams are just like us, enjoying a hobby while working, raising a family etc. No need to create ill will due to some ridiculous and distorted personal world view.
We go there to get away from such things.  
by AI2IA on August 31, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
If your avocation is swimming, then you get in the water and just swim. You enjoy the coolness, the exercise, the motion, and you relax. You don't discuss politics, sex, and religion. You don't try to change the world while you swim. You look upon other swimmers as folks who share your happiness by swimming. This is the friendship among those who swim.

Now why must ham radio be forced into being anything different than this?

Utopian people are never happy people. They are always struggling to change the world, to make everyone else conform to their ideas of achieving perfection in a perpetually imperfect world.

Just for those wonderful moments when you have lost yourself and your cares in the simple acts of soldering a connector, or keying a mike, or pounding brass, or putting up an antenna, why in the world would you drag politics, sex, and religion into your pleasant escape from the slings and arrows of daily life? It would be an absurd decision to make.
RE: We go there to get away from such things.  
by KB6QXM on September 18, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
One of the reasons why I joined Ham radio was to learn about different cultures. In the past, it was not uncommon to make friends throughout other countries. This friendship would extend to having an open invitation to stay at that ham's house while in that country and have a tour of the area from a local's perspective. That is the ham radio I remember.

In the past you could have a nice QSO with the DX station to build rapport and get that invitation. Now thanks to the rude change in culture and the DX chasers and contesters, you no longer have that capability as hams will say you are monopolizing the frequency and that they want to make a contact and get that wonder 5/9 exchange and get their prized ARRL award.

The days of courtesy on the ham bands is quickly disappearing.

I agree that we cannot discuss politics or religion or any topic that the "political correctness" police does not deem as appropriate.

Yes, there was a time in ham radio that the days of international friendship occurred. Those days are quickly disappearing.

Oh well.

RE: BOYCOTT or Expose Hams in Totalitarian Countries  
by LB1LF on September 22, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
@WA4D - Consider this for a second: If you were in a QSO with a ham in some totalitarian country (not counting France) and you start describing his country and/or government in derogatory terms - what do you think would happen to him if someone reported it?

I think it would be a bad career move for, say, a ham in Iran just to listen to your rant; much less respond to it.

Furthermore, if stuff like this was common on the HF bands, my money would be on any totalitarian government worth mentioning simply banning ham radio altogether.

That aside, there's the purely pragmatist and selfish view - if I were to go on and on about the NSA, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo and the like whenever bands were open across the pond, I'd never get around to wrapping up my 5BWAS and WAC... :)
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