Where do we start?
The operators will always try and blame your receiver and then try and tell you that you have your noise blanker on. This tired old excuse does not cut it these days. Most operators are aware that you cant use a noise when the band is full of strong signals. These days most receivers have sufficient dynamic where it really is impossible to crunch the front end. This is not the year 1970!
IMD that is 20 db down is pretty common these days. We can blame the manufacturers for these badly designed transmitters. The bands are so bad these days with IMD that its routine to hear splatter from DX stations. Now imagine
how bad the IMD suppression really is if the IMD is actually loud enough to travel across the world! You want to experience this try listening to the many web SDR receivers in places like Europe you will be really shocked how bad the splatter is these days The SDR waterfall is worth 100000 words! Its not only from Europe its from right across the world.
The chief reasons for being in the splatter club are these:
ESSB, 99.99% of people using outboard audio processing gear with excessive bandwidth cause a lot splatter. ESSB is a menace practice on the ham bands.
The use of CB amplifiers especially on 10 meters by ex good buddies. These stations stand out like a sore thumb and routinely take out 15 to 20khz of the band.
Russian Tetrode amplifiers. These amplifiers are just about the worst amplifier a beginner can use in ham radio. For a start, they are very sensitive to over driving and things like ALC overshoot. You
hear this kind tetrode over shoot splatter on just about every ham that uses these russian tube amplifiers. Its a combination of the poor tube IMD and the transceiver ALC/power spike issue. Most of these amplifiers
could be modified to high drive rather than low drive which could help the splatter problem. For this reason I would never recommend a Russian Tetrode amplifier to anyone who wants a clean signal with any modern ham transceiver
which most has poor IMD performance and ALC overshoot problems.
Then we have the LIDS, these guys are just bad operators who are smart asses and dont give a damn about anybody. They know what they are doing and splatter deliberately by cranking all the knobs to the right.
We then must move onto the hams with technical deficit disorder. These are the ones who typically work DX from a mobile or use a poor a antenna. You will hear a DX station say that their signal is weak can and can you repeat your callsign. The said idiot operator will say hold on I will turn my MIC gain up a bit. They do this and you see 15khz of the band getting chewed up. This idiotic practice is routine with poor antenna DX'ers and mobile operators. I wonder how cranking up the audio gain on ham transceiver actually increases output power? Maybe someone can sit down and explain why its wrong doing this to these ignorant hams.
Its really time for the occupied bandwidth regulations throughout the world for ham transceivers. This will be a good first step in the right direction. Like everything else in life you cant make rules for idiots.
Ham radio used to be great when it was a true technical community where people took technical criticism on the chin. These days telling someone that they splattering is like calling their wives ugly. Its even worst when these
technical ignorant hams think that spending 10 thousand dollars on radio guarantees them a splatter free signal. I have a few operators tell me this I have this expensive brand X radio, its does not splatter. How can you combat
such a pathetic and technically ignorant operators?
If someone tells you that you are splattering all that you should request, is at what signal strength you are on their receiver and what their receiver brand is. You really should just terminate your QSO and tell the operator you will investigate the problem . You should then connect the dummy load and second receiver and check you signal, its as simple as that. Launching a personal attack on the ham that reported that you are splattering is not necessary.
The louder the station protests and carries on about your bad receiver the more technical incompetent that station is, its really that simple. It takes all but 1 minute to check if you are really splattering. If you are using ESSB or a CB amplifier you probably are splattering! The number 1 rule is never ask your friend if you are splattering. This kind of sycophantic ham buddy backing his favorite on air ham buddy to make him look good is routine. You find the same ham buddies telling their friends that their audio is excellent even when they sound totally crap. Thats human behavior for you!
Its just such a pleasure listening to the many clean signals on the air. You hear these station running a humble pair of 3-500s and some good radio like a TS830S, TS930S or TS940s or any other radio with good IMD.
Now it seems that every new radio and amplifier produces excessive crud. The fault really lies with the manufacturers that are producing junk most of the time. There are many other combinations of radio and amplifiers that produce
splatter free signals, they just getting harder and harder to find or buy!
This is getting to be very very annoying. I see this a mostly on 20 meters, where an operator is 5Khz to 5.5Khz wide, and when I tune them in they are only S7 or S8. I've tried to be very polite and let them know that they are that wide, but they just don't seem to care. Even when they dismiss me in a rude manner I've remained courteous and went back to my conversation. My filters can cancel them out, but I shouldn't have to use filtering for someone that far away from the frequency I'm using.
Am I just being picky?
So, what to do next?
What you see does not surprise me at all. I did a survey of 20 meters a while ago, and a considerable percentage of signals on the band were far too wide. Ten meters, when it opens, is even worse.
I'm not sure what people are running or doing, because they generally don't take well to being asked about their rigs, but they are doing something. It would be interesting to learn exactly what they are doing.
Many radios are not particularly good, but are passable in most cases. I saw quite a few signals that were less than -20 dB down on the adjacent SSB channel width up or down.
One problem you will run into is if you mention it to someone, their friends will often tell them how good they sound. :-)