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Author Topic: How much of a role does alcohol contribute to the bad behavior on the bands?  (Read 4434 times)
NU1O
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« on: November 18, 2012, 12:57:15 AM »

I do not drink alcohol while I operate the radio, and rarely off the radio for that matter except for some occasional wine with supper or an occasional cordial or two when I'm having difficulty winding down and can't fall asleep. When I have a cordial at night I am typically watching an old movie which is another hobby. I can't ever recall having a cordial in hand while I was on the air.

Last week I had my cousin over during the day to help me with some antenna and yard work and while out with him picking up yard supplies I bought a 12 pack of beer. We each had a few beers with supper and then we headed to the radio room where we had a couple more. During the mid - 80s to the early to mid-90s he was in the Army and his job was to maintain and repair RTTY machines. He was really impressed with what the little K3 could do with respect to decoding digital modes.

I wanted to make some contacts for him so I selected a strong CW signal with a good fist so he could see the QSO decoded on the K3's tiny screen. I am normally pretty accurate when I send CW at 20 wpm but with the beers I had consumed I was making a lot more mistakes than normal. Not wanting to embarrass myself further I switched to Phone and my cousin listened to a few SSB QSOs before heading for home a few streets away. I shut all the gear off when he left.

We have a separate topic in this forum on how disgusting the behavior was on 40 meters the other night with respect to the PT0S pileup and somebody suggested the bad behavior during the pileup ranks number one among human endeavors for the level of stupidity. Obviously that's a vast overstatement as humans do a lot of stupid things but interfering with a rare amateur radio station is not the most stupid thing we do. I pointed out all the bad behavior going on at baseball (and other sporting events) parks where the foul language is rampant and where there were several deaths due to violence committed by fans in the past year or so. Much of the bad language and violence are due to fans who have consumed much too much liquor.

In the late 1980's I had sold a business and I had downtime to do as I pleased.  I'd often join groups of regulars on 40 and 80 meters late in the evening to the early morning.  There was a lot of drinking going on as guys would regularly say they needed to QRX for a "refill" or to make a run to the bathroom to relieve themselves.  

The dirty little secret of ham radio is many regularly get tanked up every night. I'm not singling out ham radio as it is just a subset of the general population and many people drink nightly until they fall asleep or the liquor makes them pass out.

I've never seen this topic discussed in the time I have been reading this forum but we all know drinking booze while on the air occurs.

Is alcohol consumption something that contributes to or causes the bad behavior we see on the amateur bands?  Since the worst behavior is said to have occurred at night and drinking at night is fairly common with some hams I wonder if that contributed to that bad behavior?

What are your views?  

73,

Chris/NU1O










« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 01:02:26 AM by NU1O » Logged
AF3Y
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 04:48:35 AM »

A quick reply, as I am heading out to breakfast.  I dont think that alcohol is a major factor in the
really disgusting behavior of some hams during expeditions, etc.  I think its mostly the "Me Me Me" attitude that so many have today, along with the "If I cannot get a QSO, YOU are damned sure not gonna get one"!.

At least here in my situation, my usual evening glass of Shiraz may even help my CW "skills". It tends to relax me a bit. I think it sorta helps me to "mellow" a little and possibly overlook some of the stupidity which takes place in the heat of a pileup.

Alcohol? What about the potheads who carry their high onto the bands?  I honestly dont think alcohol OR weed are 1% of the problems we hear. I think most of it is just jerkoffs venting on the air, like they are probably doing in their workplace during the day, etc. These are the kind of guys that you really hope never becomes your next door neighbor, even disregarding ham radio.

Just my opinion.

73, Gene AF3Y
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KY6R
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 05:01:43 AM »

I agree with Gene - I'll bet the number is surprisingly low, and the people who cause trouble are just "socially challenged".
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WA8UEG
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 05:19:07 AM »

While it may play a part I think it's more of a way to gain attention. The people jamming, playing music, racial slurs and cursing are pretty pathetic people that need attention and the radio is away of obtaining it without any face to face confrontation which I believe they would NEVER engage in. In their mind it makes them feel like a man, it's the only way they can actually assert themselves without fear of repercussions. In the late 60's we tracked down a person (I won't call him a man) who was jamming a local MARS net on 2 meters, he would curse and threaten the ops on the net. My father in law was a detective and one night while the net was on and he was doing his thing my father in law got a couple of his buddies that were officers and we along with another ham paid him a visit. My father in law cuffed him and told us to take all his radios out and destroy them, he cried like a 3 year old begging to let him go. He let him go and said he would return in 3 days and all the radios must be gone and antennas must be down. Of course we never went back but all his antennas were down in 3 days (6 & 2 Meter beams along with a TA33) and we never heard from him again. I believe he is typical of the jamming breed, pathetic human beings with serious issues. Couldn't get away with what we did back then today, we would be tied up in law suits for years!!!!
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K3NRX
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 05:45:24 AM »

While substances play a role in the dark side of our hobby, I would have to agree it's only a small percent role....Some people are just born sociopaths....Look a the situation with VE7KFM......does he sound drunk when he goes on his mad dog tirades and rants?....which leads me to this segue....I think that people getting involved in radio wars on the air is a bigger problem, wether it's substance induced or not....I am surprised that more people who pick radio fights are not meeting their untimely demise as a result.....This, I think was probably more common on the chicken band, but now (and I use the VE7KFM situation as an example) seems to have bled over on to the ham bands......bad behavior is bad behavior, whether it's substance induced or not.....Like I said in another thread, assholes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, races, religions, polticial affiliations, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, and geographic locations.....We didn't start the fire....It's been always burning since the world's been turning....Seems worse now that it's infiltrated ham radio....

V
KA3NRX

« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 05:47:49 AM by KA3NRX » Logged
K6UJ
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 09:35:59 AM »

I think the question should be reversed.
How much of a role does bad behavior on the bands lead to alcohol abuse ?   Grin Grin

73,
Bob
K6UJ

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AC5UP
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2012, 10:05:07 AM »

Regular drinkers are not that common (10%) and these stats don't give a number for excessive drinkers....  http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/drinking-statistics

But... Like other issues involving alcohol or abusive behavior, drunk drivers and drunk OM's DO get noticed. Perhaps more than their numbers would warrant. As stated by others, radio attracts all kinds but IMHO is more prone to introverts, loners and the socially awkward (present company excepted). Would that correlate with increased alcohol use? Maybe so, but not in my experience. I should mention I rarely listen to the rag chews on 75 Meter 'fone and maybe that's a factor, but on 20 and above it's more CQ Contest than a bad re-run of Cheers.

There's also the question of demographics and relative absence of women, minorities and younger Hams. If you have a local ARC and haven't been to a meeting in a while, stop by. It's like an AARP meeting but without the women and minorities. Are older men more prone to chronic alcohol use?   Yeah....... The NIH stats linked above do suggest that.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2012, 10:16:08 AM »

After turning on the rig just now, and thinking about trying a 20m CW QSO with PT0S, I turned it back off. The usual scumbags were doing their best to make things miserable. I wont go into detail, you know the show.

I dont think its alcohol, I think its 80% mean jerks who as mentioned above, would never do any deeds like that to your face. Cowardly and Mean, I think that gets most of it.

And...... its not just on PT0S.  I saw C50C spotted on 80 cw a nite or two ago, while PT0S was QRV on a couple other bands. I tuned in C50C, and GUESS WHAT I heard?  You Got it!  TUNERS, JAMMERS, COPS, etc.. etc... MEAN, COWARDLY people who simply sit there and scan the clusters, monitor the traffic on the spotted freq, and if there seems to be much action there, they start their BS.  Huh

73, Gene AF3Y
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WD4ELG
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2012, 03:37:23 PM »

It's not the booze.  It's the self centered attitude and the entitlement that these idiots feel they have to make others miserable.  This happens not just in amateur radio but in the workplace, on the road, in restaurants, at kids sporting events, etc.

These nincompoops are expressing frustration in their crummy lives that makes them act this way. 

We CAN spin the dial, unless it is a DXpedition we are trying to work.  I guess the only other option is to shut the rig down and try later.

I am at 306 worked with PT0S, but I have to tell you my tolerance is slipping.  I don't know if I have the fortitude to brave the pileups for ZL9 and Heard Island in the months to come.  My remaining needed list is all totalitarian countries (XZ, P5) or isolated rocks that are top on everyone else's list.  The pileups (and bad behaviors) will only be worse as I get closer to honor roll.  I guess I planned on the frustration of just hearing the DX, I really never considered that the challenges would be so close to my own QTH.

Well, there's always QRP and digital modes to work while everyone else is gnashing their teeth over these jerks.

I need to remember: it's only a hobby, this is supposed to be fun.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2012, 04:53:37 PM »

We CAN spin the dial, unless it is a DXpedition we are trying to work.  I guess the only other option is to shut the rig down and try later.

I am at 306 worked with PT0S, but I have to tell you my tolerance is slipping.  I don't know if I have the fortitude to brave the pileups for ZL9 and Heard Island in the months to come.  My remaining needed list is all totalitarian countries (XZ, P5) or isolated rocks that are top on everyone else's list.  The pileups (and bad behaviors) will only be worse as I get closer to honor roll.  I guess I planned on the frustration of just hearing the DX, I really never considered that the challenges would be so close to my own QTH.


Sounds like we are basically in the same boat (canoe?). PT0S is 310 for me.

ZL9 and Heard both will be a hellacious challenge to hear, especially if the jerkoffs continue to use the DX for their playground.  I dont see any reason for the QRM to be any less aggrevating.

PT0S has been loud most of the time, on most of the bands. I dont think we will enjoy that "edge" that the big signal gives us.  If the DX is louder than the QRMers, the QRMers are no bother......

All we can do is try, try again. And...... Like you said, if it becomes too much to handle, shut down and try it again later. Roll Eyes

73, Gene AF3Y
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N2RJ
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2012, 05:47:17 PM »

I agree with all others who said that alcohol has little to do with it.

Some people just like to be jerks and pee on someone else's parade.
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N3OX
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2012, 06:03:58 PM »

I think that trying to find the CAUSE of the bad behavior as some failing of the PEOPLE that do it is not particularly important.  It doesn't really matter if they're drunk or mentally ill or mad at DXers or just a plain old garden-variety asshole.  I think the important problem is that we feed these people complete and comprehensive information about the frequency of every mildly interesting DX station.

We've had spotting for a long time, but in the past, the administrator of a phone tree, the sysadmin of a packet cluster, or a group of users on a local DX repeater would have noticed a pattern that an "anonymous someone" showed up anytime 'ol Bob Q. Lid had access to certain information.  They might further be familiar with Bob Q. Lid's drunken 75m rants on how DXing is ruining ham radio.

When all the access nodes for spotting information are under the control of small groups of people who are able to pay attention and see patterns, you can imagine that a lot of problem people will eventually get thinner and thinner information about the movements of interesting DX.  People on the phone tree will start to "forget" Bob Q. Lid's one-ringer.  The packet cluster admin might "accidentally" set Bob Q. Lid's packet cluster filters to show only domestic spots, figuring, correctly, that Bob Q. Lid doesn't even know what a packet cluster filter is, much less how to un-set it.  

Then Bob Q. Lid, if he wants to continue disrupting DXers, has to find DX for himself, and that is by far a much better situation and less dangerous.  On the low bands, by the time Bob can hear the DX reliably, he'll be converted to the thrill of DXing.  On the higher bands, it's easy to find some DX with a big pileup, but due to the way propagation works, Bob, by himself, can't put a dent in the DX station's rate.   He can jam 15% of the pileup, which sucks for them but doesn't disrupt the whole operation.  When Bob gets bored, the suffering 15% can get back in there.  The way it is now, Bob knows he's just one in an army of  like minded trolls with perfect coordination who can nearly take down an operation for a while.

==========

This isn't just a problem with jammers.  It's also a problem with selfish bad sport DXers too.  I don't think these groups of people have necessarily become more brazen or more numerous.  But I do think that in the past, they could have been pruned away as bad branches in the DX info tree.  

If we don't change the way we do spotting, we'll never be able to block the flow of information to problem people.  It's not spotting that's the problem; it's really the fact that good DXers build big stations with great reception and then feed the movements of every single DX station directly to any asshole who can load up DX Summit or whatever.

There's nothing we can do about un-jerk-ifying these people, but there probably IS something we can do about making them have to work to find the frequencies where they can do the most damage.
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
WD4ELG
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2012, 06:49:35 PM »

AF3Y/Gene

We are in the same boat, except I think you have more patience than I do.  I was licensed in 1977 as a 13 year old know-it-all teenage wise-a$$, and was quickly humbled with a great Elmer (Ed Reddington W4ZM, SK).  He helped me learn a lot of good adult behaviors that went beyond the hobby (like self awareness and teamwork).  He also is respondible for my DX addiction shortly thereafter, but I did not get obsessed with it and truly chasing the honor roll until 2001.  Sometime after 2001, I think my patience faded as my expectations grew.  I never heard a peep from VU7 or BS7 DXpeditions.  Gene, do you find your location to have significant receiving improvements due to salt water proximity?  Is that offset by the thunderstorm static?

Thanks to all on this thread who made me chuckle and realize not to take any of this too seriously.  If anything, the QRMers are just a challenge that negates the value of the clusters.  In the old days, the LIDs needed to find the DX just like we chasers did, by tuning around and some luck.  Now we all find it quicker.


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NU1O
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2012, 10:20:05 PM »

Alcohol? What about the potheads who carry their high onto the bands?  I honestly dont think alcohol OR weed are 1% of the problems we hear. I think most of it is just jerkoffs venting on the air, like they are probably doing in their workplace during the day, etc. These are the kind of guys that you really hope never becomes your next door neighbor, even disregarding ham radio.

Just my opinion.

73, Gene AF3Y

I never even thought about potheads.  I saw the word "Bogarting" used in this forum and I had no idea why one of my favorite actors had a verb named after him so I looked it up in the "Urban Dictionary" and the definition is one who hogs a joint. The explanation is Bogart would often have a cigarette in the corner of his mouth and he'd hardly ever draw on it.  I really think that's stretching things a lot but it shows my knowledge of pot: slim to none.  This term was made up by potheads so that maybe a very good reason why it doesn't make much sense.

I watched both the The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca within the past few days and I don't recall ever seeing Bogie with a cigarette in his mouth in The Maltese Falcon. He did more smoking in Casablanca but just about every actor always had a cigarette in his/her mouth in those classic films.

73,

Chris/NU1O
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 10:22:19 PM by NU1O » Logged
W6GX
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2012, 10:35:28 PM »

There's one QRMer that I hear all the time on SSB.  He speaks into the mic with 'oooohlaaaaa oooohlaaaa'.  Yes I do think that these folks are socially challenged and mentally handicapped.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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