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Have you noticed that the "quality" of your on-the-air QSOs has diminished considerably in the past 10-20 years, or so...?
  Posted: Apr 16, 2012   (760 votes, 42 comments) by VE3CUI

  YES! It's getting so I have to really make an effort to draw the guys that I work into the QSO.
  NO! It's the same now, as it was whenever I first got licensed, way-back-when.
  YES! Now that fewer & fewer QSOs are technically related, what's to discuss...?!
  NO! Most guys I meet on the air will strike-up a conversation just as easily as if I met them on the street.
  YES! The art of Ham radio communication seems to be lost upon this generation of Hams.
  NO! It's just that people are used to fast modes of communication, like twitter, e-mails, etc.
  Conversation...? Whats that? Everyone is "Your 5 & 9, thank you QRZ?
    (760 votes, 42 comments)

Survey Results
YES! It's getting so I have to really make an effort to draw the guys that I work into the QSO. 10% (74)
NO! It's the same now, as it was whenever I first got licensed, way-back-when. 19% (141)
YES! Now that fewer & fewer QSOs are technically related, what's to discuss...?! 8% (58)
NO! Most guys I meet on the air will strike-up a conversation just as easily as if I met them on the street. 19% (146)
YES! The art of Ham radio communication seems to be lost upon this generation of Hams. 14% (105)
NO! It's just that people are used to fast modes of communication, like twitter, e-mails, etc. 5% (39)
Conversation...? Whats that? Everyone is "Your 5 & 9, thank you QRZ? 26% (197)

Survey Comments
It's there if you want it & it is what you make it.
I have no trouble striking up a good conversation on HF or even on the local repeater. I really enjoy a good tech-talk session. Especially propagation, antennas & antenna design, radio specs, receiver performance, and cutting-edge technology. I also enjoy learning about different countries & cultures from my DX contacts. There are plenty of hams out there who have something interesting to say.

Sometimes, a sig report is all I'm looking for - especially when I'm analyzing propagation. So, it's all good by me.

Posted by N0NCO on November 26, 2012

Same as Always
Still the same BM and hemmroid groups as always but who wants to talk to them.

Give me a 5x9 QRZ anytime over those.

Posted by N0AZZ on August 29, 2012

Listen
I spend most of my time lust listening on the bands. I really enjoy listening to good technical conversation that teaches me something. I dont think I find as much of it as before but it is there if you scan the band. I am not lamenting about the old days, thats for the old fuddy duddys. Hams are known for being in the forefront ;-) I do get on to 59 DX a couple of nights a week, just to "go along with the program"

Posted by NZ2Z on June 8, 2012

It's there if you want it.
I find I can find conversation anytime I want, usually on 40 and 15/17.

Posted by W9KDX on May 20, 2012

Listen and then Talk
I believe we all like to listen and then maybe talk a little , and mostly listen ,personally, I like the radio and antenna topics, comming from "Radio Expeirmenters " first choice and " Ham Radio " in the latter, Dont you just miss the " GLOW " of those Valve Radio's,

steve Ei8glb // Ei7cyb

Posted by EI8GLB on May 6, 2012

Dead Repeaters
I remember a couple hams plus myself,a paid member,
We used to talk all day the let up and always asked if any other person needed to use the repeater then just jump in.
One old timer who never got on the repeater but listened all the time griped to the 5 owners that me and 3 others are on to much.
I was told via E mail to stay off for a while,I said the repeater is dead all day and I keep you guys company at drive time then when your friends jump in you pass it around then forget i'm there.
We went to another repeater and was told to use it all we want except or drive time but if there is a discussion going on and I had some good info to add,then jump in.
We all paid him the a few months later the 2/220 repeaters took a direct lighting strike.
We had one very good repeater and it is closed.
I gave up
BOB
AF2Q
PS: Sure miss chatting on 2 meters with the old timers.

Posted by AF2Q on May 3, 2012

GET OFF LINE AND GET ON THE AIR
I selected *Other* because I know that many other Countries have a difficult time getting parts and many parts they use are built from trashed radios and old TV sets.
So to me they are better hams because here in the USA we just pick up the phone and order what we want.
DX hams are more into CW and SSB and if you listen the ratio of US hams to DX hams is 70% DX vs 30 % USA hams.
Drop echo link and bring back the real meetings.
To much time on line just keeps you off the air.
BOB
AF2Q

Posted by AF2Q on May 3, 2012

Soo Tired of Hearing about the Good Old Days!
All this talk of the good old days is obviously inaccurate; we have a number of old Hams who say nothing has changed. I would imagine that people did talk a bit more 40 years ago simply because there was a hell of a lot less options back then. Take away the Internet my 300 channels of TV and leave me with a Nagging XYL and sure I will be on the Radio having long QSO's! Does that mean I really wanted to talk to a stranger for 30 minutes, No! but it's better than twiddling my thumbs all night.

Posted by KD8MJR on May 2, 2012

The DX Bug Has Bitten---HARD!!!
I've found that casual rag chews on my favourite band, i.e.
160-meters, are few & far between anymore. The bulk of
the activity there (on CW, anyway) seems to be focused
toward DX'ing...

This spring, as I commenced my annual "migration" to 10-
, 15-, and 20-meters, I discovered that---horror of
horrors!---the DX bug has taken root on those bands,
too! QSOs are rarely 2 minutes long anymore, & most of
them seem to end with "...QSL via buro tu 73."

It's getting so that if a person really wants a nice, leisurely
rag chew anymore, 80- and 40-meters are the places to
be...most guys haven't forgotten how to really & truly
COMMUNICATE there! Hi Hi

Posted by VE3CUI on May 1, 2012

survey
no comment

Posted by K3FWG on May 1, 2012

So So
I find that good conversations are a hit or miss thing. its tough to have a technical chat with someone who doesnt know what a PL 259 is let alone put it on coax! But its also hard to chat with anyone on PSK31 cause its all macros and then gone. I am not a CW op so I cant say anything related there. Or the only place you hear anyone is on a repeater. I will pass on that.
With the large number of "shack on the belt" hams the art of conversation has been going down hill for years. But as someone posted, it is what you make of it. And JT65 is TOO slow for me!! I dont have that many more years in this world to wait on that! HAHAHA!

Posted by N0FPE on April 30, 2012

GRID SQUARES

Grid Squares have absolutely ruined 6 meters. Started my Amateur Radio 'life' in 1956 working 6 and 2 meters for 17 years. Building, learning, experiencing so much about this hobby through great conversations but not possible today. THe QSO's are about 40 seconds long - and they usually don't even knwo what city they live in ! So sad.

Posted by K9EID on April 30, 2012

Quality qsos
I operate cw more than 99% of the time. most
of the fellow hams I meet on the air are
willing to engage in a quality qso.I like to
operate at about 15 to 18 wpm, and there is no
lack of qsos to be had. some qsos have lasted
30 minutes or more.
73, Al kd7kd.

Posted by KD7KD on April 29, 2012

Tough to find a good ragchew
Here in Florida, it seems as if the guys I know are either into internet social sites like Facebook more than ham radio...or whining about something someone did to them. If they spent half as much time being hams rather than worrying about who gave them a kiss on facebook perhaps we could get some good rag chews going again. They know who they are....lol.

Posted by KE4ZHN on April 26, 2012

Tough to find a good ragchew
Here in Florida, it seems as if the guys I know are either into internet social sites like Facebook more than ham radio...or whining about something someone did to them. If they spent half as much time being hams rather than worrying about who gave them a kiss on facebook perhaps we could get some good rag chews going again. They know who they are....lol.

Posted by KE4ZHN on April 26, 2012

Your choice
If you want inane, really meaningless QSOs then PSK31 will most likely work for you. A scary percentage of those guys just wanta push macro buttons. Of course, the DX pileup and a warm fuzzy JT-65 QSO can't be beat for the minimal exchange of information in the Shannon/Weaver sense of the word. Other digital modes seem to encourage actual conversation. CW can be a mixed bag as can be SSB.

Posted by N4UM on April 25, 2012

It's up to you.
The key is in your hand and/or the mike is in your hand. You supply one half of the QSO. No whining or moaning. No criticism of the other guy. Forget the good old days. It is up to you. You chose amateur radio.

All in a nut shell: It is what you make it for yourself.

Posted by AI2IA on April 25, 2012

NO CODE GENERAL
HAS THE REMOVAL OF CODE HURT HAM RADIO. I AM A NO CODE GUY,WHILE MY WIFE PICKED IT UP IN 4 DAYS. JUST WONDERED WHAT OLD TIMERS THINK!!!

Posted by KC7NYI on April 24, 2012

Conversation is a team sport
I'm very new to the hobby, but my initial impression of
the interaction is no different than my face-to-face
experiences.

Some people are communicating with you because they have a
job to do. They are focused, direct, and efficient in
their conversation. They need to conclude the conversation quickly and move on. In the off-air world,
you expect this from tradesmen and business contact. On
the radio, these are contesters and those pursuing DXCC or
similar.

Some people are looking for social contact. They want to
enrich your life and they want to be enriched by yours.
This could be profound or trivial, but the key element is
that they want to share an idea or an experience. Off
air, you find these people next to you in the lines at
checkout, waiting for a bus, or near you in the pub. On
air, these are the folks calling CQ at a normal speaking
pace and jumping into the end of a previous QSO.

And there are many more groups, too.

My point here is that the quality of an on air QSO is
subject to the same parameters as one in person. Both
parties need symmetrical goals. When there are
asymmetrical goals, at least one party's goals will be
unmet and result in a poor conversation.

Has that changed over the years? I can't say. I can say
that artful conversation takes practice, practice takes
time, and the older you are the more time you've had.
Maybe as we age we experience a different relative pool of
conversationalists-- when we are young, everyone is better
at conversation than we are because everyone is older than
we are. When we are are old, everyone is bad at
conversing because more people are younger and less
practiced.

/rag

Catch you on the air!
73 de KD0RND Alex

Posted by W2GAC on April 23, 2012

CW RAG CHEWING
51 years on cw. Rag chewing on cw takes quite a bit of effort compared to ssb and key board modes. So lots of cw QSOs are "drive bye contacts". I am hunting WAS contacts so short QSOs are ok with me. Yet I often get 30 to 60 minute QSOs. I NEVER get an aches and pains QSO on cw. I find a good balance in types of QSOs. I listen to voice mode QSOs from time-to-time and am not attracted to it. Unlike ssb, on cw I NEVER hear ANY profanity. NEVER intentional jamming. NEVER an insult. No frequency police or hogs. I have noticed that the quality of code sending and efficiency of operating have gone up significantly in recent decades. In fact, dropping the code as a licensing requirement turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to improve the conditions on the cw bands - second only to the demise of the bug and the arrival of keyers: very few, if any, swing fists now-a-days. Life on cw is better than ever as I hear it on my receiver. Just about everyone slows down for newbies, etc. The QRP ops are really great. CW clubs like FISTS and SKCC are having a very good influence on the bands. It is also wonderful to hear the return of the straight key.

Posted by K7NSW on April 22, 2012

Hit and Run
Todays HF stations all want to hit and run... 599 QTH NAME and on their way. I think many are in to DXCC's, contesting and the like so it's all about quantity rather than quality.
I find that you are more likely to get a "Good QSO" on PSK or RTTY rather than Phone or CW. Yes, the times have changed with generations. Ham Radio is still a thrill to me and the highlight of my retirement activity. I was first licensed in 1964. There is still nothing like hearing your call coming back out of a huge pile up. The Thrill is not gone! 73 Everyone. Good DX.
de NQ4A - Jon - Richmond VA

Posted by NQ4A on April 22, 2012

Hit and Run
Todays HF stations all want to hit and run... 599 QTH NAME and on their way. I think many are in to DXCC's, contesting and the like so it's all about quantity rather than quality.
I find that you are more likely to get a "Good QSO" on PSK or RTTY rather than Phone or CW. Yes, the times have changed with generations. Ham Radio is still a thrill to me and the highlight of my retirement activity. 73 Everyone. Good DX.
de NQ4A - Jon - Richmond VA

Posted by NQ4A on April 22, 2012

And another thing
I don't know how I managed to misspell "Algonquin," and I
don't know why my replies wrap with such short lines.

Posted by NX7E on April 22, 2012

I don't see that much change
I've been a ham for 34 years (licensed at age 13) and I really
don't hear any big difference. Even years ago, I could listen
to 75 m SSB and hear mostly OMs talking about their
prostates and bowel movements and heart bypasses. As for
people complaining about losing the art of conversation, I
have NEVER heard, on a regular basis, scintillating
conversations on the air. Most of the time when I listen to
SSB ragchews, I hear filibustering (sometimes 5 straight
minutes before turning it over) and aaaaaaaaaahs and other
such things.

I'm not trying to denigrate ragchewing at all. I just hate
romanticizing the past, and a lot of old-timers talk as if HF
used to sound like the Algobquin Roundtable, and it's just
not true. It's just regular people having a chat. And that's
just fine.

I have never been in this for ragchewing, but I'm always
open to a pleasant conversation. My interest is in
propagation and I like just making contact. If it's just a
signal report, that's OK, and usually I like to have a short,
friendly exchange and move on. That doesn't make me anti-
social; I'm just not into getting into long talks with strangers
most of the time.

Two things haven't changed in my ham career:

1: Hams all have different interests within the hobby, and
2: Hams have a tendency to denigrate those whose interest
is different from their own.

I still don't get that.

Posted by NX7E on April 22, 2012

Depends
It really depends on who you meet on the air. There are some people who are easier to strike up conversations with then others. I'll rag chew with anyone, but I can't blame a ham for trying to keep it short in order to achieve a goal of contacting certain stations while the band conditions allow. Ham radio has something for everyone, and if racking up QSOs is your thing... awesome... great that were using our frequencies.

Posted by NH7FL on April 22, 2012

ragchews
Best ragchews likely on 75M.

Posted by WB9YCJ on April 21, 2012

rag chewing
Like KI4YIK i am new to hf having been a tech.
since 1991 i decided to upgrade in Feb. this year.So far i have only had 3 real qsos.
I started out in cb back in the early 60's
at the age of 14 i was nicked named wormy the person that pinned that name on me said i was the only person he knew of that could work his self into any conversation and be able to talk to anyone about anything.Now i find it almost
impossible to find hams wanting to talk.
Roger AK4QQ

Posted by KC4ZPA on April 19, 2012

still go qsos to be found
If some will cut the qso short due to there pre qualifications then maybe fishing alone is your hobby or short wave listening. I usually just start off with small talk and get into a more substansive dialog.the person who does not want a weather report, equipment im running, what i do for a living then he certainly does not want to enguage.And ultimately will be a very short QSO.

Posted by K2VI on April 19, 2012

all you get now is 599 and 73s and the others just want to cause trouble and act like fools I find the digital modes the place for conversation and not the phone I figure that those trouble makers can not spell or do not know how to read

Posted by VE1PGC on April 19, 2012

Proof positive
To test out the theory that most hams don't
really pay much attention to the people
they're talking to, three of us--my brother,
another ham, and I--put together a collection
of pre-taped messages, then used them to
conduct SSB conversations. We were
successful, too: by playing back canned
portions of conversation (think of them as
audio macros), we could usually fool the
operator on the other end. So, proof
positive that the art of ham conversation has
gone to hell in a handbasket.

There's only one problem. This experiment
was performed in 1968.

Posted by KG6AF on April 18, 2012

Mountain does not come to you
When you go hunting or fishing, you look for the best spots.

When you go rag chewing you do the same. Weekdays are the best. Early morning, up to noon on forty meters for folks not too far from you. You do know that the upper ends of the bands are best for finding rag chewers, don't you? Other bands are just as good. Go on the nets. It will do you good, and it will make others feel good, too!

Old timers may have their pains and illnesses, everything from poor vision and hearing to heart problems, but they are the folks most likely to want to rag chew with you, most likely to be patient, and to be helpful, because they have been around for so long on the bands. Can you relate to people not your age?

Regardless of what you get or don't get, every time you fire up your rig, call CQ at least once before shutting down. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to all those Elmers and VE's out there that helped you get your start.

Posted by AI2IA on April 18, 2012

Contests on weekends.
Most of the time, that is the only time I can get on the bands, and the whole point of the contests are to get as many contacts as possible. That is why the "5/9 thanks for the contact" is the only thing that most people hear.

Some would say that ham radio would be better if contests were outlawed, and the chase of wallpaper is the worst thing that happened to ham radio. It's really too bad, but I'm beginning to think that as well.

Posted by K1CJS on April 18, 2012

QSO's today
I'm a newbie in ham terms, licensed 3 yrs. I got into HF and all I hear is 5-9 thanks and that just doesn't interest me. I spend most of my time on UHF with the locals and working public service events. That's what is so great about ham radio, so many different ways to go!!

Posted by W5SYF on April 18, 2012

Ever think about ...
Ever think about what you say in your rag chew rather than what you don't want to hear? Do you have the capability to discreetly steer the conversation to make it better for all?

After all, you are not just "listening to the radio." You are one half the people skills involved. There is a mike or a key in your hands.

The most powerful force in the world is not the nuclear bomb. It is the spoken word.

Posted by AI2IA on April 18, 2012

QSOS

I don't like to hear the senior citizen medical reviews of his or hers medical problems, including surgery operations. Also before you speak think about sentence construction...I hear too many ah's, er's, you-knows, etc....

73
Mike K8XF

Posted by K8XF on April 18, 2012

QSO Quality
As a rule, I do not care for the following.
1. How many rigs, towers and antennas you have. Or where all of your houses and condos are located. That's just bragging, not ragchewing. Of course I'm one of the blue collar income guys that managed to get a ham license.
2. Your many surgeries with all the gory details.
3. Don't give me advice unless I ask for it.
4. Microphone adjustments for years...get it right then leave it alone.
There is a lot of stuff to talk about besides what I have listed. If you are one of the few that can tell a guy to go to hell and have him look forward to the trip, then the above is null and void.

Posted by N4VNV on April 18, 2012

Rag Chew
I am a newer Ham and just got on HF this year.
I WISH I could find someone to ragchew with,
but I never feel comfortable enough to break in
to ongoing conversation, and never get an
answer to my CQ call.

Posted by KI4YIK on April 17, 2012

Rag Chewing
I find it harder to have a real Rag Chew but when I do they are as great as ever. I hate to say it, but over the last generation or two, people have really lost the art of conversation. Maybe we need another award for longer QSOs, something like the old Rag Chewers Club (RCC) or DXCC RCC or WAS RCC.

Just my two cents worth - from an old timer.

Posted by WB0HZL on April 17, 2012

Quality of QSO's
Yes it has changed, most newer Hams have no technical ability and are lost when you try to talk. They all need a basic electronics course or two. All I hear about is their medication problems and their tired bones.. boring boring...Denny K8KAS

Posted by K8KAS on April 17, 2012

Like Pulling Teeth Sometimes!
Some people are just naturally-born conversationalists--
-others are, well, to put it mildly, a real chore to engage in
a talk.

I seem to run into quite a few of the latter any more on
the air: after a run down of the usual at this end ("...Your
5&9, weather here is, rig is, antenna is..."), I always
endeavour to ask the fellow at the other end some
specifics about his situation: many times all I ever get
back---instead of the usual "give & take" of a rag chew--
-one word answers.

Needless-to-say, this can be VERY taxing & a strain,
trying to think up queries a la Edward R. Murrow, to hear
nothing but direct responses in return.

Usually I cut those types of QSOs short. I can only assume
that the fellow I've "worked" is a die-hard DX'er, or
contestor, & that chewing the rag simply takes him out of
his proverbial "comfort zone."

Posted by VE3CUI on April 17, 2012

Same as it ever was
If I want to have a good rag chew, or join a net or jump into a pileup - all I have to do is spin my dial. I can find any of these things pretty much day or night - and chose how short or long a QSO that I want.

I can even find a good long CW QSO if I want - just like I did every day in the 70's - when I was a Novice.

The only thing that isn't as good as in the 1970's is the repeaters. They seemed a lot more fun - back then - maybe because they were new and at that time I lived out in the country. WR2AHV was a very friendly repeater - with lots of locals always on and gabbing away.

Posted by KY6R on April 16, 2012

It's up to you
Conversation, even on the air, is what you make it. Nothing has really changed. First, you have to listen and sometimes make an educated guess about the other guy's situation. Does he have the time for a rag chew? Is he a foreign station looking to log a quick DX? Is he looking to gauge his transmit audio? Does he want to talk about his antenna?

As an opener always be quick to give him a true RST. Say something good about his transmission quality or content or purpose right off the bat, and tell him you are glad for the contact.

After that, if he has ants in his pants, let him go, but cheerfully with wishes to contact him again down the log.

If he hangs in there, look for common points of interest. Be cheerful. Accentuate the positive. Be on the affirmative, and be helpful. If you can, ask him for tips or his points from experience. After all, it is a two way communication.

No. Nothing has changed, only our ability to share while on the air. Make the most of ham radio. It's your endeavor. - Ray, ai2ia

Posted by AI2IA on April 16, 2012

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