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Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...

Created by Onno (VK6FLAB) on 2022-10-10

The art of amateur radio is a globe spanning activity, held together by radio waves and the promise of a community with a shared uncommon interest. The strength of a community depends entirely on the members of that community. Without the efforts of each individual amateur, our worldwide license to experiment is doomed.

You might ask yourself what part you must play in this?

Consider what would happen if a group of amateurs decided to transmit on an unlicensed frequency, or purposefully interfered with other legal users. It's obvious that the regulatory response to such illegal activities would be swift and left unchecked, it would spark the end of our hobby.

What prevents that from happening is our common purpose, our common interests, our willingness to address such behavior, or said in another way, our community standards. It's the thing that keeps us talking, sharing, learning, experimenting, and having fun along the way.

I've been told many times that I shouldn't expect all amateurs to be friends but consider for a moment the sheer diversity of our community. For starters we're scattered around the planet. We have different cultural and political sensibilities; we have different religions and expectations. We don't even speak the same language, even if you forget that the Japanese station you just had a QSO with was using phonetics not even close to their native language.

Those differences are mostly attributes of geography, but they don't end there. We have differences in our households and family structures, our work life and finances, our play time, and our interests. We also differ in age, skin color, gender and even our sexuality, orientation, and gender identity.

Even among all those differences, we are still radio amateurs together with our personal preferences for Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood or some other brand, our desire to use QRP or kilowatts, our need to use a Morse key, our voice, or a computer. We choose to use a repeater, or not, choose HF or not, like to chat, or not, build antennas, or not.

So, it's with all those differences in mind that I'm distressed to report that, yet another amateur has been bullied out of our community. An amateur who joyfully participated in this community, who made videos, wrote software, learnt, and shared. Like others I know, she was bullied in our community because she was different and it's not the first time, I've witnessed this behavior and it's not the first time I've called out this unacceptable conduct by so-called members of our community. Different, how you ask? Does it really matter, or are you asking to determine if there was a valid reason for making her feel uncomfortable?

To be clear, our community is a welcoming environment, filled with hope and joy, but there is a small rotten element in our midst that we need to rip out root and branch, much like we would if it was deliberate HF interference.

You might think that given that this abuse exists on reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, QRZ, email, telephone, letterbox, in clubs and on-air, that it's a majority experience. That's not the case. The same individuals harass fellow amateurs across multiple platforms as entertainment causing untold harm to their victims.

The Standard You Walk Past Is The Standard You Accept. It's not just up to victims of bullying and harassment in a community to speak out. As members of our community, we amateurs have a responsibility to speak out also. Anyone who doesn't is part of the problem. Our community is so diverse as to never be one single thing. A bully is a bully, no matter which words are used to sugar coat it.

I'd like to invite you to consider any bullying you accepted in silence, either personally, as a witness, directly, or indirectly. This community is strong, it's resilient, it's resourceful, it's you and I and it's our duty to stand tall and speak out, loud and proud, about any victimization.

Even if you've never considered that this is happening in your community, look around and notice people leaving the hobby unexpectedly and examine why that might be the case.

You might ask what it is that you can do to help. For starters, calling it out at every occurrence is part of communicating to the victim that they're not alone. It tells the community that they are part of the solution. It tells the bully that what they're doing is unacceptable.

I host a weekly net where we talk about amateur radio and discuss issues like this as and when they occur. We've done so in the past and will continue to offer a safe space for members of this community.

I have and continue to offer my email address, cq@vk6flab.com, for anyone who is struggling with this to discuss any bullying that they are dealing with.

I have experienced some of what this amateur has gone through at the hands of this community, and I will not stand for it any longer and neither should you. Keeping quiet and changing frequency is not the solution as time after time experience has proven.

Calling out a bully and any bullying behavior is calling out a vicious minuscule minority with a peanut brain who needs to be read the riot act. They are not welcome in this community. They are few and far between and we really don't need or want them in our midst.

In my opinion, the community must take ownership of this problem and address it directly, rather than sit on the fence and leave a victim wondering why they're on their own. If you are a victim of bullying in this community, I stand with you and if you are a bully, I'll do everything I can to call you out.

I'm Onno, VK6FLAB

 

KD4KMA2023-04-04
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
We as amateur radio operators by electing to get licensed, need to remember we have been given a privilege to operate. We are also bound by FCC rules that govern how we operate on the amateur radio service. Bullying is not of good amateur practice and is also a violation of the FCC rules. Acting maliciously and behaving poorly is a lack of common decency and a violation of the FCC rules. That being said lets just be courteous to one another not judging, bullying and slandering one another and not forget why we are on amateur radio in the first place.

Best Regards,
David
KD4KMA

KA6JMM2022-11-23
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
Looks like you have hit the nail on its head. Here is more proof of what is really going on from the minority of operators. To think that someone actually puts up a page just to disparage people in anyway they can and at the same time have their anonymous, possibly criminal actions (California anti-stalking laws), supported by the site owner. It is to the point some people are afraid for their safety. Please use a VPN at this site, http://k6ge.signourguestbook.com/ My email is good on QRZ.
KD1JT2022-11-02
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
Meh. People. On the air? ???? In real life? Iā€™m 6ā€™2ā€ and 195 lbs. Try it. LOL
N4BRJ2022-10-28
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
I do see it as an issue that's slowly dying with older generations. Just in the past 5-10 years I've seen attitudes in general become more "who cares, you do your thing I'll do mine) but there will always be some close minded types out there.
KD2HCU2022-10-26
Re: Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
Just because someone has a wife and kids doesn't mean they are heterosexual. Seems like you are stereotyping.
Reply to a comment by : N6HCM on 2022-10-23

> K5MGK Why can't you just talk? No different than having a conversation at work or on the street. No one needs to know your sexual preferences period. Turns out that you *can* just talk. If sexual orientation really isn't something that people need to know about then I expect to never hear about another OM's wife or kids ever again. After all, these are evidence of sexual orientation. I leave it to you to get the word out.
Reply to a comment by : N9AMI on 2022-10-18

K5MGK Why can't you just talk? No different than having a conversation at work or on the street. No one needs to know your sexual preferences period. I don't want to know nor do I care neither should you. Just cause your gay doesn't make you some special something, your like everyone else walking on this planet. And looking up a person on qrz before answering there cq to maybe see if you can find something to talk about? Just ask the person. What do you do for a living? Whats your gear that you run? Otehr hobbies you enjoy? ETC ETC... If they are jerks move on. Call CQ yourself. Don't let the loosers bother you move on turn the vfo because most folks do want to chat and do enjoy a good qso with someone.
Reply to a comment by : K5MGK on 2022-10-17

Thank you Onno for your thoughtful and wise editorial. I am a gay man and have been a ham for almost 4 years. I had a very nice phone QSO with a ham last week and I had mentioned to him that I wish that I would engage in more casual talk or rag chewing than a quick exchange and he was concerned enough to ask me over and over why I don't do it. I didn't mention to him my reasons. I take a conservative approach when answering another ham's cq request. I usually take a look at their QRZ page and try to get a sense of what they may be like regarding open mindedness or accepting of other's differences. If I cannot get information there, I will listen to them talking with another ham and see how the conversation goes. It isn't even just my sexual orientation difference that I am careful about when engaging on the air. I also have observed (and received once) derogatory remarks made by hams who poke fun at those of us who don't have the highest antenna towers topped with the best yagis powered by powerful amplifiers. I don't have the budget for such an elaborate setup. I wish that hams take a moment to think before they speak about what they say may come across to other listeners on the air. Thanks again Onno. 73 de K5MGK Mark
KD2HCU2022-10-25
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
Bullying has always been around. When I was younger bullying was physical, and often unavoidable at school, at the park or anywhere. We didn't have a choice to avoid it back in the day. Then you went into the military and really found out what bullying was in boot camp. If I could have avoided it I would have. Today people complain that they were bullied on social media or on the radio, they have a choice and can easily avoid it. I don't know when our coping mechanism began to fail. Are you bothered by bullying, or do you just want to have something to complain about? If you're being bullied on the radio, then you must have given the bullies some info that they can use against you. Go to a different channel or frequency.
N6HCM2022-10-23
Re: Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
> K5MGK Why can't you just talk? No different than having a conversation at work or on the street. No one needs to know your sexual preferences period.

Turns out that you *can* just talk. If sexual orientation really isn't something that people need to know about then I expect to never hear about another OM's wife or kids ever again. After all, these are evidence of sexual orientation.

I leave it to you to get the word out.
Reply to a comment by : N9AMI on 2022-10-18

K5MGK Why can't you just talk? No different than having a conversation at work or on the street. No one needs to know your sexual preferences period. I don't want to know nor do I care neither should you. Just cause your gay doesn't make you some special something, your like everyone else walking on this planet. And looking up a person on qrz before answering there cq to maybe see if you can find something to talk about? Just ask the person. What do you do for a living? Whats your gear that you run? Otehr hobbies you enjoy? ETC ETC... If they are jerks move on. Call CQ yourself. Don't let the loosers bother you move on turn the vfo because most folks do want to chat and do enjoy a good qso with someone.
Reply to a comment by : K5MGK on 2022-10-17

Thank you Onno for your thoughtful and wise editorial. I am a gay man and have been a ham for almost 4 years. I had a very nice phone QSO with a ham last week and I had mentioned to him that I wish that I would engage in more casual talk or rag chewing than a quick exchange and he was concerned enough to ask me over and over why I don't do it. I didn't mention to him my reasons. I take a conservative approach when answering another ham's cq request. I usually take a look at their QRZ page and try to get a sense of what they may be like regarding open mindedness or accepting of other's differences. If I cannot get information there, I will listen to them talking with another ham and see how the conversation goes. It isn't even just my sexual orientation difference that I am careful about when engaging on the air. I also have observed (and received once) derogatory remarks made by hams who poke fun at those of us who don't have the highest antenna towers topped with the best yagis powered by powerful amplifiers. I don't have the budget for such an elaborate setup. I wish that hams take a moment to think before they speak about what they say may come across to other listeners on the air. Thanks again Onno. 73 de K5MGK Mark
N9AMI2022-10-18
Re: Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
K5MGK Why can't you just talk? No different than having a conversation at work or on the street. No one needs to know your sexual preferences period. I don't want to know nor do I care neither should you. Just cause your gay doesn't make you some special something, your like everyone else walking on this planet. And looking up a person on qrz before answering there cq to maybe see if you can find something to talk about? Just ask the person. What do you do for a living? Whats your gear that you run? Otehr hobbies you enjoy? ETC ETC... If they are jerks move on. Call CQ yourself. Don't let the loosers bother you move on turn the vfo because most folks do want to chat and do enjoy a good qso with someone.
Reply to a comment by : K5MGK on 2022-10-17

Thank you Onno for your thoughtful and wise editorial. I am a gay man and have been a ham for almost 4 years. I had a very nice phone QSO with a ham last week and I had mentioned to him that I wish that I would engage in more casual talk or rag chewing than a quick exchange and he was concerned enough to ask me over and over why I don't do it. I didn't mention to him my reasons. I take a conservative approach when answering another ham's cq request. I usually take a look at their QRZ page and try to get a sense of what they may be like regarding open mindedness or accepting of other's differences. If I cannot get information there, I will listen to them talking with another ham and see how the conversation goes. It isn't even just my sexual orientation difference that I am careful about when engaging on the air. I also have observed (and received once) derogatory remarks made by hams who poke fun at those of us who don't have the highest antenna towers topped with the best yagis powered by powerful amplifiers. I don't have the budget for such an elaborate setup. I wish that hams take a moment to think before they speak about what they say may come across to other listeners on the air. Thanks again Onno. 73 de K5MGK Mark
N0BGS2022-10-17
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
VK6FLAB wrote:

"Consider what would happen if a group of amateurs decided to transmit on an unlicensed frequency, or purposefully interfered with other legal users. It's obvious that the regulatory response to such illegal activities would be swift and left unchecked, it would spark the end of our hobby."

What would happen? Here in the US we know what will happen. Absolutely nothing. The FCC either doesn't have the budget to pursue enforcement on the amateur bands or they simply don't care. There are guys on 11-meters running 50KW. If you doubt it go listen to 27.025 sometime. What is done about it? Nothing.

VK6FLAB wrote:

"I will not stand for it any longer and neither should you..."

What *exactly* do you intend to do to stop the other guy's bad behavior? Give them a stern talking to? That's what these trolls thrive on. They want you to react so good luck with that. Odds are they'll just talk over you and never hear what you're saying anyway.

I don't know a single person who hasn't been bullied at some point in their life. Not one. But amateur radio is not the 6th grade and statistically most of us are over 50-years-old so maybe it's time to get a little thicker skin and move on.

73,

N0BGS
K5MGK2022-10-17
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
Thank you Onno for your thoughtful and wise editorial. I am a gay man and have been a ham for almost 4 years. I had a very nice phone QSO with a ham last week and I had mentioned to him that I wish that I would engage in more casual talk or rag chewing than a quick exchange and he was concerned enough to ask me over and over why I don't do it. I didn't mention to him my reasons. I take a conservative approach when answering another ham's cq request. I usually take a look at their QRZ page and try to get a sense of what they may be like regarding open mindedness or accepting of other's differences. If I cannot get information there, I will listen to them talking with another ham and see how the conversation goes. It isn't even just my sexual orientation difference that I am careful about when engaging on the air. I also have observed (and received once) derogatory remarks made by hams who poke fun at those of us who don't have the highest antenna towers topped with the best yagis powered by powerful amplifiers. I don't have the budget for such an elaborate setup. I wish that hams take a moment to think before they speak about what they say may come across to other listeners on the air. Thanks again Onno. 73 de K5MGK Mark
KT8R2022-10-17
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
Many times 7.200 is home to either off shore or jerk (LID) operators who constantly harass anyone who is on or near their frequency. Obviously the FCC cares not and the amateur bands are now turning into that 11 meter chaios band with the bullying, broadcasting, etc.
LNXAUTHOR2022-10-14
Re: Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
ask the POTA ops about bullying... seems like a number of hams consider POTA contesting (it isn't), and will follow park activations across the bands with carrier, noise, and music harrassment - pretty sad LIDs
Reply to a comment by : K6CRC on 2022-10-13

We had a couple of clowns on 80m at night. Would run into them when I scanned the band. Rude language, music, obviously drinking. FCC gave up on enforcement and few have desire to track them down. Rude people are not worth your precious time on this earth to worry about. Spin the dial.
K4FMH2022-10-13
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
Onno,

Thank you for your podcasts and other expressions on this general topic. Long over due. Yes, it's been a problem.

Bullying on social media can make the victim respond in kind. I wish I could say that it has never influenced me in that way but I can't. It's very challenging since it virtually precludes and discussion that is objective and fact-based because the the brevity that many social media platforms place on users (e.g., Twitter). Anything to the contrary of the OP is most usually taken as being a jerk when often it is just another opinion but stated in a limited number of characters.

The Zed and eHam's Forums are replete with such bullying efforts so many of us just no longer engage.

You've done a marvelous job of taking this on. I'll join you as best as I can.

73,

Frank
K4FMH
ICQ Podcast team
k4fmh.com
foxmikehotel.com
K6CRC2022-10-13
Take a Long Hard Look at Our Community...
We had a couple of clowns on 80m at night. Would run into them when I scanned the band. Rude language, music, obviously drinking. FCC gave up on enforcement and few have desire to track them down.

Rude people are not worth your precious time on this earth to worry about. Spin the dial.