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Civility on the air


Civility in amateur radio voice communications  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. Broadly, you believe that voice transmissions in amateur radio are:

    • Very civil
    • Mostly civil
    • Sometimes aggressive
    • Often aggressive
    • Becoming intolerably aggressive
  2. 2. When you hear someone being uncivil, what do you tend to do?

    • Ignore them
    • Politely ask them to stop
    • Leave the QSO
    • Get openly angry with them
    • Report them to the FCC (or your national licensing body)

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  • Administrator


As many of you know, Ham Census has been gathering impressions from operators... what do we think about various aspects of the hobby. More importantly, being solutions-oriented, Ham Census asks them to send a message to various constituencies, among them, other hams.

One operator said this:


This is a great hobby with great potential to teach. Civility both on-air and off-air. Set the right example that will encourage non-amateurs to get onboard.

I would therefore like to both start a mini poll here and a discussion around civility in amateur radio. Also, if you believe there is a lack of civility, how do we improve things?

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  • 1 month later...

I don't do much HF work, so my comment is based on local chatter both simplex and on repeaters, but in my area the conversation is general good natured and friendly. Being human disagreements can and do occur, but those are few and far between in my area (Salem Oregon). Once you get to know a group you can also learn who the "know it all's" are, or someone who might be easily triggered, and take steps to not push their buttons.

Now that said I did have an opportunity to listen to a repeater in LA a couple times, and that was a totally experience, and not one I would want top have to live with. It seemed there were a lot of people on the repeater who felt it was their sole purpose to insult and offend as many as they could with little regard for operating standards. 

So I guess my feeling is the level if civility depends a great deal on where you're located and the group of hams in that area, at least for the UHF/VHF bands.


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  • Administrator


Hi Mark.

First, welcome to our small (but growing) community.

Second, good points you make about vhf/uhf. It’s true that my initial thinking was about HF where, unfortunately, there seems to be ‘anger creep’. And maybe worse than anger, there is also ‘entitlement creep’ whereby many old-timers, my age group, assume that they have an inherited right to certain frequencies or times of day.

As for the LA VHF/UHF example. Interesting, I had not thought of that when creating the post, but it makes sense. I admit that in my region, our repeaters are always civil. Our worst problem is the lack of protocol, as in people cutting each other off or people rambling for well over the accepted three minute rule.

I’ll get my first taste of big city repeaters soon though. I’ll be traveling to NYC… I’ll report back.

Again, welcome.

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I have never in my entire ham career encountered anyone being anything other than perfectly pleasant on the air...until I got into digital modes, specifically C4FM.

The other day I was on Americalink late at night and I heard two hams using very nasty language (not profanity, but slurs) to describe the current POTUS and the Coronavirus situation. I was very disappointed, because even though it was late, there could be kids listening. I didn't want to hear that crap, so I switched my HT off.

I'm guessing the ease by which folks can make long-distance QSOs on the digital modes encourages this kind of behavior. Which is sad.

I'm not a confrontational person, so I didn't call them on it. But if it happens again, I just might. There is just no room for that kind of behavior in this hobby, IMO.

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