Here’s an op-ed piece from the subject of the “VOIP=Morally Bankrupt” thread featured last week – by the subject of the piece, K4WRM. Go ahead Web, the repeater is yours:
OK, after careful consideration, I’ve decided that “morally bankrupt” was an unfortunate selection of words on my part. I take that term pretty lightly, and did not consider that some would take offense to it. I also recanted this statement at QRZ.com.
The fact is, I feel that we do need some term to refer to people who use VOIP to work DX repeaters as a substitute for not upgrading their license and using HF. Whatever the term is, it needs to shame these individuals into upgrading to an HF-privileged license, and it should make them feel inadequate for using VOIP as a substitute for HF. I’m not alone. Thousands of hams feel this way. Many won’t tell you they feel that way to your face. I suggest the term “RF challenged” be used as a descriptive term any time you refer to someone who uses VOIP as a substitute for a real RF contact. I’m not suggesting that shut-ins, people in HOA areas, and others who have no other option besides VOIP be referred to in this manner. I’m referring to the people who are lazy and/or stubborn and have the educational wherewithall to upgrade their license but don’t. I’m also referring to those who feel that government entitlement owes them HF privileges without having to work for them. This is not a no-code/pro-code argument. I don’t mind if the code requirement is lifted. You can’t place blame on someone who accepts privileges that were offered to them without being forced to learn code. But geez- if you have an HF-privileged license, have a rig parked on your desk, and have an antenna you can connect to it, why on earth would you, in good conscience, use VOIP? Is it so you can use a distant repeater to talk with someone who doesn’t have HF privileges? If so, you’re certainly not stimulating them to upgrade their license. By doing this you’ve become an “enabler” which gives them another reason not to upgrade their license! After all, if they can work you on VOIP, why bother to upgrade?
Everyone complains that we’re not using our frequencies. Everyone complains that BPL is going to ruin HF. If you’re using VOIP, you may as well admit to being pro-BPL. After all, couldn’t you just use BPL to complete your “radio” contact? I suppose you’d argue that since you used BPL, that it would count for an HF contact? Let’s just all unplug our antennas and tell the radio manufacturers to install an RJ-45 jack on the rear panel of all new transceivers. They can do away with that pesky notch filtering, DSP, etc. because all contacts will be interference-free. Without RF finals, radios will be much cheaper. Heck, you could probably get a router and plug a handset into it and call it your “new and improved ham radio”, right? And with each new ham on VOIP, that’s one less signal occupying bandwidth on HF. If we ALL convert to VOIP, we could hand over all our HF bandwidth to the BPL guys and everyone will be happy, Q S L?
So- you win. I promise not to call you “morally bankrupt” anymore. From this date forward, you’ll be known by me as “RF challenged”. Kind of like a person who is missing a limb is referred to as “physically challenged”. “Physically challenged” is a politically correct term, so you should have no problem with me calling you “RF challenged”. That is, unless you can come up with a more fitting descriptive term….?
I don’t consider myself to be a “ham radio snob”. People who know me personally will tell you I’m not one. I just think that people in this hobby should make some attempt to advance, not stagnate, and becoming a VOIP operator stifles some of the need to do this.
The “beginner” (technician) license was meant to be that- a license for a beginner. People get into the amateur radio hobby for many reasons, but the main reason (most) people become hams is the romance of working DX, and you can’t do that (well) unless you’re on HF. I’m fully aware of satellite DX and EME, and enjoy VHF DXing, but it’s physically impossible to work Japan direct from the east coast of the U.S. on 2M. But this is easily accomplished with VOIP, which removes a primary reason for upgrading one’s license. And once someone upgrades, you *KNOW* they’re going to put some type of HF station on the air! (If they can.) After all, why invest all the time and effort in a license upgrade and not use it?
So there you have it. You might think this is a story about sneetches (see Dr. Seuss). It’s not. I’d rather see someone upgrade and get on HF than stagnate by discovering VOIP. Are -YOU- “RF challenged”?
Thanks for the piece, KR4WM. Here at Hamsexy we invite all viewpoints, and unlike QRZ.COM other websites we aren’t afraid of publishing contrary viewpoints. If you are interested in having an op-ed piece posted to this site, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome any and all viewpoints.