Ham Radio Curmudgeons

I’ve only been part of the ham radio hobby for a month, but I’ve spent much of my limited free time with my HT (a Yaesu FT-60R). I’ve made a few dozen QSO’s (contacts) with my radio, and have spent a lot of time just listening, which I have learned is a very important aspect of ham radio.

Nearly everyone I contact and nearly everyone I listen to via ham frequencies are friendly, respectful, and helpful if I ever have questions. But every once in a while, I’ll contact or listen to someone that I later discover is a grumpy old curmudgeon.

A picture of a grumpAs I was traveling for a day trip, I recently was listening to two fellow hams’ conversation via a local repeater. After they were done with their QSO (they had both said “clear”), I called one of them and then stated my callsign. A second later he came back, not by greeting me in the standard operating procedure, but with a question that sounded curt and annoyed, “Do I know you?!”

I politely responded, “I don’t think so. I’m a fairly new ham, and I just was curious about this repeater we’re using and what your QTH (location) is.”

There was dead air for a beat, then, “Don’t ever try to contact me again, I was having a conversation with my friend.”

I knew that any further questions or comments directed at him would only feed his curmudgeoness, so I apologized, gave my callsign and the “clear” notice.

I Know I had done nothing wrong. The two curmudgeons failed to give their call signs , failed to use proper operating rules and procedures, and they were just plain rude and obnoxious. They didn’t sour my opinion of ham radio, because I had had many pleasant QSO’s prior to the incident, and had listened to dozens upon dozens of other conversations on the amateur radio waves.

Curmudgeons are pretty rare on the ham bands, but I think that they could sour new or shy hams, which is a shame. Ham radio has a lot to offer, and I think it is abhorrent when some grumpy old ham veteran treats newbies and any other ham like toe fungus.

There are also veteran hams who are not yet curmudgeons, but I fear they are approaching the realm of curmudgeondom. These are the people who, after spitting out their call sign in a rapid unintelligible way that sounds like a donkey having a stroke, balk at a request to repeat their call sign slower or phonetically.

Every group has a small percentage of curmudgeons. I think that is just a way of life. Do you have any great curmudgeon stories? Please share them.

Here’s hoping I never become a curmudgeon.


About Kyle (W7KBX)

I became a licensed ham in May of 2013 with a class of General. I have since upgraded to Extra. If you are really bored and want to learn more about me, please click here
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