Posted by: GW7AAV | January 28, 2010

ARRL, isms and the light of change

Congratulations to Dr Kay Craigie N3KN who has just been elected as President of the ARRL and is the first woman to hold the position. I do hope that this will encourage more of the female members of the species to pick up the microphone.

There has been some talk in the amateur radio blogsphere about racism in amateur radio recently, but maybe I have been lucky because I have rarely heard it. Most radio amateurs get into the hobby because they want to talk to people in other countries and are in no way racist. Some of us are slightly xenophobic to some extent in that we are concerned about mass immigration and maybe discussions about how a whole town is now speaking Polish instead of English could be considered racist. It is not racism it is fear, fear of a loss of culture and identity and fear of being a stranger in the town you grew up in, unfortunately fear is a breeding ground for racists.

Sexism on the other hand is something I hear on a regular basis. My wife Helen is licensed, we sat the radio amateurs exam together. Sometimes the sexism works to her advantage. For example: When we do Summits on the Air activations usually she finds it very easy to get plenty contacts because first there are the regular SOTA chasers then there are those men who hone in on the female voice like flies around day old dung. Occasionally though there is the complete bigot like a certain drunk as a skunk Dave G0*** from Runcorn who came on to a net of our friends over Christmas and started by telling her she should “F*** off back to the kitchen” before getting more abusive. This idiot spent almost all Christmas and New Year on 145.500 playing music and asking stupid drunken questions. Hopefully he will have received a visit by now from Ofcom as I know a number of people complained and sent in recordings.

It is so easy to make and send in time stamped MP3 recordings to back up complaints these days that I would recommend that if you hear any sort of abuse you use this method, but contact the authority before sending them or they may never be examined.

The USA is leading the way here, they have a non-white President of the country and a non-male President of the ARRL and whatever we think of the politics or agendas of the incumbents it is a start, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I refuse to be politically correct on a lot of things but liberty and equality walk hand in hand. Freedom comes at a price and we must pay that price or suffer the consequences of our inactions. I grew up glad to be male, glad to be white and glad to be British, in the future I would hope we can achieve the situation where there is no advantage in being any particular race, colour or gender.

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