Self Policing Amateur Radio–How’s It Working?

The FCC puts a lot of faith into the idea that the amateur radio community is pretty professional, in general.  I think they think that we know we have a good thing going and don’t want to lose it.  Therefore they probably feel that, and encourage that, the amateur radio community should be self policing for the most part.  What are some ways that, in real life, that is accomplished and – what is my ever so humble opinion of that methodology?

First – this is written from my personal experiences from operating multiple bands over the past few months.  Your experience may be totally different.

What I hear is that the amateur radio community is a strong, self policing community for the most part.  I believe the community does a good job, in general, of mentoring and counseling hams that they feel need that mentoring and counseling.  The ham radio term of “Elmer” is testimony to that.  We probably have all had an Elmer to some extent in our ham radio careers.  We probably have all also been an Elmer to someone, maybe in small ways – maybe in larger ways – to people over the years.

I also believe that when hams hear someone doing something wrong – weather it be lack of compliance with the band plans or laws – they are not shy about jumping them and showing them the right path to take.  Most of the time that is done in a “relatively” professional way.  Not always – anytime you deal with a group of highly intelligent achievers that disagree – well…  there are going to be spats.  That’s just human nature.  Those things are usually not too bad.  People realize the error of their ways and move on.  Wounds heal over time.  Life goes on…

There are others, however, that are much more aggressive.  Take, for example, those that continually tune-up on HF bands when they sense that someone they disagree with is listening or trying to transmit.  The intent, I think, is to annoy them and rid the bands of the pest.

But here is MY question.  If you perceive someone is a pest and you do something ILLEGAL to rid the bands of the pests – like INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE – without a trial or explanation by the person you perceive to be the pest – then are those that are trying to rid the bands of the pests REALLY in the RIGHT?

Please read the law on intentional interference and do some reading on the fines and sanctions that are levied for anyone doing intentional interference – with any service.  Then come back to me and tell me how righteous and intelligent THOSE band police are.  And don’t read into that comment any lack of respect for real police?  They have among the toughest jobs in the world and generally deserve our utmost respect.  There are some bad apples in every group however…

Sorry for the rant…  It’s been a long time since I have posted to this blog.  I will go into those reasons at another date!

Until later – stay radio active!


Jon E. Kreski – AB9NN – Please visit often!

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