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Old 10-24-2013, 11:35 PM
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Unhappy Voluntarily surrendering a license to the FCC

I recently got into amateur radio in the USA because I have long been interested in radios and electronics. However, I have been shocked at amateur radio events and "rag chews" by the extreme right-wing and openly racist comments by what seems to be the vast majority of radio amateurs. I wonder, did I join an amateur radio club, or the Sons of the Confederacy? Much of the talk on amateur radio (especially 80m) is far-right politics, which I don't subscribe to at all. I am politically to the left. I enjoy radio technology, but I don't feel that I fit in with this crowd, so I have considered returning my brand-new General license to the FCC. So, should I surrender my license?

Last edited by wbswetnam; 10-24-2013 at 11:53 PM..
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:20 AM
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I know how you feel from the other side of the spectrum. The Marxist drivel of the left is why I rarely watch TV, network news or bother with movies.

There is no need to turn in a license. Just turn off the radio. Also you can look into irlp or Dmr or one of the other ip based linked systems. They seem to offer more friendly and hobby related conversations. There is something out there for everyone. Personally I like technical discussions but they can be hard to find on the air at times. It seems it is continuously contest time with nothing but fools chanting for DX.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:22 AM
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You should keep your license and enjoy using it. There's a knob on most radios (generally called the VFO) that allows you to tune to another frequency if what is being discussed is of no interest to you. Here we have many repeaters and even more simplex channels (including HF frequencies) where folks discuss topics as you indicate. There are others that discuss many other topics, including those from folks that are politically to the left as you indicate you are.

One thing to think about is you're from Arkansas (based on your specified Location) and that is generally believed to be one of the "Red States" so many folks in your area probably are more right leaning than left. If you were in another area (California for example) the conversations may lean more to the left. Locally you may have the same issues in a local bar, restaurant, or other places where political topics may be discussed. If you have discussions that are not of interest at your local restaurant you wouldn't stop going to restaurants, you probably just would go to different ones.

Trust me, it isn't the "vast majority of radio amateurs" although it may not seam like it at times. If you just tune away to other conversations (perhaps where folks from the "blue states" reside, or even foreign stations) you can enjoy your license. This may require you to be on HF or use one of the linked repeaters to communicate with folks that are not nearby.
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Old 10-25-2013, 1:46 AM
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There's a lot of similarity between 80m, which often has a fairly short range, and a local bar.

As others have said, tune around, try a different band, try a different mode. But don't turn your back on amateur radio just because of what you hear on the nightly 80m roundtables.
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Old 10-25-2013, 3:28 AM
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wbswetnam,
That's a question you have to decide about, not us. If you honestly feel you shouldn't be a part of such discussions, then simply don't join such discussions. Or leave when a discussion turns in that direction. Have you found any interesting discussions at all? Do you look forward to those discussions/groups and want to join them again? If so, then keep your license. If you are totally unsatisfied by your amateur radio experiences, give that license back. Or just don't use it?
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Old 10-25-2013, 5:04 AM
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Fact:
You don't have to surrender a thing, just sell all your radios, and don't renew.. Simple as that..

Opinion:
I agree with the others, you have access to a bunch of spectrum that is not "hostile territory". Try different modes and bands..

Just like anywhere else in life, you can always choose to be somewhere else.
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Old 10-25-2013, 5:08 AM
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As a member of the Sons of the Confederacy, I take offense to the OP's comment.

The Sons of the Confederacy is not a racist organization. We have family members that fought in the war between the states.

Regardless, I personally don't find much difficulty in changing the channel if I hear something I don't want to listen to, be it HAM conversations, TV, broadcast radio, etc.
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Old 10-25-2013, 7:22 AM
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Ham radio is what you choose to make of it.

Sure, there are lids of all license classes, political theologies, and bigots (for some reason certain HF bands seem to be a magnet for these types).

Just QSY.

Here in my town, we started our own progressive talk- there are like minded folks, but you'll NEVER be able to connect with them if you throw in the towel.

I too, don't care for the redneck bigots, but that is why I use my VFO accordingly. The same way I don't subject myself to corporate media outlets (other than to laugh at their so-called "reporting").

I say stick around. Don't get driven away by those few extremists. That is exactly what they would want.
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Old 10-25-2013, 7:42 AM
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Learn Morse Code, start having some great QSO's on CW! Or, upgrade to Extra so you have more bandwidth to spread out and find better contacts.

As others have said, try a different band or mode. I've been doing this for 20 years and usually stay away from the 80m crowds at night, as well as a few places on 40m, and a few places on 20m. There's bad apples in every group, and sadly we have them in the hobby too. Spin the big dial and keep on going

How about work some DX or at least stations from other countries and get their opinions on what's going on in their part of the world? Whenever I catch a DX station that isn't working a pileup, I always ask them about the news or politics of their region.

This weekend is the SSB CQWW contest, instead of listening to old farts on 80m, why not participate in the contest? CQ World Wide DX Contest - Home

MTS2000des is correct, this hobby is what you make of it. There's so many bands, modes, and ways to operate other than 80m.
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Last edited by WB4CS; 10-25-2013 at 7:56 AM..
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Old 10-25-2013, 7:43 AM
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If you really want to cancel your license you can do it on line on the FCC ULS web site. You don't even need to send it back.
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Old 10-25-2013, 8:41 AM
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Please don't give up because of what you hear on 80 meters!

In addition to what was said in reply number 8, we welcome differing viewpoints and civil discussion in our QSOs.
If I "turned in" my license the first time I heard racist rightwing bigots talking on the air, I would have missed out on a lot.

That said, many will say ham radio is not the place to discuss politics, blah blah blah They have a point, as it turns some people such as yourself away. But if you want to, (if anyone here wants to), PM me. The group of us here aren't HFers but if you want, we'll get some repeaters linked up somehow or another. You may find what you're looking for locally of course, then again maybe not.
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Old 10-25-2013, 9:47 AM
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I would like to add that, had the OP really wanted to "Turn in his license", he would have done so, or quit putting effort into HAM radio, and let it expire out.

Instead, he apparently chose to whine about it here, which is quite typical of "progressives" (liberals)

Please enlighten us,"wbswetnam", what solution do you desire to your "problem", aside from "surrendering your license"?
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:38 AM
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I lean to the hard right but never discuss politics or religion on the radio. I find that is the best way to gain friends on both the radio and on the internet.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbswetnam View Post
I recently got into amateur radio in the USA because I have long been interested in radios and electronics. However, I have been shocked at amateur radio events and "rag chews" by the extreme right-wing and openly racist comments by what seems to be the vast majority of radio amateurs. I wonder, did I join an amateur radio club, or the Sons of the Confederacy? Much of the talk on amateur radio (especially 80m) is far-right politics, which I don't subscribe to at all. I am politically to the left. I enjoy radio technology, but I don't feel that I fit in with this crowd, so I have considered returning my brand-new General license to the FCC. So, should I surrender my license?
If this is truly how you feel, take ND5Y's suggestion, and cancel your license. Or, get on 80m, and tell your side of the story.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:57 AM
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Move to the people's democratic republic of austin, aka Moscow on the colorado and get on any repeater. You will feel most welcome. The biggest reason I don't spend much time on the repeaters here.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRR View Post
I would like to add that, had the OP really wanted to "Turn in his license", he would have done so, or quit putting effort into HAM radio, and let it expire out.

Instead, he apparently chose to whine about it here, which is quite typical of "progressives" (liberals)

Please enlighten us,"wbswetnam", what solution do you desire to your "problem", aside from "surrendering your license"?
Hmm, this sounds exactly like the kind of attitude that would make someone not interested in a hobby. Instead of name calling, being unwelcoming to someone, and bringing up political affiliation, can you contribute anything constructive to the conversation or the OP's question?
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Last edited by WB4CS; 10-25-2013 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:13 PM
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The freedom to communicate with other people at will, without having to go through a government-approved system, will usually have a lot more appeal to those people who truly value this precious thing called freedom, rather than those who seem to think that the government should be the source of all things to all people.

I myself am solidly in the personal freedom/small government corner of the political chart that defines the Tea Party Republicans/Libertarians.

I also agree that the amateur frequencies are dominated by those on the right side of the political spectrum, but I do take issue with the assertion that their conversations are often racist.

It is never racist to acknowledge the truth. Even if it is a truth that points at a particular demographic.

Those who do not wish for those truths to be spoken will often accuse the speakers of racism. It is a knee-jerk reaction that correlates with the childish tactic of insulting those who you disagree with, which most people outgrow before they're in junior high school.

I can't even guess how many times I've been accused of being racist just because I dare to criticize Obama's policies and actions. I'd criticize those same policies and actions if they had come from Ronald Reagan, but since it's Obama I'm criticizing, I guess I MUST be racist.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:37 PM
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first thing is get off 80/75 meters
go to some of the upper bands and find a nicer group to talk with .

please dont give up your license.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:39 PM
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Consider DX, It's what I do exclusively. Brief and short contacts make me happy. I just want to know how far I can send and receive using the equipment and antenna systems I have.

I don't recall exactly, but much of what is discussed, I find particularly on 80, is forbidden by the FCC. I thought politics and religion were out of the question, no? I thought the idea was to stimulate conversation pertaining to the advancement and understanding of radio technology. All it took was 10 minutes spinning the dial on 80 to realize I'd rather not. For some reason, very opinionated people seem to gather there. Objectivity seems to elude them.
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Old 10-25-2013, 1:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissim View Post
I don't recall exactly, but much of what is discussed, I find particularly on 80, is forbidden by the FCC. I thought politics and religion were out of the question, no? I thought the idea was to stimulate conversation pertaining to the advancement and understanding of radio technology. All it took was 10 minutes spinning the dial on 80 to realize I'd rather not. For some reason, very opinionated people seem to gather there. Objectivity seems to elude them.
Part 97 doesn't specifically "ban" any topics as off limits. There's rules on what kind of language you shouldn't use, but even that rule is vague and doesn't give a list of "no-no words". On amateur radio you still have your 1st Amendment Rights, as long as you don't break any of the FCC rules that you agreed to when you became licensed.

I've often had good debates and conversations about religion and politics on the air. If things ever started to go south and became out of hand, I will simply sign off and QSY somewhere else.

Most of the 75m crowd take it a little too far, and yes there are numerous rule violations there. It's been happening for a very, very long time. Back when Riley H. was in charge of Amateur Radio enforcement at the FCC, there were many who were fined and lost their licenses. Unfortunately times have changed and the FCC moves at a snails pace when it comes to Amateur Radio. This is why as hams we "self police" ourselves.

The rule I go by is: If there's a conversation on the air that I don't like, I spin the big dial and find somewhere else to talk. Most of the riff-raff stays on their "problem child" frequencies, so I just stay away from those spots on the dial. There's plenty of bandwidth to explore.
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