Is D-Star The New C.B?

Some of the conversations on REF001C, the most active reflector on the D-Star network, sure sound a lot like the conversations we used to have on CB about 40 years ago.

REF001 can be a pretty busy place with stations calling from all around the world. The good news, of course, is there are lots of other reflectors but 001 is the busiest by far.

Some of the conversations are great fun. I’ve talked to WS4FSM, the museum station in Florida which is on a lot during the week introducing Amateur Radio to visitors to the facility.

There’s lots of technical talk about Raspberry Pi computers and Dongles and all things digital. You can learn a lot just by listening in. Some guys are even DXing on D-Star.

This is great stuff but maybe we should stop and talk a lesson from the DX guys on 20 meters.

For example the other day we had a bunch of guys from Japan come on and some of the conversations were …how should I put this? …needed help.

So Sparky here are some thoughts to working some guy whose English is almost non-existent.

First remember he’s speaking English and you’re not speaking Japanese or French or Zay which is one of the 90 languages spoken in Ethiopia. So your English needs to adjusted so your new buddy stands a chance.

So slow up. A lot! Speak a little slower. Don’t use big words and for Heaven’s sake don’t use English idioms. Now that’s a pearl of wisdom for you.

Most international contacts start with callsign, name and qth. As you’re on digital you don’t need to give the guy a signal report unless he’s R2D2ing (which is a form of digital breakup caused by forward error correction having a tough time).

And don’t complain that he’s speaking a foreign language (as I heard one guy say). No it’s English, sort of, and you need to listen up.

After the preliminaries almost everyone asks about the other guy’s weather. Why weather? Because weather is something we all share and can complain or brag about. Next thing you might consider asking about his QTH or his rig or how long he’s been a ham.

Most of us know enough not to ask about the recent political situation or talk religion or other controversial subjects because in some countries offering an opinion on air about any of the above can get you locked in jail.

I can’t tell you how many digital QSos I’ve heard this week when the operator, who can probably program code for a quantum computer, doesn’t have enough people skills to make a basic exchange of information and actually sound interested in what the other guy has to say.

Digital communications offers unlimited opportunities for Hams from around the world to talk with each other but first you’ve got to exchange a few basic pieces of information.

For those of you who are seriously repressed read How To Win Friends and Influence People. It will make a big difference to your Ham Radio experience.

Now if we could just move this information over to 80 meters 🙂


One thought on “Is D-Star The New C.B?

  1. Hello Peter….

    We met today on D-STAR 001 and you commented, that we were having an actual conversation! Laughs.

    Your post is timely as Page 65 of the August QST has a article entitled, “RagChewing 101” where the Author Mike Pulley WB4ZKA says much of Ham radio discourse has become a “canned routine”. I would go further. Ham radio discourse is largely meaningless drivel.

    Unlike your constructive suggestions, I prefer to mock the absurdity of most ham conversations. No intelligent, literate, well read person could find interest in the vast majority of ham exchanges.

    That said, I’ll be dropping onto DStar and offering an alternative if only to tweak their noses.


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