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Digital Voice Mode Etiquette

With the advent of multiple digital voice modes, and the onslaught of hotspots, linked and bridged repeaters, cross-mode reflectors, etc., it’s important to remember that operating your digital radio and how its signal propagates to myriad repeaters and networks, is vastly different than plain-old analog operation. Digital voice radio and the interconnected technologies and modes, present new challenges many hams aren’t accustomed to.

The Problem

I see a common trend going on in digital voice modes and especially, networks: folks lose control of their radios, repeaters, hotspots, bridges, etc., because:

  1. Folks do not pause long enough between transmissions and QSO’s (if at all).
  2. Extremely long-winded QSO’s on major talkgroups, reflectors, rooms, modules, etc.
  3. Failing to take said long-winded QSO’s to alternate areas, hence, not freeing-up the major “calling” areas to others to use, drop from, etc.

These issues don’t seem to be isolated to newbies – I see many seasoned hams and “regulars” exhibiting the same operating behaviors.

These issues cause a host of problems for operators and users of the various modes and networks. Nets seem impossible to partake in an organized fashion sometimes, and many hams with hotspots are stuck listening to overly-lengthy and boring QSO’s droning on, from many hams who have absolutely zero voice for radio. These folks make other hams fall asleep for fuck sakes…Take it elsewhere!

These issues can sometimes turn hams off to the point of abandonment. Worse, we also don’t need a patronizing know-it-all KC0RNP, being all big and bad behind his mike, hollering at hundreds of ham operators for these (innocent) mistakes during a busy net1.

How Hams Can Help Using a Bit of Etiquette

This isn’t the end-all solution, but it can be very helpful in making these various digital voice modes more enjoyable, and most importantly, usable:

  1. Take deliberate and strategic pauses between transmissions. This will help let hams in, or out.
  2. If you’re in one of the major talkgroups, rooms, reflectors, etc., keep your QSO at a polite and managable length. Take your long-winded bullshit to another, less-busy area.
  3. Take a deliberate and vocalized break in the QSO’s, mentioning you’re freeing things up a bit to let others talk, leave, etc.
  4. When first entering a talkgroup, room, reflector, etc., monitor for a while before you key, in the event there’s a QSO in the misdt of a pause (see #1).

Again, these small forms of etiquette won’t solve all the problems, but they certainly can help reduce them. Many hams out there will be awfully grateful if you practiced them.

  1. This fuckin’ guy, during a busy Friday night TGIF net (11/20/2020), went off on a rampage about these very issues, and sounded like a know-it-all whiny little bitch. He “directed” with a very patronizing, I-am-king-like tone to hundreds of hams. On a busy net, it’s best to calmly and eloquently “educate” other hams. I may go off about stupid and asshole hams on this very site, but I do my best to be nice on the air, and help any operator out there. 

Ver. # e92ebd8 - Document last updated: 1/22/2022
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