Ham Radio 101: When adults act like children

I love ham radio. I have been fascinated by it for decades. I recall some of my fondest childhood memories helping my dad string wire for his massive loop antenna that quite literally surrounded the house. I remember talking to a soldier stationed on the Island of Guam from my dad’s ham shack. What a thrill! An even bigger thrill came about two weeks later when a QSL postcard came addressed to me from that soldier.

I grew up intrigued by ham radio and all things technical. I have spent most of my career in the technical field first developing software, then designing printed circuit boards and then back to writing software.

In February of 2012, I got my Technician class ham radio license and in December 2012 upgraded to General class. Only one more level to go (Extra class) and I will get that this year.

Update: I earned my Amateur Extra class in August of 2013

It is a great hobby and one that I enjoy very much. I enjoy some of things I can do that give the old noggin a work out. I enjoy making new friends all across the globe and I love being able to talk to other missionaries that are so remote that no other form of communication exists.

What I do NOT love however, is dealing with some people who seem intent on being miserable and making everyone else miserable as well.

Sadly ham radio clubs tend to be not much different than other social clubs. Personalities and pride get some people all worked up. It is supposed to be a hobby for crying out loud!

In the area where I am currently spending a great deal of time, there are two ham radio clubs. Apparently they divided into two because of some long standing feud among some of the members.

Suffice it to say it was a childish feud by all accounts and stories I have heard.  Someone got their nose out of whack when someone else did something the first party didn’t approve of and the war was on.

As a newcomer to these two groups I have steered clear of anything pertaining to the upset that resulted in the feud. Whenever I hear about it, I shut the conversation down immediately. Gossip is for children, not men and women of honor!

Recently someone from one of the two clubs asked me to call someone on the “other side” of the issue and ask that person to call regarding something the club wanted. I should have known better, but I couldn’t just give out that person’s phone number so I said I would pass the message along.  There were a few more conversations back and forth that really didn’t involve me, but the next thing you know, I am being dragged through the dirt as though I had a damn thing to do with either side of this childish bullshit!

It reminds me of something my grandfather once told me about dealing with people on a sporting team I played for as a child. He said, “The person with the absolute least amount of authority (or importance) tries the hardest to exert it”

Sadly he is correct. Pride and low self worth drive people to lose their human decency and they simply won’t be happy until everyone else is as miserable as they are. What a sad commentary indeed.

I have renounced my membership in the club I did pay to join and have decided to distance myself from both clubs considerably.  It is sad that what should be a fun and rewarding hobby of service and devotion to public safety has to be ruined by adults acting like children!!

Desiring the life of a hermit (the reason for the name of this blog) has never been stronger!

There are some great lessons in this experience though…. a paraphrased quote from my other grandfather (the war hero) comes to mind, “The best way to kill gossip is to always act in such a way that anyone who hears it won’t believe it for a second because they know you by your history”

He is correct too. So rather than get down in the muck and mire with those casting nonsense about me and dancing with joy because there is apparently (although mistakenly) someone else to hate in this feud, I have made the choice to distance myself and always do my best to act honorably in a manner that speaks much louder than the stupid gossip and childish antics of others. I will let them swim in their own pool of self loathing by themselves.

I have often struggled with the name of this blog, I originally chose it because of my strong desire to live like the monks at the monastery where I once stayed….away from people who annoy me or who attempt to fill my life with drama.

While I don’t think I am capable of going “full hermit”, this experience with the ham radio clubs has driven home one very clear lesson… I will only associate myself with men and women of honor. I will do my best to build up relationships that are built solely out of love for others with no expectations of anything in return. In short…a drama free zone where adults act like adults instead of acting like children!  GROW UP PEOPLE!




2 thoughts on “Ham Radio 101: When adults act like children

  1. Right on, Vernon…I agree completely with your analysis. I will keep my membership in my local club because I am involved in several of their annual events but I stay away from any politics or pissing contests between other clubs or members. I just want to have fun in as many facets of HAM radio as I find interesting…

    I’ve heard all the horror stories and personality conflicts and know many of the very knowledgeable HAMS who waste away because they don’t get along with one or more other HAMS in the area for any number of bad reasons but these people carry grudges to a new level. Instead of helping other HAMS with their hobby, they stay focused on one issue that probably happened years ago and just cannot move on. All that experience not being shared out of good will…what a waste! If the personalities could just be left out, what a difference it would make for our hobby locally. GROW UP INDEED!!!

  2. Very interesting read Vern. I really enjoy your blog. Love the philosophy “I will only associate myself with men and women of honor.”

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