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A challenging activation

Today I activated Burnhope seat G/NP-003. Nothing special about that, it is the easiest winter 9 pointer I know. The access is straight forward and the summit is only 40minutes from the road head.
My first band was 30m CW. all went well until an un-identified station QRM’d me telling over and over in poor (CW) English not to work any Russian stations. Amateur Radio is, and always has been, non-political in nature. We do not need this kind of behaviour. It is my decision who I work.

After a quick QSY +1kHz, the activation resumed until I attracted further QRM which continued for a few minutes until that station got bored. Then, as usual, I continued until there were no stations remaining.

As it happens, I was not called by any Russian station and as a consequence I have not logged any.
If I had been called, I would have politely declined to have a QSO. That is my decision, not that of the “band police”.

This is a very important issue, your response would be useful.

Kind Regards
David
G0EVV

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Hello David
Thanks for the information. If that unidentifying ham radio “policeman” (whoever it was) heard me on Monday morning working R1CAV, R1LB and R1AR on 20m CW from GM/SS-135 he might have caused me a problem… I thought it unusual as a SOTA activator in the UK, to work 3 Russian stations in 5 minutes and wondered if this was some sort of “special operation”… They were operating (as far as I can tell) from the St Petersberg region, and I felt it better to work them quickly despite the war and prevent the possibility of QRM from them calling me repeatedly if I ignored them. I suppose it could be said that I was thinking of myself whilst operating SOTA for pleasure and not about the people of Ukraine, but I think of the suffering of the people in Ukraine every day, I have to say.

73 Phil

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I’d echo that Phil. Dreadful times, and I’m willing to tighten my belt and put up with a few hardships if it will help to shorten this awful war. It’s nothing compared to what the Ukranians are experiencing.

However I’d still work a Russian station, as long as it was still legal to. It wouldn’t be any more than an exchange of signal reports and a 73 anyway.

As you say, it’s the choice of the individual.

Cheers, Fraser

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As others have said it’s an individual decision whether an operator wishes to have a QSO with Russian amateurs in the current circumstances.

We should not assume that all RU amateurs support Putin’s war on Ukraine. I imagine from the TV pictures of the brave protestors on the streets of various Russian cities that there are probably many more Russians who also are sickened as much as we are by this invasion.

Having such a QSO in no way endorses the actions of the Kremlin any more than US astronauts continuing to work with Russian cosmonauts on the ISS does. If we avoided QSOs with amateurs around the world on the basis of how we judge their governments, we would greatly restrict our reaching out to fellow amateurs.

The Kremlin’s propaganda is that ‘The West’ [whatever that is] hates Russians. Ostracizing Russian amateurs could promote that view. It’s important that Russians know that our beef is not with them but with Putin and his cronies.

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Unfortunately - no.
Most of the amateurs there are under influence of heavy propaganda. Also, most of them are 50…60…70+, which means they still dream of USSR and consider West as evil.

Yes, there are also Russians who think rationally and now trying to flee the country or protest because of eradicated democracy, but they are minority.

I’m originally from Ukraine and have relatives on “both sides”. And it’s just horrible to hear that they in RU don’t believe that there is a war going on, while my father is hiding in shelter right now.

Sorry for heavy off-topic but I support G0EEV and ignore all RU stations/contests.

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It’s a real shame to see this kind of behaviour on the amateur bands and it’s detrimental and damaging to the hobby. You can work whatever stations you like to work within the terms of your Ofcom licence. As far as I am aware, there is no variation to the licence which states we are forbidden from contacting Russian stations. Furthermore, I fail to see what the war in Ukraine has to do with the average Russian radio hobbyist; they are not responsible for how their government chooses to behave. Amateur radio is apolitical and always has been. If we want to bring cancel culture type virtue signalling into amateur radio, then I do not wish to be party to this and there are some glaring questions. When did we ever advocate boycotting Russian radio amateurs during the war in Chechnya or Georgia? Why are we not, by the same logic, boycotting Saudi Arabian stations for the war in Yemen? Ever thought about India and Pakistan anyone? What was your policy on Irish stations when the IRA were bombing Omagh and Manchester? Ask yourselves these questions and think about the logic. Are you really helping anyone?

One might attempt to claim they have in fact been boycotting these countries all along and are therefore the vanguard of virtue, ahead of the curve. There is no precedent to this in amateur radio and I implore people (including the RSGB) to honestly think objectively about the logic behind what they are really advocating when they demand that people should boycott Russian radio amateurs. Are they doing the best for amateur radio or are they virtue signalling to make themselves appear as though they are better people whilst actually being no help whatsoever to the people Ukraine or to the amateur radio hobby.

Let’s keep politics out of the hobby please and keep in mind who the people are at the other end of the QSO. They are generally ordinary radio hobbyists just like you and I, each with their own individual lives, personalities and views. One cannot claim to know the views of someone one has never met. Even if a particular radio amateur supports the Russian invasion, there is no way I could know that without asking and I cannot assume it to be true without gathering evidence or bringing politics into QSO.

It pains me to even talk about this because by doing so, I too am bringing politics to an amateur radio discussion and I don’t like it. Let’s refrain from this madness and just enjoy the hobby everyone.

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I am assured by a Russian musician I met on the cruise ship that Putin’s war is not supported by the majority of the Russian population. There will be those that do support it - but you have to bear in mind that things like the shell attack on the hospital maternity ward - have been declared as “fake news” by the Kremlin - and if you pass on anything that has been declared as “fake news” in Russia, you face a lengthy gaol sentence. Certainly the Russian state media is providing a very different version of events to its domestic audience.

I also met a Ukrainian string quartet and Ukrainian jazz pianist on the ship, and I am friended with them on social media. I am keeping in touch with them with huge concern.

I can understand the exclusion of Russia at a national level - eg World Cup football, Paralympics, and even RSGB contests. At an individual level - well I guess that’s an individual choice.

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M0EYP I largely agree with you, except for the part about RSGB contests.

Remember that unlike national sports, contesters are not participating on a national level in RSGB contests. They are not representing Russia; they are representing their own radio station or radio club. Furthermore, the RSGB are not equivalent to the International Olympic Committee or FIFA. These are high profile public sports where the participants are paid vast sums of money to represent their nations. The RSGB Contests on the other hand are simply public contests and the participants are merely hobbyists doing so for their own personal enjoyment and with no financial incentive. So while banning people representing Russia in certain sports is one thing, banning ordinary Russian hobbyists from RSGB contests is something I cannot agree with or support. Encouraging others to boycott Russian radio amateurs is detrimental to the hobby and is in fact an existential threat to the hobby because this kind of policy is setting a dangerous precedent, especially if people begin to believe it is acceptable to dictate which people can and cannot participate and to infer nefarious purposes with regards to the ability or inclination to contact Russians or any other nationality for that matter.

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RSGBCC has cited a precedent of mirroring major sporting organisations’ stances in such matters. I understand your disagreement with that, but I also understand its position in trying to be consistent.

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Mirroring for the sake of consistency is not a justification in itself however. There needs to be some application of objectivity, logic and common sense. I understand how they feel the need to mirror other organisations so that they are “seen” to be doing something good and not bad by the prevailing media fuelled cancel culture. That way of thinking is flawed however as they should be thinking how it applies case by case and whether or not it is really going to help anyone. The IARU have already issued a warning against punishing individual radio amateurs for things that are beyond their control, and there have been many instances of boycotting and on-air abuse reported, as G0EVV has raised above. The RSGB seems to have missed that or failed to read the room and decided to issue a boycott themselves regardless.

Anyway, Tom, I don’t like it when politics gets mixed up in the hobby and it pains me even to talk about it! We are all friends with a common interest and passion.

On a lighter note, I see that you are doing Whernside on Sunday, I wish you the very best of luck with that activation. Alan, 2E0RNC is also doing Helvellyn on the same day around the same time, so perhaps there is an opportunity there for you both to get an S2S.

All the very best, 73

You’d expect so as the summits are a LOS path.

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Absolutely! I can recommend a website called Radio Mobile. It plots your predicted signal coverage based on your elevation, antenna parameters and power etc. Very nice visual tool to estimate where you might be reaching from a SOTA summit Perhaps I should post it as a topic?

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Many of us have been using that facility for a decade or two :wink:

Great that you’re already using it. It’s very useful.

This was new one on me but I’ve just registered an account there. A thread about it would be useful, if only to let others know about it.

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Yes, most of the people I’ve mentioned it to had never seen it before but I might hold off from creating a topic about it as I’m advised that it’s already well known about.

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The average Russian ham most likely has nothing to do with this war and I SUSPECT that in most cases does not favor the war. Declining a QSO will not have any effect on their countries leaders. I favor maintaining our ham to ham friendships.

Good afternoon all,
I thank you all for your replies. 16 replies and 352 views.

Without the luxury of voting buttons there seems to be no consensus and that includes at society / ruling body level.

The next few weeks may re-shape our stance but for the moment I suggest it remains up to the the individual to make his/her own decision. I suggest that this thread should now terminate.

Regards
David
G0EVV

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Never heard of it Austin & Tom! (SWL since 1968 licenced since 1982!)

Phil G4OBK / OK8CDX

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Radio Mobile has been a defacto path plotting program of choice for a long, long time Phil. Maybe of more interest to SHF and uwavers though.