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Mobile and Portable

UK-centric discussion follows.

I note some discussion here: http://www.sotawatch.org/reflector.php?topic=5329#44256 regarding the correct suffix to use. This is something I have had problems with. Not with knowing which suffix to use, which I am quite sure of, but with other people not knowing what they mean.

I think most of the problem is with people remembering the rules when they got their licence and not bothering to read the latest version. Please read it.

In summary, you are mobile if you are able to move and portable if you are somehow tied down, e.g. using a mast pegged to the ground.

I have already written about “mobile” here: http://mm0hai.net/radio/mobile.html
perhaps I should add comments on portable. It’s not something I enjoy having to debate (at all) but better here than when freezing on some summit. People have dragged me into this before when all I wanted was to get some entries in the log and get down.

If my interpretation is wrong please correct me but provide references, not comments to the effect, “I’ve always done it that way”.

I don’t think you have to be tied down to be portable. I think you can just be still.

Scenario. I am sat on a rock on a summit using a 2m handheld. I have no intention of moving around. I think that is OK for portable.

But - I don’t think you have to be moving to be mobile.

Scenario. I have parked my car on a car park and nattering through the local repeater. I think that is OK for mobile.

There is quite a bit of merge and overlap between the two, and surely common sense should prevail. I know of a few repeater dwellers around here that get very stressed about this topic and start quoting rules about what is portable and what is mobile - but I cannot find their quotes in BR68 / the licence.

For a SOTA activation I am always /P. This is both when I am sat down working CW through a dipole, and when I am wandering around the summit area with a handheld. When in my car I am /M. This is regardless of whether I am driving, stopped or parked.

There are exceptions. If I am walking around with my handheld, but not on a summit doing SOTA, I am /M, and if I am in my car, but operating in a contest, I am /P. Might appear inconsistent on the face of it, but it all conforms to common practice and avoids confusion in each scenario. Furthermore, everything described is in accordance with the rules despite the different interpretations that can be made.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Given that the suffixes are only recommended anyway you can probably say what you want legally. I just think if you are going to use them then it should be done consistently, or at least in accordance with the recommendation, to avoid confusion.

It does look like you can be mobile and portable at the same time, depending on how you interpret “fixed location” in 17. (1) (jj). If fixed location simply means not moving then a stationary pedestrian or car is portable and mobile at the same time. If “fixed” is interpreted in the sense of being nailed down, then my original interpretation holds.

If I’m just using a handie on a summit I say mobile but if you are more lenient with the definition of fixed then it could also qualify for portable.

In reply to MM0HAI:

As I see it, it is a matter of potential. Sitting on a summit with a handheld, or sitting in a parked car, you have the potential to operate whilst moving and therefore you are /M, sitting in a parked car with a mast, or on a summit with a mast, you are not able to move without changing the set-up, so you are /P. That may not be the official position, if there is one, but it is eminently defensible!

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

In reply to MM0HAI:

As I see it, it is a matter of potential. Sitting on a summit with a
handheld, or sitting in a parked car, you have the potential to
operate whilst moving and therefore you are /M, sitting in a parked
car with a mast, or on a summit with a mast, you are not able to move
without changing the set-up, so you are /P. That may not be the
official position, if there is one, but it is eminently defensible!

Yep, totally agree.

However, ISTR, when studying for either the Foundation or Intermediate licence, reading or hearing, that the need to state if you are /M or /P has been scrapped, anyway.

Then again, I could be totally wrong…

Mike 2E0YYY

Everyone had a copy of their licence, either printed or as PDF so there is no reason for not knowing the requirements. However, the wording in several places is less than clear.

The important point is that the terms are no longer compulsory so you can use what you want. Again, historical use and a small amount of common sense is all that is needed to know which to use. Whilst the difference between /M and /P maybe blurred in some circumstances, most of us have no problem knowing the difference. Where people get confused is when they think a stationary setup can’t be /M leading to all sorts of nonsense being spoken such as “static mobile”.

Pedestrain mobile may be useful in gaining contacts when working on HF, it conjures images of someone with a humungous whip and trailing counterpoise with some ex-miltary manpack radio. On 70cms through a repeater it suggests your making big the fact you are using a handheld!

The thing to remember, especially when you’re calling me, is that if you tag anything other than /P, /M, /MM and /AM for those places it’s legal, then you’re likely to push your chances down the pileup. Use any of the following CBisms and you go on my CBism users list and you get put to the bottom of any future pileups:

“73s”
“The personal would be”
"You’re pushing "
"You’re giving me "
“We’re” (When there’s only one of you)
“You’re report is 5 and 0”

If we try hard we can stamp out 11m-speak and then move on and stamp out the other affected faux speech a lot of radio amateurs insist on using. One day we may all get around to communicating clearly!

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

The thing to remember, especially when you’re calling me, is that if
you tag anything other than /P, /M, /MM and /AM for those places it’s
legal, then you’re likely to push your chances down the pileup. Use
any of the following CBisms and you go on my CBism users list and you
get put to the bottom of any future pileups:

“73s”
“The personal would be”
"You’re pushing "
"You’re giving me "
“We’re” (When there’s only one of you)
“You’re report is 5 and 0”

Golly, I really must take issue with you over some of your so-called CBism, Andy!

73s is as old as amateur radio and well predates CB, in fact I dabbled with CB when it first became legal in this country and before the kiddies ruined it, and I never heard the term 73s used. It is ham lingo, pure and simple, and was in use when I started SWL in the late 50’s. The same goes for the use of the plural, “we’re” was in use in the 50’s; I remember that a lot of the hams that I listened to on a tuned-down MW set on 160 were ex- Bomber Command W/OPs and had probably got into the habit from talking for their crews, or at least that’s my theory!

Finally, 5 and zero. This is perfectly feasable on V/UHF, many a time I have had a contact on SSB and the station I was working was not shifting the S meter. So you either give an honest report based on the meter reading, or in your case it appears that you prefer that some spurious figure is invented, or perhaps you would like to revert to QSA/QRK and the impression reported - perfectly valid of course, its what you do in the lumbering SINPO system!

Your other bete noirs are CB lingo to the best of my knowledge, but I regard them as harmless eccentricities!

73…er…cheers and beers

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

I agree with Brian about ‘73’, which of course in CW is a very distinctive and symmetrical --… …-- and in use since the dawn of amateur radio, but where the plural ‘73s’ comes from… ???

And if 73 means ‘best wishes’, what does ‘best 73s’ mean ??

Eleri MW3NYR asked me the other day what people meant by ‘What are your working conditions?’ - not Italians on HF, but local stations on 2m FM !! She had of course, quite correctly, told them she was sitting on a rock on a freezing cold mountain top.

On the other hand, we all have our little eccentricities and I think it does add a little spice to the hobby as long as it doesn’t get in the way of communicating.

Ironically of course, many of my best friends who have migrated from 11m to amateur radio, are more polite operators than some who have had amateur licences for years and never used a CB in their life.

…-.-

Ian.

In reply to GW8OGI:

Snigger. I like the working conditions reply.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to M1EYP:

I think there are 2 reasons that the debate about /M and /P goes on and on.

  1. As some have pointed out, there is a genuine grey area where you could be either, depending on future intentions or self-perception of the situation. Some people are clearly uncomfortable with this and want every case clear. They would rather have an unambiguous rule like “/M means in a motor vehicle” even if it’s wrong.

  2. Way back in the days before BR68, the standard licence did not permit operation from a motor vehicle. You needed to obtain (and pay for) a separate licence for that (just as you once needed a separate licence to have a broadcast radio in a car). That licence specified the /M suffix, which wasn’t mentioned at all in the ordinary licence. Self-contained equipment that could be carried was much less common in those days, but such operation was possible, and legal under an ordinary licence, but could only be under a /P suffix. BR68 changed all that several decades ago, but the myth that /M means motor vehicle (only) has persisted to this day.

Actually, 3 reasons:

  1. Some people just enjoy a good argument.

In reply to GW8OGI:

And if 73 means ‘best wishes’, what does ‘best 73s’ mean ??

Actually, it means what the speaker intended it to mean, ‘best wishes’.

Language in general and jargon in particular does not follow rules of mathematical logic. Meaning is determined by usage not fiat *], and evolves over time.

*] Well, in English at least. L’Académie française may hold a different view.

In reply to M1MAJ:

And if 73 means ‘best wishes’, what does ‘best 73s’ mean ??

Actually it means the speaker doesn’t know what 73 means or they wouldn’t being saying “best best wisheses” :slight_smile:

You’re quite correct that language evolves. So we should apply some eugenics to this so it evolves correctly and not into some munter-speak full of tautology and nonsense.

Andy
MM0FMF

Let me have a go at this!

“73s”
“The personal would be”
"You’re pushing "
"You’re giving me "
“We’re” (When there’s only one of you)
“You’re report is 5 and 0”

Yes, technically it should be 73, because it derives from --… …-- and not --… …-- … but who cares? It conveys meaning that we all understand. Language is defined by usage, even though the evolution phase can be irritating.

Same for the next three CB-style communications. They are irritating. But so are people that make a point of complaining about them :wink:

“We’re” - now this IS irritating. Us radio amateurs can sound pompous enough over the air without pretending to be royalty. I guess HRH Prince Philip could be excused this one - if indeed he is a licensed amateur.

5 and 0. Now the excuse of evolved use of language cannot be invoked here. It is just wrong. Signal strengths are defined from 1 to 9. 1 is the lowest possible. If it is 0, you can’t hear it, so why would you be in contact sufficient to pass a report? Signal 0 does not mean the needle not moving. If the needle is not moving, but you can hear it, it is at least S1.

One good point about people saying “5 and 0” on the air is overhearing the subsequent lecture Jimmy gives them about correct signal reporting - priceless!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1MAJ:

  1. Some people just enjoy a good argument.

Heh. Thanks for the history.

Of the suffixes the licence mentions, I don’t think I’ve yet heard anyone use /A (but there’s a first time…), and only /MM doesn’t suffer from any obvious ambiguity (and I can’t imagine anyone needing that while activating a summit!).

I figure I’m /M if I could reasonably change QTH while mid-QSO.

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy - thanks for our recent s2s when you were on “shugga shugga 163”
:wink:

In reply to MM0FMF:

Language means what the users wish it to mean. Our everyday language is full of words that have changed their meaning, sometimes several times. Take the word “gay” for instance, two hundred years ago it was boxing cant signifying enthusiasm, then it evolved into something like outgoing happiness and now it means homosexual!

If it is generally understood that “best 73s” means best wishes, then that is what it means, and no amount of dark mutterings about CB-isms and tautologies is going to change it. It isn’t a case of evolving, it has evolved. Taking a stand against “73’s” is IMHO reminiscent of King Knut enthroned on the beach ordering the tide to stop coming in. All you get is wet feet!

73

Brian G8ADD (who also likes a good argument!)

In reply to MM0HAI:

Interesting debate, as I’ve often pondered this one myself. I very often set up at my work during dinner hour using an FT-60 attached to a beam on a 10’ mast. However, if it’s really cold, I sit in the car with the same set-up. So, portable or Mobile? I couldn’t drive off without taking the mast down, so generally I use /P here. On occasions I use the same radio, but with supplied Handie antenna on a Mini Mag on the car. I can drive around so /M here.

I took my Foundation licence last year and seem to remember my instructors saying that it wasn’t necessary to sign with anything, just so long as you give your call correctly. It was more of a ‘good thing to do’ which I agree with entirely.

On the subject of CBisms. I’ve always considered 73 as a common Amateur courtesy and using it rather than best wishes etc. seems a better thing to do on air. One other common thing that seems to be creeping in is the use of ‘QRP’ after a call to get the operators attention. Which I’ve noted works in much the same way as /P or /M in a pile-up. Then of course there are those that make up their own callsign phonetics! Yes, I use Mexico 6 rather than Mike 6 occasionally and/or Honolulu Baker Sugar sometimes, but only if a station is having trouble copying my callsign, but those seem to be common phonetics rather than ones I’ve made up in my head just because they sound interesting!

But to be honest, I don’t think any of those are as bad as deliberate constant calling, calling over a an already in progress QSO and one I heard recently. A station calling several times, he wasn’t picked out, so he gave his call again, gave a report and then said 73 as if he just been worked!

73
Jonathan
M6HBS

In reply to G1INK:

Came from many a QSO with Jack Hum when I was 1st licenced. He used the old British Army phonetic alphabet and some characters stuck. Especially when contesting. Sugar = shu - gar, 2 syllables. Sierra = see - err - ra, 3 syllables. Takes longer to say.

Ack Beer Charlie Don Edward Freddy George Harry Ink Johnnie
King London Monkey Nuts Orange Pip Queen Robert Sugar Toc
Uncle Vic William X-ray Yorker Zebra

Using Sugar for s is not wrong just different. Whereas “the personal would be” is in fact meaningless. That’s a conditional 1 progressive tense and implies the action may take place in the future. So the person’s name may be about to become what they’ve said. Silly. If your name is Andy say “my name is Andy”. See it’s not hard is it?

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to M0LEP:

I don’t think I’ve yet heard anyone use /A (but there’s a first time…),

Again, /A had a historical meaning, disappeared entirely in BR68, and was re-introduced at the time of the “lifetime licence” revision. Some situations are pretty clearly /A, but again there’s a grey area between /A and /P. It’s not a big deal.

I use /A when chasing from my mother’s house in Blackpool, even though I think /P would be equally valid in the circumstances. It saves having to disappoint the activator who may otherwise think he’s got a S-S.

and only /MM doesn’t suffer from any obvious ambiguity

You’d be surprised what debates can be had over the precise definition of “at sea”, even though the licence notes seem clear enough. /MM is sufficiently unusual that there is a certain tendency to want to stretch the definition to make it apply…

In reply to M1MAJ:

Some situations are pretty clearly /A, but again there’s a
grey area between /A and /P. It’s not a big deal.

Ummm… given that /A is meant to represent an alternate fixed location, as opposed to /P which is portable I hadn’t really thought of a grey area…

Surely this is as simple as invoking the “self contained” setup approach. If you are running off the mains somewhere, you are not portable? If you are running off battery/generator you are not fixed?