Julian G4ILO comments on his blog about an article called "I've got my hobby back" and subtitled "CQ100 is an option for hams that can't get on the bands" published by none other than the ARRL. Pardon me he says, but I thought the first "R" in ARRL stood for "Radio." By encouraging the idea that unless you can put up outside antennas you'd be better off playing fake ham radio on the Internet the ARRL is doing the entire hobby a disservice. Let's hope the government agencies don't get wind of this or someone may start to wonder why we need all that valuable spectrum space at all.
Julian seems to have walked firmly up to the hornet’s nest and given it a damn good kicking and I must say I agree with him 100%. There is nothing wrong with CQ100 but the way the thing work is all a bit silly.
I have heard one or two regular nets using it (or something similar) on 80m when the band was a bit dead to keep those on the reception fringes in the loop and I have heard stations come on to 20m who arranged a hook up over either CQ100 or Echolink so these services do have their place in real radio too.
If you think that maybe you might one day hook up and get into an interesting QSO with a DX station that you might never hear again. These VOIP services give us the chance to finish a conversation that was lost to fading signals.
Personally I have only ever bothered with Echolink for the purpose of listening in to distant repeaters when things are quiet on the ten or so bands I usually monitor. At least that does not have a daft radio style interface and most users don't pretend they are on the radio when the make a direct link.
I occasionally rant on about how repeaters are not real radio and often I am using a repeater at the time, it can be fun. It usually happens when some idiot tells me I am 5/9 - Duh! No the repeater is 5/9.
The truth is real radio or not repeaters and VOIP can be fun and the whole idea of any hobby is to enjoy ourselves. What worries me more is the divide and conquer syndrome; There so many different aspects to amateur radio that we become thin on the ground as we all practice our personal areas of interest. If we lose some to Echolink, some to CQ100 and some to D-Star etcetera soon the bands will start becoming a desert like 23cms. You at one time used to struggle to find a space on two metres on either FM or SSB in my area now you struggle to find a contact.