More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Foot in Mouth to Head in Noose

I hope that at my funeral nobody quotes Oscar Wilde and says, “He had no enemies, but was intensely disliked by his friends.”

I have not seen the Simon Pegg film ‘How to loose friends and alienate people’ but what I am about to write here may just do that, however when I started this weblog I did not intend to pull my punches. It is not that I wish to upset anyone but as Elbert Hubbard said, “If you have no enemies you are apt to be in the same predicament in regard to friends.”

At the North Wales radio rally Kath Wilson M1CNY from the UKFM Group North Western approached me and asked if would fancy getting involved with the group and I am afraid I was less than polite at the suggestion. I would apologise but it may not help now.

My take on repeaters has always been somewhat negative, there are people out there who seem to think amateur radio is something done on a walkie talky with a rubber duck and have no idea how to set up a real amateur radio station. I believe that they invite idiots and that they give them the ability to create the maximum havoc possible with the minimum of equipment. On the plus side it keeps most of the morons in the same place. I dislike repeaters in general and would prefer that they gave way to allow more bandwidth for more interesting stuff but obviously that is not going to happen any time soon.

For the past few years there has been one exception to my repeater aversion GB3CR.
Charlie Romeo is on 433.150 and located on Hope Mountain and until recently it was seriously under used. The only reason I started using this repeater was it was not subject to the abuse that is rife on the local 2m repeaters and it was the only frequency where I could find up to a dozen amateurs on at 06:00 hours in the morning as I travelled either to or from work. The gang that were on at that time of the morning were irreverent and cynical, witty and well informed and somewhat above average intelligence. Sure we had the odd boring git call in and we all have our off days but it passed the time travelling and usually put a smile on my face.

One of the regulars on our early morning net owns the equipment, antennas, pays the up keep, electricity and site rental bills. Another member of the net services and repairs the equipment and antennas. Neither of these people is a member of the UKFM Group North Western so I therefore believed I owe nothing to the group as I never use anything they paid for.

Kath Wilson actually asked me nicely enough but I unfortunately was caught off guard and snapped back that I did not use repeaters. “What about CR” she said and I replied that the UKFMW have nothing to do with the upkeep of CR. Kath replied that they did and that her husband Dave Wilson M0OBW was the NoV holder. I did not want to discuss it and moved on.

To quote one of the founders of GB3CR “The repeater comes under the umbrella of the north west repeater group, UKFMW, but the refurbishment has cost the group nothing. Thanks to the site owner, running costs are zero.” This was referring to the Storno commercial repeater that has only recently been replaced by the owner at no cost to UKFMW with a more modern and hopefully more reliable Tait repeater with such useful goodies as remote shutdown.

The real problem I have is that the lunatics appear to have taken over the asylum. The bad operating practices heard on the North West’s (mainly) two metre repeaters are also perpetrated by some of those running the group. The infiltration by the very foul-mouthed cab and truck drivers I left CB over is self-evident. They pay their fees and so are allowed to be part of the clique and as a result seem to have become almost untouchable. I have seen indications that some abuse on the repeaters is being carried out by normally good well-mannered amateur radio operators who have been driven off the repeaters not by the ‘mic keyers’ but the inane mundane drivel spouted by ‘Good buddies’ now elevated to the dizzy heights of the ‘Novice’. Some of them are so thick I am sure that they probably had a mate sit the exam on their behalf, even though any CBer with half a brain could pass the novice test easily enough.

To put it in a nutshell I do not want anything to do with UKFMW because there are some people involved with it that I would not piss on if they were on fire and while I have every admiration for the hard work Kath and Dave Wilson have done in providing training for amateur radio licensees with their work at ‘The Beacons’ I do not like the way they operate on the air and for some reason when I see them the hairs on the back of my hands stand on end. I have no basis for saying I do not trust them and they have done nothing to make me dislike them, but I do generally I trust my first impressions and would prefer to keep them at arms length.

As a result of my somewhat uncalled for indiscretion, which I have probably compounded by writing this, I tried to find who actually was the repeater’s registered keeper is and it is indeed Dave Wilson M0OBW (if the site that has not been updated for four years is to be believed) but what shocked me even more was finding that he has been elected RSGB president from 1st January 2010.

Now I have always been of the opinion that anyone who seeks a position like that of President of the RSGB must be so far up his own arse as to be automatically excluded from standing for election. So is Dave in that category? I must say I do not know that much about him and certainly not enough to say either way but it seems to me that someone in that position should be at least active on the air. I know his wife Kath is almost omni-present on the two metre repeaters, even if I do not listen on those frequencies very often, but M0OBW is not a call we hear banded about very often. I decided to look him up on QRZ.com and was only the 51st look-up he had ever received, keen DXer then Dave. Compare that to my call, which although I have not checked lately is in the thousands.

So UK amateurs are to be led in to 2010 by someone who teaches but does not practice what he teaches, that sounds like your typical politician. It does not seem like a good move but at least he lives in Sandbach, Cheshire and as such is a Northerner, which has to be good (doesn’t it?) and hopefully he is not one of those G&T swilling knobs or lager drinking pussies from down south. I hope that despite my reservations he can kick some ass and move the society forward, I really do.

I now have some thinking to do, should I stop using GB3CR and should I leave the RSGB before Dave has me expelled? Maybe I should follow Groucho Marx’s lead and send the RSGB a note saying, I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members. Oh come to think of it I did that last time I resigned from our national society!


  1. Q ukfmgw dont pay for CR??

    A Cr is run by various people that help keep costs down BUT UKFMGW do pay the Insurance for the site and equipment fact.

    Q OBW not had many look ups on QRZ

    A So what there are many more not listed on qrz that do DX, If OBW did have time between a full time job and giving up his free time working for us radio hams he might get more time to play radio himself. And He did not sign up with QRZ , his and many other peoples details got added without there knowledge a few weeks ago, As QRZ got hold of the database that ofcom was giving it away just before they stopped as they found out it was illegal to do so.

    And as for the cabbie he hasnt been around for about 8 mths as he has retired from the job.

    So all good with free speach and i and many others wont say other wise BUT i think you have done your self more harm by your comments about the very hard working partnership of M0OBW & M1CNY.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your reply.

    From my latest information you are right in saying UKFMGW pay for public liability insurance. They do it through blanket cover on all the repeaters in the group. The cost of this type of insurance on a one of basis is somewhat prohibitive and that is apparently one reason why the licence holder passed it on to the group. The equipment (repeater, coaxial cables and antenna) were recently replaced by the site owner at no cost to the group. If you are a member you should be able to check the last years accounts.

    M0OBW has been on QRZ much longer than you suggest. What you are saying proves you do not understand how it works. All call signs in the UK call book are automatically entered and have been for many, many years. If you search a call that is not registered due to a "Details withheld" listing you can still get a number of look ups it just says either call unknown or details withheld.

    I too have a full time job working 48hrs a week doing things such as writing my amateur blogs and websites, looking after five children, baby sitting my granddaughter, playing taxi to my children and granddaughter, running a radio club, working with RAYNET and I could go on, but needless to say I manage to be QRV on every band from 80m to 23cms up to 18 hours a day either from home or mobile.

    As for the cab drivers, I wasn't just talking about Billy who could be fun in small doses but annoyed the hell out of me most of the time. I do hope he is enjoying his retirement.

    I think if you read the post you will see that I do admire Kath and Dave for their hard work, in particularly getting so many through the licence.

    I knew I would undoubtedly break a few eggshells saying what I did but I was being honest and the intention of this weblog is to be controversial and get people talking. It got you to rush to their defence and that is good. Too many people sit back and let what is happening happen. If I try and rock the boat and people prove me wrong that is fair enough it simply proves I am getting my word out.

    What worries me with people like Kath and Dave is they come over as Empire builders, I hope I am wrong. Dave has the opportunity to prove me wrong and above all make a difference, I hope he does and wish him well.

    In real life I tend to live and let live and I get on really well even with people who others find objectionable, but being nice does not provoke reactions and I like to know someone is reading what I write so every now and again I poke out with a sharp stick and see if I get a bite. Thank you for defending your friends and please feel free to speak your mind in your comments on my blog.

  3. Steve - People who live in glass houses and all that, somewhat wicked but very amusing in parts. I think the first commentator will find feet of clay if he looks. There is some video on youtube that guy needs to see. Thts all.

  4. Thanks, I am not quite sure what you are on about, but how about a link to the video so everyone can check it out?

  5. Still no link from AAV then.

    Was AAV the one who told a group of contesters that if they do set up again "On His Mountain" that he would cause as much QRM as he could during the contast with his linear.

    Like i say was it AAV if not then it was someone else round that area.

    Very sad al these people that dont like other people to get on in life and enjoy what there doing. As for QRZ i have 47 look ups and i have been around for 4 years so i take it im not a real radio till my count goes up into the thousands.

    Very sad bunch of people these are at think they are elitest .

  6. Still no callsign so still a coward. Please note I have your IP and email address from your post.

    No need for a link, just go on to YouTube and search the local repeater callsigns, but don't watch while there are children about, there is some nasty ***** on some of them.

    No it was not me who said anything of the sort about contesters and I don't have a linear on any band below 70cms.

    Your QRZ count is an indication of how active you are, it is nothing to do with being elitist. So what is the point of having an amateur radio licence if you don't actually transmit. If you wanted to just chat with the guy down the road you should have stayed on CB. Note, I have nothing against CB as it is how I got in to amateur radio.

    Untwist your knickers get on the mic, key or keyboard and enjoy radio as it should be enjoyed.

  7. CR is used for Farmville by Kath Wilson & her feeble minded followers,none of them can construct an intelligent QSO,& just recently they have taken to skype to operate on to avoid IQ zero's which UKFM Group Western do nothing about on the repeaters except to put curfews on the repeaters and punish the good users.
    i know people who have gone out in their cars to ctch IQ zero's and they did'nt even get thanked by UKFM for their time or vehicle fuel,think the sooner the group gets new managment the better,and im sure the G2's/G3's will be spinning in their graves thanx to UKFM Group Western.

  8. It just goes to show, how little some people know, just because you don't hear OBW on the radio does not mean he isn't active on the radio, I have spoken to Dave many time on the radio and on multiple bands.

    As for the curfews on repeaters, its a choice that was put to UKFMGW from OFCOM, either curfew it, or shut it off, the group took the lesser of 2 evils.

    Yes many people go out looking for the IQ0's, I have done it myself around Manchester at 2am -4am in the morning, did I ask for fuel or thanks, NO and I wouldn't even take anything from the group. You may all sit there in your houses passing comments, until you get of your ass and do something your just like the rest of people who want everything for nothing, Its these people with the high an might attitude passing comments on a subject they know nothing about but only think they do, they are the sheep all dumb and blind to reality.

  9. How strange that someone posts a comment to something I wrote thirteen months ago? It's history get over it! If everyone got as passionate about the hobby as they sound when they are shooting from the hip, either on air or in comments on the net we might move forward. I am glad you are doing your bit to track down the idiots, now if only everyone else could do a little too. The problem is even when you report them and send OFCOM recordings and logs they do sod all unless other people complain too