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!