UBABelgian Amateur Radio Society

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Photo: Couloir

Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur

The enormous success of “Operating Practice”, written by Mark ON4WW and which was included in the HAREC license handbook of the UBA, and since then translated in more than 15 languages, is at the base of a new handbook written by John ON4UN and Mark ON4WW, which covers all the material one needs to know and to apply to become an exemplary and successful ham on the bands.

Why this initiative?

During the last 50 years we witnessed a major evolution in ham radio. Nowadays, 99% of the hams active on the bands use commercial equipment built according to internationally established standards. This is one of the reasons why the technical aspects have become less of a drive to become a ham. It is undeniable that for the majority of hams who joined our ranks in the recent years, ham radio became a hobby of communication by radio, rather than a hobby about the technique of the radio communications.

Today we note a world tendency to make available licenses for beginners, based on an examination of a limited technical level. This is a good initiative because it attracts new blood, which is urgently needed. Once these newcomers have joined our ranks, they will more easily find the drive and the courage to study the technical matters necessary to pass a HAREC level examination.

All this explains why “making contacts” has become an increasingly important facet of the hobby. Keeping the numbers of hams high and using our bands is of utmost importance, because if we don't use them, we will lose them. Too many other radio communication and broadcast services would be happy to grab important segments of our bands.

We must admit however that up to now we largely forgot to teach our newcomers and candidate hams how to operate and behave on the ham bands. In addition, the exams administered to candidate hams so far only covered this matter very superficially. This is why we hear a lot of hams using operational procedures which are far from being perfect.

John ON4UN and Mark ON4WW are convinced that instead of blaming them it is without any doubt better to bring them the information necessary so that they can become exemplary and accomplished radio hams. To this effect they have developed two documents, which are at the disposal of each and all, without any restriction or any cost.

Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur” is available as a PDF document. A second document in the form of a PowerPoint presentation (PPS file) is in the first instance addressed to the volunteers who would like to address this subject in their section or in their local radio club.

With these documents the authors have only one goal, which is to try to improve, where necessary, the behaviour on the bands in matters of ethics and operating procedures, and make available to the newcomers in the hobby a document covering these subjects in detail.

At the European (CEPT) as well as at the national level, the relevant authorities are aware of these problems, and an adaptation of the study and exam material necessary to fill this gap, is more than probable in the near future.

It is important to know that this is not just a “local” initiative. At this time the two documents are already available in three languages (English, French and Dutch) and more translations are underway (Japanese, Russian, German, Italian, Spanish etc). The document has been accepted by the IARU AC meeting (Konstand, June 2008) as the recommended manual covering the subject of ethics and operational procedures.

In the coming weeks and months the manual will be made available on many Radio amateur websites.

Click here to download the PDF file (approx. 1 MB PDF)  

Click here to download the PowerPoint PPS file (approx. 5 MB)


Please send your remarks, criticisms and suggestions to the authors: on4un [at] uba [dot] be (ON4UN) and on4ww [at] uba [dot] be (ON4WW) or at info [at] uba [dot] be.

More important, talk about this with your friends, or better yet, send them a copy of the PDF file.

Thank you and 73,

Claude - ON7TK,
President of the UBA