Several times recently I’ve spent a bit of time just listening to Amateur Radio nets and QSOs in progress, not wanting to budge into the conversations in progress. Busy with other tasks I enjoyed being at least a listener.
What has surprised me is the periodic forgetfulness that nothing is private when transmitted on the bands.
- The minutia of your health just became public knowledge when you included conversation describing every detail….
- That you are away for March to Arizona, but there is a front door key to your house under the front door mat, may as well been published in the newspaper as a public announcement…..
- Just exactly how do you feel about that other Radio Group? – Oh you already transmitted your armchair quarterback’s take of their efforts…..
- How you quickly worked some rare DX with your buddy’s callsign because you knew he was away on vacation during the short DXpedition, even though it is against the rules & ethics of DXing just became your new one-the-bands reputation…..
- The scuttlebutt that so & so’s marriage is in trouble is no longer a private affair…..
So many items of private, semi-private information and things told to people in confidence are discussed with a forgetfulness towards the public nature of Amateur Radio.
Some years ago I managed to pick up a 32 mph in a 25 zone warning ticket – embarrassing in itself, but even more when friends at work knew about it because they heard it on the scanner.
Being scolded by a donut-eater in a metermaid’s jeep wasn’t life changing but that gentle nudge that little we do is private was.
This public nature of amateur transmissions is something we should keep in mind and take to heart.
Unintended Consequences can be reduced by thinking first.
Now if only I can remember to practice this when I key up that microphone!