CQ CQ CQ…Internet?

For some reason, the ARRL website is featuring an article on CQ100 and QSONet, a simulation of ham radio over the Internet. On the fpqrp mailing list, the overwhelming response was overwhelmingly, “Ugh.”

Now, I happen to like EchoLink and IRLP, which I think are great extensions to amateur radio, but I really don’t get this QSONet stuff. If you’re going to chat on a computer, why would you want to use something like QSONet, which is a complete simulation, rather than EchoLink or IRLP, which at least has some radio component? I guess that I don’t understand the desire to cloak computer chatting in amateur radio trappings.

If you’re going to do computer chatting, why not use something really cool like iChat, which has both a video and audio component? (I use iChat frequently for business and personal use.)

The author of the article just gushes about using the program, though. He even talks about working contests on the Internet. (The ARRL editor did, at least, add a note that “contacts made using CQ100 are virtual — not radio —contacts and cannot be used toward any ARRL sponsored contest or award.”)

The best comment, though, was from one of the wags on the mailing list. He said, “It’s like boasting about the medieval warfare skills you learned in World of Warcraft.”


  1. I agree, Dan. I wouldn’t have an argument with CQ100 if it was presented as a ham radio simulation, for which you wouldn’t even need a license. Heck, it might even encourage some people to do real radio.

    What annoyed me was the article title “Hey I’ve got my radio hobby back” and the ARRL promoting it as a way for antenna-restricted hams to stay in the hobby, instead of encouraging them to do QRP in the park, HF from the car or giving suggestions for how you can get on the air with indoor antennas.

  2. David Brodbeck N8SRE says:

    Yeah, I’m with Julian. The ARRL article rubbed me the wrong way, too. Saying this is a good way for people in apartments to ham is like saying that Grand Turismo is a good for people who don’t have cars to get some driving in. It’s not the same thing at all.

  3. It does seem a tiny bit absurd. Okay, more than a tiny bit. It’s not surprising that someone would create software like this. I can envision that this might provide some interesting training, perhaps boning up your Morse skills before a big contest. And people to like hunting and fishing video games. But this article is like having Field and Stream touting a software emulation of fishing. It just seems… comical.

Speak Your Mind