Over lunch today I read the September issue of QST, which is heavily EmComm oriented. Articles were interesting, but the Opinion piece on page 98 seemed a little over the top to me.
Has this focus of this intensity always been a part of ham radio and I just wasn’t expecting it? How has it evolved over the years?
From Part 97 of the Code of Federal Regulations…
Sec. 97.1 Basis and purpose.
The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:
- Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
- Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
- Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.
- Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
- Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.
I think that 97.1(a) addresses your question.
Providing emergency and public-service communications has been a part of amateur radio since its beginnings. Some hams are extremely focused on this, and I applaud them. In my opinion, the piece referred to in the latest QST was not over the top.
Hams do sometimes go overboard on this emcomm thing, though, acting as if it’s the only reason that ham radio exists. It’s not. That’s why I’m glad that Tim posted Section 97.1 here. As you can see, the rules describe five different “purposes” for amateur radio. Emcomm might be the first, but it’s only one of five. We need to keep in mind the other four as well.
What do you think?