SD by EI5DI - Remote Control

Remote Operation

We are all entitled to our own opinion, but not all opinions are equal. Some are backed by fact, others are not. Those that are not backed by fact are worth considerably less than those that are. The alternative to fact is fiction.

It's not enough for anyone to assert things without evidence, and then attempt to justify their assertions by adding "Well, that's my opinion" - as though that in itself is some kind of justification. It isn't.

Nevertheless, facts, on their own, may be selective or insufficient. A bit of context is usually required to produce the truth.

Here are two facts about remote operation that serve to describe the context.

    1. With few exceptions, remote operators are at all times communicating over the internet and/or other public communications utilities.

    2. Without the internet, the remote operator could not possibly contact (communicate with) other operators from his/her remote station.
As such, remote operation represents hybrid communications - with full dependence on both amateur-band RF and the internet for any information to be exchanged (that's "communications") between the operators concerned. However, remote enthusiasts are wilfully blind to the internet. They are, simultaneously, internet users and internet deniers.

Remote operating represents deception on a world-wide industrial scale. The unsuspecting "hands-on" operators usually have no idea, and generally have no way of knowing in advance, that they are having anything other than RF-all-the-way QSOs. They will be unaware that their transmissions are being relayed over public communications utilities to the remote operator, and that, in general, their QSOs would not be otherwise be possible.

In effect, remote QSOs are devalued - even though, to the unsuspecting operators contacted, they may be indistinguishable from the real thing.

Remote operation, no matter how impressive the technology, how pressing the operator's personal circumstances or how altruistic his/her motives, is neither clever nor progressive. On the contrary, it is selfish, and serves to undermine ham radio by suggesting that it is perfectly acceptable to communicate over public networks rather than face up to local or personal difficulties.

If you're a remote operator, then however you choose to describe your activities, they are unlikely to be anything other than amateur hybrid-communications. In turn, remote operators are amateur hybrid-communications operators They refuse to accept that QSOs take place between people.

Here is something that anyone can understand.

    A QSO between two "hands-on" operators? Well, that is 100% ham radio.

    A QSO between two operators on CQ100 or HamSphere? Well, that is 100% internet.

    A QSO between a remote operator and a hands-on operator? Well, that is simultaneously less than 100% ham radio, and less than 100% internet.

However, the remote operators reject this. They claim it's 100% ham radio, and zero percent internet. They say their location doesn't matter, as the RF generated is exactly the same as if they were "at" their station. Of course, they ignore the inconvenient fact that they're not at their station. They continue to deny their absolute dependence on external communications utilities.

They take comfort in their denials by relying on compliant contesting and award sponsors, and on the IARU and its member societies (including ARRL, DARC and RSGB) who validate their activities. Strangely enough, those same bodies reject other forms of hybrid communications, including EchoLink and IRLP, in the pursuit of DXCC and contesting awards.

An appropriate riposte to remote operators who are competing for contesting or operating awards is to look them in the eye and ask "Which part of 'You're on the internet' do you not understand or not accept?"

The remote operators don't like this - they have nothing to say because they are exposed. They may protest, "Yes, but it's exactly the same as if I had long mic and speaker leads". That is fiction - it is not the same; they are dependent on, and communicating over, public communications utilities. Let them compete among themselves.

Paul O'Kane EI5DI
September 2016

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