What constitutes “real radio”?

This is a question that’s being asked a lot these days.

For me, the answer is fairly simple.

If it involves RF leaving my station on a frequency which requires me to have an amateur radio licence to transmit on, then it’s “real radio”.  That is, it’s “Amateur radio”.

That includes, HF, VHF, UHF, etc and any appropriate mode on those bands.  Therefore FT8 is real radio, chatting via a repeater on 70cms is real radio, DMR and D-Star are real radio (although I’m far happier using them to talk to locals when they’re unlinked from their internet backbone). Simplex natters on 2m are real radio as is working the DX on HF bands using SSB, CW, RTTY or any other data mode.

Anything which doesn’t include RF leaving my shack on a frequency range listed in my Lifetime radio licence as issued to by my Ofcom is quite simply not amateur radio.  The laughably named “Network radio” is not amateur radio and how it can claim to be is beyond me.   Neither is CQ100 (QsoNet) or HamSphere and what makes them worse is you have to pay a subscription service to use something which isn’t actually amateur radio.

All licensed radio amateurs have passed an examination, whether it be the old written exam, the C&G multiple choice or the newer exams and this demonstrates an interest and understanding in radio.  I think it’s quite insulting and demeaning to the hobby to communicate using cellular or internet technology and call it amateur radio.

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