Chivalry for the modern ham: The Radio Amateur’s Code


Once upon a time, owning and operating a ham radio was a pursuit of the wealthy and fortunate, as ham radio equipment was expensive and operators were required to know their complex inter workings, not to mention that they needed to be highly proficient with Morse code. Hams were the envy of society with their magical ability to communicate with others all over the globe at no charge from the comfort of their own home. They dressed the occasion wearing their finest attire while operating their mystical equipment, as a person of privilege should. How times have changed. Hams can now buy a new radio for under $50 – even cheaper if used, plus they no longer need to know More code and the luster of global communications has largely disappeared with the advent of Internet, instant messaging and social media networks.

While this is perhaps a bit of an exaggerated version of reality, few are likely to disagree that the number of licensed hams has grown significantly from its beginnings and with it, the occurrence and visibility of misconduct has likewise grown in step. Whether it’s verbal disagreements over the air or disparaging comments in one of the many on-line discussion forums, hams have been know on occasion, to be disrespectful to one another.

For this reason, a new VA3XPR Code of Conduct has been published on the VA3XPR website as a reminder to hams of how they should conduct themselves as members of this awesome hobby and global fraternity when using the VA3XPR DMR repeaters. This new Code of Conduct was adapted from the ARRL Radio Amateur Code, which is included below:

“The Radio Amateur is:

  • Considerate…never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.
  • Loyal…offers loyalty, encouragement, and support to other amateurs, local clubs, and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.
  • Progressive…with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station, and operation above reproach.
  • Friendly…slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation, and consideration for the interests of others.  These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.
  • Balanced…radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school, or community.
  • Patriotic…station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

 – adapted from the original Amateur’s Code, written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928.”

We here at VA3XPR hope that hams will take the time to review and reflect upon these doctrines, as adherence to them can only help to make this a more enjoyable and rewarding hobby for all of us. Accordingly, please feel share this with your ham friends so that we can all bring a higher standard of operating to this great hobby.

About Don Trynor, VA3XFT

Don is a 16-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a licensed Canadian ham radio operator since 1988. He is passionate about VHF/UHF repeater communications, especially using digital modes and he has owned and operated a number of ham radio repeater installations over the years, including ones in both the provinces of Ontario (VE3/VA3) and New Brunswick (VE9). In addition to ham radio, Don enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, biking and astronomy.