Galina Mihaylova & Anton Ivanov

Playground on the Sandpit

As grown-up children, until recently all of us radio amateurs were on the same “sandbox”, we had only one playground – the airwaves.

All hams want to play their game or want to practice their sport, but they all have to do it on it – our ham bands. Hundreds of thousands of players on a single sandbox inevitably come to conflicts.

One example: Suddenly you hear someone calling CQ or talking to someone else on your frequency (we assume the frequency you use in moment). How is that possible? You’ve been here for over half an hour and the frequency has been perfectly clear. Yes, it IS POSSIBLE; maybe the other operator also thinks you are the intruder on HIS frequency. Maybe the walkthrough has suddenly changed. And maybe he lacks ethics of behavior on the air. Or he refuses to comply. Colorful world, all kinds of people. Where is the line of tolerance?

The modern situation

Today, with the development of technology, the airwaves are not the only “sandbox” of radio amateurs. They use the Internet, the media, participate in national and international competitions, construct their equipment, go on “fox hunts”.

We are trying to bring order to the conditions of democracy. And it’s definitely not easy.

Most people cannot manage their ego.

There is no mental health screening when licenses are issued.

Democracy does not automatically solve problems, on the contrary.


Ethics is a set of rules based on the principles of ethics, as well as operator responsibility and the documents governing radio amateur activity.

Ethics determine our attitude, our principled behavior as radio amateurs. Ethics is always related to morality. Ethics – these are the principles of morality.

Examples: ethics tells us never to intentionally disturb other stations. This is a rule of morality. Not complying with it is immoral. It is also not moral to cheat during contests. It is not moral to shower insults on another person, whether a radio amateur or not, with insults on Internet forums or the media. The result is a stain on you, a stain on insults, a stain on amateur radio, a stain on Bulgaria. No one benefits from such a short “relaxation”, which has a cumulative effect afterwards and hard-to-heal wounds.


Codes of practice and procedures set out how we manage all aspects of our conduct.

To maintain and “elevate” the spirit of the radio amateur, to give a certain esotericism and mystery in order to attract more people to our hobby, we use the term “rituals” when it comes to the procedures in practical work.

For radio amateurs, they are more than rules of general human ethics. Much of it is based on operator responsibility, amateur radio practice and habits.

In order to avoid conflicts, we need more practical rules to guide our behavior on the amateur ranges, since making contacts there is our main activity. But this is also true at competitions, on the Internet, in front of the media, and even at traditional radio amateur meetings.

It is about very everyday rules or guidance covering the aspects that we cannot refer to ethics. Many rituals (how to QSO, how to call, where to work, what QRZ means, how to use the Q-code, etc.) are part of it. Respect for rituals ensures optimal execution and efficiency of our QSOs and is key to avoiding conflicts. These rituals have become established as a result of daily practice over many years and as a result of constant technical and technological development. Along with it, the rules are also subject to development.

Radio amateurs are citizens of the world. When joining the radio amateur hobby, it should be clear to every new radio amateur that he can communicate both with a radio amateur next door and with a radio amateur from “the other side of the world”.

Let’s use our call sign correctly.

Let’s only use our full initial to identify ourselves.

Let’s not start a transmission by identifying yourself or your correspondent by your name or his name (for example, saying: Hi Tony, this is Pepi…).

Let’s identify with the full call sign, not just the suffix! It is illegal to use only the suffix.

Let’s identify ourselves often enough – at every line or in 2-3 lines, if they are very short. As a rule, the maximum time between two identifications is 5 minutes.

Let us always be careful in our expressions. Sometimes the correspondent may be a person with a physical or other disability and the radio is his only window to the world and society. To be tolerant and make compromises, especially when you don’t know what kind of person you are dealing with.

In short, the situation is complicated.

We may not be able to change it completely, but we can try and make every effort to have only pleasure in our favorite hobby.

This site is a small attempt in this direction. But if each of us respects radio amateur ethics, if each of us teaches our followers and loved ones to respect it, we will play in a clean and tidy “sandbox”!

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