The Amateur’s Code

This is not a blog about amateur radio. But I think the word ‘amateur’ is important to understand.

from L. amatorem (nom. amator) “lover,” agent noun from amatus, pp. of amare “to love”

And as distinguished from ‘professional’ – it’s not something you with the motive of making money. However, that doesn’t mean that ‘amateur’, something done for the love of it, is exclusive of excellence. In fact, the more love there is in your effort the more likely is is to be done with excellence.

With this in mind, I think ‘amateur broadcasters’ can borrow liberally from the ‘Amateur’s Code originally penned by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA  in 1928. Here are points that I think are equally applicable to broadcasters that do it for the love of radio:

CONSIDERATE never knowingly operating in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.
PROGRESSIVE with knowledge abreast of science, a well built and efficient station, and operation beyond reproach.
FRIENDLY with slow and patient operation when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance, co-operation 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 with station and skill always ready for service to country and community

The careful reader will notice that I left out “loyalty” – not that I think loyalty is an undesirable trait – only that as written in “the code” it doesn’t really apply to broadcasters.

What I really want to focus on is the “Patriotic” part of the code.  A radio station and broadcasters skill at the ready for service to country and community is what this it’s all about. Note that it doesn’t say “service to government” or “service to corporate interests.”

Note that the code was written well before 1934. In my option this only adds weight to our moral authority and obligation to use the broadcast airwaves in service of our communities, regardless of the what the federal government may have to say on the matter.


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