Congratulations! You've got your new Amateur Radio license and can't wait to start operating on HF phone. However, you're not certain how you want to conduct yourself. After all, there are few if any mandated rules. Most hams have developed good operating practices and etiquette simply by listening to more experienced hams and you will as well. Here are some of my ideas for your consideration.
Act like some
sort of Broadcast Radio station. Your fellow Amateurs will most
likely not appreciate such a blatant display of personal ego.
Be excessively long winded especially when in a round-table discussion and during times when band conditions are changing.
Just talk about ham radio. Most hams have many more interests.
Operate when you are in a bad mood. You will be that much more vulnerable to losing your temper.
Overuse Q-codes and other ham jargon on the phone bands.
Claim or homestead any particular frequency for nets, schedules, etc. If your designated frequency is already in use, simply move up or down as necessary.
Transmit before first determining that the frequency is clear. This includes transmitting within 3Khz of other known QSOs.
Break into an ongoing QSO unless you can hear the majority of the participants.
Ignore someone new to a round table QSO. We should all do our part to make everyone feel welcome. Avoid making the discussion appear exclusive to your particular circle of friends.
Test your transmitter over the air. It is far better to use a dummy load.
Cough, sneeze or clear your throat into your microphone.
Operate VOX except when in a QSO with three or less participants. It tends to foster "quick keying" which may give the appearance that you don't welcome breakers.
Become a "Band Policeman" quick to tell others what you feel they are doing wrong. In instances where it may be called for, always be polite and constructive.
Turn up your microphone gain or resort to excessive speech processing in order to be heard. Such practices will most likely result in diminished audio quality and increased likelihood of interference to nearby QSOs.
Use the word "break" when wanting to join an on-going QSO. Simply give your call sign between transmissions and reserve the use of the word "break" for more urgent situations.
Join an ongoing QSO unless you have something to contribute to the discussion. It is especially rude to interrupt other hams with a request for audio checks, signal reports, etc.
Operate in any fashion that is not in keeping with good amateur practice. Be certain to always comply with the provisions of Part 97 of the rules.
Knowingly interfere with an ongoing QSO just because you are working DX, especially split frequency.
Say that the frequency "is not" in use when you hear someone inquire. Refrain from responding at all unless you know for certain that the frequency or one nearby "is" in use.
Ridicule other hams or express any negative views of the overall state of Amateur Radio. If you don't have something positive and constructive to say, avoid saying anything at all.
Note: Information presented of this page is just the opinion of one ham. As such, they are intended to be nothing more than a " shopping list" of suggested guidelines presented almost entirely from the perspective of a "rag chewer". DXers, Contesters and hams who enjoy other modes will most likely have somewhat different views. Equipment related issues, being generally well known, are purposely not included here. In any event , it is hoped that this list may prove somewhat useful especially for new operators. The overriding theme is common sense and courtesy to others. Let's always remember what a privilege it is to operate on the ham bands! This will help avoid doing anything that might impinge on the enjoyment of our hobby for others.
Perhaps you don't agree with everything here. What would you like to see added, deleted or changed? Send an email to the site author, so your ideas can be added.
Click "Good Amateur Practice Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry" to read FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth's list of several points that he feels help to define the concept of good amateur practice.
Click Amateur's Code to read thoughts from Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, written in 1928.
Click http://www.arrl.org/catalog/index.php3?category=Help+for+Beginners for a product list of available publications from the ARRL including the "Operating Manual for Radio Amateurs".
Click Operating Practices For Radio Amateurs provided by the South African Radio League.
Click "60 Meter Operation to Require Operator Prudence, Caution" to read why Amateur Radio operators will have to learn some new operating habits and adopt some new on-the-air attitudes on that band.
Click "A Quick Refresher Course on CW Operating Procedures" to read the thoughts of Rod Vlach, NN0TT.