The Curse of Macros

One of the things that’s fun about amateur radio is the opportunity to meet people, talk with them, exchange information, learn from each other, and just plan shoot the breeze.

Oh, I enjoy the experimenting, tinkering with new antennas, learning the science behind radio technology and all that. But it’s the people who share the hobby that make it really interesting.

That’s why I get so irritated when operating in digital modes. Everyone seems to be running software with pre-programmed macros these days. I keep seeing the same things over and over again. Operator created on such and such a date, rig is (insert model of your choice). Antenna is this. Software is that… Your RST is 599. Thanks for the contact. 73s…

It’s all over in 30 seconds. The two people ‘chatting’ never even touched a keyboard, just clicked the mouse on macro buttons that sent pre-recorded messages. I can understand doing that if you’re contesting and trying to rack up points by making as many contacts as possible. But the whole contact is so meaningless that you might as well just relegate the whole thing to the computer and just have the computers scanning the airwaves, picking out call signs, sending reports to each other, while you go watch television or weed the garden.

Come on, guys. Just start whacking away at the keyboard. Forget the macros. Tell a joke, complain about your car. Brag about your equipment. Tell the funny story about your brother-in-law and the badger. I’ll tell you what happens when you put 120 volts through a Z-80 CPU (Helpful hint: wear eye protection).

The technology is interesting, true, but it’s the people that make it fun

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