The other day, John N5DF, a good friend of mine, has given me a call and told his PC had told him I was on. It seemed to be linked with RBN. When someone with a call already put in the program hits RBN, the PC tells him that the person is showing up. Chris, G4BUE, a big one in FOC, who used to be one of the sponsors to me for FOC years ago also innocently told me in a recent QSO that when he entered the shack after working in the garden, he found my call in RBN and gave me a call to me to say hello.

In both situations, I was more than happy to see them after some interval. It was thanks to RBN of course. But honestly speaking, I must confess I have fallen in a strange feeling not describable. It is not a pleasant one but I felt being controlled by some machine or something. It is a feeling that I am out of my free will.

RBN is a convinient tool. But the convinience sacrifices our freedom to enjoy unexpectedness. Or I could feel like being spied through that system. Is it an exaggeration of my feeling? However, it still has given us a drastic and fundamental change in amateur radio. The pleasure to unexpectedly find someone  has been, I believe, an essence of enjoyment of this hobby.

But RBN has been actually in use by many hams. I also could check, with the help of RBN, where my signal reaches on a particular band. Very convenient. The issue is how to accept it and to do with it in our ham radio life. I prefer tuning around the bands by myself to checking them on display through RBN. I won't blame any RBN users. It is of no use. It may be important how to utilize this system while maintaining the old ways of enjoyment of ham radio in our lives.

This morning, RBN showed opening to almost all over the world on 15m when I confirmed posting by the receivers. Despite of that good opening, only few were calling me only from North America. I really hope they won't get out of the shack only after checking the display but would listen the bands by themselves. In the future, there will be a operating machine being linked to RBN without the operator himself in the shack and it will work some DX itself?


  1. Shin very interesting comments on the RBN system.
    As you are aware I will rarely comment on your blog as we QSO so often where you share a lot of these thoughts with me. And you know I am shy as you say about yourself hi hi

    I also have mixed emotions on the RBN system, but must admit I will use it often. Usually to find QRQ friends that I will probably miss while tuning around the bands. Many times I have chased you from band to band as I know you dont stay on one frequency very long if nothing is heard. Other wise I would miss the chance of a QSO with you or others.

    With my RBN set to record say FOC members I know that if the station is a FOC member I will find a excellent CW operator and have a rag chew QSO which is why I remain in ham radio. It is with great sadness that most of the decent cw operators have gone SK and most of my QSOs these days start and end with 599 TU which discourages me and I turn off the radio.

    There is already a machine linked to RBN and its called the DX clusters. This is where you point and click your mouse within the band map of your logging program push a button which sends your call sign over and over in hopes the DX station will finally respond. Then it logs the contact and sends a QSL card automatically via the LOTW system. I have talked with many operators who admit that they can not read code and barely can hear there call signs usually relying on a code reader.

    I guess with RBN we need to take the good with the bad. Like you i miss tuning the bands to find the unexpected, but I use this tool to help me keep my interest in ham radio

    Thanks for the chat we had on 7 MHz a few minutes ago. It always makes my day. OH and I didnt find you on RBN, just the old fashion way of tuning the bands hi-

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the comment. I understand what you think about RBN. It is a handy tool. It must be a problem how to use it. In case we want to know how the band conditions are or if any particular friend is on around etc, it could help us. But if we rely on it as a receiver on behalf of ourselves, it spoils us and maybe makes us fall!

      Don't you think there would appear some software mimicking HF bands which enable us QSO in the internet without the big antenna and expensive rigs? The QRN, QSB or even QRM might be programmed. Yes, it may include solar cycle changes in the conditions. I sometimes imagine that. We might feel it would be virtual and wonder what we should do with it.

      Anyway, so far, let's enjoy communication on this old mode on the bands. Some people may come on the same way after us. I will be happy if we could encourage them to enjoy radio in the same way.

      It is terrible that it is the parttime day today. I still have a bit of pain on back. Now I fully know what Amy feels.