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?