Friendship with hams in the neighbor country

Before the IARU Championship started yesterday, I had called CQ DX on 40m. A chinese called me. Niu BH4BFS from Shanghai. I won't usually respond to callers in the neighbor countries like China when I particularly call CQ DX. Niu sounded a bit different from the other chinese who always quit as soon as exchanging reports and the other stereotypic informations. His hand key was rounded with smaller dot dash ratio than the others with very sharp dots and strained irregular hand keying. It was a music to me.

Niu has asked me what I meant with "age" when I sent him my age. Introducing the output power as 500W, I was again asked what gear I was using. He sounded very curious about me. He was anxious to converse with me. He seemed to have a spirit of "Tell me your story". I felt that attitude toward the others in QSO when I made this exchange with him.

When he started responding to me, it always took him a minute or two. Telling me "SRI SRI", he went on that silence. He seemed to read all what he had copied and to translate it to his mother tongue. He seemed to have understood of my age, my equipment and antenna and my looking his photo on his page in QRZ.com. He was a 38 year old guy, running FT897 with a V shaped dipole. His attitude to try to converse with me has made me moved a lot. I am sure that was what he pursued in this hobby. It was quite new among the chinese operators so far as I know. But there is still a change in their operation attitude.

In my experience, the most chinese hams would finish a QSO in contest style as I told above. It always made me disappointed so much. I even suspected there should be some regulation there that would have prohibited them from talking long with the japanese or other foreign hams as it used to be in the communist countries in the last century. There could be a remnant of strictly regulated age over there. But, nowadays, there are new hams who would like to open the window toward the outer world like Niu in China. There is still a barrier of language between us. They would overcome it very soon. Curiosity and open mindedness would help them to learn English as well as code ability.

At present, the chinese diplomacy could be regarded a territorial expansionism by the neighbor peoples. Some people insist that we should be more armed and even get ready for any invasion by them. Between Japan and China, there have been an unhappy history of our invasion to China. The revisionists in Japan won't accept the fact as it is. In China, the head of the government seems to take advantage of the sentiment of the people against Japan as a means to deceive the people from their political dissatisfaction. It is necessary for us to accept the reality as it is. We should overcome the gap and misunderstanding with persevering discussion and negotiation. War often occurs when the peoples won't understand each other and fear against the other overwhelms rational understanding. Pivate diplomacy through ham radio may be of importance in this respect. It won't make any immediate effect on the relationship between our countries. However, it would give us a firm base for better relationship in the future.


  1. It is the influence of others that create what most of us become as humans and believers. Children brought up in a house with a particular religion, generally follow that religion through their lives. The same with political affiliations. The same is true with government manipulation and that of the media. Your political leaders tell you that Russians, or Chinese or Japanese or whatever are bad, and you grow up with that philosophy. Naturally, most of us believe the Television, with whatever they state, is fact. If you ever wonder about how wars are created and why soldiers follow their commands, it is because of such an influence. My parents were of the generation of WW2. They had their beliefs. They didn't force anything on me, but I heard what they said. I grew up in the cold war era, anti-Russia. You would have thought that every Russian was a criminal, or worse. It was through ham radio that I came to know some people on the other side of the world as persons. Individuals that could converse, had feelings and with whom I could share common interests. That negated the feelings of parents, media and government, at least for me. I knew, for a fact, that others in this world were no different than me. Such is the case with your fellow in China. He was undoubtedly reaching out to you for that same understanding. That same sense that what happened so long ago, is just history. Today's people did not do that. The shame is that what Ham radio has done seems to be slowly going away. Internet communication is way too impersonal. You don't make an impromptu friend in some foreign land by sending out an anonymous "CQ" email.

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    2. Don,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, such a personal bonding might be really necessary and effective to promote the peace in the world, even if it may sound too primitive to some "realists".

      In the age of nuclear weapons and total war, the balance of power under terror is not possible. It leads to endless increase of arming. I would ask realists how the power could be balanced. Impossible!

      I also should stress learning from the academic history is also important. There are a variety of views in history. It is an interaction between the past and the present. But we should go on studying what was the reality and waht is important to us from a various aspects.

      Together with the study in the history, private diplomacy must contribute to the peace making in the world. Ham radio gives us perpetuating relationship with foreign people. It is one of the best ways for private diplomacy. Internet is still a virtual reality very frail. As you pointed it out, ham radio is deteriorating as for this function. But I am still optimistic for the future. Without that possibility, there is nothing to do with it spending much time and energy. This is the reason why we emphasize the importance of conversational CW.