Skip to comments.Romney "Disses" Amateur Radio In Televised Town Meeting (and why he won't get my vote)
Posted on 01/10/2008 11:30:21 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson
Romney "Disses" Amateur Radio In Televised Town Meeting Posted on Wednesday 16 November 2005 @ 15:48:10
Governor Mitt Romney dismissed the role of Amateur Radio operators in emergency communications during a televised "town meeting" program last night on WCVB's "When Disaster Strikes: Segment Two." The program featured public safety and volunteer organization officials from across Massachusetts among its audience.
Host and moderator Natalie Jacobson asked an increasingly-agitated Governor Romney questions about communications interoperability, and communication without commercial power. Romney was next asked by Jacobson, "...so does it come down to ham radio?..."
The Governor replied in a disgusted tone, "No, we don't need to deal with ham radio operators..."
Embarrassed public safety officials later tried to put in a good word for Amateur Radio. National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Glenn Field was prepared to state the importance of Amateur Radio, when Salvation Army Colonel Fred Van Brunt was called upon. Van Brunt remarked about his organization's quest to improve its communications capabilities and how Amateur Radio has aided his organization. "The ham radio situation helps a great deal," he stated.
"I have already written and submitted a letter to the Governor's Office," wrote Eastern MA Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY. "I have also written an email to Natalie Jacobson."
ARRL Section Manager Mike Neilsen, W1MPN sent a section-wide email today to all Eastern MA ARRL members describing the incident along with actions he and his staff were taking to mitigate the situation.
"[Romney's] attitude about us sets an unfortunate tone within the state's executive branch," wrote Neilsen. "As a former military officer, I see this as a failure in leadership. My immediate concern is our working relationship within the [Massachusetts Emergency Management Team] environment." Neilsen intends to address the Governor's comments as "an urgent matter" at a meeting on November 17 with Don Carlton from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
"I was very disturbed about what the Governor stated on the program," wrote Ron Wood, W1PLW, the section's Public Information Coordinator. "It does show that more work is needed by all hams in the section. It's a great idea to write letters explaining the good we do." Wood is attempting to schedule a meeting with the Governor's office tomorrow so that EMA ARRL staffers might discuss the matter further.
Tom Kinahan, N1CPE wrote that Governor Romney's comment has made "a PR problem" for Kinahan in his role as MA State RACES Officer.
"I've got a roster of over 150 Amateur Radio operators that support local communities, and those of us that directly support the state government. There are at least double that in terms of people that are actually out there that I don't have formal paperwork on that support Amateur Radio emergency communications in some organized manner... The Governor has said that he 'certainly doesn't need to rely on ham radio' -- where does that leave the RACES program now?"
"I am ashamed tonight that I am a Republican!" remarked one ham radio viewer. "[Romney] speaks in derogatory tones about hams. He certainly shows an ignorance as to what we do and are capable of. I suggest a grass roots campaign of local hams calling the State House and The Governor's Office to protest."
The television program can be viewed at http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/5334306/detail.html.
His failure to actually understand infrastructure related to "fixed services" is in my opinion, a telling sign of an individual who is clearly not qualified to stand in the position as Commander-in-Chief of the United States. His belief that "we don't need to deal with ham radio operators" is certainly ignorance on his part, when hundreds of thousands of hours of donated time, equipment and expertise have been give by men and women in the Amateur Radio Service.
The word "Amateur" is a misnomer. Rarely if ever is there an "amateur" among them, and they provide professional communications to everyone they serve, including the public.
The public perhaps in general might view a "Ham radio operator" as some sort of geeky person without a life. This can be no further from the truth. Most are professional men and women in all walks of life, professions and experience.
Mr. Romney dismisses their service as "nothing", after having spent millions on a fixed communications service and when questioned on things like interoperability he became more agitated, obviously not having answers to the questions.
The fact is all systems will fail, and there are usually single-point-of-failures in the systems, and this includes everything from the AC power supplied to your house, to the cellular telephone in your pocket. Satellite communication can fail in severe snow storms, and power systems and infrastructure can be destroyed by ice, snow and tornadic activity.
Over the years Amateurs have proven their worth over and over in disasters from California and Colorado wildfires, to Katrina. Where government supplied communications infrastructure has repeatedly failed, and no other communications was evident, Amateur Radio was there.
When ALL ELSE FAILS, Amateur radio is there.
Mr. Romney has shown his incompetence in this, what amounts to some, an insignificant issue. But to me, and other Amateurs throughout the country -- this is a serious and incomprehensible mistake on his part. He has never apologized to the Ham community where he was Governor, and he has never admitted this mistake publicly. Instead, this has been glossed over by many, and by some who support Romney it's "not an issue".
It WILL become an issue when he is C-in-C and we end up in a war where our country becomes the target. When the Hams are needed, they will still respond in SPITE of someone like this man. But, many will not vote for him.
Amateur Radio Operators deserve at LEAST an apology from this man, and until he does so, he won't be getting my vote.
(From the Federal Communications Commission) The Amateur Radio Service The amateur and amateur-satellite services are for qualified persons of any age who are interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. These services present an opportunity for self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations.
Millions of amateur operators in all areas of the world communicate with each other directly or through ad hoc relay systems and amateur-satellites. They exchange messages by voice, teleprinting, telegraphy, facsimile, and television. In areas where the FCC regulates the services, an amateur operator must have an FCC or Canadian license. FCC-issued Reciprocal Permit for Alien Amateur Licensee are no longer needed. Reciprocal operation in the U.S. is now authorized by Section 47 C.F.R. § 97.107.
All frequencies are shared. No frequency is assigned for the exclusive use of any amateur station. Station control operators cooperate in selecting transmitting channels to make the most effective use of the frequencies. They design, construct, modify, and repair their stations. The FCC equipment authorization program does not generally apply to amateur station transmitters.
Romney is a big old ham.
He just doesn’t like the competition.
I can’t believe JimRob didn’t include “attitude toward the ham radio community” in his “candidate deal-breaker” poll the other day.
Whether you like ham radio or not, not voting for someone based solely on that is rather immature.
Lieberman doesn’t like ham either.
There goes the Art Bell endorsement ...
Romney the chameleon RINO cheater, who despises amateur radio operators. Why? Because they get the truth out?
Romney is a such ._.. / _ _ _ / ... / . / ._.
Maybe one of his neighbors has one of those 60-foot tall antennae sticking out of his roof causing an eyesore for the neighborhood. Not that I’ve ever seen anything like that in my town, of course.
As a self-organizing global communications net that needs no infrastructure, ham radio's whole value today is emergency communications. It should be 'sold' to the public specifically for this function. What better way would there be to bring young people back into the field?
His stand is relevant, because it exemplifies his preference for big govm't solutions.
Wow, Romney stepped in it this time. Ham operators are indespensible with regard to just about any national emergency. I guess the idea they don’t cost the state gazillions of dollars, probably reduces their importance to him.
I understand the sentiment completely.
However, I do not think this thread is going to garner the reaction you might have wanted.
Well you got that one right.
Romney’s an elitist snob. What more needs to be said?
Rommney’s a cable modem and satellite dish type of guy.
i think the evoked response adequately underscored your point. :-)
That’s basically what we’ve been doing, BA. In reality, that’s precisely what Amateur Radio IS anyway. There’s certainly a hobby aspect to it, but many amateurs are involved in providing emergency communications when necessary, and they practice this, prepare and keep their equipment ready for the moment’s notice.
There are others involved in satellite communications and Amateurs have launched many satellites into space. The International Space Station contains a full set of both voice and digital radio gear, and nearly every American and most Russian Astronauts are also amateur radio operators as well.
Ham radio is something that most people don’t “see”, but it can be felt. Everything from digital communications we use today in Wifi systems, to cellular telephones, satellites and other forms of communications (not to MENTION computers) had it’s beginning somewhere on the desk of a Ham Radio Operator. Every piece of technology out there has been touched in some way by Amateur radio and had it’s meager beginnings with Ham radio at some point or another.
You know, I remember when all the “first responders” (What everyone used to call the Police, Fireman, Ambulance, etc) used Motorola radios for everything. Hell, they probably had tubes in them.
But comms was never an issue, till our city bought a whole passle of new digital “trunk” units (whatever they are) and the end users started complaining about dead spots and difficulties. They aren’t cheap, either. Now I’m all for modernization, but sometimes simple and robust is better - particularly in an emergency, and particularly as backup.
If the city fathers are in charge of public finances as well as some level of safety and communication with the public, they ought to KEEP those old radios at some level of maintenance and/or as a backup. I’d bet they DIDN’T.
HAMs *live* for that kind of thing - and they typically don’t require AC power, but have transceivers that work on backup DC - batteries. There’s something to be said for that. Why Gov. Romney would cavalierly dismiss a great bunch of guys doesn’t make sense. He has to be taken out of context, if only because no politician would ever do that knowingly.
Everything you stated in your post is true, RD. While I’ve never been a ‘ham operator’ I did grow up with a CB base station, and was a Radioman in the Navy for four years.
(And I’ve slept at a Holiday Inn Express)
The one part you fail to address is the simple fact that if everything goes down the tubes to the point only ham operators are ‘up and running’ nobody but other ham operators will hear them....(chuckle)
If Romney buys a ham radio, eats a ham sandwich, shows up wearing a nice set of headphones on Leno, installs large attena’s at every home he currently owns, every home he passes by over the next six months while campaigning (he could afford you know) falls to his knees and then taps out Morse Code for ‘please forgive me my hammy friends’ will you reconsider?
Obviously his worst fear is The People who do not need the government to facilitate every service, especially communications.
And local emergencies too. They do yeoman work without fanfare or pay. Maybe thats this businessman's problem...no profit in it.
This was an incredibly ignorant and stupid remark.
I wasn’t attempting to “garner a reaction”. Sorry for disappointing you. I was explaining a point of view. Apparently several folks here are nothing but trolls anyway, because they post immediately and obviously didn’t TAKE some time to actually read the article. /shrug. So, whatever “reaction” garnered by the article is not something I looked for, rather expected.
The trolls come out of the woodwork, and that’s pretty obvious. LOL
Neighbor two doors down from me has a HUGE antennae. Doesn’t bother me one bit.
And if TSHTF I know where to go for news.
It just proves it, MR is a stupid man.
ARO - rock!
I feel the need to reply just because my username is a ham radio callsign. Ahem.
I’m waiting to hear his stance on the really important issue of the day - the apparent collapse of HD DVD and the rise of Blu-Ray.
>[Romney] speaks in derogatory tones about hams.
I didn’t know that Romney was Jewish.
I agree. And it’s interesting that he has no knowledge of this.
I don’t necessarily think of Ham radio operators as geeky people without lives, but I do visualize them in a poorly lit basement chain-smoking and talking to somebody about nothing in Kuala Lumpur.
What a dickhead. I remember hearing Air Force one and a station from Texas trying to get a hold of someone in charge in NOLA during the flyover. They did talk with the EOC in Slidell though.
Would he be stupid enough to see little need for private radio operators on the great lakes and oceans?
Likely yes because he is a NE liberal without much experience in the real world or the outdoors.
Politicians think that if it doesn’t come from bureaucrats on a government salary it can’t be good, or controlled by politicians.
>What I dont understand is, how does this elitists[sic] idiot even know what a HAM radio operator is or does? And why would he have an opinion?
I read the whole thing and agree with you. I think the reaction you’d prefer is a discussion of the merits of the article.
I was pulling your chain, bro...(chuckle)
The internet has replaced the CB for the ‘scream and screech’ crowd, as we see daily here.
I think the HAM operators used to send messages for us from our duty station (mine was Hawaii) to anyone in the country.
...and I really know nothing of them.
BUT...the National Guard has pretty good radio communications for use in a State “in case of emergency” too.
Probably be wrong then. I don’t smoke (never have, never will). I Do on occasion talk to others in foreign countries, and I do work with Skywarn here in town often. I’ve worked with ARES and RACES both over my years as a Ham. But, understand that they aren’t what you expect. :) (Though, some are, and they don’t take baths. lol)
1. an increasingly-agitated Governor Romney
2. replied in a disgusted tone
3. Embarrassed public safety officials
4. "[Romney's] attitude
5. I was very disturbed about what the Governor stated
6. "I am ashamed tonight that I am a Republican!"
7. "[Romney] speaks in derogatory tones about hams.
8. clearly not qualified to stand in the position as Commander-in-Chief of the United States
9. Mr. Romney has shown his incompetence
I could go on, but suffice it to say that what I got out of the article was the Romney said that "we don't need to deal with ham radio operators". and I thought homosexuals were sensitive. I'm quite sure that radio experts or so-called amateurs can contribute in an emergency by providing a network of communications that could be a valuable asset, but perhaps, gentleman and ladies, what Gov. Romney meant was that the government does not have to put it's two sense into your independent world organization. Or is there more to this story then I know?
This is a conservative view.
He was not dissing Ham radio. He has no reason to.
You people are totally off base here. Interoperability involves frequencies that are not used by current Ham operations. It has nothing, or should have nothing to do with Ham. If it did, it would involve testing,licensing, certified equipment and the elimination of overlapping users.
The frequency spectrum is totally different and the Ham is necessary when all that fails. Government would destroy ham radio, not assist it.
You want that?
Okay that's a first for me. So, if someone is ignorant, they are a liar. Hmmmm. I had no idea that if someone does not understand something, that makes them a liar. I will try to remember that next time.
...(But, you and the other previous posters are certainly IMMATURE because not ONE of you had TIME to read the article, check it out, NOR read my comments before posting your own).
Well, now you are just plain wrong. I read your post completely. All you did in the post was give us information on why you will not vote for Romney because he does not supposedly understand ham radio's position.
So, don't preach to me, until you have educated yourselves.
I had no idea that a one short sentence is preaching. I would say that your lengthy post was preaching to us.
Don't get me wrong. I understand the benefits and position that ham radio has in this country and I may actually add this to the reasons I would, or would not, vote for someone.
But I will also consider taxes, whether the candidate will continue to grow big government, will continue with the pro-active war on terror, will secure our borders, what type of SCOTUS judges will they elect, etc.
But, that is just me.
Bullseye! - Thank you.