Being friendly in Amateur Radio
The fourth clause of the original Amateur's Code, published in 1927 has a lot to say about the tone of amateur radio. It says:
The Amateur is Friendly. Slow and patient sending when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance and cooperation for the broadcast listener: these are marks of the amateur spirit.
The 2022 ARRL handbook tweaks that into:
The Radio Amateur is FRIENDLY...slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.
The ARRL website adds a pronoun and updates some of the language:
The Radio Amateur is FRIENDLY...He/[She] operates slowly and patiently when requested; offers friendly advice and counsel to beginners; kind assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the marks of the amateur spirit.
I'm not quite sure what the idea behind this change is. The original referred to "slow and patient sending" in an era when that meant slowing down your Morse Code. I'm not sure what "operating slowly" means, unless it's asking the amateur to speak slowly or to operate their fixed speed FT8 station slowly, hardly the same thing as reducing the speed of your Morse key.
There's also a reference to the "broadcast listener", something which we refer to as shortwave listeners today. Essentially, be kind to the people around you and accommodate their limitations when you are asked, which is what the rest of the words have been morphed into.
I think that being friendly and patient is a worthy aim and I don't think that it should be requested. The original used the word friendly twice, added kindly and used counsel, advice, assistance and cooperation.
All this is collaborative language, encouraging the amateur to participate and being friendly and considerate when they do.
I also note the difference between a "mark" and a "hallmark". The word hallmark means a mark stamped on articles of gold, silver, or platinum by the British assay offices, certifying their standard of purity.
I think that certifying friendliness to a standard of purity is a worthy objective and I think that using the word "hallmark" instead of "mark" elevates the clause to a standard worth achieving. I think that the 2022 ARRL handbook use of the word "hallmark" is an example of an improvement of the code that should be embraced.
With that in mind, removing the superfluous pronouns, given that "The Radio Amateur" encompasses anyone with a license, here's an alternative for the fourth clause of the Amateur's Code.
The Radio Amateur is FRIENDLY...patient; offering friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.
It's a little longer than I'd like, but I think it leaves less room for ambiguity in the notion of operating slowly and it no longer requires that someone needs to ask for an amateur to be patient. I think that overall, it encourages good behaviour in a world where we can bash out an angry reply at the whim of the nearest keyboard.
What do you like about this version and what would you change?