QRZ.com has started deleting members who are not licensed radio amateurs but listeners, SWLs. First of all, it is not an easy matter to join QRZ.com when you are a listener. Having a registered SWL callsign by being a member of a national amateur radio society will help, those who use home-made callsigns have often been refused to join. I fully understand that QRZ.com must apply rules for admitting members, and that it's a common interest that restrictions are upheld.
But in this case, SWLs have once been admitted, and then - without trespassing or harming the amateur radio fraternity - they are expelled! It is not fair.
Let's look at the matter more closely. What is an SWL? Some of us are just interested in listening to broadcasting stations, in fact this is the majority. In the actual case we can forget about them, they will never try to join QRZ.com. But a minority has got an interest in listening to amateur radio stations and sending reports to them. This is the cathegory suffering in the present situation.
SWLs can be preparing to obtain a ham radio license. This is the type of listeners encouraged by the ARRL, they are just on their way to improve, to get the ticket!
But some SWLs have no intention to get a radio amateur callsign, they want to remain listeners. Why? There are many reasons, one of them being the situation in urban life, where many listeners find that a transmitting antenna will never be accepted in their neighborhood.
I am an SWL but my case is different. I had a ham radio station between 1964 and 1978, c/s SM4DXL, but after a clash between my family duties and my amateur radio activities I quit ham radio for many years. When getting interested again at the end of 2006, living in an apartment house in an urban location, I found that with my main interest being CW and QSLs, it was better in my case to remain just a listener. And I have not regretted my choice.
It is deplorable if licensed hams look at all SWLs as small brothers who have not yet grown up, or even worse as aliens. I feel those who take such an attitude are a minority. I have such wonderful examples of ham spirit in my contacts with hams that I feel my listening and careful reception reports, with signal comparisons when possible, are worthwhile. Many radio amateurs have praised the quality of my SWL reports, and more than 3000 QSLs received show that my activity is accepted or even welcomed. But I also know that a number of SWLs are cheating, using cluster data for their reports without hearing the station they send their report to. This is very bad indeed, and just as with ham hooligans who behave badly in pile-ups, such behavior from SWLs should be met with measures to stop them. But it is not easy...
Now back to the matter which is the object of my discussion. Why is the ARRL constantly negative to SWLs as a group of their own or as individuals? Why just try to convince everyone (in USA that is) to get the coveted ticket? Here in Europe listeners are accepted by all national societies, they are registered in the membership lists and have the same rights as radio amateurs - except of course to use a transmitter on their own.
Do radio amateurs in general in USA like the ARRL attitude towards SWLs? I am convinced many hams realize the ARRLs attitude is doubtful. I feel the ARRL in this case is doing wrong, since all of us who want to defend the radio hobby (globally and including all those engaged in radio in different ways) should unite to defend radio as a medium against all those who are negative to this medium or don't care about it. I am a supporter of "World Radio Day" and I feel we should all unite to promote the radio medium. ARRL is a great organization, but in this matter they are following a sectarian line, I am sorry to say. Amateur radio for international friendship is a fine slogan, but I believe Radio for international friendship is even greater, although radio of course has been misused for propaganda, as you know.
Well, I have already written too much, but I hope my message is well understood. And my thanks to all the thousands of hams who show ham spirit by maintaining a positive attitude towards honest and positive SWLs.
73 from Sweden now finally enjoying springtime
Ullmar. SM5-1252