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Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Art of Communications

The practice of great communication is the door to success to many aspects in life such as financial endeavors, legal endeavors and loving relationships. This trait is not correctly taught much in life. Usually all senses are used to help communicate your intent to others like when you are mad or when you are sad via verbally or shown through body jesters or even a physical change in the body like faces becoming red or tears coming from the eyes. When we can uses all of our senses communications are more easily processed in the brain. When some of the senses are taken away it becomes even harder to interpret others intentions or desires. In Ham radio we are at a disadvantage of not being able to see the person live in most cases.
For me I am just a simple man and bound to make mistakes in life and try to learn from my mistakes and strive to be more perfect which never can be achieved, but yet I try. My grammar is not the best in the world, grammar is a ongoing learning experience to me. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people and I hope you can use this as a stepping stone to grow into something even better.

BASIC COMPONENTS OF COMMUNICATION

Interpersonal communication includes at least the following elements:

The Transmitter person - Someone who wants to convey a thought verbally or non-verbally to someone else they are interested in a conversation with.
The receiver person -  Someone who interpret the thought or action from another person.
A message - Information in some form i.e. written, spoken, body language.
Noise -  Anything that interferes or causes the deletion, distortion or generalization of the exact replication of information being transmitted from the mind of the transmitter to the mind of the receiver.
Feedback - Both the sender and receiver constantly elicit verbal and nonverbal feedback to the other person consciously or unconsciously.

Replication - The duplication of understanding in one person that is in the mind of another person. Replication is an approximate goal and philosophically not perfectly possible, though desired.
Understanding - An approximation of what the message means to the sender by the receiver.
Excellent communication is the ability to transmit a message by the sender to a receiver and have that message replicated in the receiver's mind. Excellent communication is the ability to receive a transmitted message by the sender and have the receiver be able to replicate the form and intent of the message in the receiver's mind. If the receiver is uncertain about some aspect of a communication, it is the responsibility of the receiver to clarify the communication through the artful use of questions (or you will just go through life not ever clearly knowing an answer to a question for example). The transmitting communicator also accepts the responsibility for the result of a communication (example OH ok let me put it a different way to see if you understand easier). This means the transmitter must be certain to code a communication so it is received in a manner that is understandable to the receiver. A complete communication would need a message transmitted to the receiver, if the question is not completely understood , then the transmitter will try again to make it better understood with a different angle, perspective or different choices of words for example. When the receiver has completely understood the message then the receiver should give the transmitter feedback that is understood.

Now that we have defined what communicating consents of now lets look into ham radio.
Sense we can not see facially gestures , body language, body stance i.e. (leaning forward or away from someone, crossed arms etc...) in most cases. But we can sense tone of voice, choice of words, instructions/commands to help clarify what your intent is and how you want to accomplish a task.
Here is some examples of bad practices I have heard on the radio is... (it is implied that emergencies happen and can not be foreseen)

1. When asking or making a statement etc.. you do receive a response, when you do not receive a response for no apparent reason , It could make the sender start wondering, That the receiver does not want to talk with you or does not answer your question because it is stupid and deserves no answer. (which is many cases this practice is just plain rude)

2. When someone is getting off the radio to do something else they do not tell anyone. So this leaves the other person on the other end guessing where you went to and wondering did I do or say something wrong to offend them or something to the like in nature? Which if this is done in ignorance then it is portraying rudeness. Example, if you were talking to someone in person and the other person decided just to leave and turn around and walked away with them saying nothing to you, what does the other person suppose to think? maybe Is there something wrong with me? Is that other person a rude person? Or is that person crazy and can't help it?

3. Some people do not communicate there intentions to well. (Like when someone is going to get off the radio , should you go silent and not say a word? No you should always tell what your intent is so, the other people involved know what is going on, A simple statement such as I have arrived at my location and I need to leave the radio so this is AC4M out. Using descriptive signs is helpful to convey your intent to all. Like when I am in my vehicle. I use this is statement "AC4M mobile" as a description what I am doing and this might explain to some people that this is why I could have a weak signal and do not freak out if I fade in and out of a repeater or I have much noise on my signal. When I get onto a repeater I could say "This is AC4M mobile monitoring", This is telling the ham community, who I am , what I type of situation I have going on for a radio setup and I am looking for any one to talk with that is available on the repeater.

4. When there is a conversation happening about a subject that is interesting in-between two people. I have heard people many of times come into a fairly deep conversation about a particular subject and make a off the wall comment or statement with something that does not even pertain to the subject at hand. (example: Me- "What do you think about the weather today Jim?" Jims says, "I hope it does not rain today", Breaking station - xx4xx ,ME: "Go ahead station", Breaking station: "What do you all think of the color yellow?" ) Why doesn't the breaking station want to be apart of the conversation?( Unless there is something serious a going on like an emergency). Put this into a eye ball to eye ball conversation perspective : if two gentlemen are having a conversation , do you come up to them and just say something that is not even remotely related to the conversation? The proper thing to do is to wait for a breaking moment or when two parties decided they have exhausted conservation on the subject at hand. If you broke into a conversation especially when you add statements or question and that way off topic that can come across as rude or the other two people may say this person is just crazy and can not help it.It also could portray that your conversation does not matter what I have to say is more important and I do not have to wait a turn, It Almost same thing as in going to a bank and walking up to the front of the line to the teller window to be served , ignoring all other people in line.

5. Using words that just does not make any sense. I have heard people use words such as destinated, negatory and of like--- How is this helpful on communicating? I think in my opinion just causes more confusion and makes oneself sound silly. What If I made up words like zooom too frookeee , would this help people? If you want to look as a fool on the radio that is your own business, but in my opinion , the FCC does not have to lets us have bands to operate on if our quality of service goes down then what reason does the FCC have with Hams? Also this practice makes the public think they are just a bunch of CB'ers. Remember simply little things can always explode into bigger thinks if left unchecked. Some of the history of CB is a good witness to this theory.

6. When in a structured net on the radio in emergency type of situations, The information people need is the information that does not waste time and that will efficiently communicate all the information needed to be expressed across the radio for the listener to completely understand the information that is sent. Knowing what type of information to send is very helpful to know in advanced as well(makes it easier to format your message). Giving information that is not very helpful. Like Being vague about your information is not very helpful, example ( someone say "I have hail" Now all we know is that they have hail , this was not very helpful, because now we must go back to you to try to get more complete information such as what size hail? Where is the hail happening at? etc etc. IF the sender would have said something to the effect of
I have hail here at my house 5 miles south of Church Hill, Tn with hail stones estimated at baseball size at 3PM and is still happening OVER , Then I should be very clear what is happening and where it is happening at and when is happening or happened. )

7. Words are not cheap , Say what you mean and then mean what you say. Some choices of words can be hurtful in a conversation or a person background makes them sensitive . I am not saying to be politically correct , but when you get to known some one you will find certain subjects are a little sensitive to people. It is always a good idea to try to make things clear that will not offend someone or be mis interpreted especially with people you do not known to well. Also it is good idea to make corny jokes when people seem to be sad or serious etc etc. I mean if you are a joking type of person, do you not want to give jokes to people that will easily accept it? In other words trying to be funny at inappropriate times is not too cool, or it can go the other way as well. When people are joking around do you make comments that are sad? Try to become part of the conversation not kill the mood.

8. When a station is telling you they are having a hard time communicating with you, then you must try to make it easier for them to understand you and in the propagation world, radio is not a landline conditions , the propagation can change and can be lots of noise effecting the receiver of the radio. So when some one is in a situation where they are not receiving you well , you can give the information two times to them to give a better chance of actually being heard, also spelling out letters if it is a short message is helpful to understand the letters easier. i.e. Alpha, Bravo Delta etc...If you are a mobile station is not too great of practice to send a message while you are in low lands of a valley, If you know you are way far from the repeater , wait till you can give your chance to be able to produce a stronger signal to the repeater, such as wait till you get out behind a hill or wait till you have more elevation. Think in RF terms , What might block my signals?
9. Always give feed back that the message has been completely understood.

10. When changing a subject in a conversation try to get the listener ready for the change ie. (speaking about rain and weather)Speaking about the weather that reminds me of the hurricane plane.-- now you can precede into the next subject and not having the listener playing catch up. Like they do not have to wonder to there self , How does a plane relate to this conversation?

11. on the technical side of things. When you have a situation where it is going to be hard to hold a conversation because you decided that your rubby duck is suffice. And other stations are straining there ears to hear you , or piecing together parts of sentences together where the station is falling in and out of the repeater. Would it not be a good idea to wait to you are in a better situation i.e. on top of a hill in the clear? Or make or buy a better antenna to attach to the HT? I have never really understood this concept to well especially from the station you must tell almost daily we not understand what you are saying. Why would a person want to become nuisance to other users that have to strain away on trying to converse with you? In certain situations this can not be avoided but in everyday same situations this is entirely different.

12. It is always good practice to answer a question that has been giving to you. IE Like example station Did you all receive a warning for a tornado?-- ME: No I did not receive a warning from the NWS office. station Ok I did on my phone --ME: What time did you receive it? station I get warnings from the NWS in Morristown( they did not answer the question). --- ME: What time did you receive the warning?? - station I do not remember I deleted it.

13. Also if I am spelling my name to a station in say like in India high my name is Craig as in Carrots Radish Alpha Indigos Grapes, would he know what that means? Now I am not saying all hams know the ITU primary phonetics but the hams that do , that is what they are expecting to hear if I say my name is Craig as in Charlie Romeo Alpha India Golf, then that station will be able decipher my phonetics a whole lot easier than using some type of fancy phonetics and stuns people when they hear it.

14. In ham radio especially on propagation paths that are great and steady we should use plain language like what you would do on a phone I am not saying like not to say mobile, out , roger etc.. but for the conversation part... in Ham radio there is no need to say I am QSY , or do you hear QRM , it is not really needed since Q codes was first designed for CW mode for shorthand, There is really no need for short hand on a local repeater. It gets even more ridiculous when a station station use two or three Q codes in a conversation , like my QTH here is Church hill, my QRA is Craig, do you have QRM and QRN at your place? well I must go QRT now and QSY to bed. Does it make them feel they are impressing someone ??
15. I have heard this happen many times as well, When asked a question and the receiver did not understand the question, They sit there and will not ask the sender to repeat or they did not understand, thus forcing the transmitter to try to guess if the receiver actually heard you or even understood, It is the responsibility of the receiver to ask to say again etc... just not sit there and do nothing

16. When signing off with another station it is always great practice to tell them you are leaving and you are turning it back to them for there final (or final statements) then afterwards you can sign off, this give the other station a chance to ask any additional question to you if needed and a chance to say there good byes and best wishes etc.. if this chance is given to you , it is bad practice to give a additional good bye after you had the chance, especially on simplex because there might be other stations that are calling the other station for an example on HF when you are working DX when you sign with one station and give him the chance to give his 73 then after this I say my 73 to him , this is a queued signal for other station to know I probably am free to be worked unless I say I am QRT( shutting down)  or QSY( going to another frequency of xxx) or something to the like.  If you do not do this you are making yourself look like you are the only station in the world and there could not possible be any other signals in the world that you can not hear. If the person does not give the other a person a chance to say good bye on a final , then it is impossible for other stations to know exactly when you are finished with your conversation.

17. When you first get on a repeater and you have listened for awhile and you do not hear anything , it is always always a good idea to give your call sign with a additional descriptive monitoring or listening. Now if you did not add monitoring or something like that and just said this is ac4m, to the listener that was half way paying atenttion does not know if you are QRV(active), QRT (shutting down) or listening and probably has no clue what you are doing.

18. To help clarify what a suffix or a prefix of a call is. I have seen this mistake many times before.( the sender ask for the prefix of the call sign and the receiver gives the complete call sign again, which is your call sign which is ok , but in certain situation it is better to only send the prefix only if the sender requests it, they have a reason to request it. examples where this comes in handy is when there is lots of noise and you can not hear the prefix well if conditions are very bad it is desirable to send only the prefix and maybe repeat the prefix two or three times.) If someone asks for your prefix of your call sign this means the letter that come before the number in the call sign. If some one ask for your suffix this means all the letters after the number in the call sign. On the international seen you may come across call signs such as 4z4zz the prefix in this situation would be 4Z the suffix then would be 4ZZ

The lack of good communications can add many problems in a relationship. The trust factor starts to decrease because of this and hard feelings can be introduced to the relationship. When the the intent is not effectively communicated it forces the other parties involved to try to guess what the intentions are because we are not using all senses that may have added more information. When there is a break down in communication is also causes the self esteem of the sender to go down because they can become frustrated on not knowing if there message is understood or absorbed by the receiver. If the sender is not very descriptive if puts the receiver at a disadvantage on understanding the message as well. Which more than likely will cause more time to try to get the message communicated because of the lack of information in the first place. Remember on radio we can not use all of our senses, so many people are at a disadvantage, When we are trying to explain something for example, we need to paint a picture in the receivers mind, not ever assuming they know what you are talking about . The more effectively descriptive you are the better off everyone is. Try to choose the words or analogies etc carefully to be more effective to be able to get the receiver to understand completely, You do not want to choose words that are not effective and cause some one boredom were they do not want to listen anymore.

As a side note it is always a good idea to pick interesting subjects that can get many people involved in a conversation or pick a subject that helps people grow. Hams have been known to be intellegent in electronics and of the like. Speaking about Antennas, Radio, circuits, coaxials etc etc are pretty sound subjects. The concept of Ham radio is listed in Part 97 of the FCC rules and regs.
The rules and regulations in this Part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communications and technical phases of the art.
(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

http://ac4m.us/art_coms.html

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