Difference between Contact and Communicate

Hello Operators.
These days everyone is talking about ultra-efficient digital modes, allowing “contacts” all over the world. Unfortunately, very few amateur radio content creators are talking about utility modes allowing us to actually “communicate”. Todays topic, “Communicating”.

It’s important not to mistake contact for communicate!

If we ponder the differences between communicating and making a contact, we can compare different modes to either end. To be fair, we all as amateur radio operators love making “contacts”, but I fear our love of contacts (adding new lines in a logbook), distorts our understanding of what communicating actually is.

Here are great modes or systems for Communicating

  • ALE, FSQ, APRS Messenger, IFSK, FT8Call
  • Olivia, Contestia, PSKx, MFSKx,
  • PSKMail, WinLink, ARDOP

There are many more.

I know there are those people out there who will say ” that guy hates having fun” and admittedly, I am a grumpy bugger who takes amateur radio communications quite seriously. The point remains, contacting and communicating from an amateur radio perspective, are two entirely different things.

Effectively passing large amounts of information regardless of operating mode, is communicating. Exchanging numbers and signal report is a contact. It’s the difference between saying hello in passing, or telling a friend about your weeks long holiday trip to the Canary Islands. See the difference? Utility modes are designed to help operators communicate effectively. Some modes are better than others in doing that job. So it’s the important the operator experience a variety of modes to understand when, where, and how to deploy a particular mode is best.

Don’t forget the “service” part of amateur radio. Don’t forget to communicate!

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Julian oh8stn

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