As you know, Reddit can be a place of great discussion or a sestpool of the dumbest comments ever created by mankind. Unfortunately, what started as fun banter ended in a massive amount of butthurt and threats. I’ll start with a little background.
The Original Post
Late night on Tuesday, April 21st, a Reddit user under the name TheOneAndOnlyArugula posted a picture of the flashlight on his Baofeng UV-5R under the title “Yeah but does your Yaesu do this? #BaofengMasterRace”. Anyone with half a functional brain would understand that this is sarcasm. We all know the flaws with Baofeng radios. As I’ve pointed out in a previous post, I’m not the biggest fan of Baofengs, but I understand their appeal. This is why they appealed to me when I was first interested in amateur radio. This was a funny post. We got it. But I couldn’t let the Baofeng squad win. I had to come back in the only way I knew how. With a big flex.
The next morning, I posted a response. This was mostly for friendly banter, nothing more. Most people understoof it as that. I posted a picture of my FT3DR with the LED light on and the title “Yeah, my Yaesu can do that. #YaesuGang”. Again, this was intended to be friendly banter. The FT3DR costs 10 times that of the UV-5R. That is the point of the joke. TheOneAndOnlyArugula understood that is what it was. This is when the flood gates opened. The moderators of the amateur radio sub-Reddit were probably a little upset at us by this point.
While many understood it as sarcasm and banter, others did not. They became really offended by the post, which was not my intent. I won’t speak about TheOneAndOnlyArugula but his comments seemed to suggest that too. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the lube and there were a lot of squeaky wheels. I’ll start with the comments before I get into the PMs and follow-up posts. One guy strapped a flashlight to a radio with electrical tape. This guy is probably the funniest guy on that sub-Reddit. His link made my day. At that point, it should have been over. But of course, it is the internet. One user commented that my radio was overpriced and flawed. This comment is pretty normal when you have an FT3DR because they are on the higher end of prices. It is by no means a flex or show of money. I think my wife’s FT-70DR is an amazing radio. A friend has an FT-60 and it is also amazing. For satellites, I use an Alinco DJ-G7T, which I love. Each of them works and works well. Like I said before, gatekeeping only hurts the hobby.
Another guy commented that we needed to get a real flashlight and go to r/flashlight to look for a real one. Does this guy honestly think that I use my FT3DR as a flashlight? As said before, I’m not a prepper. My go-to flashlight is a Maglight I got a gift when I was in high school. It uses AA batteries and works for what I need. I also have a Sidewinder and a Surefire from when I was in the Navy but the Sidewinder doesn’t have batteries and the Surefire uses proprietary batteries. I recently purchased a Black Diamond headlamp. Why? Because I needed a headlamp for research and it has rechargable batteries. Do I want a tacticool flashlight that I can mount to an M4 like I’m in Meal Team 6? No. I just need to light up the backyard while the dog is doing his business.
One guy commented that he has a Baofeng, and with the money, he would get a Yaesu. I get in. I was in his shoes once. I remember when I skipped a meal because I had little money. I will never judge anyone for owning a Baofeng because they are cheap. If it gets you into the hobby, it is for the best. We all know that the numbers are shrinking. Not only that but the new technicians are arriving into the hobby and have little clue what they are doing. A lot of the established operators are struggling to mentor the new technicians. This is unfortunate. Even some of the old timers go against amateur best practice. If someone steps up and helps these guys out, maybe the VEs in the room or the radio grams you get after your license. This would help out. Steer us, myself included, in the right direction.
The Private Messages
After this, I got a ton of PMs. I won’t post them but will sum them up. First, I was apparantly money shaming someone. As I said before, enjoy the hobby how you want, so long as it doesn’t violate any rules/regulations or take away from someone else enjoying the hobby. Another PM said that I was gatekeeping anyone with a Baofeng. Not the case since it was intended to be friendly banter. Someone told me that all he could afford was a Baofeng and that I should kill myself. I’ll take that into account but I’m pretty busy so I don’t think it will fit into my schedule. Another guy said he would kick my ass if he ever saw me. Okay. I’m not pretending to be a tough guy, but you express your manliness how you need to express it. The final message of note said that I should buy a real flashlight and shove it up my ass and die from coronavirus, which he spelled wrong and had nearly no punctuation. That is an oddly specific list of things. I wish I had that amount of free time to devote to making such an ellaborate comeback to a random Reddit shitpost.
The Follow-up Posts
One thing that everyone needs to understand is that you shouldn’t beat a dead horse. Go to Reddit and scroll down through r/amateurradio. It is a ton of low quality posts of people taping random flashlights to random radios. We get it. You are trying to capitolize on the meme but that meme was dead at that point. I know that everyone wanted to participate, but it just became cringe-worth after a while. The funniest thing that came out of it was the user with a flashlight taped to his radio and #FengGang. This is actually a good hashtag. It is cleaver. I really like it.
Wrapping This Up
Okay. So a lot happened with this that I didn’t expect. I know this will also be controversial, but at the end of the day, it is amateur radio and it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. You can try to justify it any way you want, but at the end of the day, we are just trying to enjoy our hobby. I would love to tell everyone how running is essential because it can save your life through imporved cardiovascular health and weight management, but it is just a hobby and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change anything if you don’t run or you enjoy sprinting more than distance. I don’t care if you use a Yaesu, Baofeng, Icom, Kenwood, Alinco, Anytone, etc. It doesn’t matter if you have Technician, General, or Amateur Extra licenses. As long as you enjoy the hobby and are not either violating rules/regulations or preventing others from enjoying it as well, then carry on. Even the idiots on 7.200 are enjoying it, though the violating rules/regulations might be a thing with them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I didn’t think I would ever have to have a blog explaining sarcasm, but “these are troubling times.” If you have any questions or comments, leave them below. I like to read them. Remember to follow on Twitter and Instagram for pictures of my dog… and maybe some radio stuff. Again, thank you for your time.