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Old August 12th 09, 06:47 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

On Aug 12, 9:01 am, Steve Bonine wrote:

The issue is distraction to a driver.


I agree!

It makes no difference whether
you can hear the other person while you're talking.


I disagree.

It makes all the difference in the world.

In typical amateur simplex operation, the person who is talking
controls the conversation. S/he cannot be interrupted and can always
just drop it or say "wait".

Whether you're
using a cell phone or a mobile radio, you're having a conversation with
another person and fiddling with the actual equipment -- flipping open a
cell phone to answer a call, or changing the frequency on the ham
transceiver. In fact, there are a whole lot more buttons to push and
potential distractions with the transceiver than with the cell phone.


Actually not. At least not for the kind of mobiling most hams do.

Here's a personal example. I used to do quite a bit of 2 meter FM
mobiling. Never had an accident or a close call.

My 2 meter rig was an HW-2036 mounted under the dash. The only controls
were off-on-volume, squelch, offset and thumbwheel switches for the
frequency. The knobs were big and I could operate the rig without
looking at it by counting clicks and listening to the effects.

A typical mobile operation consisted of setting the rig to a local
repeater *while stopped*, then listening. The speaker meant I could
listen with two ears instead of one, and with both hands on the wheel.

If I wanted a QSO and the repeater was quiet, I'd wait for a time when
I was stopped and announce my presence as "N2EY mobile three,
listening". If I got a call, I'd just pick up the mike and talk when it
was safe to do so and have a QSO. If there was an ongoing QSO that I
wanted to join, I'd wait for a break and announce my presence. Same
resulty.

In all cases the other hams on the repeaters knew that mobiles might
not come back right away, might miss words or entire transmissions, or
might disappear for no reason because they needed to concentrate on the
road or had gone down into a bad spot, etc. No worries and no pressure.
Most of them had enough operating sense to talk clearly and relatively
slowly, to repeat important words and phrases and to structure the
conversation in a way that made sense.

In amateur operation, there are lots of cues about when it's your turn
to talk and such. Callsigns and prosigns and such help a lot.

Of course sometimes folks get carried away:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJCfUm21BsI


Now I have a cell phone, and it's a whole different world. I used to
use it while driving, and while I never had a close call, I simply
stopped because it was simply too distracting.

For one thing, when the cell rings, you have only a certain amount of
time to answer before it goes to voicemail. The result is a mad grab to
get the phone, see who it is and open it up.

When the phone is answered, many callers don't ask if you can talk,
they just launch into a conversation. They expect your full attention
to the conversation and often don't realize you need to focus on the
road even when you tell them. Often the conversations are about
important stuff like who has to be where when, which is even more
distracting. People often expect instant back-and-forth on the cell,
which takes a much different toll on the gray matter.

Cell phones also require that you drive one-handed all the time unless
you have a hands-free setup. Even with one of those, you're only
listening with one ear, which is different from a speaker. I suppose a
voice-operated speaker box is the best option.

So now I just don't answer the cell while driving. If it rings and
there's someone else in the car, I let them answer it. If not, I let it
go to voicemail and call back when I can talk safely and am not
driving. That is, if I even have the phone on while in the car.

If cell phone use while driving is an activity that needs to be
discouraged, then mobile radio operation while driving should also be
discouraged because they both result in distraction.


I disagree, because the distraction is fundamentally different.

To say, "The
driver isn't distracted because he can't hear the other person while
he's talking" is not logical.


It is logical to me!

Over

73 de Jim, N2EY


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Old August 13th 09, 07:41 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

But I still think this points to the greater distraction of phone
conversations during local "emergencies." And I think it's not as much
of an issue with simplex conversations.



For some reason talking on the cell phone while driving seems to capture my
full attention and concentration. Even when I am looking at the road. The
mobile half duplex requires much less attention and/or concentration for me.

It is like you have to think when to reply or talk on the phone. I just
wait for the other station to stop transmitting. Not much thought or less
brain engagement.

Paul P

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Old August 13th 09, 07:43 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

Steve Bonine wrote:

Yes, certainly simplex and duplex are different.

But what the ARRL is saying is that there is a fundamental difference
between communicating using mobile radio and communicating using a cell
phone. Sumner is using the terms "simplex" and "duplex" to describe
this. Since "simplex" and "duplex" are not common words generally used
by the public, I conclude that he has picked them primarily to control
the discussion. Rather than admit that they don't understand what the
words mean, many people will just say, "Sure".

The issue is distraction to a driver. It makes no difference whether
you can hear the other person while you're talking.


I disagree and I maintain that it certainly makes a difference. Being
able to hear the person on the other end at the same time I am talking,
is an additional distraction.

Whether you're
using a cell phone or a mobile radio, you're having a conversation with
another person and fiddling with the actual equipment -- flipping open a
cell phone to answer a call, or changing the frequency on the ham
transceiver. In fact, there are a whole lot more buttons to push and
potential distractions with the transceiver than with the cell phone.


Are you kidding? My cellular phone is filled with little tiny buttons
and it has a little tiny screen filled with little tiny menu items. It
doesn't have a flip cover.

I may or may not have to change the frequency of my mobile rig. Mine
has a outboard front panel which is mounted on my dash. I don't need to
look away from the road to see it.


If cell phone use while driving is an activity that needs to be
discouraged, then mobile radio operation while driving should also be
discouraged because they both result in distraction. To say, "The
driver isn't distracted because he can't hear the other person while
he's talking" is not logical. Saying it using fancy words like
"simplex" and "duplex" does not make it more valid.


If you don't like it, Steve, then don't operate your cellular phone or
your mobile amateur station. Don't tell me that I can't because then
you are on that slippery slope. There'll be those who tell us that we
can't eat that Big Mac, sip that coffee or Pepsi, use that GPS, change
that CD or even listen to that broadcast radio while moving. Me? I've
been operating mobile for over forty years and have never had an
accident while doing so--FM, SSB or even CW.

Dave Heil K8MN

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Old August 13th 09, 04:45 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Driving Distracted

Dave Heil wrote:

If you don't like it, Steve, then don't operate your cellular phone or
your mobile amateur station. Don't tell me that I can't because then
you are on that slippery slope. There'll be those who tell us that we
can't eat that Big Mac, sip that coffee or Pepsi, use that GPS, change
that CD or even listen to that broadcast radio while moving. Me? I've
been operating mobile for over forty years and have never had an
accident while doing so--FM, SSB or even CW.


The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

There are millions of people who have driven millions of miles drunk and
not had an accident, but laws were enacted banning DUI. I believe that
laws banning cell phone use while driving are appropriate. Yes, it's a
slippery slope, but all laws are a slippery slope. That's why our
lawmakers are so well paid and respected grin.

In your opinion, mobile radio operation is less distracting than cell
phone use. I can't prove that it is or isn't, and there will never be a
scientific study on this narrow topic. That means that our lawmakers
must make the decision based on input from us and organizations like the
ARRL. That's a scary thought, but it's the way that the process works.

I believe that the ARRL's position on the issue is wrong. You don't.
Reasonable people can agree to disagree. But I'd like to leave it at
that. I am not "telling you" what you can or cannot do; I am expressing
my opinion.

73, Steve KB9X



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