K9WZ Policy on Malicious Interference:
The "QRMer" or Malicious Interference on the
repeater. Any amateur using the repeater is to abide by the scope of
this policy, or risk becoming part of the problem, and therefore
asked to refrain from using the repeater.
In this hobby, each of us will deal with a certain problem sooner or
later: Malicious Interference. The perpetrator is often referred to
as a “Jammer” or “QRMer” or much worse. They have the potential
to totally disrupt our communications. The irony here is that, to a
large degree, we empower them to do this. If you don’t quite
understand how this is possible, please read on.
start by looking into a Jammer’s mindset.
Why do they cause QRM? I imagine that the reasons vary greatly. Most
likely it is a convenient way to vent frustrations that build up due
to severe personal inadequacies. Maybe it is a control issue. Maybe
it is a vindictive thing aimed at a certain person or group of
people. It could be some other pent up frustration or anger not
really directed toward anyone or anything in particular. These are
probably the top reasons for all QRM, although, in my opinion, to
understand the exact motivation is not critical to effectively deal
with the problem.
does the Jammer want? What do they need?
What do they expect? I believe that these are the key questions that
we need to consider. The Jammer wants to
know that they are being heard. They need to know that they are being
disruptive and effective. They expect us to get angry and to show it.
Let’s look at these facts one at a time. When a carrier appears on a
frequency with bad noise or no audio, our first instinct, being the
helpful sorts that we are, is to let them know they have a problem.
It could be a legitimate station, or it could be a Jammer testing out his setup. Keep this concept
in mind and make a determination before you comment.
this is a tricky call to make, and a wrong decision could cause
problems either way. On the one hand, if the station is legitimate
with a problem, they need to know it. On the other hand, if the
station is malicious, they don’t need to be told that they are
causing problems. If it is a legitimate station with problems, they
won’t be trying to cover anyone up. They shouldn’t “double” with
someone over and over. The carrier will appear at the “right” times,
however, it will have bad or no audio.
If it is a Jammer, the carrier will appear at the “wrong”
times. It will be obvious that their timing is calculated to be
disruptive. The first well meaning, unknowing ham that says something
like, “You have a good signal, but no audio,” provides valuable
information for the Jammer. The Jammer now knows that he has at least one
person’s attention and that he can be heard. So, what to do? During a
net, the answer is easy. Always let the net control station make the
call. It’s part of their job. During a round table discussion, the
determination could be harder to make. In a one to one conversation,
it may be a little easier. No matter what the situation, listen and
think before you speak! If you accidentally acknowledge a QRMer at this stage of the game, all is not
lost. Your plan, however, has been compromised and your defenses have
will soon tell what you are truly dealing with. Once the
determination has been made that you are dealing with malicious
interference, it is critical not to acknowledge any more of their
transmissions. What now? Act. Nothing less than your best Academy
Award winning performance is called for here! Even if the QRM is so
bad you didn’t hear the other station, act like you did! Make
something up if you have to. One should develop a knack for this and
be prepared to use it. This will be very frustrating to a Jammer, and often causes the interference to
cease quickly. If the Jammer feels like
they are not being very disruptive or effective, despite their best
efforts, the excitement for them quickly fades.
any comments about them, no matter how small or innocent, will
reinforce the bad behavior. Ignoring the Jammer will maintain our control, and have
positive psychological effects for us. Keeping control makes it
easier to keep cool. Keeping cool at all times, no matter what
happens, is critical. With the last two points in mind, this third
point should never come into play. The Jammer expects us to react to them in some big
way. The Jammer hopes to get a large
response out of a large number of people. Threats, promises, curses,
remarks about their parents, etceteras are never justified. They only
add fuel to the fire. If this Pandora’s Box is opened, it is hard to
close it. If you feel you must respond, TURN OFF YOUR RADIO! This has
proven to be a very efficient and effective method of dealing with a
Jammer. The more skills we develop to
ignore the perpetrator, the quicker this technique works. And it does
work! Every amateur on the frequency has to understand and play the
game if this is to be effective. Spread the word about this approach.
Operate with the mindset that any unidentifiable signal is possibly
QRM. Think before you respond!
Of course, these suggestions are
only a first line of defense. A good offensive plan should also be in
place in case the QRM continues in spite of our best efforts.
Direction finding, documentation, and old-fashioned detective work
will help to remove the cloak of anonymity and build a case against
the Jammer. A predetermined meeting place
should be established so that any discussion on the subject will be
held on another frequency or band, or ideally, on the telephone.
Never discuss the QRM on the afflicted frequency. Such offensive
planning is very important, but it is outside the scope of this
article. Remember, the point here is to stop QRM in its early stages
and altogether prevent the need to go on the
permission from …Coping with Malicious Interference By David Waters,
AC4JF R.A.C.K. Trustee
Since some Jammers, or QRMers may be Amateurs, who can and
must be assumed to be listening to any frequency you can, the K9WZ
repeater strongly discourages open discussions regarding these
matters on any amateur frequency. Use direct face to face meetings,
the telephone, or email to communicate concerns, strategies, or
operations when possible.
If you have questions or need
clarification on this policy send an email here:
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