Statement: Dispute between Pete Sipple and David Barber

In October 2016, I found myself in a position where I needed to defend myself publicly about my involvement in the amateur radio hobby. I reluctantly had to release the following statement to ensure that this was a matter of public record, and so that the facts are available to all to see. In an ideal world, I shouldn’t need to resort to making a public statement like this to defend myself, but I’ve been left with no choice. We live in interesting times! Pete

Background: In 2010, I became a member of an amateur radio society in Essex. In 2011, I was inadvertently dragged into a 10-year dispute between a radio amateur (David Barber G8OQW) and the radio society in question. As a result of being dragged into this feud, multiple false allegations have been made against me by the individual in question, my off-air conduct has been reported to the RSGB, my personal integrity has been challenged, an event I organise was disrupted, friendships have been lost, and both myself and my wife have been barred from the valuable RSGB Tech resource (which is moderated by the individual in question). Despite this, I’m open to Mr Barber re-opening a dialogue on this, so we can resolve it and move on. He’s currently refusing to discuss the matter with me, instead choosing for this matter to be made public.

I don’t know the history behind Mr Barber’s long-running issues with the radio society, and if they have clouded his enjoyment of the hobby, then I can sympathise. I can’t, however, understand what’s to be gained by attempting to ruin someone’s enjoyment of the hobby just because of the club that they belong to. I’ve been nothing but polite and courteous to the individual in question, and this matter has dented my confidence and at times made me question whether I should continue with the hobby. I have left the committee of the Society in question, and had hoped the matter was closed – however it seems not as this issue re-surfaced, once again, in 2017.

Thanks to everyone who’s offered their public or private support – It means a lot! Pete

Note (2017): Despite recent allegations to the contrary, I do not serve on the committee of the local radio society in question (I stood down in 2015) and am not a spokesperson for that society. The comments and statement I’ve posted on this page are my own. They are not made on behalf of, with the approval of, or endorsed by, any radio club or society.

Message for David (Oct 2017): This has now dragged on for a year. I gather you still do not view this matter as closed, but you still do not wish to discuss this with me. As I’m sure you know, I do not speak with the authority of the Society in question, I am not on their committee, and the matter regarding Skills Night last year (including subsequent correspondence and my family’s ban from the group that you moderate) was not instigated by me. Please can I ask that you either contact me to resolve this once-and-for-all, or stop discussing/referring to it so that we can move on? If you genuinely feel that the best way to finally bring this to a conclusion is for me to separate myself from the Society in question, then for the good of the Society, I would be willing to leave their training team and not renew my membership. Please let me know, either directly, or via a third party, how best to proceed.

OPEN STATEMENT – Prepared by Pete Sipple 22 October 2016

On the 17th of October 2016, a former radio amateur, David Barber, caused disruption to an amateur radio event in Danbury, known as “Skills Night”, by starting a heated exchange with the Chairman of the radio society hosting the event. This was in full public view in the reception area of the event venue, at the event’s published start time.

Following this, between the 18th and 20th of October 2016, David Barber sent emails, to multiple recipients, making a number of untrue allegations. Variants of these allegations had previously been made by Mr Barber on at least three other occasions between September 2014 and October 2016.

Pete Sipple attempted to resolve this in good faith privately by email, but on 21 October 2016, David Barber terminated correspondence, leaving the matter unresolved. This has necessitated the need to issue this Open Statement.

The issues raised by David Barber relate to his attendance at “Skills Night” events in 2014, at which time he held the amateur radio callsigns G8OQW and M0RTA. Below are David Barber’s specific allegations, and the response from Pete Sipple:

Item 1: David Barber alleges that “Offers of contributions to the Skills Nights were ignored or rejected” in September 2014

Pete Sipple confirmed that he had received no direct offers of contributions for the Skills Night in question, or any subsequent Skills Nights. He has not rejected any offers of contribution from David Barber, and provided evidence that David Barber had been invited to assist at Skills Night events on 18 separate occasions over a two year period, but had received no response. David Barber confirmed that the information supplied was correct.

Item 2: David Barber alleges that he was not permitted to exhibit or assist at the September 2014 “Skills Night”.

Pete Sipple provided extracts of an email to David Barber sent on 08th September 2014 stating clearly 5 times that his attendance would be appreciated (see EMAIL #01 reproduced below). A separate “Call for Help” email was also sent. A reply was received, signed by David Barber G8OQW, stating “Thank you, all noted”. No further response was received, no offer of assistance was made, and David Barber chose not to attend the event in question. David Barber confirmed that this information was correct.

Item 3a: “Skills issues demonstrated an ongoing lack of goodwill by someone.” (unnamed).

Pete Sipple provided evidence that he was not the “someone” referred to in the allegation, and further demonstrated multiple instances of goodwill, including several emails to David Barber thanking him for his help with material used at previous events. 18 separate invitations over a two-year period were sent to David Barber asking for assistance at further events, all of which were ignored. David Barber confirmed that this information was correct.

Item 3b: “Skills issues … ending an opportunity to resolve and contribute”.

Pete Sipple provided evidence that David Barber had been sent at least 18 invitations to contribute at “Skills Nights” run between September 2014 and October 2016. Invitations took the form of face-to-face requests, personal emails and group email requests. David Barber confirmed that this was information correct.

During goodwill negotiations initiated by Pete Sipple, David Barber made no apology for the event disruption, gave no assurance that this would not be repeated, and refused to confirm that he would not continue to repeat the allegations. On 21st October 2016, David Barber requested that Pete Sipple does not contact him again.

David Barber was made aware that an Open Statement would be released if he was unwilling to cooperate in resolving the matter, and was also informed of his Right of Reply. Pete Sipple remains open to further discussions to bring this to a conclusion. Copies of correspondence and substantiation are available on request.

* End of Statement *

Update 21 March 2017: Both my wife Sarah M6PSK and I have been banned from the RSGBTech Yahoo Group as a result of this incident. David Barber is a moderator of this RSGB-branded group, and I received the following: “Your vindictive attack on one of the Moderators of RSGBTech has come to my attention. RSGBTech has a zero tolerance towards abuse of moderators, on or off group. As a result, your membership will be terminated. Brian G8OSN”

Shocked, I replied that it was Mr Barber who arrived at the event and started an argument with a fellow club member. Far from being a “vindictive attack” on my part, we were on the receiving end. I received the following reply:

“I am fully aware of the way David has been mistreated by both {local radio society name withheld} and the {company name withheld}”, ending with “The matter is closed.”. My reply was met with a simple “Stop Emailing me. Brian”

It is disappointing that the RSGBTech moderators have taken this action. As no posts were made in RSGBTech, this decision appears to be solely for personal reasons totally unconnected with the RSGBTech Group itself. Hardly in-keeping with the spirit of amateur radio. Hopefully, Mr Barber takes some comfort from barring our family.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • The two reasons for posting the above statement are: a) To provide a defence against the unsubstantiated allegations made by Mr Barber, and b) to protect against future disruption to “Skills Night” events. Posting this was a last-resort, and discussion of a public statement was held with David Barber prior to publication in a goodwill attempt to resolve this privately. By making the statement and supplying evidence to refute the allegations, it is hoped that, should future allegations be made, there is a transparent and definitive response available in the public domain.
  • It is understood that at the time of the exchange in October 2016, David Barber was not a member of the radio society in question and he was no longer a licensed radio amateur, having surrendered his callsigns G8OQW and M0RTA six weeks previously (Source: RSGBTech Reflector)
  • Pete Sipple would be grateful for any reports that the specific allegations listed here have been repeated by David Barber since the date of this statement.

 

EMAIL 01 – Email sent to David Barber 08 Sept 2014

—–Original Message—–
From: Pete M0PSX [mailto:pete@********.co.uk]
Sent: 08 September 2014 19:51
To: David Barber [david.barber@*************.co.uk]
Subject: RE: Emails – Skills Night

Hi David,

Quiz questions – I’m happy to supply some Foundation questions, or if you fancy, you’re welcome to do so – Questions go to Clive (as quizmaster) to check we have a good balance suitable for all levels of attendee. I’m hoping that we can encourage some of our current Foundation candidates to come along, so had made a mental note to include a couple of week 1/week 2 syllabus questions into the mix. If you’re happy to provide questions too – the more, the merrier!

Construction – No problem. As you’ve been working with the construction team over the last two sessions, and Clive mentioned you might be interested in construction / repairs, I’ve assumed that’s where you wanted to be, but if you’re happy to be more involved, or to do something different, that’s equally fine by me – more on that in a second.

Mailing list – The event has its own website and opt-in mailing list. This is run on one of my servers, due to the apparent complexity of trying to get this onto the [*Society name removed*] site. For Data Protection and Marketing purposes, this is an opt-in mailing list. It looks like you’ve not opted in yet. You can opt in to Skills Night mailings at [*link removed*] (see bottom of page the site’s homepage). Announcements about content of upcoming events are also made on my site, ([*link removed*]), which also has a “Get updates via email” subscribe option. There’s also an Essex Ham Yahoo Reflector at [*link removed*] and information is also linked to on Facebook and Twitter, as well as being discussed on the Monday Night Net (GB3DA 8pm local)

Topics and Demos – In general, content for the Skills Night works on a supply-and-demand system… Topics are suggested by visitors (paper questionnaires on the night, online survey, Monday Night Net, personal emails). If I know of anyone with expertise on a certain topic, I’ll try to twist their arm into putting something together. The majority of demos and activities are suggested by those willing to help. For example, Clive suggested the quiz, so we had a quiz. Jim volunteered to make badges, so we now do. Anyone with an idea is welcome to suggest it, and so far, I don’t think we’ve said “no” to any idea or proposal.

Before firming up the topics, I tend to bcc email the group of people who’ve expressed an interest in helping, to confirm availability and topics. That’s the mail I’ve copied you in on today.

Your input… I’d welcome anything you have in the way of input – ideas, or even better, practical help… it’s all appreciated. Hopefully, you’ve got a flavour for what happens at Skills. If all goes to plan, the Construction and Badge-making is sorted for the smaller room, and 3 of the 6 tables in the main hall are assigned. That leaves a potential three tables for me to fill. I aim to have something for beginners, something advanced, and something people may not have seen/tried before, but it comes down to who’s available and what they’re prepared to do. Normally, people get in touch to offer their services, and on other occasions, I ask for their help on a specific topic. People like [*name removed*] approach me informally to suggest they try something (this time, PL259 testers), and people like [*name removed*] mail a few days beforehand and say “is it OK if I bring my xxx?” – I’m grateful for any offers of help and support – so if you’re available and interested in taking one of the tables either for show-and-tell, a practical demo, or to offer advice on a specific topic – that’s be great. Similarly, if you think there’s something we should / could do, and you’re able to do it, then we’d be up for trying it.

So – would you be free and interested in manning a table, or helping out with anything specific? If so, please let me know. The only two requested topics that we’ve not yet fulfilled are microwave and D-Star – I also feel we haven’t adequately covered SDR / Funcube, so that’s also on the pending list. Showing off things that people haven’t seen / tried before is always popular too. If you think you could help out, please let me know what you fancy doing.

Sorry for the ramble, but hopefully that gives you a flavour for the way the evenings are put together.

Best regards,

Pete

 

EMAIL 02 – Email sent to David Barber 08 February 2016

—–Original Message—–
From: Pete M0PSX [mailto:pete@********.co.uk]
Sent: 08 February 2016 10:56
To: David Barber [david.barber@*************.co.uk]
Subject: Canvey Rally / Skills Night

Good morning David,

Nice to catch up with you yesterday at the rally. Sorry for eating a bacon roll at you, but that was my first break of a long day!

I wanted to quickly confirm that, as far as I am concerned, you are very welcome to come along to, or help out at, the Skills Night at Danbury (and any event I organise, for that matter). If you’ve heard anything to the contrary, I’m afraid you’ve been wrongly informed (which does happen a lot in this hobby)

As I mentioned, I’m no longer a [*Society name removed*] representative (having stepped down at the last AGM), so I can only speak on my own behalf, but you’ve been helpful to me personally in the past (ISS), and at Skills Nights (based on feedback from your previous visits, and with the loan of the SSTV audio for one of the demos). If you enjoy the Skills Night, I’m obviously very happy for you to come along, and if you wanted to help out in any way, I for one would be grateful.

Hope that confirms my personal position, and hope to see you next Monday if you fancy coming along.

Best regards,

Pete

Information on this page has been published in good faith. The comments and statement that I’ve posted on this page are my own. They are not made on behalf of, with the approval of, or endorsed by, any radio club or society.

If anyone reading this has anything to add on this subject, believes that any information is incorrect or in any way unfair, or would like to request any additional information, please contact Pete Sipple

Hopefully, this statement and the supporting evidence can help to bring the whole unfortunate incident to a conclusion.

One Commentto Statement: Dispute between Pete Sipple and David Barber

  1. Stephen says:

    Don’t lose heart Peter. By raising your head above the parapet and coming up with new ideas, you will make enemies amongst the old guard. The RSGB will back them (£££) so expect no help or support there.

    There are a lot of lifers out there with a penchant for pedantry and keyboard politics, who seem intent on making life difficult for those with new ideas. Rise above it, focus on enjoying RF, and don’t get drawn in to other people’s politics and agendas.

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