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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

How to Call (and Answer) a CQ

from Steve Katz, WB2WIK on December 24, 2007
View comments about this article!


"Editor's Note: Due to the popularity of some of eHam's older articles, many of which you may not have read, the eHam.net team has decided to rerun some of the best articles that we have received since eHam's inception. These articles will be reprinted to add to the quality of eHam's content and in a show of appreciation to the authors of these articles."

HOW TO CALL CQ

...or even answer one!

Steve Katz, WB2WIK/6

It seems impossible, but it's very true that most new hams don't know how to call CQ. And a lot don't know how to answer one, either!

We're all to blame for that. There just isn't as much “CQing” as there used to be, except during contests. One reason might be that we're mostly using transceivers with VFO control - as silly as that sounds. Here's the explanation: Back in the good old days (for me), we used mostly crystal controlled transmitters with separate, tunable receivers. The odds of having a crystal on exactly the same frequency as someone else who was on the band, and within range, at the same time was pretty slim. So, it was common to call CQ, then tune around, looking for answers.

Well, today, we needn't tune around looking for answers, any answers will be right there on the same frequency we're on. Experienced operators know it's easy to break into an ongoing QSO, if you know how and when it's appropriate to do so. I make a lot of my contacts like that: Just overhear an interesting conversation, wait for a pause, insert my callsign, and join the group. But many newbies, as well as some old-timers, are too shy to do this, or maybe just not very good at it. And it is frowned on by most to break into a conversation when you've absolutely nothing to add to it.

So, I only break in when I do think I have something of value to add. It's also acceptable to break into a non-emergency contact (which is about 99.9% of all QSOs) to simply ask for a report, like, “Hey guys, Steve in L.A. here, with a new antenna. How's the signal?” Nobody with a heart can begrudge another ham a signal report when he's using a new antenna. Ditto goes for a new rig, microphone, or a new almost anything.

Still, tuning the bands reveals a lack of CQs, especially on “phone.” On CW, the common way to garner a contact is still by calling CQ, and it's very common. But on phone, it can seem like everyone already knows each other, everyone's already in a conversation, and nobody's calling CQ. So, how do you make a contact?

Simple. When you don't hear any CQs, call one! Problem is, if you don't hear many good, experienced operators calling CQ, how do you know to do it right? This obviously is a problem, since most newbies calling CQ really aren't doing it right, at all. No sweat, we were all newbies once. Here's a good way to call CQ and actually get answers:

  1. Pick what you think is a clear frequency, within your licensed band limits. (Always stay about 4 kHz clear of any band edge (or license subband edge), as using standard bandwidth SSB, it's easy to have sideband energy at least 3 kHz from your “carrier” (center) frequency of operation - there may be no carrier with SSB, but your dial usually reads the frequency where the carrier would be, if there were one.)

  2. Transmit, and ask, “Is the frequency in use?” Stop transmitting, and listen for an answer. If you hear no reply, after about five seconds ask one more time, “Is the frequency in use?” If you still hear no reply, consider the frequency fair game for a CQ. If you hear a reply like, “Yes it is!” or more politely, “Yes, thanks for asking,” tune to another seemingly clear frequency and start again.

  3. Call CQ. Always include your callsign and your location in the CQ. And always make a CQ last at least 20 or 30 seconds. Enunciate clearly, and use phonetics at least once or twice. Although it seems silly, it's common to also announce the band you're on when calling CQ. This really isn't so silly when you think about it: You're actually calling “the band,” since you're not calling any station in particular. So, don't laugh when, on 20 meters, you hear someone calling, “CQ 20 meters.” It makes sense. Here's a good CQ format, for general purpose work. (Note: None of this pertains to contesting.)

“CQ, CQ, CQ calling CQ 20 meters. This is WB2WIK calling. Whiskey Bravo Two Whiskey India Kilo, WB2WIK in Los Angeles calling CQ 20 meters. Hello CQ, CQ, CQ 20 meters. This is WB2WIK calling. Whiskey Bravo Two Whiskey India Kilo, WB2WIK in Los Angeles calling CQ 20 meters and standing by for a call.”

Perfect. That CQ takes exactly 30 seconds for me to say crisply and clearly, not too fast and not too slow. It announced my callsign six times, including twice phonetically. It announced my location twice. There should be little question, for anyone who tuned across my signal, who I am or where I am.

It's important to give your location during a CQ, unless you happen to be in, for example, a very small country. If I were operating from Liechtenstein, and had a local call there, I probably wouldn't bother announcing my town or city - it's a small place, and the same beam heading for anyone, anywhere, regardless of what town I'm in. But operating from the U.S. or Canada, or other large country (China, Russia, Brazil come to mind), the distance between one town and another can be thousands of miles, and require vastly different beam headings. Another reason to announce your location: Many hams tuning the bands are County Hunters, or looking for a new State for WAS, or whatever. The more information you provide with your CQ, the more likely you are to receive an answer - period.

On the VHF bands, weak signal enthusiasts (using SSB) call CQ, and usually include their grid square in lieu of other location data. This is because the grid square tells anyone listening all they need to know about your approximate location, and whether they “need” your grid or not, for an award or contest point, or whatever. Because 4-digit grid squares are quite large (1° latitude by 2° longitude) and VHF antennas quite sharp, when I call CQ on VHF or UHF, I include not only my grid square but other location information as well, to help a station hearing me weakly determine which way to turn his antenna to hear me better. It helps.

Important note: Repeat Step (3) above if you receive no reply to your CQ! If, after five or six tries (CQ calls) on the same frequency, over a period of a few minutes, you still have no replies, try tuning up or down the band a little bit, and try again. It sometimes happens that even though the frequency sounds perfectly clear to you, and no one answered your “frequency in use?” call, the frequency may indeed be busy for listeners in other areas, and might be tied up by a very strong signal emanating from a station too close for you to hear via sky-wave (and too far to hear any other way).

Now that I've taught you how to call CQ, do you really know how to answer one? Many hams evidently don't, as I can tell by the answers I receive when I call CQ, myself!

How to answer a CQ: First, use the callsign of the station you're calling. Follow that by your own callsign, and your approximate whereabouts. If the station you're calling is very strong, just once will do. If he's very weak, you might double up the call. If you're calling in a pileup, timing, frequency and articulation are more important than signal strength. I'll explain.

Typical call:

“WB2WIK this is K2OWR, Kilo Two Oscar Whiskey Romeo in New Jersey calling.”

Bingo! Perfect. He told me his call, twice, once phonetically, and also where he is. Can't ask for more than that. His call took six seconds, and gave me all the data I need.

If I didn't hear him well, I might say, “QRZ? Is someone calling me? Try again please; this is WB2WIK.” And he could try again, maybe twice this time, that is, doubling up on the call, like this:

“WB2WIK, this is K2OWR, Kilo Two Oscar Whiskey Romeo, K2OWR in New Jersey calling. Copy now?”

That takes about 2-3 seconds longer, but repeats the call once more. If his signal's weak or I have a high noise level or other distraction, that should still be sufficient.

I might not hear him because I'm beamed towards the Pacific, and poor K2OWR's off the back of my beam. So I'll usually say something like, “This is WB2WIK in Los Angeles, beaming Pacific. Weak station, where are you?” To which he should reply, “New Jersey, New Jersey, New Jersey, New Jersey, QSL?” or something like that, to advise me that I'm beamed the wrong way.

For those who don't have beams, remember it usually takes 60 seconds to rotate a beam all the way around, and 30 seconds to go 180 degrees. If you make your transmissions too short, we'll never be able to peak you. Those with Fluid Motion SteppIR beams can change directions 180 degrees in about five seconds, but the rest of us take longer.

Now, in a pileup, as often occurs on any “rare” station (DX, or maybe not even DX, but a special event station, rare IOTA island, whatever), it is very poor practice to make a long call. So poor, in fact, that if you are actually heard by the rare station making a too-long call, he might “blacklist” you, to be sure to never work you the entire time he's operating, just as punishment for your crappy operating. Don't be blacklisted.

Many pileups operate “split,” of course, and I won't go into a whole seminar on working DX and split frequency operation. But assuming you're able to transmit on a frequency where the DX (or rare station) is listening, timing and articulation are everything, and certainly more important than signal strength in most cases. Your call must be timed precisely to when the other station's listening. Make your call very short and sweet, don't use any fancy phonetics, and although many successful DX operators use “last two” for a callsign, this really isn't good practice and I wouldn't suggest it. (“Last two” means saying only the last two letters of your callsign, omitting everything else, just to get through; for example, if your call is KG1ABC, you'd sign “BC.” Don't do it.)

When calling in a pileup, your transmission should be very short, but properly timed. The average call that actually “gets through” and makes a successful contact is probably in the 1-2 second range. Practice saying your call articulately (very clearly) in just one or two seconds. Crispness counts. If you use phonetics to make a longer call because it seems that's what everyone else is doing, use appropriate phonetics. If you're calling a DX station who has an accent (sounds like he's from a non-English speaking country), try “international” phonetics, rather than the common American ones. International phonetics are often the names of cities or countries: W1ABC might be W1 America Brazil Canada. J is Japan, and Y is Yokohama, especially if calling a Japanese station! I is always Italy when calling an Italian, and G is always Germany when calling a German. Make it make sense.

Great practice: Use a tape recorder, or a digital voice recorder, and listen to yourself. Only when doing so will you know how you really sound. Most people don't sound nearly as good as they think they do. Which is why many people cringe when they hear their own voices played back!

When calling in a pileup, follow a few simple rules:

  • Be really sure you can actually hear the station you're calling! It makes no sense to call someone you can't hear.

  • If it's a split operation, be sure you have the split frequencies tuned in or programmed properly, so you're really calling the station where he's listening, or approximately so.

  • Become adept at listening to both the DX station causing the pileup, and the pileup itself. If you have “dual receivers,” perfect. If not, use the “A/B” switch on your rig to switch quickly between the DX and the pileup, trying to hear the last station the DX worked and getting a feel for whether the DX station is sticking with just one receive frequency, or tuning around. If he's tuning around, you might note a trend, like, “Hey, he's tuning up the band, and every station he works is 200 Hz higher than the last guy.” Follow the trend, and beat others to the “new” frequency.

  • Follow the protocol that seems to be working for others, but by all means remember that a 2-way contact is only made when you and the other station exchange callsigns and another piece of data, such as a signal report. Considering the contact complete because you think you heard the DX utter your callsign suffix is lunacy.

Get really good at it, and you don't need to have the strongest signal in the pileup. Having a moderate signal with great articulation, no background noise and no distortion will get right through, if you time your call right.

So, there you have it. How to call CQ, and how to answer one. Simple, eh?

Now go practice it! See you on the bands.

WB2WIK/6

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6AJR on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This is an oldie but a goodie Steve, once again Nice job.

You are so right in the timing thing on a DX pile up. If I really need some one I will put the headses on ( stereo on the orion) and put the DX in my left ear and tune the second reciever up and down the split freq to see where he is working then as soon as he says TU in the left ear I transmit my cal, phonetically once clearly.

sometimes you can get them on the first call this way. your other choice is to park "up" somewhere and hollor for an hour.

Great hints. thanks again. No every one go put up a fan dipole and works some DX
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6AJR on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
now if I could only learn how to type:)
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KF4QK on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This is good stuff. I have been a ham since 1976 and never really had anyone articulate the proper way to either call, or answer a CQ call. For the most part I have been doing it correctly, but there were some very usefull tips in this article. I appreciate it and thank you for the information.

73 Barry W. Gaugler
KF4QK
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
Steve, you forgot one important happenings of the years gone by.

How about the dx that was on the ham bands working the Amplitude Modulation radio and calling cq. I can remember the days I would call this dx station on AM and call him on cw. We would carry on a wonderful qso, him on AM phone and me on cw. He would give me a report of 599x and I would give him a report of q5 s9.

Did you ever try this or was it before your time?

Thanks for a great informed posting.

73, W6TH

.:
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K0BG on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My pet peeve is... you answer the CQ and when you release the PTT, there he is calling CQ again! Gees, you do have to listen a little!

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by AI2IA on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It is always good to mention how to call CQ.

If I could add one more suggestion it would be this:

On phone CQs please speak just a little slower than usual. Some hams rush through their CQ so quickly, and give their call sign so fast that they sound like auctioneers.

Make the time to speak clearly and at a reasonable pace, especially when you give your call sign and you will prevent confusion and get a quicker response.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by G6LFT on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article, I especially like the bit about letting them know who you are. It really annoys me when someone calls 'CQ' about 20 times and then finally runs off their call like a horse race commentator - and does it only once! (this also applies very much to cw). If I am tuning around and hear such a call I tend not to reply - nothing spiteful but I just can't be bothered to wait. This is totally counter productive for the calling station.

Courteous and professional procedure (as described in this article) makes listening and operating a pleasure and is, to some extent, what sets us aside from other users.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WA4ONV on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Stick to CW, you'll encounter better conversations and true courteous operators.

73...Joe, WA4ONV
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by AI2IA on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The advantage and disadvantage of Morse Code is that it is 100 percent message oriented. Simply put: If you can read the code, you've got the message.

With phone, calling CQ is more complex. You have to deal not only with speed but with pronounciation also. In code, a "p," an "e," a "d," and a "g," are distinct. A rushed and oddly pronounced phone CQ can result in call sign confusion.

On the minus side, with Morse Code, you cannot detect the subtle inuendos of voice. Impatience, accent, and other emotions don't communicate. Only the message gets throught, which is usually good, but sometimes you miss out on the fullness of the message.

So, take special care with phone type CQs.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KC8ZEV on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This article is as relevant today as it was back then.

A good, long, slow CQ is the way to do it.

Breaking in on some of the crusty, old foul mouthed buggers on 75/80 meters isn't worth your while, however.

When I was a wet behind the ears newbie general, I tried to "join in" with the good ole boys on 75/80. Bad idea.
After about 2 minutes of verbal abuse, being tuned up on, and being smothered with carrier, I took Riley's advice and spun the big, black knob and went to another freq. Problem solved.

Despite some of the Bozos you run across on freq., there are some great people out there that will answer a CQ...........you just have to call!!!

73
KC8ZEV
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K6CRC on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Is eHam watching? This is an excellent article. The author can write clearly and can even spell!

I am fairly new at ham radio, so this article was interesting for me. It is difficult for some of us beginners to figure out basic protocols, and the old timers on the air are not the best examples in many cases. Think 75 meters.

I would like to see this article in the first chapter of the ARRL Handbook or Operating Manual!

Happy Holidays to all

Randy
K6CRC
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KE5LDO on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I agree about the pausing to listen. I have tried sometimes for over 30 minutes waiting for the CQ station to pause so I can respond. In addition, please allow more than 3 seconds for a station to respond before you all CQ again! Give a break, guys, release the PTT switch and Listen to see if anyone is calling YOU!
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W9OY on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W9OY Listening
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KJ4AGA on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I'll admit it, I had no idea how to call CQ. I've asked a few people but the convo always ended up on something else. I'v only been a ham since Oct, and I loved this article, since I will be using this in the next couple of months.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N0AH on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hummmm.....I guess eHam's next article will be on how to plug in your power supply...........
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KC8JZO on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, an article that prompted me to actually log in to eHam! Great job, should see more of these . . . maybe filed in a special area for future reference. For my own reference, this article and some of its comments are going into a word .doc. I'm thinking of even condensing it down a little to be kept with the portable set-up. May even copy/paste the CQ script and enter my own personal info for mental reference (helps to see it in writing sometimes). Thanks Steve!

KC8JZO
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by VA6GSP on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I am a new Ham and I'm just getting started with HF. I will admit it is a little intimidating to call CQ. I've not done it yet for fear of the wrath of an unforgiving operator if I deviate from the acceptable form.

Thanks for the advice. Now if only the weather would cooperate I could get that dipole up....
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N0AH on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Is this for real?????
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K0EOD on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great advice! But remember the sound of CQ. Think of it as SEEK YOU

73 K0EUD
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KC2PNF on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have another trick to help take the frustration out of calling CQ. I have a little sampler hooked up in the shack (Phone Memory Keyer in hamspeak). I tried several "takes" until I got a CQ call that was clear enough and then set it to loop with a pause at the end. I have another that I used during the November Sweepstakes.

Usually I'll just call into the mic, but after a few calls if nobody come's back I'll flip on the sampler and let it roll. I let up on the PTT at the end of the phrase and then 5 seconds later key down again as the loop restarts. That way if I wind up "calling" for four or five minutes, my voice isn't worn out when somebody does finally come back.

It might sound like the lazy way out, but it makes sure that the call is crisp and clear every time. I've also heard a ham or two start to sound really disgusted, apparently having called for quite a while. I always respond, but some hams might not want a QSO with a perturbed operator. (ie. "CQ for cryin' out loud")

73
KC2PNF
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6NKN on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Never hurts to review the basics.

Good work Steve.

Rick N6NKN
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N3AIU on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

VA6GSP: Be brave and go for it! And don't forget to be polite.

73, Nick N3AIU/DL1NE
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KC2RYT on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hi-

Thanks for the article. I'm one of those freshly minted newbies (albeit kinda up there in years) lacking a good deal of technical knowledge and operating experience, but I am trying to climb the learning curve (even including Morse Code - that is really fabulous, even at my level).

This kind of info is of real benefit.

Thanks,

Alan
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N0AH on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Marconi and Tesla are rolling over-

FCC 97.17 (a)

does this apply here?
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K6CRC on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Congrats! After multiple attempts to start a flame war and the usual newbie baiting, this thread is remaining civil.

The start of a new trend on eHam?
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6NKN on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Boy I hope so.

Seasons Greetings,

Rick N6NKN
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6AJR on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Two minor points .


first, when ever I hear Steve in a contest he only says "cq contest de WB2WIK/6" ( which is perfect for a contest) So there are other good CQ techniques...:)



and second, Use your voice/ cw keyer . I have a voice keyer anda CW keyer, also several of my radios have built in voice or CW memories. Also several of my contest logging programs have the ability to record and play back.



so in a long contest it saves you voice, and you can get a "perfect" call set up, and then not have to worry about it , and also if you have to take a potty break you can leave it running to hold your frequency while "away" for a moment.



don't ya just love technology
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N2RRA on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article!

These type of editorials need to be revisited for the simple fact there are always new operators needing a helping hand with being showed the ropes.

Hopefully their listen, or read this advise, and make good with it. Boy! There are some that really need it.

73!



 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WA4KCN on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great technique Steve. Very useful information to many. If the new hams learn good operating practice and use it, we might just be OK.

73 de Russ
WA4KCN
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>How to Call (and Answer) a CQ Reply
by N0AH on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Is this for real?????<

::Nope.

Once there was a newbie great operator, a newbie lousy operator and the Easter bunny playing poker. The "pot" contained over $300 cash, and all of a sudden, the lights went out.

A moment later, the lights came back on, and the cash was missing. Who took it?

Answer: Had to be the newbie lousy operator, because the other two are figments of your imagination.

WB2WIK/6


 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by NU0R on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve, Spot on as usual. I especially agree with the no 2 last letter phonetics. My last two are 0R (Zero Romeo). I can't count the times that it gets copied as Zulu Romeo. I think a 0 is the hardest number to get across. It just sounds too much like Zulu. My pet peeve is the guy who has a great signal, good modulation, and for the life of me I can't copy his call because he goes at break neck speed. I have listened to these guys for 10 or 15 minutes trying to figure out their calls. My advice--sloooowwww down. You know your call, but I don't. I might just want to talk to you if it is not too inconvenient for you. Gosh that feels good to get that off my chest. ----As always Steve you rock as an Elmer and a writer. All I want for Cristmas (someday) is an autographed copy of your first book on Ham Radio. I'll keep pestering you until you write it, you have my promise !!!!! Bruce
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Problem with operators is, like drivers, most people think they're very good at it even when they're not.

I answer people and have them come back and say, "Yeah, the 2 station, I hear ya real good, come on back."

That's a response?

I also have people tell me their life story in the first transmission without even knowing if I copy them any better than a "2 x 2" or so -- in which case, I'm probably getting 10% of what they're saying.

I have people tell me their rig, their antenna, their weather and how their dog's doing without ever mentioning their name or location.

But getting better at it's called "learning."

:-)

WB2WIK/6

 
Not an Eham Classic By Any Means  
by KA4KOE on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nope. It's not an Eham Classic. It's a Steve Katz classic. Let's give credit where credit is due folks.

Philip
KA4KOE

 
RE: Not an Eham Classic By Any Means  
by XV2PS on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Good to refresh.

Just two things that really bug me:

Those are the "rare DX" that do piles up and feel that their callsign is obviousely known by all (maybe DX assumes all use clusters), and just go for a "QRZ" without id'ing himself for several calls.

What also bugs me is some "rare DX" feel the need to work split on sometimes 20 Khz. Like the bigger the palace, the bigger the kingdom seems.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N4JBK on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N0AH get a life, quit being so negative until you can write something better
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N4MJG on December 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
i've always do listen before i start calling cq always ask is frq.is use? sometimes they say no go head or yes it is in use. so listen before transmit and always asked if hte frq. is in use !!


73
Jackie
KG4ORX
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by UC1AWX on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Never fails to amuse me. "Seasonal Greetings". Does it means that Christ in season?
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6WBJ on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N0AH inquired: "Is this for real?????"

I sure as hell hope not, Bryon. It was depressing enough that this article had to be posted the first time, but the fact that any hams are SO STUPID that they STILL don't know how to call CQ is a real testament to the way the hobby has been dumbed down. Let's get rid of the amateur service now, while it still has a decent legacy, before that legacy is irrevocably tarnished because everybody forgets what we did in the past and starts judging us by the current crop of "know nothings".
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
W6WBJ, Bill,


I agree and I approve this message.

.:
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KG6WLS on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Merry Christmas!!!!
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KI4TSI on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve, As a relatively new ham I found your CQ tutorial of great value and most instructive. It is indeed a shame that there is very little in the way of CQ calls "out there" as there may have been in times past. It would certainly make it a bit easier for us new guys to make more contacts. Many thanks for your clear and concise explanation of a very important facet of our wonderful hobby!!! 73's Mitch Rosenfeld KI4TSI in Hollywood, Florida
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K6CRC on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There is a whole new culture of posters on various web sites out there. They enjoy only an argument, not a discussion. Personal insults and attacks are fun for them. They feel brave, when they are behind a keyboard on the other end of a wire.

There is a good story in the Wall St. Journal last weekend (Weekend Personal Edition) about one guy who baits political sites. There are a lot of these people on all sides of the current political scene. You should be able to find the story on the WSJ website.

The trend is spilling over into eHam.

 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by AB7E on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

Yes, this article is about an awfully basic topic, but lots of new hams found it useful and it sure beats the hell out of Newbie Nook for content, organization, and prose. N0AH needs to get a life.

As for W6WBJ's concern about tarnishing the legacy of amateur radio, I urge the followers of this thread to point their browsers to his personal website

http://pageproducer.innercite.com/bcrowell4/page6885.html

There you will find a spirited defense of jamming as simply fun pranksterism, as well as various audio files that represent W6WBJ's perception of appropriate on-air behavior. And while I am in no way a prude, I'm pretty sure the totally lame and amateurish "Limp Dick Boogie" (audio file link at far right side of the page) is not the image I'd want for others to have of us. I'm afraid my vote for stupid and tarnishing goes to W6WBJ.

Dave AB7E
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
AB7E

Looking at your picture on HamCall.net, you could be taken for Bill, W6WBJ's twin brother. I still say your face doesn't go with that tie. The tie looks as though it had been a leash for controlling a dog as you take the dog for a city walk.

.:
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N3AIU on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

W6WBJ (ex N6AYJ)

http://www.hamsexy.com/week10.html
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by AB7E on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

N3AIU, that was enlightening. Given W6WBJ's comments about the hobby being dumbed down, I especially got a kick out of his rationale for not being able to pass the Extra Class exam. The full text of the N6AYJ (now W6WBJ) August 2000 letter to the FCC can be found several places on the web, one of them being:

http://www.w6dek.com/435Photos/n6ayj/N6AYJ_Response.html

Equally interesting is this more recent action from the FCC as a result of his on-air jamming activities:

http://www.arrl.org/news/enforcement_logs/2006/0601.html

According to W6WBJ's listing on QRZ.com, his license (Advanced Class) expired in March 2007, so I assume he was unable to convince the FCC that he was worthy of his license.

In spite of all that, W6WBJ worries that a competently written beginner article from WB2WIK posted to a message board is a bad reflection on the legacy of amateur radio. Go figure ...
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB9URN on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Why say "CQ TWENTY"?
Doesn't the listener know what band they are on?
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KC2SKG on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

I learned more from it than I have from listening to the bands since I received my license last month.

73's
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N7YA on December 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Why say "CQ TWENTY"?
Doesn't the listener know what band they are on?"

Good question...and for the record, ive never heard 'CQ 20' on cw...ever. But i almost always hear it on phone CQ's. Interesting.

Now you got me thinking about this...25 years of saying that on the air and i am just now realizing its unneccessary? I like updating from time to time.

73...Adam, N7YA
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
WB9URN on December 25, 2007
Why say "CQ TWENTY"?
Doesn't the listener know what band they are on?


Your transmitter may be putting out a second harmonic, say you are on 40 meters calling cq and there is a possibility that your transmitter will and can have a second harmonic radiating which will be 20 meters. Home brew rigs of the past had these problems and that is the reason that the cq 20 is being mentioned on your cq.

So much to learn, but you must get your information from the real old, old timers and not those licensed after 1940.

W6TH A Non Vanity call.

.:
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6WBJ on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WB9URN wrote: "Why say 'CQ TWENTY'? Doesn't the listener know what band they are on?

I know 'ZACTLY what band I'm on, 'URN, but I don't think I have that band on my radio. My bandswitch says only "3.5 - 7 - 14 - 21 - 28". No "20".

Steve, why does everybody have to call CQ the same way? Part 97 doesn't specify how you are supposed to do it except that, impliedly, it must be a genuine attempt to make a contact, or else it would be a one-way transmission. That means that you have to listen in good faith for replies. That's all Part 97 requires. So what's the problem with calling CQ in some new and different way; for example, by playing a recording of W7DVJ and WA6GVG and then announcing that it is a CQ? That method would be more likely to obtain a responsive call than would calling CQ the same old way.

I know, hams have always made up "rules" as they went along - rules that aren't in Part 97. That impulse arises largely from insecurity and small minds. I recommend ignoring much of what other hams want you to do, and marching to the beat of your own drummer instead (consistent with Part 97, of course).
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W8JII on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

W6TH A Non Vanity call. Ah Vito----------not in the call but so much in the man. ;) 73, Ron
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
Ronald J Bednarz W8JII

Just because you have 4 children and 15 grandchildren doesn't prove you are a man.



Jealousy will get you nowhere Ronald. Grow up, life is too short.

.:
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
Now for this post:

From what WB2WIK mentions is of great value to all and has been published in many of the ARRL handbooks, but knowing majority of the newbies of today either can't or don't read, Steve is now bringing forth a great amount of proper procedure all should follow. On Phone operation it is always a good idea to mention the band in use, such as CQ 20 or the band in use.

Years ago we didn't have the tuners and etc., as used today and would tune by a method of link coupling which would radiate a second harmonic and is brought forth today as , well, maybe a figure of merit. Stick with the custom and bring back the reality of ham radio.

73, and hope all had a wonderful Christmas, I know I did.

W6TH
.:
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W8JII on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Vito, Vito================Merry Christmas and good health in the coming year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WA4KCN on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the lesson Steve. Anyone who has been listening to HF of late will realize that many new HF operators do not understand what is proper operating procedure on HF. When everyone starts doing their own thing it gets pretty ugly with the bands being very disorganzied. Keep up the good work and give us another article on good operating practice.

73 de Russ
WA4KCN
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by AA9XY on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I guess I was lucky, and was trained how to properly operate by a real FB operator who Elmered me back when I was first licensed in 1994. I believe this is a great article for the new guys that want to know how to do things the right way when they get on the air.

73,

Alex AA9XY
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W1XZ on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Pretty soon we will have articles telling newbies how to call someone to program their radios for them. What happened to listening on the bands and reading the most basic of operating manuals? Maybe we could skip all these silly how to posts and just have regional volunteers to come in and operate for the newcomers.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6NKN on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You know,

It's very simple. If you don't like what's being written, stop reading. Go to some other section of Eham, or somewhere else on the web.

The web equivalent of "turning the big knob".

Rick N6NKN
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N5XM on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A very good lesson for newbies. I'm 99% CW, and when I do hook up the microphone and call CQ, I have to be real careful not to spaek so fast. Generally I speak too fast anyway. There are a few sour grapes floating around in the mix here, and that's hard to understand. I don't miss the old days except for the fact the plumbing doesn't work as well as it used to. All you new Hams out there, don't sweat the naysayers one bit. All it takes is a little time and for you to keep your eyes and ears open. It's said you never stop learning, but that's true only when you want to learn more, when you want to improve your skills, when you desire to achieve excellence. Three cheers to all the newbies! 73, n5xm, Richard
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by AA9YA on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

Things you can hear on the bands every day…

- Techs using voice on 20m, 40m & 75m.
- Generals in the Extra portions of the bands.
- Roger beeps & echo mics.
- Inbreeds playing CB on 75m.
- Wide-band win link splattering the digital portions.
- Newbie’s interrupting QSO’s for a “radio check”.
- Endless babbling without ID.
- Etc…etc…
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N3AIU on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

AB7E: Thanks! I was wondering where that was.

N5XM: Well said. Let's get on the air and set a good example. Just because you're old school doesn't mean you have to be a crotchety ol' geezer.

73, Nick N3AIU/DL1NE
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KD8HGQ on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Very nice article. I am a newbie, and I appreciate help like this. Its not like this information and Elmers are out there on every street corner. Keep up the great work!
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
N5XM says:

I got my ticket in 1996 at the age of 43.
N5XM:

You are a newbee of 11 years.What a snow job. What a braggart.

I got my ticket at the age of 14 in the year of 1938 and a ham going into my 70th year of 100% cw.

Now thats an accomplishment, not yours. I have the privilege and right to brag, you do not.

73, W6TH

.:
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by UC1AWX on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>>
It's also acceptable to break into a non-emergency contact (which is about 99.9% of all QSOs) to simply ask for a report, like, “Hey guys, Steve in L.A. here, with a new antenna. How's the signal?”
<<

Please, don't. I'm not sure how I'll react to guy in bar who interrupt with "Hey guy, look at my new pearcing!"

Just give your callsign breefly. Keep up your manners.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KE5CUB on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
THANK YOU, NOW I KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY "CQ"..I was a CB'er for many years before it got ridiculous and had wanted to be a ham from age 12...finally became one @ age 56 and just upgraded to General 6 months ago AND NEVER KNEW HOW TO "CQ" PROPERLY!!! Now I won't be afraid to chime in on my new found frequencies.
THANKS AGAIN & 73's /Lee Philip/KE5CUB
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>How to Call (and Answer) a CQ Reply
by UC1AWX on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>>
It's also acceptable to break into a non-emergency contact (which is about 99.9% of all QSOs) to simply ask for a report, like, “Hey guys, Steve in L.A. here, with a new antenna. How's the signal?”
<<
Please, don't. I'm not sure how I'll react to guy in bar who interrupt with "Hey guy, look at my new pearcing!"
Just give your callsign breefly. Keep up your manners.<

::Different stokes for different folks. As an American ham, I write from my own perspective. Piercing is spelled with an ie and not an ea. And if somebody's on ATV or SSTV, I suppose that request would be relevant; however I was addressing "phone" operators.

This was not addressed to CW ops (of which I must count myself a primary resident) because procedures are different, and much more abbreviated for that mode.

"CQ 20" or whatever does make sense, since you're calling the band and not a particular station. On CW, folks don't bother with the extra characters because we mostly use as few characters as necessary to gt the msg acrs. Gt it?

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6TH on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
When I operate portable CW, with the slash I always sign my call W6TH/1/NH. Otherwise, just signing W6TH, most will know I am in CA.

I don't try to surprise anyone while in NH with my W6 Call as it is disappointing to find that a station with a call of W3 is located in another, different state. So to be correct and also with the FCC rules and regulations, I abide by them.

Many that I have had a contact with have asked me what the /, slash meant, this was very shocking to hear this as from experience of operation, this operator was not really into ham radio before getting his/her ticket.

Another, most never heard of the "X" after the 599 or with a 599x, or a 599c, or a 599k, the x is rock bound,(xtal control) 599c is chirp, 599k is key clicks. also a 596c, the 6 means bad filtering in power supply of raw ac, the c means chirp. The operator hearing this report will most likely qrt and go to work to fix the problem.

Much more to learn, but you must ask questions from the real old timers that know what they are talking about and not these new braggarts we now have accumulated in the brotherly love fraternity. Hi, Hi. LOL.

This is all in the ARRL handbooks for most every issue, very handy for those that like to read and learn, others depend upon others for knowledge.

73, W6TH/1/NH

.:
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K6YE on December 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve,

Great article. Keep up the good work.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
DX IS
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KI4THT on December 27, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to explain.

73

KI4THT
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KF7CG on December 27, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Good article. I will especially second the remarks on helping to avoid confusion.

My call/QTH combination is a gauranteed recipe for confusion. My current home is in Tennessee (TN), but my city is Portland. That is confusing enough, but since I maintain the call that I received in Idaho better than 10 years ago my call is KF7CG. This would cause a few to think that I was in Oregon when coulpled with the city.

I just use the state until things are established.

More people should find places and call CQ, we might find that the bands are in better shape than we think.

KF7CG
Portland, TN
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N2OBY on December 27, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Steve. The only point with which I disagree is in regard to the use of phonetics. I have always adhered to the standard phonetic alphabet. A pet peeve of mine is the use of "clever" or "amusing" phonetics, the more ridiculous of which have me spinning the dial before they're done...

If everyone stuck to the standard phonetic alphabet I believe that there might be a bit less confusion on the bands - particularly during contests.

Keep the articles coming!

73 and Happy New Year to all!

Ken N2OBY
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on December 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>How to Call (and Answer) a CQ Reply
by N2OBY on December 27, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Steve. The only point with which I disagree is in regard to the use of phonetics. I have always adhered to the standard phonetic alphabet. A pet peeve of mine is the use of "clever" or "amusing" phonetics, the more ridiculous of which have me spinning the dial before they're done...<

::I don't like cutesy phonetics, either, and never recommend them. In fact, for most contacts, phonetics are just a waste of time: If you have good modulation quality and proper diction, nobody will question the letters in your callsign. However, when phonetics are useful, especially to distinguish between characters that sound very similar like B and D, or F and S, etc, I find the "DX" hears phonetics MUCH better if we avoid the U.S. standard phonetics and use city or country names instead. Also, I ALWAYS find that *anyone* (foreign or domestic) understands multisyllabic phonetics far better than monosyllabic ones. "Frank" for "F" is a terrible phonetic; however, "Florida" works 100% of the time, and always gets through.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KC2SKG on December 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
After learning International Phonetics courtesy of the Navy, and provided more practice than I would have preferred, the use of non standard phonectics confuses me. For instance I do not readily identify "Germany" with "G" or "Radio" with "R". This forces me to determine if a word or call sign is being spelled or if it is the actual place or thing based on context which leaves room for choice and ultimately leads to errors. For now I'll stick with the standard.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W4VR on December 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Never, never, never identify the band when calling CQ. If the calling or listening party does not know which band he's on, then we're in real trouble. Identifying the band was common 75 years ago for obvious reasons.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on December 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ Reply
by KC2SKG on December 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
After learning International Phonetics courtesy of the Navy, and provided more practice than I would have preferred, the use of non standard phonectics confuses me. For instance I do not readily identify "Germany" with "G" or "Radio" with "R". This forces me to determine if a word or call sign is being spelled or if it is the actual place or thing based on context which leaves room for choice and ultimately leads to errors. For now I'll stick with the standard.<

::Problem with that thinking is, there is no "international" standard, at all. There is an American standard, which isn't bad for most of the English-speaking world. What about the other 85% of the world who doesn't speak English? Listen to some JA (Japanese) operators on HF -- there are as many of them as there are of "us" -- and see what phonetics they use. Theirs make sense. Japan America 2 Yokohama Brazil Victoria...stuff like that. Easily understood all over the world, not just in the U.S.

WB2WIK/6

 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6HPX on December 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Some stations I have seen and heard send the CQ so many times iun the quest for a contact they forget there are some waiting to answer it. For example where a person sends CQ CQ CQ DX CALLING CQ CQ CQ DX THIS
AND THEN THEY START AGAIN AND AGAIN. WITHOUT THINKING THERE IS A CONTACT WAITING, by the time they quit maybe 2 minutes later the stations wanting to answer it give up and change frequencies, even on CW.

Send it 2 times and then listen if nothing send again 2 times. So some won't get bored waiting.

Just a thought as I have worked some from China and Korea who do just that way.
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by AF6EQ on December 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article.

As a newbie I really appreciate it!

Regards,
73 - AF6EQ
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K3JVB on December 30, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article Steve...

And from my crystal control day's

Cq...Cq...WA3irj calling cq, and tuning !
I remember having only a few crystals, and tuning the entire 10 meter and other bands for a QSO. My tuning knob used to get quite a work out...
Happy New Year to you and all
73
JohnB
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6WBJ on December 31, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I TOLD you guys that Riley Hollingsworth was a B.S. artist, but you didn't believe me!

It has been 15 months now since Hollingsworth told me that my renewal case was being "referred for designation for a hearing by an ALJ in Washington, D.C.", and that under separate cover I would be sent more information about the hearing.

I've heard nothing from him since then. I retain all my operating privileges, and am having a wonderful time enjoying my Hobby Hom Radio!

If you want to see my special letter from Riley in which he tells me I've suffered no penalty, cut and paste the following link:

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/AmateurActions/files/crowe07_05_25_1091.html
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on December 31, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ Reply
by W6WBJ on December 31, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I've heard nothing from him since then. I retain all my operating privileges, and am having a wonderful time enjoying my Hobby Hom Radio!<

::Bill you left the "ie" off Homie.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KC2SKG on January 1, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
<::Problem with that thinking is, there is no "international" standard, at all. There is an American standard, which isn't bad for most of the English-speaking world. What about the other 85% of the world who doesn't speak English? Listen to some JA (Japanese) operators on HF -- there are as many of them as there are of "us" -- and see what phonetics they use. Theirs make sense. Japan America 2 Yokohama Brazil Victoria...stuff like that. Easily understood all over the world, not just in the U.S.>

Good point! Thanks again for a great article!

73's
KC2SKG

 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K3CDQ on January 1, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Steve, great material, wish everyone would read it. I just want you to know I already do it right. I already call CQ almost exactly as you stated. Am I bragging about myself? Absolutly not. I am bragging about Al WA6EES. Al taught me how to call CQ thirty years ago and he did it almost word for word as you suggest. Again, great article
73
Dick
K3CDQ
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by K2GK on January 2, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Just a suggestion, if and when you do manage to get someone to respond to your CQ... Have a couple of points of interest ready to get the QSO going. Other wise you are going to hit and run like a DX station on 20 meters.
You know what I mean... You spend a couple of minutes trying to catch his attention, he gives you a 5-9 and then cuts you off with a quick QRZ to the rest of the world.

It does not matter if you talk about your aunt tilly's corn bread or the presidential debates. You need something to talk about after you learn that I have a Yaesu and you have an Icom.

On second thought stay away from politics, religion and sexual orientation.

Wait... No... Oh, go ahead and just enjoy yourself!!!!!!

You didn't bust your hump learning to get your license not to talk to anyone.

Listen for my CQ on 17 meters 18.165
73 de k2gk
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by VE6JJO on January 3, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
This is a great article for new and old alike. Some of this really basic stuff belongs in a seperate area somewhere...New Hams or some such. I was ever to Elmer a new amateur, I'd print this off and put it in a binder for the guy along with other basic stuff that is a starting point for other questions, other research.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KD8EZU on January 3, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I want to thank you Steve for an informative and helpful post. I've only been a ham since Feb 2007 and find it helpful. I basically listened for about three weeks before trying a CQ myself. I , used, of course the protocol I heard on the air that more experience hams used..., which was probably not the best idea.

I must point out one thing that the foriegn hams say that I find to be very courteous. When you give them a signal report they will usually say " thank you for the 5 and 7 " . I think that's a nice touch..


 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6HPX on January 3, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with the asian hams like Japanese and Korean they are really happy to get good reports and at times will reply you the same report. I worked many of em from my home in the Philippines and get lots of comments. They are great operators.

The hard part is with phonetics like Oscar or Hotel, some have probelms there and I find myself going through words to explain it. my friend in south australia ended up explainning the word in there language.

Also the comments on what to say is a good idea. Like QTH,and gear, etc. Leave them in the cold and they will move on.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by G1BYY on January 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Folks - this is my first post here, and I hate to dive into a controversy, but I feel the need to make a correction...

WB2WIK/6 said:

>Problem with that thinking is, there is no "international" standard, at all. There is an American standard, which isn't bad for most of the English-speaking world. What about the other 85% of the world who doesn't speak English? Listen to some JA (Japanese) operators on HF -- there are as many of them as there are of "us" -- and see what phonetics they use. Theirs make sense. Japan America 2 Yokohama Brazil Victoria...stuff like that. Easily understood all over the world, not just in the U.S.
<

I'm afraid this is just wrong. The alphabet in question is the "International spelling alphabet", (the one that starts Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta) and it is absolutely NOT American - it IS international! :-)

It started out with NATO, and it's long since been adopted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as seen here: http://life.itu.ch/radioclub/rr/ap14.htm and it is also the standard used by pilots the world over, another area apart from ours where internationalism is an integral part of the game.

Added to that, you are using the *English* names for places - for example Germany is only called that in English. I'm also not sure about your 85% non-English assertion - it's the second-most spoken language after Chinese, with the USA, Canada (mostly!), the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (somewhat) as well as a lot of smaller places having it as their native language, but I'm not sure of the numbers.

And I for one find it perverse that trying to make it easier for someone to understand where I am that I should say "London Osaka Norway Denmark Osaka Norway"! :-)))

So I shall stick to the International version, as I believe the words have been chosen to be distinct and recognisable, whatever language you speak - you're only trying to get across the initial letter, after all!

So, apologies if I'm stirring something up here - that's not my intent, but I do feel strongly on this subject.

Cheers,
Howard, G1BYY
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on January 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Howard, I disagree entirely!

According to every credible reference, the number of people in the world whose native lanugage is English is approximately 400,000. The population of the world is currently nearly 6 Billion. That means about 7% of the global population are English speaking, and 93% aren't.

The most common lanugages are Mandarin and Spanish, English is third; and Arabic and Hindi are very close behind, right about equal with English. Then there are nearly one hundred other languages spoken, where in many places English is not a second language or a third -- it just isn't known at all.

My estimate of "85% who don't speak English" was actually conservative. It's likely higher than that.

The NATO/ITU blabber is all silly since it's very old and doesn't work well.

Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta Echo...are *not* easily understood, even by me, and I was born here. When signals are weak, the phonetic "Charlie" works well; alpha, bravo, delta, echo, and many others don't work well at all and just get lost in the noise, easily confused for dozens of other similar-sounding words. "A" works far better than "Alpha" almost all the time, since "alpha" does not emphasize the long "A" sound. "E" works better than "Echo" for the same reason.

If you want to use really goofy phonetics, keep using those, but they make no sense for weak or noisy radio circuits.

"America" gets through 100% of the time, even having a short "A" sound, simply because it's four syllables and everybody recognizes the word. Even if you don't hear the leading "A" at all, the rest of the word (merica) comes through, and people know exactly what it is. Alpha doesn't work.

WB2WIK/6


 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on January 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
The above "400,000" should be "400,000,000" of course! (Typo -- sorry.) The rest of the data still stands.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on January 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
One credible source for this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

This was updated in 2007 and shows English speakers at 380 million out of 5.2 Billion = 7.3%
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KB3OAD on January 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Wonderfully written! Wow, some darn-good information to use down there on HF! I love the comic relief here and there, too.

Thanks Steve!
Jimmy KB3OAD
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by KD7HUU on January 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
N0AH on December 24, 2007 replied with this comment.

Hummmm.....I guess eHam's next article will be on how to plug in your power supply...........

My very first call on 2M in 2000 after taking my test and buying my first handheld got a similar reply.

All the books tell you to call CQ, CQ, CQ and that's what I did on 2M because I didn't have anyone that I knew that was a HAM. W9LEO sarcastically answered my call and basically said "we don't do that on 2M," there was another ham that was involved in the reprimand but I don't remember his call. I was very embarrassed by the on-air reprimand that I probably would not have made another call had it not been for K7GGG immediately following up with "don't mind them" and he has become my Elmer(not officially) and invited me to a NET that they used every morning that I could join.
It irritated me then and still to this day, I will NEVER forget his call sign and all for negative reasons.

Terry
KD7HUU

P.S. very nice article, I didn't know and it's really difficult to hear this on the air as most of the time you pick up a conversation in mid stream. I also agree that this needs to be in the ARRL Handbook
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6NKN on January 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Terry,

I sent your comments along to Gary, K7GGG. Ham radio needs more like him. ( And less like the others. )

Rick N6NKN
 
How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W8VHO on January 5, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
This guy is worse than my wife, telling me what im doing wrong all the time!!:-)
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N2OBY on January 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Howard G1BYY,

Thanks for confirming what I've always believed and practiced. It's not referred to as the "International Phonetic Alphabet" for no reason.

Because someone is more comfortable doing something and has done it for a long time doesn't make it correct. From my point of view, practicing something contrary to an internationally accepted standard simply creates confusion.

I especially find it frustrating during contests, when my ears are tuned for the standard alphabet and someone uses their own phonetics; it's like throwing sand in the gears...

Charlie Hotel Echo Echo Romeo Sierra & 73!

-Ken N2OBY
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6HPX on January 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I wonder just how accurate the comments about English speakers, in some places I have traveled like the Philipiines,Japan,Korea, and many more they teach English to the kids.But when it comes down to it some are still shy at speaking it. I know one lady in particular its taken weeks just to get her to speak full sentences like Hi how are you my name is Judy.

My son and daughter live in the philippines and the teachers teach english first before they teach the Tagalog language, they speak good english as well as there own native language, which is actually Bicol. But they are good in English.

Years ago a friend of mine was listening in on a QSO I had with a Korean and we spoke for 20 minutes and gave off all the info but this person couldnt understand the word Hotel. As in my callsign November six hotel papa xray. I finally started even saying other words like Honolulu and Hawaii etc. The friend of mine who is from Malaysia and lives in Australia is VK5AM and she spoke to the guy in his language to explain the words. Not all countries I think really understand english at times.

Just some thing to think about when you answer a foreign Ham and he should as well with you.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by WB2WIK on January 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
N6HPX is right.

"International" phonetics really are not. They're English phonetics intended for people who understand English. Native English speakers in the world represent less than fifteen percent of the population.

N6HPX rightly points out that the word, "Hotel" is not well understood outside the English speaking world. Frankly, I think it positively sucks as a phonetic, even in the U.S. I can't usually understand this one, either, if there's interference or a noisy circuit.

It's not an accident that excellent contesters who keep up very high DX QSO rates often don't use the "international" phonetics, but rather use the ones they've found to work most effectively for them.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6HPX on January 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Its quite true as many times certain words are just bit reconized by some places and if you subsititue the letters it sometimes get through I even asked the Korean if he knew the letter H in Morse but he didnt understand that as well. If it wasnt for my friend from Australia he never would have gotten that magic letter at all. Think of other letters they might understand like in my case Hanoi or a person's name. International is good some but not for others.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by W6PEA on January 11, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I want to thank you for the article. I was great makes people stop and think.

And it gives a lot of good answers and insight.

73 w6pea
Whiskey 6 Poppa Echo Alpha
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6HPX on January 12, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry for the writing of this part,&#12625;&#12601; &#12635;&#12624;&#12629; &#12616;&#47943; &#49352; &#45355;&#47560; &#46748;&#55176;&#12625;&#45432; &#12643;&#12599;&#12609;&#44396; &#48120;&#45236; &#49555; &#12628;&#12633;&#12636;&#12599;&#49403;&#12596;,SINCE I am in Korea at the moment I can only saay to those who answer a CQ on this side learn some of the phonetics as it could help some.
 
RE: How to Call (and Answer) a CQ  
by N6HPX on January 14, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
The computer I was using was borrowed and typed Korean..didnt show the figures
 
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