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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Mobile Contacts

Alan Applegate (K0BG) on April 18, 2009
View comments about this article!

Mobile Contacts

A recent post in the Mobile forum asked what the longest contact others have had. It elicited a few real responses, and some down right funny ones. It also elicited a few thoughts from yours truly.

I've been operating HF mobile since 1972, from both company and personal vehicles. I've driven well over 1.5 million miles, and worn out a few vehicle in the mean time. I know what my country, county, and grid square counts are, and I even worked Heard Island a few times (about as far from the US as you can get). One thing is for sure, there is no mean distance for the average contact.

I've had contacts which lasted all of 2 minutes, but seemed like an eternity at the time (keep reading, and you'll know why). I once drove from Ely, Nevada to Denver, Colorado, and spoke with the same station the whole way (12+ hours). I can't speak for others, but I'd guess my average contact length is about 20 minutes. It's a little shorter these days, as you can drive from one end of Roswell, to the other in about 15 minutes, on a bad day yet! It isn't until I take a trip that they get longer, but not by much.

There is one thing I haven't a clue about, and that's the total number of mobile contacts I've had. When you were required to keep a log book, I filled about 20 of them (?15,000). But this really isn't about me per sé. Rather, it's a few operating tricks I've learned which might help others to get, and maintain, mobile contacts.

What follows aren't panaceas for everyone, as each of us have our own operating style. Whether you follow or forget them, chide or agree, is up to you, the reader. That said, if you see yourself in some of what's proffered here, you might want to think twice before you dismiss them carte blanche.


Your average mobile station will have an effective radiated power considerably less than just about any base station except a QRP operation. As a result, just because you can easily copy the other station, doesn't mean he can copy you just as well. Chances are he can't, especially if you're using a minimal antenna system. It is, after all, easier to make up receive losses than it is transmission losses. So, you have three choices; Either answer just the stronger stations, call CQ a lot, or do a lot of listening.

Sometimes, it pays to listen. In fact, it pays to listen a whole lot! It won't take long before you discover the difference between a casual contact, and a personal one between close friends. Once you do, here's some sapere aude advice; do not break in to a personal contact unless it's an emergency, or you know both parties!

Don't use the word break! That is, unless it is an emergency. If you just have to interrupt an on-going contact, just wait for a turnaround, and simply use your call. If you need (want really) a signal report, or an antenna check, then call CQ.

In all of my years as an amateur radio operator (nearly 40), I have never heard the frequency call anyone. Yet, you quite often hear operators spouting; QRZ the frequency, is the frequency clear? When I hear this, I always tell them it's busy, even when it isn't! If you want to know if your chosen spot on the band is busy, simple ask in so many words. Twice!


Once you make a contact, it won't last long unless you follow a few, simple suggestions. One of those is, don't mention that you're mobile! Whaaaat?! You heard me! There is no express law (nowadays) requiring you to mention that you're mobile. If you operate (long) enough, you'll discover that telling folks you're mobile shortens up the contact rather quickly. Don't believe me? Then do this exercise. While keeping track of the average length of your contacts, make ten using a mobile suffix, and ten without; You'll have your answer.

Of course, in order to get by with the ruse, you need to make sure you have your operating parameters (low mic gain, no compression) set correctly, and that you know how to use your microphone correctly as well. Doing so keeps the transmitted ambient background level low, and chances are the other station won't be able to tell you're mobile. Speaking of compression, using it mobile is a sure-fire way for others to know you're on the road. My advice, don't! Ever!

Learn what the FCC rules are about identifying. Constantly giving your call on every turnaround is a waste of time. Just using over, or back to you should be sufficient until the proverbial 10 minutes is up. Then, only your call is necessary. And you don't have to use phonetics each time either.

Don't shout! Within the confines of an average vehicle, the ambient noise level is many times higher than your average living room. Add in a little reflected speech, and most operators will switch to full-shout mode. Adding great insult (as I alluded to above), most operators use way too much mic gain, and intelligibility drops to near zero. If you're one of these guys, here's a suggestion. Buy a decent headset, and turn on your monitor function. The instant feedback (sidetone) will typically keep you on an even keel.


Keeping a contact is easy too, if you broaden your horizons. If you listen as I suggested above, it won't take you long to get tired of the same old rhetoric. If all you can talk about is the weather, or your lumbago, your contacts will be short. Personally, I refrain from politics, sports, religion, or any other hotly-debated topic, especially bigotry! And I don't use four letter words either.

One of the most interesting contacts I have had (about 1975), was with Arthur Godfrey, K4LIB (sk). We talked about early radio, and how much different things are today. I've had other interesting contacts too, with both famous and infamous folks from all over the globe, and this is one of the reasons amateur radio has remained interesting to me over the years. It can also get boring, rather quickly, especially of late.

What's with all the Q signals and space jargon on the phone bands these days? I recently listened to two, obviously newly-licensed amateurs having a short chat. On every turnaround, one of them used this exact phraseology; QSL-QSL-QSL, Roger That, Roger That! Yes! What is with that? Say what you will, if you want to widen your possibilities, cut the CB-esque jargon! Some folks will tolerate it, but most old timers won't, and that includes me. When someone does this to me personally, I've always just reached my destination, and I sign off! While I'm on the subject; there is no such word as destinated!

Speaking of phonetics; Hearing some trite phraseology for your call can get old petty quickly (pun intended), especially if you use it every time. Admittedly, some are rather clever, but that fact along doesn't justify their use. What ever happened to the ICAO alphabet?


So, you want to work some DX? Again, it pays to listen. The way band conditions are these days, propagation can change very rapidly. Obviously, calling when the DX station is strong is advantageous when other areas of the country might have weaker signals. Propagation doesn't always work that way, unfortunately.

If the DX station is working call areas, you actually have less of a chance of breaking a pileup than you do otherwise. Again, this is a propagation issue. This doesn't keep you from trying, however.

Sometimes, DX stations will call for mobiles (something I'd wished they'd all do). I'd also wish they wouldn't use splits when working mobiles, as mobile operation is already distracting enough. Fact is, I often send e-mails to up-coming DX-pedition headquarters with that suggestion, and a few times it has worked. If they're working splits, and I really want the contact, I find a safe place to park.

I've had DX stations put me in their log as a 1x3 because they've mistaken the mobile designation as part of my call sign. To avoid this, I suffix my call with mobile-in-motion, rather than just mobile. And, I always tell them I'm mobile in motion when I give them a signal report. Doesn't always work (K5D operation is an example), but at least I tried to avoid the confusion.

Logging any mobile contact while underway is a difficult undertaking if you don't have a ride-along (second op, spouse, XYL, etc.). To overcome this, I purchased a small digital recorder. You can buy one with 8 hours of good-quality recording for under $40 at Target®. Once you're parked, it's easy to transcribe the contacts into a log book.


I want to make note of the fact that I haven't used a bunch of Q signals in this article, and that was a conscience decision. As I alluded to above, I hear way to many abbreviations on the phone bands these days. It isn't abbreviations I abhor so much, it's their bastardizations! Quirm, swarrs, quirts, 3s, 8s, and even ten codes. To me, this CB-esque jargon is a complete turn off. And when I hear it, I turn off! The frequency that is.


I'm sure there is more I could add to the list, but what's here should start the newcomers off on a good foot, er wheel.

 

Alan, KØBG

http://www.k0bg.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Mobile Contacts  
by KU4UV on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! Thanks for all of the great tips for mobile operating. I haven't done a whole lot of mobile operating in the past, but when 10 meters opens back up, I plan on purchasing a new 10 meter radio. I think a lot of the reason why folks tend to keep contacts short with stations that they know are mobile is that they are afraid they will lose the signal. Operators may also not want to keep a driver's attention off of their driving by making a contact too long. This is just my two cents. I also agree with the repeatedly giving one's callsign issue. There is a guy on one of the local repeaters around here that just has to give his callsign at the beginning and end of EVERY transmission. The thing is, most everyone on the net he checks into already knows his callsign and voice by heart, so why bother? Thanks again for the great article.

73,
Michael KU4UV
 
Mobile Contacts  
by KD5SFK on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Alan,

Some good advice. I'm not sure how you can completely avoid letting on that you're mobile when the inevitable "what kind of station are you running?" comes up...but I suppose if you listen long enough you can choose to contact an operator who isn't so interested in the standard info exchange.

When working DX I always say I'm mobile...It is easier to get through a pileup. Even if the DX didn't get you're whole callsign, he'll often ask for the "moblie station again?"

Saying you're mobile on 6-meters also gets you more contacts when working E-skip. I've had several 6-meter contacts in a row from the same general area because the first contact will get on his local repeater and tell his buddies that 6 is open and he's talking to a mobile!
 
Mobile Contacts  
by WV4L on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Enjoyed the article Alan. The use of "mobile in motion" is something I do as well. Invariably, anytime I used "mobile" along with my call in a DX contact, it always gets added as an "M" to my suffix. Then you spend time trying to make the correction.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by NI0C on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
This is a splendid article-- a keeper-- from the guru of mobile HF operation.

Thanks, Alan.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
Mobile Contacts  
by N2RRA on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Alan,

Great article! Thanks for educating the public once again with an eye opening correct operating procedure lost somewhere in previous translations.

Good Job! now lets see how many follow.

73!
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by N4KC on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good, common sense advice, as usual, Alan. Anytime I hear ops -- and especially new ones -- using what they think is correct or accepted language or procedures, I see it as an opportunity to give them some friendly advice. Emphasis on "friendly." Don't come off as a know-it-all blowhard. Couch it in terms like, "Here's how you can make more contacts..." or "Here's the way most hams do it these days..."

Unfortunately, I was not born knowing it all. Neither were most of them. They'll make much better operators if we gently correct them than if we tell them to "take that CB crap and get the heck off my band!"

Incidentally, in 46 years of ham radio, I have never emitted a single watt of HF mobile, but I agree with your comments about not saying you're mobile, at least initially. The exception is when calling a DX station, especially in a pile-up. Somehow, weak signal or not, they seem to hear that "mobile" designator. Same with "QRP." I sometimes hear guys doing it when I sincerely doubt they are either.

And how many guys are using their digital recording capability to get a female voice saying their call signs and "59, thanks"?

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
www.n4kc.blogspot.com
(An open blog dedicated to rapid technological change and its
effect on society, media and amateur radio)


 
Mobile Contacts  
by KG4ZVA on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
This is funny, every dx station I hear uses "QSL"! They must be CB'ers! Guess I'll have to throw away my log book and all my "qsl" cards! They're CB cards!
Where did all these CB'ers come from? They're everywhere! That rare DX station that I'm hearing just said QSL!! He must be a CB'er too!

Is it really possible that so many of you hams do not know of ANY other radio services being used or how they are used that you would think every thing you hear comes from cb??

This would have been a better article if you had not included what seems to be the token cb bashing so many here on eham favor. Sad really. Ever notice in browsing through responses to articles, there is always at least one ham who will throw something in about cb no matter what the subject is?
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K1BXI on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
As usual Alan, a timely article. Not just for mobile either, you could rename it "Home station contacts" and it would equally apply.

I liked this one: "don't mention that you're mobile!" For me it would be: "don't mention that you're using a G5RV!" That will guarantee to knock off at least 3 S units on the other end. I know, I use one.

John
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by N3OX on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"I liked this one: "don't mention that you're mobile!" For me it would be: "don't mention that you're using a G5RV!" That will guarantee to knock off at least 3 S units on the other end. I know, I use one"

Someone should write a whole article just on antenna prejudice losses.



 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K1BXI on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"Someone should write a whole article just on antenna prejudice losses."

Very good idea Dan, glad I gave you the idea.......now run with it.........."prejudice losses, and how to calculate them."........I'll be waiting.

John
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Mr Applegate is top shelf. He is very generous with his knowledge, and truly a good person that speaks with his actions. His website is a virtual encyclopedia of mobile amateur radio. He will also respond to reasonable requests by email to the most obscure information requests. Amazing guy.

W3VR
 
Mobile Contacts  
by AI4JD on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Why is that almost every article by K0BG slams someone in some way or other. No matter what there seems to be some negativity in every thing this guy writes weather it be an article or a response to an article. Remember folks this is a hobby lets take a deep breath and have fun. Sure there are alot of things other operators do that irritate some of us. Remember we are here to make better operators out of those that need the help. So lets just relax and have fun and get ourselves and others ready for when a disaster does happen that way we'll all be ready hopefully with better operating skills. 73's to all and god bless AI4JD.
 
Mobile Contacts  
by K8NDS on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great article on mobile ops, I have probably have several thousand hours of mobile under my belt; I think you did a great job of covering the subject. You have me beat on the longest single mobile contact; my longest was only around 3.5 hours across an entire state although I have worked solid for 10 to 12 hours across country, it sure passes the time on a long trip. I also use a digital recorder for logging, it sure is a much safer way to log.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"73's to all "

Be careful.

Someone (with nothing better to do) will appoint himself and expert and flame you for saying "73's" instead of "73."



 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"Why is that almost every article by K0BG slams someone in some way or other."

Look past inflections, and look for the truth. It can be found in his information. If you want to learn, "check your ego at the door". That is with anything. Don't take things so personal.

W3VR
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"Why is that almost every article by K0BG slams someone in some way or other. "

Don't be silly.

What do you mean, "almost?"

:-)

It's just a sign of curmudgeonly control issues.

I just don't get the sheepish, "top shelf" following, but it worked for Jim Jones too.

This article, and the recent, negligent article on alleged superfluous station grounding are good examples of why internet "wisdom" is worth the price of admission.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K8QV on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
For what its worth, I find that DX ops on any band and almost everyone on 17 meters seem quite eager to work mobiles. Tried it both ways. It's normally a plus for me to sign mobile. (I primarily chase DX and mobile operation is usually 20 or 17 meters for me.)

I never try to log while in motion. Normally, I don't log at all but if I consider a particular mobile contact a "prize" I write it down the next time I am stationary. If I can't remember a call for that elapsed amount of time, I shouldn't even be on the road!

Split operation in the vehicle is something I have just given up on. It's too much distraction from my primary activity - driving safely.

I have also been an advocate of "proper" phonetics for DX. It just makes sense to have a universally standardized set. HOWEVER, I also discovered that my call is most easily understood as Kilo Eight Queen Victoria anywhere in the world I'm speaking to. I don't know why that is, but it's true. If a station has trouble with Quebec Victor (usually misheard as Japan Victor) just one pronouncement of Queen Victoria brings the "aha" moment to them. Weird.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by KF4HR on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article Alan. I think someone could easily write a book on this subject.

I live in an area that has well over 300 amateurs but only a dozen or so (mostly newly licensed ham) use our local repeaters on a regular basis.

But I'm also noticing that less and less old timers are being heard on the repeaters. Perhaps this is because of some of the reasons you brought out in your article.

In my area our repeaters seem to be used mostly as a way to kill time while sitting in traffic. Of course its tough to do this every workday, for 2 or 3 hours a day, and have anything meaningful to say, yet many ramble on anyway - as if they must. By God, they bought their radio, they're going to use it! Even if they have absolutely nothing to say. I've noticed the newly licensed fall into this category more than most.

But not all newbee hams fall into the same mold. One of the most intelligent transmissions I ever heard came from a newly licensed amateur who was (at the time) 14 years old. After a few minute conversation the young amateur said, "I have nothing else to say, so I going to stop transmitting now." He cleared with his callsign and that was it.

Imagine that, he had nothing else to say, and he stopped talking.

KF4HR

 
Mobile Contacts  
by N4MJG on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I've always listen and asked if frq is used ! before i jump a gun.i'll asked if frq is used 2 times.i do always lurking by listen !!!!



Sometime other don't asked if frq is used,i use to do that everytime ,but now i started to ask them.you must asked them and listen before you transmit than ask them,that always worked that way !!



Some guys like to chase DX others don't !when i have time to chase dx in mobile than i'll do it or if i feel like it !


One thing for sure Alan always right he been ham alot longer than i have,i got long way to learn i may not know it all,but hobby is always fun to learn.


73

Jackie

KG4ORX

WWW.KG4ORX.COM

SKYPE NAME: KG4ORX

HamRadio since aug 2001

General lic. since march 17,2007
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
RE: Mobile Contacts Reply
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"Why is that almost every article by K0BG slams someone in some way or other. "

Don't be silly.

What do you mean, "almost?"

:-)

It's just a sign of curmudgeonly control issues.

I just don't get the sheepish, "top shelf" following, but it worked for Jim Jones too.

This article, and the recent, negligent article on alleged superfluous station grounding are good examples of why internet "wisdom" is worth the price of admission.


======================================================


Aww...poor thing. Why don't you write us an article? It's your real opportunity to refute those things that offend you using all your technical experience and education in your bio. I'm sure you can "blow us away". Based on all that stuff you brag about in your bio, it should be a "walk in the park" for you. (do you like corny colloquialisms? you bit on the "top shelf" so maybe there's something there..uh...huh,...uh huh.."walk in the park" right?) Perhaps you already have books, articles, etc, that you have authored. Are you too "sheepish" to share them with us? Don't knock it if you can't top it. Ever hear that? Of course you have. You just haven't got around to doing the right thing yet....right?

We just know you will give us something "top shelf".

Go ahead, we're waiting.

Thanks,

W3VR



Oh yeah, almost forgot "the price of admission" you like those trite, banal little phrases. Don't forget get that too. Those things sound cool....right?

Along with those little :-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-) my three year old daughter likes to use.

Very hip, lay it on us brother. We know you can do it.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by W5WSS on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
My signal report has been changed from 5/9+ to well ...really you are 5/5 once I told them I am using an indoor antenna. Hmmm an antenna predjudice article funny.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by W5WSS on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
My signal report has been changed from 5/9+ to well ...really you are 5/5 once I told them I am using an indoor antenna. Hmmm an antenna predjudice article funny.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Terry, you should not drink and blog.
 
Mobile Contacts  
by K7QQH on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Alan--

Good, overall article regarding mobile operation. Like you, I've been a ham for a long time - licensed for 50 years, 40 of them spent running mobile. Your comments regarding the importance of LISTENING is very relevant considering the limitations of HF mobile antennas, radiated power, etc., etc. Good advice.

As for my greatest mobile DX, I had a very nice QSO with a fellow in Johannesburg on 20 SSB from the parking lot here at work near Seattle WA, and it was quite a thrill. Another venue for good DX is the "Maritime Net" on the upper end of 20 SSB (I don't remember the exact time or frequency), but it can be a DX chasers bonanza since the net caters to maritime/mobile operators and related traffic. Quite a fascinating spot for listening!

Finally, I've never had a problem signing as "...K7QQH mobile..." and have had my share of pileups on ME (somehow the DX stations think mobile ops are "rare"). Another thing HF mobile ops should look for are GOOD OPERATING LOCATIONS! There's much to be said for hilltops, mountain pass rest areas and beaches with that sunset view of the Pacific. Trust me fellas, when the bands are even marginally open, you'll be a busy mobile op!

73's and Good Luck. See you 10-160M SSB or CW while on the road.

Roger C.
K7QQH
Lynnwwod WA
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"RE: Mobile Contacts Reply
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Terry, you should not drink and blog."

Awww....poor widdle thing. That's the best he can do. As suspected.....well, now we really know.

You had your chance. Very well then.

W3VR
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Try cutting back on the Prozac.

And lay off the Kool Aid.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
RE: Mobile Contacts Reply
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Try cutting back on the Prozac.

And lay off the Kool Aid."

Tsk...tsk, my poor little thing. Then you have truly run dry.


Okay, very well my darling, I'll let you have the last word. That is what you need for now. Cognizance is key my Dear. I knew there was not the "kevlar" between your ego and reality, but I thought at least the incursion of reality had some divide between it. Be careful in the real world. Not all are as empathetic as my lot. Indeed you have my sympathy.

Take care Dear, it will be okay if you give it some time. Some objective introspection on your part will also help.

W3VR
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K5END on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!

<laughing>

Thanks for the entertainment.

Have a nice weekend.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by KW6LA on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Alan,

First I want to thank you for your work here on E-ham and the wonderful info you have provided for
me and other Mobile operators. I back most of your experience ,but not all. Yes the QSO/M can be
short if you have a crummy signal or caned-up audio performance. No one likes that tomato can
sound and worst if you are at the noise floor. Mobile in motion or at rest is what I tell the other station
and seems to help them understand what I am up to. Most QSO are short, but that’s fine by me for I
am not in the car for long a period. I run a home-brew 10 1/2 ft. center loaded antenna with 300 w of
power. With a decent signal , I get quite a number of calls from others when I sign /off. This is most
likely because of the S 9 reports I get very often. Hey you set me up…….. Don’t Laugh ! ! There is a
vernacular on ham radio and Q signals are a part of that. Alan you don’t have the corner on the old /timer
Ham. Many of us have spent years on CW, so QTH / QSL is in our blood. Not the end of the world for me.

I do agree with the call signs over done. Driving at night, I don’t write down calls and only say my own to
make it simple and safe. For the new Mobile operators , there is more info than you might need on Alan's
web site, but will save you a lot of work, time and money. Anyone can put out a mobile signal on 10 and
11 meters, but it takes work and knowledge to put out a great signal on bands lower than 20 meters. I find
mobile operating a challenge and rewarding. For the guys/ gals that are under HOA / CCnr's ,mobile HF
can be an easy answer. I could easily dump the home station for full time mobile operation.


73's…………..33…………..88

Mobile safe !


KW6LA / M
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by KW6LA on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Oh Best contact…………. Had a sked with a YL on Kwajalein atoll Island from my mobile. Only one

Big problem, No Antenna. So I did the math for quarter wave and cut a piece of 1/4 Dia. Alum. rod and

stuck it in the 3/8-24 thread ball mount. It leaned over @ 45 degs. and looked like hell. Then with only

a MFJ qrp rig and 12 watts pep , her boyfriend and I had a 30 minute QSO to the small Island. Oh

what fun this hobby can be !


Cheers


Tony
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by W5LDA on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Just how would Croatia rate from my mobile here in Oklahoma? 9A4W on 20m.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by WB0RXL on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Very informative. One thing I will change is my use of callsigns at each exchange. Not a carry over from the CB band but when I was with USAF MARS and we were required to sign at the beginning of each transmission. I can still hear it in my dreams. "This is ...(pause)...alpha foxtrot bravo three foxtrot golf."
73.
John
WB0RXL
 
Mobile Contacts  
by N0AH on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Not one mention about bands selected for mobile DX and why......why not? Over-site?
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by N4JTE on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
TNX Allan, when and if I ever get my mobile act together, your comments here and your website will serve myself and others well. However re; my last article about the ribbon antenna and your comment about folding back insulated wires to quicken resonance cutting and pruning ain't gonna work my friend. I read yours, you read mine, hi?
With respect,
Bob
 
Mobile Contacts  
by WD9FUM on April 18, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the FB article Alan. When I have spare time & spare money (HI HI) I'm going to give HF mobile a try.
 
Mobile Contacts  
by KA4AQM on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good article Alan...

A couple of things I prescribe to while operating:
1. Listen alot.
2. If not listening, read alot.

Towards that end, I think we should all keep in mind as we operate, if you're not learning something while you're on the air, then your operating practices are TEACHING someone else who is LISTENING! Peace.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K0BG on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Bob, N4JTE, send me an e-mail.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
Mobile Contacts  
by N0AH on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I don't recall posting here-
 
Mobile Contacts  
by N0AH on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
KG4ZVA writes: "This is funny, every dx station I hear uses "QSL"! They must be CB'ers! Guess I'll have to throw away my log book and all my "qsl" cards! They're CB cards!
Where did all these CB'ers come from? They're everywhere! That rare DX station that I'm hearing just said QSL!! He must be a CB'er too!"



Hate to break the news, but using "QSL" when turning the QSO back over to the other station is right out of the Alpha Tango CB'er hand book- There is a blight on the phone bands like it not, base or mobile, full of CB'ers who won't take the time to learn what the Q codes are all about-

It is beginning to be like the monitor infestation in the Everglades-
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K5END on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"monitor infestation in the Everglades"

Amazing resemblance, especially considering the reptilian brain and frequent shedding of skin (like 4 new call signs in 2 years--what is up with that?)

First good laugh of the day. Thanks.

:-)
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by AA4PB on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
QSL-QSL-QSL, Roger That, Roger That!
-------------------------------------
I think that is just something routine to say while you think of something better. It didn't orgiginate with CB because I've heard in long before there was an 11M CB. I've actually heard its equivalent a lot on CW: "R R R FB solid cpy". Then often we repeat back some of what he just said like his station equipment as though we had to prove we really did copy it :-) It's all just "filler" until we can think of something else and not really a big deal in my opinion.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K8QV on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!

Isn't somebody going to mention Obama in this thread?

The nut cases are letting us down!
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by WB2WIK on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Very good article, Alan.

Two things I'd add that I don't think I saw in your article are:

-/m CW work. It eliminates all the "background noise" problems, and since DX is much easier to work CW than phone, can really enhance your DX worked total very easily by just plugging in the paddles (especially since virtually all rigs nowadays have built in electronic keyers anyway). But if you're going to do it, lock down the paddles so they can't go flying in a crash, during turns or quick stops or starts; and also hide all the wiring so nothing shows. My paddles are in the center console between the front seats and attached with screws so they can't go anywhere.

-Same as with making a contact from a "home" station, don't break into a QSO if you only hear one side of it. This is really rude. Mobile or home, if you hear all parties in a conversation and have something to contribute, by all means, break in! But if there's a 2-way or 3-way (or more) QSO in progress and you don't hear one or two (or more) of those stations, it's very inconsiderate to break in.

73

Steve WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by K0BG on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Very good comments, Steve.

I was actually saving the DX tips for a second article. I was even going to mention using CW mobile, but only for those select few who don't need pen and paper.

The point about repetition, like Paul mentioned, is using way too much of it. An occasional QSL is one thing, but a constant barrage is another. Reminds me of way to many sports jocks, especially boxers, using 'u-no' between every other word.

By the way, Steve, I think your piece on microphones is still one of the best posts here. That's why I linked to it.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
Mobile Contacts  
by N0AH on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
TU AL, fb!

73 Paul N0AH
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by W3TTT on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Hi
Great article, and I can really use all the "advice" that I can get.
Here is one piece of advice from me for mobile ops - get a voice recorder. Even a cheep one. My cell phone has a voice recorder function too. I wish that the rig had a voice recorder... that would be nice.
JOe n3iqa
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by KG4ZVA on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
KG4ZVA writes: "This is funny, every dx station I hear uses "QSL"! They must be CB'ers! Guess I'll have to throw away my log book and all my "qsl" cards! They're CB cards!
Where did all these CB'ers come from? They're everywhere! That rare DX station that I'm hearing just said QSL!! He must be a CB'er too!"



Hate to break the news, but using "QSL" when turning the QSO back over to the other station is right out of the Alpha Tango CB'er hand book- There is a blight on the phone bands like it not, base or mobile, full of CB'ers who won't take the time to learn what the Q codes are all about-

It is beginning to be like the monitor infestation in the Everglades-
==========================
now thats funny! Q signals were around LONG before CB'ers. But after your so called "article" labeling every AM operator in the ham bands as a CB'er and calling for AM mode to be banned,I would epect nothing less!
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by KG4ZVA on April 19, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
and the problem with the Everglades isn't the monitors, it's the BIG SNAKES! hahahaha
 
Whining  
by KA4KOE on April 20, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"Why is that almost every article by K0BG slams someone in some way or other. No matter what there seems to be some negativity in every thing this guy writes weather it be an article or a response to an article."

It sounds like you may have issues with the author that need to be taken off this forum completely. I hearing whining like this from my kids everyday.

Have a blessed day!

PAN
 
RE: Whining  
by TIMEWILLTELL on April 20, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, this is definitly a print and re read later article..........good job.
 
RE: Whining  
by KB6QXM on April 20, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
K0BG,

As you mentioned that your EIRP in a mobile is significant as compared to a home station.

As in any EIRP calculation, you subtract out your losses and add your gains.

I read your article and I do believe that you are extremely technical. What I did not read is the suggestions to make your mobile station more in par with a home station.

Granted, in a mobile you cannot mount a rotatable yagi with forward gain and F/B. You are usually omni-directional versus directional. You are vertical polarization versus horizontal. There is 20db right there. You also do not have the luxury of a tall tower as in a home station.

What you do have are solid state mobile amplifiers and high Q mobile antennas such as the Texas Bug Catcher. You also have DSP capability. Voice compression for phone. Good automotive filtering. Many techniques that can improve your mobile experience. Put on a larger alternator to take the load of the amplifier.

You are right, a mobile is limited in comparision to a home station, but you can bridge slightly the gap by doing specific techniques that will help.

Whatever my comments are worth.

73
 
RE: Whining  
by W7COM on April 20, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
KB6QXM, all those topics and more are well covered at http://www.k0bg.com

 
RE: Whining  
by W3LK on April 20, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
<< You are vertical polarization versus horizontal. There is 20db right there. You also do not have the luxury of a tall tower as in a home station. >>

Your comment does not apply in the vast majority of mobile installations.

(1) The polarization differential is insignificant on HF.
(2) Since the vast majority of VHF/UHF mobile operation is FM to repeaters, there is no problem with mobile antennas being vertically polarized.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
 
RE: Whining  
by K1TM on April 21, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I do not believe Alan is slamming people here. His tips are a reasonable response to what we find on the bands today. We have many people sharing the same spectrum and courtesy makes it much more fun for all.

We as a community are responsible for the way that we are viewed. Anyone can listen in and take note of our behavior or lack of it and plenty of people would like to use/sell the spectrum we occupy.

Unlike Alan, I have a lot of fun identifying as mobile. Most of my time is on 20 meters where I talk to family/friends in CT from TX during commuting hours. I will often have 2 or 3 people call me during or post my conversation because I identified as mobile and put out a strong signal (I'm sure this would not be the case if I were working 40m or 75m as efficiency drops off steeply). I never refuse a check or give a thought to the interruption. There is no such thing as a private conversation when the world can literally listen in (IMHO).

As for identifying on repeaters, group chats where the conversation is passed around in a rotation are more inviting to others, if you are identifying regularly. People get the flow and and can come and go. I take it as a sign of respectful operation and an invite to join in the fun.

73 Todd.

 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by AD4U on April 21, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Alan. It should be read by anyone who intends to operate mobile. I especially liked your comments about receive signal strength VS transmitted signal strength in a mobile environment. While mobile it is very common to hear a fixed station S9+40 only to have him hear you S5. That is just the nature of the beast.

I run a Yaesu FT-100D to a home made Bug Catcher type antenna on my Ford F-250 diesel truck. My longest contact is from central South Carolina (sitting parked in front of the local post office) to Brisbane, Australia, about 12,000 miles on 20 meters. I heard him S9 and he gave me S4. This contact lasted about half an hour.

Dick AD4U
 
RE: Whining  
by KB6QXM on April 21, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Lon,

I was only talking about HF, as VHF/UHF through repeaters is a no-brainer. With the exception of maybe 144Mhz SSB work, Ham radio stops for me at 54 Mhz. Repeater stuff is just fancy CB radio as far as I am concerned.

As far your comment about the polarization does not matter much on HF (excuse me????)

Of course as we know one of the most important factors in DX on HF is take-off angle of the antenna. In mobile antennas that are omni-directional, vertically polarized and lossy... you are already at a great disadvantage over home stations, but when the bands are open and hot, you can work DX with a wet noodle. Someday the solar flux index will rise to allow us to work the world easily with mobile installations.

73
 
Mobile Contacts  
by AE6Y on April 21, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Alan,
Interesting article, thanks. I think adding "mobile" does really help get DX contacts. I know that when I'm operating at P49Y on Aruba and just working guys on the high bands, I'll usually give special attention to mobiles and make sure to dig them out of a pileup. (Often, however, their signals are just fine and don't require much digging).
73, Andy, AE6Y, P49Y
 
RE: Whining  
by W3LK on April 21, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I didn't say it doesn't matter, I said the difference is insignificant. The "20dB" rule simply doesn't apply to HF in real life. If it did, verticals would not be popular with DXpeditions.

It's true that no mobile station is going to be the equal of the typical home station. I don't remember anyone saying that it would be, even under the best of circumstances.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by N4KC on April 21, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
KB6QXM says, "With the exception of maybe 144Mhz SSB work, Ham radio stops for me at 54 Mhz. Repeater stuff is just fancy CB radio as far as I am concerned."

OM, too bad you are writing off such a big chunk of our available bands based on what I think is an inaccurate perception. Seems there is a tendency on these forums to paint with a very broad brush sometimes.

I have some wonderful friends I talk with and have some great conversations on local repeaters. I carry an HT with me when I take my morning walk and either listen or join right in. The conversation on 2M when I'm mobile is usually more interesting than the screaming and shouting one is subjected to on talk radio.

Maybe Central Alabama is an anomaly, but we have a very diverse group of interests represented on our repeaters. They don't always talk about a topic I care about, but if I listen a few minutes, they typically get around to one.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
www.n4kc.blogspot.com
(An open blog dedicated to rapid technological change and its
effect on society, media, and amateur radio)


 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by KC2CBA on April 22, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
K7QQH writes-

Another venue for good DX is the "Maritime Net" on the upper end of 20 SSB (I don't remember the exact time or frequency), but it can be a DX chasers bonanza since the net caters to maritime/mobile operators and related traffic. Quite a fascinating spot for listening!


Are kidding me the Martime net is the worst waste of spectrum space ever they don't want anyone chasing dx on that bloated, old fart, I'm wealthy and I have yachet and you don't and we will run a net all day everyday and own a frequency.I'd rather talk to someone who says 10-4 anyday over that net.

Sorry to get off topic but thanks for the advice Alan.
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by N3OX on April 22, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I wish I had a yachet.

 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR on April 23, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
"RE: Mobile Contacts Reply
by N3OX on April 22, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I wish I had a yachet."



Let me know if you find an extra one Dan.

Take care Dan,

W3VR
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by WA2TTP on April 23, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Best mobile DX was two ZL's one morning on the way home from work using greyline prop on 75 meters.
Only a few stateside stations were on that morning so I wasn't dealing with a large pile up.
Mobile station is Alinco DX70th into a HS 1500 mounted on my pickup truck.

Steve
WA2TTP
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by W5XE on April 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good article, and interesting reading as most of
your articles have been. Thanks.
I remember when I used to operate a lot of mobile
operation, back in the late 60's into the early 70's
and enjoyed it very much. I had a 68 Javelin with
a Hustler antenna system on the back bumper and the
rig was a SBE34 which I primarily used on 40 and 20.
Most operation was in the morning, on the way to work
from Tijeras Canyon NM into Albuquerque which was
about 20 miles. Most contacts were in a group which
was in daily contact into Australia. I was able to
get into there with no problems but it was difficult
since the SB34 did not allow for split operation.
Had to set up first on the US side of the QSO and
then look for the VK stations while the US fellows
were talking. A lot of fun even tho turning the dial
was cumbersome. As much as I would like to go hf
mobile again, I feel it is just too dangerous on
todays roads to operate. I do have a 2m in the
vehicle but almost never turned on.
Going to work contact was almost always with the
same group of stations; on the way home, there was
another group of stations in California and Arizona
that made the drive more pleasant. The upside of
those qso's was that I got to meet some of the
people in later times. I even talked to one station
W4TK-on 40 that I had heard as a SWL when he used to
talk on a daily schedule to CO2RC and HH1HB. That
was a real treat. I shall miss the HF mobile
operations. Thanks for helping to stir memories.

Ray, W5XE
 
Mobile Contacts  
by KA1YBS on April 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I'm relatively new to mobile operation.

Thanks to people like Alan, I have learned a lot in little time. Listening is key for this hobby, no matter fixed or not, no questions asked.

Please, not an Icom ad, just my 2c:
I use an IC-7000, the voice recorder function is VERY HANDY, and mandatory in my book. I use it instead of writing while in motion. The 7000 records time, date and frequency in text, and up to 2 min of tx/rx AF (99 slots, 2min ea), enough for the station's call, name, etc. Then after I return home, I simply go through the playback menu and fill in the log. I also save the best ones :)

HF mobile makes long drives interesting, even with iPods and satellite radio, the music remains the same.
 
Mobile Contacts  
by W6IRE on May 1, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Telling people the frequency is in use when in fact it is not is a great gag, I almost fell out of my chair laughing! I'm going to start doing that. Thanks!
 
RE: Mobile Contacts  
by HAMMERTIME on May 8, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
What I can't stand is when guys are in QSO and at least one of them keeps saying "uuhh uuhh uuhh".
That gets old fast and sounds so stupid!
I can stand the cb jargon better than uuhh uuhh uuhh uuhh uuhh!!!!!!!!
People do it on the voice mail system at work too so it is just a nasty habit!
 
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