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Author Topic: How to handle mini-pileup?  (Read 4014 times)

Posts: 293


« on: October 24, 2011, 04:15:48 AM »

Howdy guys,

I have been to CW since last xmas. Today I can quite comfortably send at 27wpm. But here's the problem - due to the exceptional propagation during last few weeks on upper bands I quite often find myself in a situation where there are >10 station coming back to my CQ. Maybe it's because ES is a 'new one' for many W-s and JA-s on 12m where I currently operate. I try to pick up 2-3 letters from that pileup. Usually that helps (unless there is yet another italian who does'nt give a heck about my 'XYZ?' and keeps sending its callsign..yuck). Yesterday there were several occasions when I couldn't even pick 2 letters from all that mess - it all turned into continuous BEEEEEP Wink

5 seconds of this massive zoo..I think 'ouch..' give '?' and there it comes again Wink

I really would'nt like to use 'UP' or 'go by numbers' on 12m, since ES is not _so_ rare dxcc. I would love to listen for any ideas/experience of how to handle this mess and pick up 2-3 letter combinations.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 05:49:11 AM by ES1TU » Logged

Posts: 0

« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2011, 05:00:29 AM »

First of all: Congrats with your speed.

The majority of hams never reach 26 wpm. It makes you eligible for the High Speed CW club or the HSC eV (there are two of them).
But in that case you have to pay a lot of hard earned money in order to get an A4 format "diploma" as wallpaper.
Nice if you obtained  only a driver license and swimming pool certificate.  (and in the USA a "high school certificate" ). In that case you also can try to obtain DXCC, WAS and WAZ in order to be impressive on your grand children when they have the age they still believe in the Chistmas man or here in Holland in "Sainterklaas" and be proud of that.

Now the answer at your question, from a nitwit that never generates pile ups, and also shouldn't like to do that:

1. Give ONE cq and listen for a reply. When the (rag chew) QSO is finished, switch to another part of the CW band and give one cq. Only transmitting ur call once each 5 minutes, as required by law, makes listeners think you are an EI and they are not interested in an EI at all.
That is the advice of my xyl, she had the experience of pile ups of young bulls when  she was eighteen)  This bull was the best in her bulls eye that was looking for stability and endurance.  So respect for her intuition. Strange irrational language, eightteen should be better) Google gives 64 million hits on eighteen and eight(t)een million on eightteen. English is a living language, so when eightteen is in the majority eighteen becomes an error and rationality has won.

2. When your transmitter is xtal controlled: transmit "listening 1 to 15 up", and you can just pick your piece of cake you like.

Remember: even when you can't copy hardly in the noise : report 5nn, otherwise you are classified as LID.

Remember : Ignore the Italian, Ignore stations with /QRP and give first priority to PA0BLAH
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 05:29:54 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged

Posts: 1625

« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 05:38:04 AM »

I would recommend you actually listen UP 1 kc, tell them so and that is that. It is YOUR pile-up, you should do what you want to do to have a contact. It doesn't matter that ES is not all that rare, to those 10 guys I guess it is!! if 10 guys were calling me all the time I too would have trouble and would want them to spread out. It sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I suspect that as time goes on you will get better at picking out callsigns and will not need to operate split, but why not?

I would have thought some clever DXer would have figured out that to go UP about 0.2 kc they would make it easier for you to pick out letters, but that is THEIR problem, not yours!

Have fun.


Posts: 6760

« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2011, 07:50:03 AM »

Or you could ask for one area.  Like US, one US call area, country, or Europe, etc.  Or, you pick pick one letter or one number and ask for a rpt.  Another possibility is to send at 10WPM and let everyone think you're a novice and what that brings.  :-)

A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!

Posts: 21764

« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2011, 09:49:29 AM »

I'd go "split" for sure.  Why not?

I'm in the U.S., and nobody needs the U.S. but still when a band is very open and there are a lot of new hams using it, hearing this great propagation for possibly the first time in their lives, they get excited.  As incredible as it sounds, I get "thanks for new one -- California!" sometimes. Cheesy

When that happens, even I go "split" and announce "UP 2" or whatever.  ES isn't rare, but it's definitely rarer than the U.S.!

Posts: 429

« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2011, 12:12:08 AM »

Or, you pick pick one letter or one number and ask for a rpt.
Even if you didn't get anything from the pileup, you can just toss a couple letters, a number, or a prefix out there with a question mark and it will often calm things down a bit for that moment so you can get more of a call.

Posts: 119

« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2011, 05:55:32 AM »

  Working split helps. If You are working simplex and I want to work You, I may wait for the "rush" of calls to die down and then throw out my call. At the same time, You may have already picked out another op and called back to him/her but they couldn't hear You because I delayed my call. It can get confusing.

  If You are working split, my delayed call wouldn't matter in the above scenario because we are all listening on Your frequency. And if I were You, I would just call "UP" without specifying an amount every time. If You say "UP 2" many will go up two and You are going to hear the same thing. If You don't specify the amount every time, You may want to scan a few hertz on either side of "up" looking for a call a bit in the clear. If I hear the rush of calls at 2 up, I may go 2.2 up in an attempt for easier detection.

HTH - 73 - Paul - N9GXA

Posts: 38

« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2011, 02:53:45 AM »

Split is definitely the way to go.
Another way I perfected when operating as VQ9PO is to remove the CW filter and listen to the pileup as a whole.
No matter what his signal strength is, someone will be right on your pitch frequency and he is the winner.
Just to clarify: I just assume all of us do, my ears have a pitch frequency I am most attune to, and that is the one I was referring to.
Try to pick up part of the call and just work that station till completion.
Be firm and do not succumb to the temptation to work the guy who ,when you ask all to standby while you work one , keep on calling.
If you do then the pileup gets out of hand, and it is over.
Enjoy there is a learning curve in how to handle this, and listening to DX expeditions is a good way to learn what to and what not to do.

73 de Pat W3PO

Posts: 1000

« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2011, 09:38:05 PM »

How you learn to deal with a pileup is really a matter of personal preference and training.  W3PO makes an interesting suggestion, but it isn't one that would work for me.  I tend to go the opposite direction and crank in the narrowest filters available, including the audio filter on my DSP-599ZX.  Contesters train themselves with pileup software and learn to focus on single call signs in the bedlam of a pileup. There are a number of pileup training programs available.  Probably the best known is RufzXP, .  Another is PED, .
Although we usually think of Stateside stations piling up on DX, it's actually pretty easy for an NA station to create their own pileup if they have a decent signal and a good receiver.  Many smaller DX stations will call a US operator, particularly county hunters or QRP DX stations.  It's pretty easy to generate a pileup of JAs or eastern EU stations that don't have big signals or just prefer to search and pounce rather than CQing themselves.

Going split can help, but simply moving your pileup up by a kHz or two can just create the same situation only on a new frequency.  The problem isn't just getting callers off your frequency, but rather getting them to spread out a bit.  One tactic that has worked for me is to turn on the RIT and just move it up a hundred Hz or so after each QSO.  Inevitably, not everyone will be exactly zero beat with your signal and someone will fall into your new rx passband.  It won't take long for the sharper operators to figure out what you’re up to and start dropping in their calls where they anticipate you to be listening.  When you get as high in frequency as you are comfortable with, you can always start back down again and even continue until you are somewhat below your transmit frequency.  I’ve heard lots of DX stations do this with good success…sort of going split with making it too formal.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 01:47:07 PM by K0RS » Logged

Posts: 38

« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2011, 04:26:58 AM »

One of the great pileup trainer is morse runner.
I keep it handy and use it prior to any CW contests.
It is a freeware and can be found at
I also agree with K0RS technique, different approach but as valid as mine.
No matter what;  a split will clear your TX frequency and make things smoother, and faster as you do not have to wait for the callers to stop.
As I said before listen to DX stations and see the way they handle their pileup.
DX expeditions are dependant on who is operating; some are great others so-so.
In Diego Garcia I usually send one CQ and the madness starts.
It is not always easy, as like all, I have good and bad days.
Overall enjoy, it is a good learning experience
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 04:41:12 AM by W3PO » Logged

73 de Pat W3PO
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