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Author Topic: How often should I call CQ?  (Read 4538 times)
KF7TUU
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Posts: 4




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« on: June 20, 2012, 06:02:49 AM »

I've been listening to HF (ham and utility traffic) for years, but have just started transmitting this week. I'm not making many voice SSB contacts though and am wondering if I am doing it right.

I listen for, and respond to, CQ calls but stronger stations win out. When I call CQ, i follow the guidelines listed here:
http://www.eham.net/articles/7952
but my contact ratio is 1 QSO for every 20-30 attempts.

I make 2-3 attempts, with 30 seconds of listening in between. Should i do more? Is it better to stay on one frequency or try a few across the band? I must admit some trepidation that I'm hogging space, that local hams are tired of hearing my calls and are laughing at me, or that everyone knows everyone already and they don't answer new people.

Technically, i think everything is in order and working. I'm usually putting out 100W, dipole is reasonably high.
Thanks for any feedback!
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K4EZD
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Posts: 93




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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2012, 06:17:20 AM »

I often experience the same thing and it varies from day to day or hour to hour.  I can't imagine anyone is laughing at you after hearing your calls so keep trying.  At times I hear the very end of a CQ (only the "and standing by" part) and then they don't call again on that frequency so I suggest that you make more than 3 attempts before you move on.   I find that 20 and 17 are most active for CQ.  Some people add "anyone, anywhere" to their call indicating that they are extra eager for any response. I would be available for a "sced" contact if you want so you can email me at the listed address on QRZ. 
73 and don't give up.  Grin
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N4RSS
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Posts: 258




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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2012, 06:30:57 AM »

pausing 30 seconds between calls seems too long.  Most responses seem to occur if they occur at all within 5 seconds but YMMV
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KB3HG
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Posts: 404




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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2012, 06:43:45 AM »

Kevin,
What band are you calling CQ on? What mode? CW, SSB or some digital mode? What kind of signal reports have you received in the past.  This helps others answer you question. One other question what time of day do you normally operate?

Finding active frequencies can be a challenge sometimes, anyway you might have a shot on some of these net frequencies found on this page: http://www.ac6v.com/nets.htm   Operators tend to move off the net frequencies +/- several band widths of the operating mode. you may want to join a net. If you want quick contacts County Hunters. I myself run about 100 watts on most hf bands and generally call CQ a hand full of times. I was told the key was to listen. Contest week ends can be crazy, But the week end is Field Day you should not have any problems. ..

Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday. Field Day 2012 will be held June 23-24, 2012.
http://www.arrl.org/field-day
Hope this helps,

Tom Kb3hg
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K8AG
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Posts: 351




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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 07:10:53 AM »

In my experience I have much better luck calling CQ in the CW segments.  For some reason CW ops seem to enjoy the random contact more than the voice folks.  Always has been that way in my experience.

73, JP, K8AG
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1124




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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2012, 07:42:05 AM »

I haven't called CQ on SSB for a long time, maybe a few years.  I call CQ on CW all the time.  But, there are times when I just seem to pick the wrong day or time of day or band and call CQ for 15 minutes and never raise anyone.  Then, on other days I have called CQ and gotten calls right away and then when I finish that one some one else is grabbing me to follow along and there it starts QSO after QSO for the next hour.  It all depends on band choice, time of day, other activity, propagation, and so on.  Even though I call CQ all the time, I equally listen and respond to other CQ calls too.  Sometimes I think that is more satisfying because you generally get a response right away when you answer someone else's CQ.

Field day is just in a few days -- great time to get lots of activity and contacts under your belt.  It you spend some serious time on the air, you could potentially earn a WAS in a single weekend.

73, phil, K7PEH
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K1WJ
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Posts: 455




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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2012, 08:16:06 AM »

On ssb voice, call cq for about 10 seconds - wait 5 to 7 seconds on receive - call again.

I will do this continuous for about 3 to 5 minutes - if no response - look for activity on the band to see if it may be open.

Best band to call cq on is 20 meters or 40m - more likely band is open.

More stations need to call cq more often - bands could be open & no one is calling........ 73 K1WJ David Cool
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20595




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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2012, 08:45:38 AM »

I call CQ pretty much any time I get to operate, either CW or voice.

I get answers all the time, probably about a 50% "hit" rate (e.g., call CQ twice, get answers).

It pays to be on a band that's open and actually has activity. Cheesy

If I call CQ at midnight on ten meters, I can probably go hoarse waiting for an answer -- so I don't bother doing that.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3827




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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2012, 08:56:10 AM »

 Grin  I've always compared calling CQ to fishing OM.  Sometimes with fishing you beat the water to a froth with no luck.  Same with calling CQ.  I've often developed some paranoia like you and sometimes I wondered if I had a case of on-the-air B.O.  

But the fact of the matter is, this is life on the HF bands.  Just keep trying and follow the excellent suggestions of the previous posters.

As for the "stronger signals winning out," been there done that.... it's part of the "fishing game."

One more suggestion. Listen to a QSO for a bit, determine who "owns" the frequency and then when the QSO is finished you can try "tailgating" which is to call the guy that "owns" the frequency.  

The term "owns the frequency" is a just courtesy to the guy who happended to initiate a QSO on an open frequency.  He really doesn't "own" it.  
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W8JX
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Posts: 5750




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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2012, 08:56:43 AM »

Consider how you tune across band looking for a CQ yourself. Your CQ has to be long enough and frequent enough to be "caught" as others tune across band.
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KF7TUU
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 10:21:43 AM »

Thank you all. This is great info, and I wont be as self-conscious. I've been trying 10 (afternoon), 17 (afternoon, evening) , and 20 meters (evening). Havent tried 40 yet, but i will tonight. All SSB phone.
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KF7IPW
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 01:28:41 PM »

Kevin I completely understand where your coming from!
I would say my experience mirrors yours exactly.
I've been doing this for about two years and I get pretty discouraged when calling CQ.
I want to not only talk but also see how far away my signal can be copied and how well
my receiver is working.  What antenna works the best for which locations on what bands?
Like you I wondered if my equipment was working well or if people could even hear me.

I have recently tried some of the "Awards" nets where you check in and are on a list where
other people can see your name, call and location.  I was pleasantly surprised that I can
usually get a 55-59 signal report from Australia to Maine.  I've learned a ton about my antenna
and operating my rig from trying to pull in stations with a really weak signals.  The nice thing
about working these nets is you have people helping you make contacts and you get many
reports from around the world of how good your signal is.  You also get to find out how
many people really can hear you but just don't respond!

I know some people think these nets are not real QSOs because you only really exchange
RST and a quick howdy.  No rag chewing, no hernia discussions, no prostate awareness
campaigns, just a contact like this.
-----KF7IPW this is AE7UT your a 55, 55, 55.  Over.
-----AE7UT this is KF7IPW copy the 57, 57.
      Your a 59, 59, 59. Over.
-----KF7IPW AE7UT copy the 59, 59, 59 thanks for the report.
       Back to net.

That maybe a way to get out there, check your equipment and meet tons of people.

73
Stan

     
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KF7IPW
Member

Posts: 47




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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 03:06:00 PM »

LOL.... made a  bit of a mistake in that QSO illustrated.
Just for you thread monitors out there.

Stan
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 03:07:43 PM by KF7IPW » Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20595




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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 03:38:31 PM »

Kevin I completely understand where your coming from!
I would say my experience mirrors yours exactly.
I've been doing this for about two years and I get pretty discouraged when calling CQ.
I want to not only talk but also see how far away my signal can be copied and how well
my receiver is working.  What antenna works the best for which locations on what bands?
Like you I wondered if my equipment was working well or if people could even hear me.

I have recently tried some of the "Awards" nets where you check in and are on a list where
other people can see your name, call and location.  I was pleasantly surprised that I can
usually get a 55-59 signal report from Australia to Maine.  I've learned a ton about my antenna
and operating my rig from trying to pull in stations with a really weak signals.  The nice thing
about working these nets is you have people helping you make contacts and you get many
reports from around the world of how good your signal is.  You also get to find out how
many people really can hear you but just don't respond!

Pretty good point, I think.  But if you can easily make distant contacts with the help of a net, you should be able to make exactly those same contacts without the net; and if not, investigate why not.

-Calling CQ on the wrong frequency, where nobody's normally listening (MANY hams, out of habit or desire, only "tune" up to maybe 14.250 on 20m, or up to maybe 21.300 on 15m, or only between 28.3 and 28.5 on 10m, or other things customary to them) -- or possibly where the frequency is already occupied by someone you cannot hear (and who cannot hear you) but half the world hears them

-Using a poor CQ technique; everything's legal but some stuff works a lot better than others

-Inarticulate modulation that isn't so easy to understand; with a "net control" identifying who you are and others just waiting to hear you, they can make contact even if you sound terrible -- but others may never answer a CQ if you're not clear, crisp and easy to understand

As I posted earlier, when I call CQ -- if there's propagation and other activity I can hear on the band -- I almost always get an answer.  If not on the first call, then almost guaranteed on the second one.  If that's not happening, try to figure out why not. Wink





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W9KDX
Member

Posts: 770




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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 03:41:25 PM »

Thank you all. This is great info, and I wont be as self-conscious. I've been trying 10 (afternoon), 17 (afternoon, evening) , and 20 meters (evening). Havent tried 40 yet, but i will tonight. All SSB phone.

I would spend a little less time on 10 as I have found that it is either open or not.  Get the gadget from http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html and you can get a general idea about what is better or worse.  You might also look at 20 meters during the day as well.

I also go here a lot to give me an idea of what bands are open to and from what locations.

http://www.dxwatch.com
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 03:48:56 PM by W9KDX » Logged

Sam
W9KDX
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