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Author Topic: The Art of the QSO.  (Read 16168 times)
KK5DR
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« on: August 04, 2014, 06:52:18 PM »

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that hams are loosing the ability to hold an interesting and stimulating on-air conversation?
It just seems to me that I rarely roll across any interesting QSO,s these days.
What I do hear, it allot of "routine" QSO,s, standard exchange, a few plesentries about the weather, detail about their stations, blah, blah, blah. Boring!
I recall the days of my youth when I would listen to AM station on 80 meters talking of deep philosophy, intensive technical sessions, political debates, etc. it was very interesting, even though I didn't understand a good bit of it.
These days the most technical discussions I hear, are how to set up an assortment of rack audio gear and make adjustments to the respective radios attached to them. Boring!
The only political debates I hear, aren't really debates, but rather a group of guys taking turns telling the others how much they hate Obama. All the while with the hoots and carriers of the upset democrats coming and going.
I fear ham radio is losing the "Art of the QSO". If I were a young man doing SWL on the ham bands, contemplating becoming a ham, I might think twice after hearing such humdrummery on the air.
I'm currently taking a break from ham radio as a result of it. It's boring me to tears.
Or, is it just me, and nobody else notices this creeping darkness on ham radio.
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NO2A
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2014, 08:57:35 PM »

I think what makes a qso work is when both parties take an interest in each other`s activities. You may not like or approve of everything they say,but if you don`t take an interest they may find you boring. It`s just like being at a party where you don`t know anyone. You can make it a good experience or not,but at least you can say you tried.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 08:43:57 AM »

When I was a young man listening to ham radio on the old man's Grundig radio, EVERYTHING was interesting.

As I grew and obtained my ham license I found that so much that I used to find interesting was now indeed .... boring. I've attributed that to what I'm hearing as old, time worn subjects or those having the conversation simply don't know what they're talking about.....or....it's way over my head and I have no idea what they're talking about. 

I also found that there is really an "art" to having a good and interesting QSO.  This also applies to having a conversation with anyone.....period.  Even with people you know.

I think that these "boring" contacts that DR is referring to are contacts where two people get together that simply don't know how to create  a conversation.  If one of the two knew how to stimulate a conversation then the QSO would have been a bit more interesting to listen to.  A bit.

One good thing about ham radio is that the main tuning dial is very smooth and it's so easy to just slide on by these "you're 59 here, 73" contacts and find one that is interesting to listen to.

Politics and religion were usually two subjects that were always avoided back in the day.  I wouldn't DARE talk politics these days for fear of having a stroke!
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 09:47:32 AM »

I find "interesting" QSOs pretty often, on phone and CW; but I go out of my way to make them interesting if I can.

One way is to have an Atlas handy and immediately look up where the other operator is, then start asking questions about it.

"I see you're near the Danube.  Do you visit the river often?  What do you do there?"  Anything that starts the other guy talking about himself, his interests, what he does, his family, etc.  People enjoy talking about "themselves," and if you ask the right questions, it can become an interesting contact.

"You said your loop antenna is up 80 feet above ground.  How'd you get it up there?  Tell me about what you did..."  Anything.  One thing leads to another and before you know it, you've made a friend.
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K3DCW
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 11:55:38 AM »

I find every QSO interesting in some way, even if it is just a quick "you're 59 here in Germany" type.  Each one has the magic of radio behind it and to me, that is VERY interesting. The key I find is to appreciate each QSO, even the short ones, for what they are; without applying some type of scale or judgement on whether or not that particular QSO is "interesting" or "stimulating." 

I will be the first to admit that I am not a great conversationalist; being an introvert tends to stunt conversations: but I do enjoy a good rag chew as much as the next guy. However, you may have to work a bit to get me to talk more.  On the other hand, contact me using a digital mode and we can converse all day long!  Then there is the language barriers for some. Others fear just what you are doing; being judged as uninteresting. Finally, as a society as a whole, the skill of conversation is dying; it isn't just amateur radio, it is everywhere. 

So, sit back, relax and appreciate each and every QSO you make.  After all, it is a hobby not a contest; unless it is a contest, in which case you can't expect a conversation.   

73

Dave
K3DCW

 
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Hamming it up on OS X!
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WN2C
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Posts: 481




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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2014, 11:59:05 AM »

Most people love to talk... about themselves.  Ask anyone to talk about themselves, how they got into ham radio or what their favorite thing to do and they won't stop talking.  Don't ask yes or no questions, ask open ended questions where they have to give an expounded answer and that will keep the conversation going. At the end of it they will remember it as being a good QSO.
This is all out of the book 'How to win friends and influence people'.  People feel good talking about what they know and what they know best is themselves.

73 de Rick WN2C
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G3RZP
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2014, 04:13:34 PM »

Some years back, three of us were on 3.7MHz  and having a technical discussion. Some guy called and asked if we needed a special licence for such a discussion and said it was boring and unfair to have a discussion other hams couldn't understand because it was too technical!

Of the three of us, I was the youngest with a 47 year old licence.....the guy who called had a licence for 2 years.....
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W8MW
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Posts: 330




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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2014, 08:22:56 PM »

I always enjoy hearing from master manipulators with tips on how to create some facsimile of a conversation with a reluctant participant.   It is true that Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations Principals can make a contact perhaps not as flat as it would have been. There was a time when most of my contacts consisted of polite chit chat with strangers.  That fell short of my idea of stimulating conversation.  I ditched that immediately after finding a more satisfying alternative.

I’ve been forever spoiled by on-air conversations with friends.  I prefer the familiarity and candor that energize friends to conduct interactive, flowing conversations.  Have you ever laughed over the air?   If not, you’ve never had the kind of radio fun that hooked me forever.  Have you ever used VOX to simulate the pace of natural conversation?  When it’s “hammer down” it’s oration, not conversation.   A light touch on the PTT is almost as good as VOX . Have you ever gone to work in the morning and looked forward all day to get home and talk with your friends on the radio?  All of my comments are intended for someone interested in this type of social contact.  I’m not saying my experience is the only way to go, just that it is what worked for me.

Here’s what helped me find friends:  I optimized my HF antennas for NVIS.  Fortunately, it came easy since I’ve never had tall supports for my antennas anyway.  I also practiced station building with the intent of optimizing how well my station could receive and transmit.  My favorite band for SSB conversations is 75 with 40 a distant second.  My favorite band for CW conversations is 40 with 80 a distant second. 

The beauty of NVIS is the extreme likelihood you will hear many of the same people on a regular basis.  Also, with modest antennas, it’s likely you will have a decent signal, so that the majority of your contacts won’t be a struggle to hear and to be heard.  Nice strong signals set the stage for fine biz conversational QSOs.

Listen, listen, listen.  Guaranteed you’ll hear a lot of people you would never invite into your home.  Spin that dial.  When you hear Mr. Know-It-All, radical maniacs, and jerks you can’t stand, spin that dial.  You know what I’m getting at here.  Find not just another radio contact, not just another passing ship in the night.  Find Your Tribe.  Find the person or persons you know you’ll enjoy spending time with.  You'll recognize Your Tribe when you hear them.

Regular on-air contacts lead to friendships.  Friendships lead to great conversations.  That leads to increasingly personal relationships.  Taking amateur radio in this direction isn’t for everyone.  It turned out to be exactly right for me and I made lifelong friends because of it.

73 Mike W8MW

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WA7PRC
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2014, 09:48:04 PM »

I recall a QSO with a ham in England, many years ago. He told me a somewhat ribald joke.  Grin

I often QSO with a few hams on 75m in CA on an informal "net". We talk about all kinds of stuff, from silly to serious. The net is called The Short Attention Span Net.

Now, what were we talking about?  Wink

vy 73,
Bryan WA7PRC
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4950




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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2014, 11:41:12 PM »

I remember a 90 minute QSO with a guy in Illinois. He was a railway train driver (or 'engineer' in US terms) and we spent a long time talking about the differences, advantages and disadvantages of dual pipe as against single pipe Westinghouse brakes!
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W8MW
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Posts: 330




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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 07:50:45 AM »

We talk about all kinds of stuff, from silly to serious. The net is called The Short Attention Span Net.  Now, what were we talking about?  Wink

What a great example of finding Your Tribe!

73 Mike W8MW
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W1IT
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Posts: 174




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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2014, 08:23:37 AM »

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that hams are loosing the ability to hold an interesting and stimulating on-air conversation?
It just seems to me that I rarely roll across any interesting QSO,s these days.
What I do hear, it allot of "routine" QSO,s, standard exchange, a few plesentries about the weather, detail about their stations, blah, blah, blah. Boring!


No, it is not you my lonesome observer. Amateur radio has become boring because of two principle causes:
1. those boring old wheel chair minded people who use it
2. the FCC and its rather narrow and unrealistic expectation that all amateur radio should be defined as boring and restricted.

Your choice is, just move on to green pastures as amateur radio is the vast waste lands of the past, the dying and the undead (living)
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NO2A
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Posts: 836




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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2014, 12:50:26 PM »

Those "old boring wheel chaired people" are the ones who saved you from saying pledge of allegiance to Germany or Japan. You might want to thank them for that. I sure do.
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KK7GB
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2014, 06:37:30 PM »

Amen!!!
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N5INP
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Posts: 1317




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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2014, 04:50:44 AM »

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that hams are loosing the ability to hold an interesting and stimulating on-air conversation?

I guess I'll have to quit using JT65.  Sad
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