eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: KD4VSI on August 02, 2007, 03:16:10 PM

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: KD4VSI on August 02, 2007, 03:16:10 PM
I've finally gotten brave enough to call cq using the code. I found a clear frequency at 7.053 and gave it a try.....for about 30 minutes. Then I checked to see if the antenna was actually connected instead of the dummy load. There seemed to be plenty of activity on the band just above and below me. although band conditions have been far from ideal, I have managed to make local contacts using ssb with 100 watts today. Is it just that nobody wants to waste time with someone who can only send about 10 words per minute?

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: VK3GDM on August 02, 2007, 04:14:35 PM
I had a similar experience last night at about 1200z.  I decided to tinker around in the shack for a bit, with the radio tuned to a couple of CW stations in the background.

About an hour later I tried again on 40m and had three QSOs in succession.  This was followed by another two, for a total of 5 for the hour.

I think it’s just a timing thing. They have to be tunning past your frequency at the right time.

It pays to keep trying.

David Mayes

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: KE3WD on August 02, 2007, 04:17:26 PM
Try again at another time.  

Try again at another freq.

Don't know, but if your sending sounds like it might be a hard read to the other folks, they may take a pass, answer there is to practice sending with good character weighting, timing, etc. and then try some more.  

Use a small tape recorder to record your sending, try sending some copy from a magazine article or newspaper, etc. using a code oscillator or the sidetone only of your rig if it allows that without sending and then come back tomorrow and see if you can copy your own code easily -- or not.  If not, this should isolate what you need to correct pretty quickly.  

If you send very nice code and characters, ignore that last paragraph and just chalk it up to not having anybody out there at the time who tried to answer you.  Maybe someone did try but you didn't hear them.  Make sure you listen without filters on when calling CQ, so that you can hear the widest area possible for a return call.  You can narrow it down and kick in the filters once you find that answer call.  

Don't give up, it will get better in all respects.


Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: K7KBN on August 02, 2007, 08:34:41 PM
Instead of calling your own CQ, why not search around and answer one.  Takes a lot of the unknowns out of the equation.

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: KD4VSI on August 02, 2007, 08:59:24 PM
 I tried to find someone calling cq who was sending at a speed I could copy, but couldn't find anyone. I guess its easy to get discouraged because I really want to make a contact. I'll try again in a few hours.

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: N8UZE on August 03, 2007, 04:07:54 AM
Look up the FISTS website and find their calling frequencies.  You will improve your odds of getting an answer.

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: N4KZ on August 03, 2007, 05:55:12 AM
Don't let your disappointing first experience with CW sour you on the mode. Keep trying. Like so many other things in life, persistence is the key. (CW pun intended.)

73, N4KZ

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: VA7CPC on August 03, 2007, 09:15:17 AM
If you hear a CQ, but the sender is faster than you can copy, reply at _your speed_.  And add PSE QRS.

Usually, he'll slow down when he answers.  It's a matter of courtesy to newer (slower) operators.  As in driving, some people are more considerate than others.


Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: WB2WIK on August 03, 2007, 09:57:26 AM
What time of day?

Timing is everything.

7053 kHz is loaded with SSB DX activity at night (beginning around dusk, and then later all through the night) and isn't a good choice for a CW contact during those hours.  During daytime, though, it should be okay.

I don't answer anybody up as high as 7053 in the evening simply because I don't feel like QRMing the weaker DX SSB stations who are there.  (Of course, Americans cannot transmit SSB there; they are transmitting above 7125 -- but they are "listening" there, for DX who can transmit below 7100.)

You might try down a bit lower in the band if you're operating in the evening hours.

The other suggestion of simply answering other people is a good one, too.


Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: AK2B on August 03, 2007, 12:35:01 PM
I would second the motion to join FISTS. You will find an entire orginization behind the efforts of beginners. They have a lot of members, all of which are willing to slow down to your pace.

Tom ak2b

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: AE5I on August 03, 2007, 01:07:57 PM
Hi Joel-

You've already gotten good advice.

The most important part is to stick with it!  After my first CW QSO, I couldn't have felt more incompetent...  ;-)  But, I kept at it and have worked CW for probably 99% of my QSOs since the early 90s.  It's definitely my favorite mode.

I want to echo a couple of points that have already been mentioned:

It is probably just a combination of propagation and timing that was working against you.  But, if you were indeed getting passed by intentionally, I would be it would be an issue of "spacing".  Unless I'm specifically looking for DX or some other particular type of QSO, about the only thing that makes me pass a CQer by is bad spacing.  If the bits all run together and the receiving op can't separate the characters easily, or if the words are run together so that it's one long string of characters, it's just too much work (and sometimes nearly impossible) to decipher what's being sent.

In my book, it's WAY better to have exaggerated spacing than to have too little.

Also, the difference in length of dits as compared to dahs needs to be either correct or even exaggerated.  If they both sound the same, once again, the code is not readable.

I'm not saying at all that this problem exists with your station, but it's definitely a reason that a CQ can go unanswered.

If you can easily monitor your transmissions on a computer, that's a good way to polish up your sending.  Basically, if a computer can copy you, then you're doing quite well. I just bought a little MFJ code reader to use for that exact purpose.  My favorite key is a bug and I'm looking for a good, convenient, objective way to evaluate and improve my sending.

Say, are you using an electronic keyer, bug, or straight key?  It's much easier to send perfect code with a keyer.  It's easiest to send absolutely unreadable code with a straight key.  I totally disagree with the concept of "you should start with a straight key before using anything else."  That's like telling a backhoe operator that he has to demonstrate proficiency with a shovel before he can learn to use a backhoe...  ;-) If you are using a keyer, about the only reason you might get passed by is if your word spacing is not sufficient.

Second point:  I would recommend looking a little lower in the band.  I'd say to scan 7.025 - 7.045 and 10.100 - 10.130 and 14.025 - 14.045 looking for CQers.  If you don't find anyone that sounds like a good one to call, I would try your CQ somewhere in the bottom half of those ranges.

Third point:  be sure to either (1) listen through a fairly wide filter or (2) tune around at least 1 kc above to 1 kc below your transmit frequency when you listen.  It's also a good idea to only CQ a couple or three times and then ID a couple of times each time before listening.  If a CQer just sends CQ umpteen dozen times before he IDs and listens, I'll get bored and move on.  Listening through a narrow filter is fine as long as you aggressively tune back and forth while listening for a reply.  In my neighborhood, the noise floor on 40 meters is too high to listen for weak signals through anything wider than a 250 cycle filter, so I just sweep back and forth while listening for a reply.

Don't worry about your speed!  EVERY one of us was at 10 wpm at one point and many many many courteous ops will slow right down and engage you in a QSO.  Believe me, on the air QSOs are the fastest way to get your speed up!  The most fun too....  Don't forget, this is AMATEUR radio!  You're not a ship's radio officer under pressure to get every character correct...  :-)  Have a good time and the speed and accuracy will come.

My operating schedule's a bit limited for the next few days due to other committments but after that I'd be delighted to make a schedule and be your first contact if you have not already had success.



Tom AE5I

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: AE5I on August 03, 2007, 10:45:15 PM
The suggestion to join FISTS is also an excellent one!  I'd highly recommend it...

FISTS #2083

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: KD4VSI on August 04, 2007, 10:10:48 AM
Thanks for all of the great advice. although I didn't have any more luck yesterday making a contact, I did manage to find a local ham who is willing to set up a schedule to practice cw. I met him by chance on one of the local 2 meter repeaters. As far as sending, I'm using a ten tec jupiter with its internal keyer and a bencher by-1 paddle. I have the character speed set to about 13wpm, but I exaggerate the spaces between characters and words quite a bit. I'd say it averages out to about 8-10 wpm. I'm willing to keep at it. The CW bug seems to have bitten hard. I'm going to investigate FISTS today as well. Thanks for the replies.

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: AE5I on August 04, 2007, 10:42:38 PM
Well, running that gear and sending as you are, folks should not be passing you by because of your sending.  I bet it's just propagation and timing.....

Whatever you do, don't give up!

Take care...


Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: KB9CRY on August 06, 2007, 08:42:44 AM
It could also be that your signal is too weak for the noisy summer conditions.

How much power are you driving from the amp and how high up is the yagi beam?

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: N5XM on August 06, 2007, 01:05:31 PM
Hang in there my friend.  It can be intimidating at first, but the more you do it, the better it will get and the more satisfying it will become.  Worry more about sending readable, rhythmic code than worrying about how fast you are sending.  At least you're trying, and you will get the respect of everyone here for that!

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: KB1OOO on August 07, 2007, 06:16:20 AM
KD4VSI, another good way to practice QSOs is to use CWIRC.  It's a plugin for xchat that lets you do cw online via irc channels.  You need linux or OS X.  Low traffic there but I'd be happy to set up a sked with you.  Check it out at

The irc channel is #cw at  News feed are also broadcast which are great for copy practice.


Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: AC2C on August 07, 2007, 10:37:43 AM
All I can add is more encouragement -- You've already received some excellent advice.

Both FISTS and SKCC have calling frequencies on each band -- all monitored by people who want to have CW conversations and who want to help out newcomers.

I remember my first few days as a Novice back in the mid-60's.  In those days the FCC required a log for every activity.  I literally went two to three pages of "called CQ, no response".  When responses started coming back, they continued.

Hang in there -- If I hear you calling CQ, I'll respond at 10 wpm.

Ron, AC2C

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: AE6RF on August 09, 2007, 10:07:36 AM
Hey guy,

Perhaps the fault lies in your station.

("I've made local contacts w/ 100W of SSB".) That doesn't indicate that your signal radiates well.

What sort of antenna, feed line, tuner, etc are you using? Is is grounded?

With a tuner you could have an absolutely horrible antenna set-up and still see 100W out and a reasonable SWR, but not be radiating much signal at all.

If your calls have not gotten many replies, your set up, rather than your code skills, may be at fault.

73 de Donald

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: KD4VSI on August 10, 2007, 12:15:48 PM
I made my first contact yesterday....sort of. I tuned to 14.060, listened for a minute, sent a qrl, listened for a little more, and then called cq. I honestly didn't expect a response, so I was completely taken by surprise when KA0YXX answered. I froze. In the blink of an eye I had forgotten every code character I had ever learned. I struggled to remember the letters R,S, and T. It was all I could do to remember the numbers 5, 3, and 9. In an effort to match our frequencies, I think I tuned away from him without realizing why I couldn't hear him anymore. The partial contact lasted for a minute maybe, but it felt more like 45. When I got up from my chair, I noticed that I was covered in sweat. Wow! I'm hooked. Even though  I didn't get a signal report from him, I logged it anyway in my old fashioned ARRL paper logbook. Thanks for the help everybody. I now have  two cw operators that I have met via 2 meters that are willing to practice code with me. Thanks again!

Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: VE3XDB on August 10, 2007, 03:31:21 PM

Most evenings between 9:00 and 11:00, I'm on the radio, and TN is usually an easy shot on 40 meters.  Lately, the MUF has been low, and 10 meters has been pretty much a daytime band.  

Just send me an email and we can give it a shot.


Title: call cq but no replies
Post by: VE3XDB on August 10, 2007, 03:34:54 PM
Oops, I meant 30 metres.  40 and 80 are best in the evening, right now, although conditions have been quite dismal.