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Author Topic: How would you run a pile-up????  (Read 3100 times)
K3NRX
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« on: April 11, 2013, 10:04:12 AM »

The subject of running a dx-pedition has now been brought up, so let's narrow it down...you are the dx, and you are in control....how would you run a pile up, especially one where the yellers, screamers, lids, k.c. cops, alligators, thugs, mugs and pugs are really wreaking havoc....I think most of you on here know how I would do it and some of you would not be happy with how I would do it (tough noogies), so I won't go there....Let's hear it....You are are the dx and it's your show....How do you do it to keep things in control and to keep from going insane???

V
KA3NRX
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 10:33:42 AM by KA3NRX » Logged
NU4B
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 10:28:27 AM »

In my case, I wouldn't try. Talk about chaos!!!!!! I would get an award for the number of nasty comments on the cluster.... websites.  Grin
 
Much learning experience needed here.
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KY6R
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 10:46:51 AM »

I would make sure that I acknowledged the callers full call - and would deliberately slow the pileup down until the contact was good - and the screamers and yellers got the message that their behavior slows it down for everyone. The pileup would only go fast when people behaved.

I would publicize this on the web page for that DX-ped and warn - that those who call out of turn (on purpose - and causing QRM) will end up getting a Q - but will end up as a "NIL" marked so that the QSL manager would know to NOT send a QSL to them under any circumstance - even if they donated to the DX-pedition.

I have seen more and more operators do this - where the operator running the pileup grabbed control of the situation, and everyone knew who was in charge.

There are some places in the world where propagation is good to many zones simultaneously, and its more tempting for the bad behavior to happen. I guess I would have to call out for a zone or area at a time - but I am not sure I like calling by numbers. I guess - you have to use whatever works when you are there though.

I felt bad for the PT0S team - I heard some of the worst behavior in some of those pileups. I guess their signal was too good to too many places simultaneously?
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N6PSE
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 11:02:40 AM »

PT0S was too rare for a small four man DXpedition. Also, some of the DXpedition's operating on the higher bands caused undue excitement and anxiety in the DX crowd. Their low band operating was superb.

While it is tempting to NIL or blacklist bad behavior in the pileups, I don't believe it is acceptable or good practice and would cause big problems for any DXpedition that does that. The DXpedition operator must be firm and professional but he must also convey to everyone that he is firmly committed to working everyone and getting them in the log. The DX audience should feel that they have a fair and reasonable chance to work the DXpedition. Something is wrong if one continent feels that they were disenfranchized.

« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 11:05:32 AM by N6PSE » Logged
W6GX
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 11:05:35 AM »

The other day I ran an EU pile up on 15m SSB.  I haven't done it in a while and the experience was a reminder of what's like to be the DX.  I ran the pile up like what Rich described- sticking to one station until the contact was made.  This obviously slowed down the Q rate.  I think the typical QRM'er is the one lacking patience.  They want to 'get in' and then 'get out' as fast as possible.  I think my pile up handling method had a positive effect of driving the impatient type out of the pile up.  I ended up working many stations that were quite difficult to copy.  However they all felt exuberant when we made a successful contact.  To me that's far more important than working a big gun station.  Unfortunately 'maximizing unique calls' and 'maximizing Q rate' are competing objectives.  A good dxpeditioner needs to find the right balance.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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NU1O
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2013, 11:28:11 AM »

The other day I ran an EU pile up on 15m SSB.  I haven't done it in a while and the experience was a reminder of what's like to be the DX.  I ran the pile up like what Rich described- sticking to one station until the contact was made.  This obviously slowed down the Q rate.  I think the typical QRM'er is the one lacking patience.  They want to 'get in' and then 'get out' as fast as possible.  I think my pile up handling method had a positive effect of driving the impatient type out of the pile up.  I ended up working many stations that were quite difficult to copy.  However they all felt exuberant when we made a successful contact.  To me that's far more important than working a big gun station.  Unfortunately 'maximizing unique calls' and 'maximizing Q rate' are competing objectives.  A good dxpeditioner needs to find the right balance.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

I ran European's for an hour yesterday on 10 meters but, in my opinion, we really can't compare our pileups to what the guys on very rare entities go through.  Their pileups are so much larger there really is no comparison.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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KY6R
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2013, 12:45:39 PM »

Something is wrong if one continent feels that they were disenfranchized.

This has happened a fair amount.

I clearly remember Martti Laine on BS7H making sure he got everyone's call, and slowed the pileup down and even told everyone that he wasn't moving on to the next one until he finished with the call he was on. He commanded respect, and everyone knew he was in charge.

I've seen CW operators - like on TX5K, where they gave no one any time to jump in and cause trouble, and they also must have just been really great operators to separate the wheat from the chaff on their end. They just kept plowing through. VP6DX was like this too.

It wasn't the speed of the CW as much as the "cadence".

« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 12:48:58 PM by KY6R » Logged
NU1O
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 12:55:39 PM »

I would publicize this on the web page for that DX-ped and warn - that those who call out of turn (on purpose - and causing QRM) will end up getting a Q - but will end up as a "NIL" marked so that the QSL manager would know to NOT send a QSL to them under any circumstance - even if they donated to the DX-pedition.


I would hope you would mail the donation back if you are going to "NIL" them. It would be pretty crummy to keep their money and not provide a QSL.  Sorry, but I couldn't endorse a policy like you are advocating. It even sounds a bit tyrannical

73,

Chris/NU1O
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KY6R
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2013, 01:02:30 PM »

I would publicize this on the web page for that DX-ped and warn - that those who call out of turn (on purpose - and causing QRM) will end up getting a Q - but will end up as a "NIL" marked so that the QSL manager would know to NOT send a QSL to them under any circumstance - even if they donated to the DX-pedition.


I would hope you would mail the donation back if you are going to "NIL" them. It would be pretty crummy to keep their money and not provide a QSL.  Sorry, but I couldn't endorse a policy like you are advocating. It even sounds a bit tyrannical

73,

Chris/NU1O

Yeah - probably a bit too harsh. Maybe just run the pileups the way Martti does.

Speaking of that, the Visalia IDXC is running a DX Academy class on this very thing. I'd take it - but after much thought - I very seriously doubt I will be going on any DX-peditions and running any pileups. I also doubt I will ever organize a DX-pedition either - so no one has to worry   Grin

I surely have the utmost respect for the people who organize and go on these DX-peditions. Its amazing what they do and what they go through.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 01:31:13 PM by KY6R » Logged
AA6YQ
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2013, 01:59:21 PM »

The subject of running a dx-pedition has now been brought up, so let's narrow it down...you are the dx, and you are in control....how would you run a pile up, especially one where the yellers, screamers, lids, k.c. cops, alligators, thugs, mugs and pugs are really wreaking havoc....I think most of you on here know how I would do it and some of you would not be happy with how I would do it (tough noogies), so I won't go there....Let's hear it....You are are the dx and it's your show....How do you do it to keep things in control and to keep from going insane???

V
KA3NRX


I have generated some modest-sized long-running pileups while operating as FJ/AA6YQ, KP2/AA6YQ, V4/AA6YQ, and 8P9RY -- particularly on 80m and 30m CW, and on RTTY. My strategy evolved to this: announce my callsign frequently, wait until I have a full callsign before "coming back", work the loudest signals first and fast, and not let the pileup become too wide. On the few occasions when obnoxious participants became problematic, simply disappearing for 5 minutes exceeded their patience, allowing a return to normal operations.

      73,

           Dave, AA6YQ
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WB3BEL
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2013, 02:11:50 PM »

I used to think that I knew the answer to this question.  But the more I listen to DX pileups, the less I think I understand the solution from the perspective of the DX operator.

If you asked me this question 5 years ago, I could have wholehearted endorsed many of the previously held recommendations.  Things like:
1. Be loud.
2. Be fast. (Slow Rate leads to chaos)
3. Be somewhat predictable. (Timing, same end of Q indicator, callsign ID, UP indication, etc)
4. Control your own pileup.
5. Stay with Q until complete.
6. Make time for tough openings.
7. If small expedition choose focus band subset to give ATNOs/unique calls and manage band/mode fill tradeoffs.

And while these things are all still valid, I feel that the behavior of the pileup has deteriorated to a point where often the DX operator has less of impact to the management of the pileup.  Sure a bad operator can make things worse, but a good operator can not make a miracle happen.

Some recent DXpedition pileups have suffered greatly from unruly pileup behavior. Some might say it has always been so, but I disagree.  It has grown worse with time.

We need tools for pileup management that help the DX operator rather than giving him more work.  But currently people who want to help often just make the problem worse.  Without a good plan trying to ignore the ruckus is probably the best course of action.

A few ideas on what might be helpful :
Spotting network controls.  Give accounts and password protection.  Enforce access controls and discipline misusers.  

Truncate spot frequency accuracy to 1KHz resolution and DX ops can choose offset frequency.  This would go a long way to avoiding HRD automatons from autotuning on the DX.  I think there are good intentioned ops who don't understand their automation.  There are also well intentioned ops who suffer from Alzheimers.. Maybe some small steps would at least help those who are not intentionally trying to be disruptive.

Create a Direction Finding Network.  It is all well and good for the ARRL to support FMT.  But really who cares.  Promote HF DF functionality in a way where trusted inputs can be combined to determine where interference is coming from.  1 or 2 degree null accuracy is probably more useful than 1Hz frequency measurement...If we can catch a few of the deviant offenders I think the trend will reverse.

Provide ongoing training to newcomers and oldtimers alike in magazines and demos at hamfests and on you-tube.  I honestly think that some of the folks in the pileup have no real clue about what they are doing and why.  Some of these would be glad to learn better methods.  I hear people calling in a way that leads me to believe that they don't understand when to call and why.  I understand due to HF propagation that everyone calls once in a while at the wrong time.  But I am seeing large numbers of callers who seem to be clueless about when the DX is talking, what phase of the QSO they are on, almost all the time.  Maybe a video game would help?
I think some of these folks are making half QSOs by just checking online logs.  Keep saying your callsign until you show up.  I think maybe the short time update online logs are part of the problem.

Peer feedback.  I know that there are those spoofing callsigns in the pile, but there are also plenty of ops who make too many mistakes.  Sure everyone will muff the split once a century or so...  But I hear lots of guys who do it over and over and over.  The same guys who can't hear polite guys giving advice.  I think it's gotten to the point where there should be some forum to give feedback.  Maybe at DX convention a hall of senility award?  OK forget that one...but we should be able to do better...

I am sure that there are other good ideas out there.  

DX operators will end up having to use more management strategies themselves.  Already you see ops go QRT or switch bands/modes or do many rapid QSYs or point the antenna a different direction, turn PA off etc.  I think that DX operators could sometimes give more detailed instructions to the pileup.  I know that in fatiguing conditions this might be tough or sending more info when the signal is weak might not work.  But sometimes it might work to tell pileup ops where you are listening or what you will try next.  At least guys who can hear and are listening will get some reward for listening.  I think that the bottom line is that you need to reward the behavior you want and you will get more of it.  But the reward feedback loop needs to be obvious and publicized so everyone "gets it" and falls in line.



« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 02:17:31 PM by WB3BEL » Logged
W2IRT
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2013, 08:36:35 PM »

First and foremost, if you're at a rare location that's highly in demand worldwide, LEARN AND UNDERSTAND PROPAGATION! Make charts for best times/bands for each critical area. Know where the greyline terminator is and how to leverage its capabilities. No exceptions to this. 40/80/160 greyline operations to rare entities are essential. Have a pilot who will verify you're in the right place at the right time and use info received from that pilot to adjust. Make your charts but be flexible when condx warrant.

I would do much as has been presented above, and I follow it as much as possible when running pileups either in contests or just for fun. You have to be loud, you have to have a good cadence and patience when necessary. It may help to have a native Italian, German, Spanish or Russian speaker prepare a few pileup control sentences to learn before leaving home that will be needed when things get bad.

I agree that you must take one call and carry it through to the end and insist everyone QRX until you've worked the one you called or the QSO becomes impossible. But at the same time, don't sit there for 90 seconds either. If the guy's workable, work him. If he faded out and won't respond after 3 or 4 calls, move on.

I like the idea of going QRT (briefly) or saying you're going QSY without warning when things start getting out of control, despite your best abilities.

I am absolutely in favour of blacklisting stations either for a day or for the DXpedition (warning them first, to be fair), or for repeated awful behaviour, taking the call and NILing them on the backend--along with a letter explaining why they're being punished. I bet a lot of folks would get their panties in a bunch over that but guess what...I think a lot more would applaud loudly. I recall a restaurant had problems with screaming kids being brought in after church and after too many problems they just banned children, period. The press and local finger-pointers went nuclear on them but they held firm and 6 months later their business had grown and they were applauded by the regulars. Do the same here. Let the whingers whinge to their hearts' content and get it all out of their system. But then the next big DXpedition does the same, and the one after that. Bad behaviour = NIL for that QSO, that day or that DXpedition. And hell no, they don't get their money back if they made a donation...and their money for a return card, for that they get the aforementioned letter.

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N4CR
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2013, 08:45:15 PM »

The best moderated pile-ups that I have seen did three things.

1. Split at least 3kHz
2. By continent
3. By numbers when it gets rough.
4. Once you pick someone out, really try to stick with them until you get them logged.

And I'm not at all against working and then blacklisting anyone who refuses to listen and insists on creating QRM.

The DX'ers Code of Conduct pretty much says it all for how the other end of the pile-up should go.
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73 de N4CR, Phil

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N7SMI
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2013, 10:03:20 PM »

This ---->>> http://www.dxuniversity.com/showpage.php?id=20&title=Best_Practices_for_DXpedition_Operating

If you want more details, N7NG has an excellent handbook at www.dxpeditioningbasics.com
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KY6R
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2013, 02:26:06 AM »


If you are going to Visalia - you might want to get there Thursday night and take this class at the IDXC's DX Academy Friday morning. I am sure it is going to be a great time. Can't wait - 1 more week - woo hoo!
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 03:26:12 AM by KY6R » Logged
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