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Author Topic: Overcoming "CQ anxiety"  (Read 8274 times)
KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 359




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« on: June 06, 2014, 01:05:20 PM »

I have had an operational station for about a year, and in that time I haven't called CQ. I keep worrying about inadvertently stepping on somebody else's QSO. I've tuned across 20m and heard nothing on certain freqs only to tune again and guess what there's a QSO on that "unused" freq!  Shocked Shocked  Also, I HATE pileups, and won't try to QSO if I can hear a pileup. I simply don't have the right setup to bust through a pileup. I have a Icom 735 fed into a G5RV Lite mounted on poles (aluminum poles meant to be electrical conduit) about 6-7 ft off the ground. There's simply no way to get it up to the recommended height of 35 ft, and plus I may be moving in a year or two so I don't want to put up anything more substantial than what I've got.
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NO2A
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 02:48:09 PM »

Without having an antenna up at least 20 feet or more it`s going to be difficult to be heard well. Maybe not impossible,but hard. You could try answering cq`s. I`d get a few sections of pvc pipe and install it as an inverted v,so at least the apex would be up higher. Don`t be afraid to call cq. Can you copy cw?
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M6GOM
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2014, 03:32:54 PM »

I have had an operational station for about a year, and in that time I haven't called CQ. I keep worrying about inadvertently stepping on somebody else's QSO. I've tuned across 20m and heard nothing on certain freqs only to tune again and guess what there's a QSO on that "unused" freq!  Shocked Shocked 

Didn't they teach you how to do it properly? Shame on them.

You find what you think is an empty frequency. You say:

"Is the frequency clear? Is the frequency clear?"

You then pause and listen. You repeat again:

"Is the frequency clear? Is the frequency clear?"

Again you pause and listen and if you hear nothing you say:

"Nothing heard. This is Kilo Juliet Six Zulu Oscar Lima calling CQ CQ CQ."
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 359




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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2014, 03:52:02 PM »

Without having an antenna up at least 20 feet or more it`s going to be difficult to be heard well. Maybe not impossible,but hard. You could try answering cq`s. I`d get a few sections of pvc pipe and install it as an inverted v,so at least the apex would be up higher. Don`t be afraid to call cq. Can you copy cw?

I don't have the necessary motor coordination to send/copy CW. In fact, that was one of the things that held me back from trying for a license sooner than when I finally got licensed in 2012. I can hear hams from all over the US, but the few times I've tried transmitting it's been difficult for others to hear me. I know that an antenna has to be up around 30-40 feet at least to be heard well, but right now I can't afford putting it up on poles and after I get some debt paid off it's likely that I'll be moving. I have tried participating in the Noontime Net and CARS Net during the day on 40m, and I can be heard over most of California and Nevada but I know that it's difficult to be heard in Oregon, maybe because the G5RV is on a N-S axis with the beam pointed east.
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K2OWK
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2014, 05:10:04 PM »

I have been in ham radio for more then 50 years. The antenna you are using is marginal, but should sort of work. I fear you have what is known as mike fright. Tune your radio to a clear frequency. Listen to that frequency for about a minute. Then give your call and ask if the frequency is in use. Wait about 20 seconds and repeat. If no one is heard then proceed to call CQ. First give your call then call CQ two or three times. Then give your call again and say listening. Calling CQ is a bit like fishing. Sometimes you catch something and sometimes you don't, but keep trying and you will be rewarded even with the antenna you are using. Like fishing, it just takes patience. My first contact was made using a dipole in the living room of my house on the ground floor. I was using a Heathkit Tenner (Benton harbor lunchbox. Look it up) running about 3 watts out on AM. It took me about two weeks of calling CQ to finally get an answer. The station that answered was about 25 miles away, but what a thrill.

Don't give up, and you will be greatly rewarded.

Good luck.

73s

K2OWK
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WA2ONH
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Posts: 253




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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2014, 05:33:10 PM »

Here's an article from WB2WIK from December 2007 that still holds true today ...

HOW TO CALL CQ ...or even answer one!
Steve Katz, WB2WIK/6


LINK: http://www.eham.net/articles/18195

Jump in with both feet and meet your neighbors - the Hams of the world.

We **ALL** had the sweaty palms / cold feet feelings at one time. Good Luck
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73 de WA2ONH dit dit    ...Charlie
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"No time is ever wasted that is spent LEARNING something!"
K8AXW
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Posts: 3836




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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2014, 07:54:21 PM »

ZOL:  All the good advice you need has been presented here.  I agree that it seems you're suffering from "mike fright."  If this is the case, welcome to the club!  If you want to really start something, ask, "What was your first QSO like?"

Guaranteed, you will hear many stories about the horrible first contact.  But, be that as it may, even thought you're antenna isn't all that good, you should still be able to make many contacts and should get a response to a CQ. 

Go fer it!!

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NO2A
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Posts: 782




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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2014, 08:16:57 PM »

Here`s another option you might consider:look for a used 20m or above Hamstick,or equivalent mobile antenna. Then get a mag mount to put on your car`s roof. You could use that as a portable setup. That would actually give you a decent signal for 20m,17m,or higher. Those two bands are usually open during daytime,but even better in the evening hours. If you didn`t want to install the rig in your car,you wouldn`t have to. You could even just use the car for your antenna,with the rig inside,for example. The Hamsticks or equivalent brand antennas are not expensive at all,you can buy them from a dealer or a hamfest,or the classified ads here.With the low angle of radiation from the vertical,you may not hear local stuff,but you would hear the east coast and dx with this antenna.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 08:27:33 PM by NO2A » Logged
KA5PIU
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Posts: 446




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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2014, 06:38:27 PM »

Hello.

I play with CB, so I treat ham radio the same way.
Listen around the channels, hear something I like, Hello.
And, yes, I might say hello on the ham bands.
I do not follow really strict rules, just practice courtesy.
You will find that 90% of the time, simply being nice will get you a response.
And, remember that most stations have better antennas and a whole lot more power, so the chance you are going to be a problem is limited.
If I am really board I will say "Break 19" on 2 meters!
Everyone knows who I am, so it is no biggie.
Remember that this is a hobby, don't sweat the small stuff.
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WD5GWY
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Posts: 395




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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2014, 07:24:00 PM »



I don't have the necessary motor coordination to send/copy CW. In fact, that was one of the things that held me back from trying for a license sooner than when I finally got licensed in 2012. I can hear hams from all over the US, but the few times I've tried transmitting it's been difficult for others to hear me. I know that an antenna has to be up around 30-40 feet at least to be heard well, but right now I can't afford putting it up on poles and after I get some debt paid off it's likely that I'll be moving. I have tried participating in the Noontime Net and CARS Net during the day on 40m, and I can be heard over most of California and Nevada but I know that it's difficult to be heard in Oregon, maybe because the G5RV is on a N-S axis with the beam pointed east.

 If you have even one or two tall trees in your yard, you can get your antenna up higher.
Even a single tree, can be used to pull the feedpoint of the antenna up higher. (just keep the
ends out of reach of children). A dipole antenna has it's primary lobes off the sides in a figure
8 pattern. In the case of an antenna used on multiple bands, such as your G5RV, the higher you go from the original design frequency(band) the more lobes are created and you get null spots off the sides. I imagine that on 40 meters the problem with not being heard in Oregon is exactly what you stated, the orientation of the antenna. If you want a more omni-directional pattern a ground mounted vertical will work well. (especially for DX) Or mount it on a pole up 10 or more feet.
As someone else suggested, even a mobile antenna would work too. Mounted on your car or rooftop.
   As for calling CQ, all the suggestions made are valid. And you WILL ask if the frequency is in use and get no response and when you finish calling CQ, someone will say the frequency is in use!
So, if/when that happens, don't let it bother you. Find another frequency. Some folks out there just expect that everyone knows who is always on what frequency. (just one of those things)
I suggest answering other's CQ calls to start. Once you get used to talking to others that way, then try calling CQ. Even with your current setup, you'll find you will get responses. Try some of the higher bands, like 17 meters. Friendly folks there and even some DX. 40 is fun, in the right places.
Check out 7.195 at different times. Lots of people there and lots of lurkers. (including me)
And no one there is going to ignore you. You might not be a powerhouse signal, but, you can still enjoy your radio.
Welcome to the club!
james
WD5GWY
 
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N0IU
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2014, 05:22:34 AM »

I have had an operational station for about a year, and in that time I haven't called CQ.

But are you answering other people calling CQ and making contacts? If you are, then at least this confirms that your station is working and you are getting out.

I keep worrying about inadvertently stepping on somebody else's QSO.

Stop worrying because sooner or later, you will accidentally step on someone else's QSO! The crucial things to do is ALWAYS ask, "Is the frequency in use?" and if someone comes back and says, "The frequency is in use.", one of two things is happening:

1) Due to propagation, you may not be able to hear both sides of a QSO.
2) Even if you were listening and did not hear anything, you might have just been unlucky enough to find the frequency where one old curmudgeon was parked sitting around waiting for his buddy to show up for their regular sked. Because he intends to use this frequency at some time in the near future, he considers the frequency to be in use.

This can also be the case on a frequency where a net is getting ready to take place. It is not uncommon for some of the net participants to "guard" their frequency to make sure someone does not come along and steal their frequency.

Either way, don't argue with these people. Of course Part 97 says that no one can "own" a frequency, but arguing that point with these people is like hitting your head against a brick wall. The wall does not move and you will just end up with a headache!

Just keep tuning around and you will find a clear spot. I guarantee it (unless it is a major contest weekend)!
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2014, 04:28:51 PM »

Unless you have CC&Rs that prohibit outside antennas, anybody can get a dipole up 40 feet, for very little cost.  And the time invested is just hours...nothing at all compared with living somewhere for a year or two.

I put up antennas 70-80 feet above ground for Field Day, and they're erected early Saturday morning and taken down and completely removed Sunday afternoon of the same weekend.  Thousands of people do this.

Every obstacle is self-inflicted. Wink

BTW a G5RV "lite" at such a low height above ground hasn't any real directional pattern, so its orientation shouldn't matter.  All the books that discuss the bi-directional pattern of a dipole discuss that for antennas at least 1/2-wavelength above ground, which for 40 meters would be about 65 feet, and for 20 meters about 32 feet.  I wouldn't be the slightest bit concerned with "orientation," only elevation above earth.

An inverted vee doublet only requires one "high" support.  A 20' mast made of almost anything and installed atop the roof of a house can generally get you up 35' or more.  Such installations take me about an hour, if I take a break. Smiley
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N6AJR
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2014, 09:17:27 AM »

join a local club and go to a meeting and set up a "sched" with a member for your first QSO.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3836




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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2014, 01:48:10 PM »

Quote
join a local club and go to a meeting and set up a "sched" with a member for your first QSO.

I thought about this some and have to disagree.

The reason we study, buy gear, assemble same, and erect an antenna is to talk to a stranger someplace in the world, rather it's across town or on the other side of the Earth.

To "arrange" a QSO with a buddy is like kissing your mother.  It simply doesn't compare or prepare you for that first kiss with a girl! 

In order to appreciate ham radio the new OP needs to take this sometimes difficult step on his own. 

The first QSO and the first kiss will be remembered forever.   Grin

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W1JKA
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Posts: 1664




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« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2014, 02:27:44 PM »

  First CQ call or QSO, just jump in and getter dun, good or bad you will remember it either way. As far as K8AXW's first kiss observation goes it's been about 55 years and can't remember which one since three of my cousins all showed up at once that summer, however the one kiss I'll always remember was back in 67 from a Cajun Queen in Bayou Latreque, La. who had false teeth and apparently thought that Polident was some kind of clothing fabric.
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