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How to Make a Contact or Not

from Paul Signorelli, W0RW on May 20, 2019
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How to Make a Contact or Not

I frequently hear guys on FM Simplex come on the air and give their call sign once and say 'CQ'. Like "KB0GEV CQ" ... Now was that KE0, KB0, or KD0 ... GEV, GBZ ?; B, C, D, E, G, P, T, V and Z sound very much alike when there is unfamiliarity or old ears listening.

You have to make noise on a unpopulated radio frequency especially if you have a new call that know one knows. There is no radio dispatcher monitoring your frequency 24/7.

You can't just give your call once and expect to have anyone answer you.

If you are on a repeater a single call like that might be all you need to make a contact.

If you want to be ignored just say, "KB0GEV testing."

146.52 Simplex, as an example, isn't monitored by a police radio dispatcher. It may be just be one of several scanned frequencies that some one might hear in the back ground of their "Noise of Life."

Guys who might respond to you have to get over to where their radio is located or popular pull out their Handi Talkie, and listen for you. If you never make a second call they won't know who or what it was.

If no one knows your call sign (like if you are travelling through town in your car), you have to repeat your call several times and then use phonetics, (Kilo Bravo Zero Golf Echo Victor Mobile in Texas City). Then say "Listening on 52", so the scanning guys will know where to respond to you. Then tell them what you are doing and what you need; a radio check, directions, traffic reports or just a QSO/Contact/ SOTA, etc...

I hear this on HF SSB also, If you don't know the local operating protocol, Listen and see what other guys are doing. Get to know your microphone and how far away it should be from your mouth and how to talk across it without blasting it. Breath and wind noises will block your voice.

Happy Contacts

Paul W0RW

Member Comments:
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How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KJ4DGE on May 20, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, yes and definitely yes. Give your call a number of times on 146.520 both phonetically and verbally maybe 3-4 times then perhaps "waiting" for a call. If you get a response then ask the station to move to another simplex frequency like 146.555 so you both are not hogging the calling channel. HF is VERY different. Always listen first for a break in the patter until you can give your call. Listen, listen listen!

Simplex is a lot of fun to test your radio setup on the higher bands and your antenna. Don't be discouraged though, try at different times of the day, especially the evening hours when a lot of folks may be scanning the bands at home. I find also on HF with poor conditions that a call like mine, I sometimes have to use Kilo-Japan-Four-Denmark-Germany-Echo or England as K and J and especially DGE all sound similar as well.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KB2DHG on May 20, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
When it comes to HF operations, First I see what the MUF is and what band would be best at that time.. Then I scan around. I try to keep within the General portion of the band and once I find a open frequency, I simply start calling CQ I do spurts of 3 CQ's and my call pausing about 3-5 seconds in between calling... I find this works best for me...
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by K9MHZ on May 20, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
"If you don't know the local operating protocol, Listen and see what other guys are doing."

Just make sure it's correct, and not silly. We have a guy who announces himself on the 33cm machines by saying "W9%&$ listening 900" and "W9%&$ going back to the listening mode," whatever that is. Not sure what value added there is in either of those transmissions, and a new person might be misled into thinking it's the thing to do just because he once heard it on the air.
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by K9MHZ on May 20, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
One more thing.... Just relax, speak plainly, and be normal. Don't try to sound officious like a police dispatcher or air traffic controller....nobody's impressed with that. It's a hobby with friends, so talk like you're talking to a friend.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by W8ARR on May 20, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
For 2 meters, I simply give my call then say listening. That usually works for me.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by WE6C on May 20, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
W0RW, As a person that scans, I agree.
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by N4KZ on May 21, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Recently, I've heard some fellows on HF SSB call very short CQs. They come on the frequency, say CQ twice and announce their call sign once. Total duration is about 5 seconds -- not long enough to catch the attention of many stations, which is the whole point of calling CQ. My CQs run about 30 seconds, in comparison. And I get many responses.
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KW6LA on May 21, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I tell Hams, you say your call all the time but K3gbe
or worse is hard to copy at high speed and once. Most
stop and think about it and others continue in Condx
mode. Slow it down folks, we are all getting older.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KD0LVW on May 21, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the great reminders. I have been away from ham for a few years and I have forgotten most of what I used to know.

Thanks again.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by ONAIR on May 22, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I found that on repeaters and on simplex, simply asking for a signal report greatly improves your chance of making a contact! Many hams just enjoy giving a helping hand to others.
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KB6QXM on May 22, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I guess that even calling CQ is different these days. I love 80 meters. As it is mostly a rag chew band, which is what I normally do, it has been mentioned to me that calling CQ on 80 meters is not in vogue anymore.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KA2DDX on May 22, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
You are making a very good point. I hear cq's on HF where the call is said once or twice and is only partly distinguishable. Consider we are at solar minimum and are experiencing a lot of qsb. This makes it hard to understand a call or another important piece of the transmission.

Similarly on cw, the same thing can be said. Call cq and someone answers by sending their callsign once and part of it is not copied due to qsb. Sending a call 2 or 3 times under solar minimum conditions would be great, and save a lot of time as well.

Regards,

Larry
KA2DDX
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KK7GB on May 22, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I agree whole hardheartedly! It is frustrating for me when I hear someone calling CQ and then they say their call sign like they are in a race to finish first. Sometimes it is unintelligible.
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KB6QXM on May 22, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
When I call CQ, I always call CQ multiple times and always slowly repeat my call phonetically multiple times and then state I am calling CQ and standing by. Not rushed and I always ask if the frequency is in use before I call CQ.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by K8QV on May 24, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
You know what's worse? CQs that go on and on and on until you get tired of waiting for a chance to respond. A short CQ, even if you don't catch the call sign, can be answered with, "The W6 calling CQ, this is (your call here).
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by K8KZ on May 24, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I absolutely agree with K8QV above. A 30 second CQ on HF SSB (or CW for that matter) is too long. Better is a 10 second CQ call, pause, 10 second CQ call, pause, etc.

I myself won't wait until a 30 second CQ call is finished. One of the reasons is that if the caller has a good strong station, by the time he/she is done with such a long CQ, there will be a pileup of stations accumulated during the long CQ call.

Maybe that's good for the caller. But I probably won't fight through a pileup to answer the average CQ.

Call CQ with 10 second breaks, and let the couple stations that heard you try to call you.

I guess I have no patience.
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KJ4DGE on May 25, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I think the 30 second ones are the exception not the norm and mostly they seem to be DX stations trying to work the US, but it times me out too. Most every Amateur band has a calling frequency but these are now mostly relegated to AM calling or HF pack except for the higher bands. Another important point made was to first ask if the frequency is in use. A lot of times the calling station may not even hear a weak QSO already going on unless they ask if there is one, then maybe someone in the ragchew who is closer can say that it is, in fact "in use".

Courtesy is the important factor but sometimes overlooked. If you are new to HF take some time to listen how others work station then by all means call CQ and have fun ask questions of the older hams, you will find most very willing to help you out
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by G8FXC on May 25, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
The best way to ensure plenty of contacts is to have an interesting callsign! A couple of years ago, I drove to our boat calling "CQ from G8FXC Mobile" - nothing. When I arrived at the marina, I pulled the rig from the car, took it to the boat, plugged it up to a basic mobile antenna on the boat and called "CQ from G8FXC Maritime Mobile" - I was swamped under a pile-up, all wanting to talk to me! This has happened to me multiple times since then - I can walk along the pontoon with the HT calling as G8FXC Portable and get no replies, step onto the boat and put out a call as G8FXC Maritime Mobile and nine times out of ten I will get a response!
 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by K6CRC on May 26, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Why you may not be getting a response to your CQ

Hearding a call with perfect, very slow phonetics.
'CQ, CQ, CQ, <call>, <call>, <call> calling DX'
Repeat 3 more times.

5 seconds of silence,
Same call sequence again four times.

So, when is someone suppose to respond?
They aren't. So they don't.

 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KJ4DGE on May 27, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I think this horse is dead Jim, beaten to a pulp.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by W0RW on May 27, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Calling CQ on CW.
If the bands are poor and you want to see where your signal is going, don't forget the RBN (Reverse Beacon Network: http://www.reversebeacon.net/main.php). It might hear you and post your CW and Data activity.

You must use the RBN protocol for it to work.
The protocol for the RBN to pick you up is "CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ CQ de (call) (call)", Then you can add additional suffix information, (Call/M/SOTA/{POTA, etc.
Then the RBN receivers that hear you will post you on the RBN web site.
Check out the unique HA8TKS reporter at
https://dxcluster.ha8tks.hu/rbn_ct1boh/
The ha8tks reporter can be configured for any band or span of frequencies or any DX continent and give you a spectrum analyzer view of the band.
I set my view for 14055 to 14065 and 'NA' RBN's to watch the NA CW QRP'ers.
Don't forget to support eHam.net and the RBN System once in awhile.
Paul w0rw


 
RE: How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by KD1XH on May 28, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
My first call was N1PBE so it was possibly a tough one to understand at times.
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by BURGERLOVER65 on May 31, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
It's amazing how much money people pay for equipment that provides so little enjoyment from a hobby with so little satisfaction. I'm glad my station only cost a few hundred dollars. My wife was always right....
 
How to Make a Contact or Not Reply
by N1OEY on June 22, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Today was my first field day event abd ny ears are not what they used to be so I can empathize with everyone. I know everyone was in a hurry to move onto the next contact but blasting through your call sign like those guys at the end of radio commercials reading a disclaimer is ridiculous.

As it is I will need to use headphones since my ears were abused in the military and by other events in my life.

Slow down, say you call sign clearly and slowly using phonetics and enjoy the contact and th hobby.
 
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