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Making Contacts / On the Air - Have a question about getting on the air or how to make a contact? Just want to brag about your latest DX contact or contest score? This is the forum for you.

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Old 01-13-2018, 7:27 AM
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Default 6O6O Somalia: A Frustrating Endeavor

I've never had difficulty hearing African entities, 6o6o is the exception. My personal policy is never to allow this hobby to interfere with my meaningful (to me) activities, but I have put in more time than I like in an attempt to work them. After I got home from work yesterday, I had a bite to eat and went for a listen. I heard them on 20 using my modest beam. Unfortunately for me, they were working the west coast. After about 30 minutes, the op went QRT. Previously, I've only heard them at a whisper level and not enough to reliably call them. According to Clublog, North America accounts for 10% of their contacts. I appreciate what they're doing and I'm happy for those in the log. I normally don't get too discouraged if I don't have the time to work a particular DXpedition, but with only about three days left, I don't feel very confident about a contact and I am saddened that I will likely miss this one. Best of luck to any of you who are actively chasing them.
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Old 01-20-2018, 1:11 PM
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I just came across your Post, Chris- too late for active comment on your frustrating DX attempt, but maybe not for a epilogue. What can anyone say but, well- 'that's DX'ing".....
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No, you can't say that--that's isn't right-- it shouldn't be that way and you have my sympathy. Chasing the DX can really get under your skin, No?
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I have no familiarity with that Somalia DX operation, nor even an idea what and how they were conducting it. But I know all too well the disappointment you felt. I have been DX many times, and know that if you are, and going to operate as a Rare One, that you have some ethics to up hold. Many 'DX-peditions" don't realize how it makes some one like you feel when you can't get thru, are apparently being ignored, and so on. So often those hams are just one big ego trip- plus they are marginal operators at best. I hate it when I hear some LID saying;
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......."Again!"..."Again!....QRZ" when you know they aren't even trying to get a callsgn.
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99% of the time they just didn't hear you-- but is that an excuse?.... for me; Hardly. They were just picking the low hanging fruit and not listening for all the less-than 59 Plus Plus signals. Not excusable behavior.
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As a DX'r I am sure you are up on all the techniques to try and be heard- using split frequencies, calling offsets, brief callsign, straight phonetics-- etc. You know this stuff. I'm going to tell what its like from the other side, however.
There are some DX operators that know what they are doing, and plenty of those that don't. You learn instinctively what 'pile ups' are worth enduring and which ones send you outside for a long hike.... 'those clowns aren't even half-trying'...
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Some pile-ups you just aren't ever going to break, and its not your fault.
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One of my best experiences of being 'chased' passionately was on an extended stay on Utrik Atoll in the Marshall Islands. I had a KX6 callsign, and avoid'd anything that approach'd causing a pile-up; talking mostly to friends back in the states using our government station equipment **
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But one afternoon I thought, "I'm going to get into this DX'ing really seriously."
Utrik was a very rare one, especially for the IOTA collectors ---and I knew I'd be jump'd on in a heart beat. I dial'd our 2kw station into 20 meters, 14.150 Mhz- (that frequency choice sticks with me to this day-- I never operate down that low in the Hunting Grounds) -- and called CQ. The response was breath taking !! I couldn't make out a single callsign.. there was a pileup that spread +/- 25Khz on either side of me... I worked maybe a dozen stations and then got out of there fast.
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"That was a lot of fun----- Geeeez" (sarcasm supreme)
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But I wasn't deter'd. That evening I tried it again; this time on 40. The same thing happen'd , but this time I was very fortunate to have two high power'd Italian stations 'take over' my frequency for me (I wasn't going to do splits.) They calmed down the Mob, brought law and order --
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"Lauri will not work you if you don't act like Gentlemen!"
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and they started making lists for me-- taking only stations from certain areas, then certain status's (like QRP, "anyone under the age of 15," "young ladies like our Sweet Lauri"--- Ah !, those Italians !....etc.) Rotating all around and back and back again. It may have been slower, but I worked everyone that evening- their policing system work'd beautifully.
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When I got tired, we agreed to meet again the next evening.
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"Gentlemen, Miss Lauri will be back here tomorrow night- go get some sleep everyone ....."
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We did this for several evenings, and I don't think I left a single broken heart'd DX'r out there.
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When I got back to our base on Kwajalein, their waiting for me was a package filled with all sorts of Italian goodies- wines, salami's, hard candies- from those two kind hams-- and you know what?... they never ask'd me for a QSL card ( but of course they got them anyway, and a lot of island treats...... )
To this day I have never heard from them again, but they taught me how to operate as DX... To this day when I hear an out of control pile up, I wistfully remember my two Italian friends.
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I have operated as DX many time since, keeping those two, and their techniques always in the back of my mind
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So, a Moral--
......Its not your fault if you didn't make contact. May the next DX-pedition you work have some Italians riding Shot Gun....
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.......................................CF
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__________________________________________________ __________________
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**There is a technique here to flying-under the DX radar-- if you don't want to get mob'd- which is a constant PIA for any DX station. Not all of them want to exchange pointless contacts so others can carve another notch in their DX belt.... by doing things like using your callsign very very! sparingly and stick to the off the track frequencies-- like, for instance, 14.345 Mhz, and using lower sideband.

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 01-20-2018 at 1:37 PM.. Reason: ----------- wine
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Old 01-22-2018, 9:22 AM
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It's often less fun BEING the DX than working the DX.\

A long long time ago, I was stationed at McMurdo (Antarctica). The main activity of the ham station there was to run phone patches and handle 'hamgrams' for the folks stationed there. When there was a DX contest going, phone patches were not forthcoming.

One of the guys who hadn't ever seen Ham Radio in action came out to the station one evening (the clock said evening, you couldn't tell by looking out the window) when there happened to be a DX contest in full raging swing. I showed him some of the neat stuff, said I wouldn't be running any phone patches, but just for fun, I (literally) said "Hold my beer, check this out... CQ contest, this is KC4USV, Antarctica"... on 20M SSB, 14.3something MHz. My friend's response was (more or less) "Good golly, Miss Molly". Myself, I always wondered how many legal-limit-plus signals could be on one frequency at a time. Answer: All of them.

I tried, but really, NOBODY was willing to shut up and listen so after a couple hours I gave up, turned the lights off and went to bed.
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Old 01-22-2018, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbyte View Post
...plus they are marginal operators at best. I hate it when I hear some LID saying;
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......."Again!"..."Again!....QRZ" when you know they aren't even trying to get a callsgn
The NAQP SSB contest was this weekend. I generally avoid working SSB contests because, as a "little pistol", I don't have a chance in a shouting match. But, there are several states I need for 5-band WAS, including some on 80m, so I thought I'd give 80m a try Saturday evening.

As I tuned around, I heard a station in a semi-rare western state (one of the ones I need for 80m WAS), so I listened for a couple of minutes to figure out his pattern and tried answering his CQ several times. No luck. I looked around elsewhere and picked up a few more contacts then went back to the guy in the semi-rare western state. No luck again. I looked around elsewhere and picked up a few more contacts then went back to the guy in the semi-rare western state for the third time. Still no luck. When I realized that I was yelling at the radio (transmit OFF), I decided to call it quits for the night.

The station in question was working contacts very slowly. He was very slow answering stations and talked slowly when he did answer them. He would call CQ, listen to the resulting pile-up, and then call CQ again. His pattern was so slow, that some stations were able to send their callsign phonetically, wait several seconds, then send their call again before the CQ-ing station would respond. Invariably, the station that waited the longest before sending their callsign would be heard by the CQ-ing station. I tried some of the "delay before sending" tactics myself to no avail. Meanwhile, those of us who had been calling and calling and calling would be ignored. I don't know if the CQ-ing station was doing this on purpose, to "teach us a lesson", or if he was just a bad operator.

In the end, a calmer head prevailed in my shack, so I put down the headset and turned off the rig. It's just ham radio. I'll get that semi-rare western state on 80m some other time.
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Old 01-22-2018, 12:16 PM
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I have operated the McMurdo station.... small world, No... (smiles)
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Fortunately, or not, that was after the FCC decided to muddy the callsign waters by issuing the "K" callsign prefixes domestically that used to be for non US continental stations. Overnight a KC4 callsign- which used to stick out like a sore thumb- became just another Floridian.
Ah Well.
This worked to my advantage while there- not too many other than the dyed-in-wool DX'rs knew/know that the KC4US* block is Antarctica... and unless I stay'd off the DX haunts of 20 metre's, (I stay away from 20 altogether)--and didn't identify my location- I went hardly noticed. How times have changed.
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Personally, I never got into chasing DX.. but talking to someone in a rare location is always exciting. When I was a KX6 I used to keep a daily sked with the wife of a mining engineer station'd in central Papua New Guinea (she'd a "P2" prefix.) We had met by happenstance on 17 metre's- and for months thereafter we'd meet almost daily on 18.113 Mhz-- I can't recall anyone ever breaking in on us- we were invisible on 17 (though I think we would have welcomed another voice or two at times.) We'd talk for hours, it seem'd....And what tales (often blood curdling !) she would tell of life in that isolated, jungle mining station.... !
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There is that ancient ham saying.."Listen, listen and listen some more"-- Tune around, look at the off-brand bands like 12 or 17 metre's--- I think its far far neater to come across something like me and my P2 friend than trying to bust a pile-up ....sort of like finding a gold doubloon on a beach walk. Those will stay with you a lifetime. But we are NOT to be found in 20's DX Alley.
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__________________________________________________ _______
One last anecdote--
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This happen'd years ago during the time the sunspots smiled. I had just returned to the US from the central pacific, and was visiting my family living ouside Washington DC. My father, a inveterate lifelong ham, had just installed a litttle 30 watt, single band'd 10 metre radio in his car. We were driving it out to lunch and he suggested I try it.
Almost immediately I tuned across what sound'd like a familar voice- it was not particulary strong, but definitely in the clear.
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"I know that voice !" I said to my father--"but it can't be, it can't be..........."
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"This is KJ6** mobile on Johnson Island calling CQ" ...it repeat'd.
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I instantly recognized the callsign - we had just talk'd on the air a few days ago when I was in the Marshalls. He arranged to come out to meet my plane a few days ago on its stopover on Johnston, on my way to Hawaii !
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Using my state side call I went back to him:
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"Jim (not his name) this is Lauri, its KX6**...... I'm mobile too, but near Washington DC !"--
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We chatted for about 15 minutes before the band switch'd- he was operating a 25 watt single band 10 metre transceiver his wife had just sent him for his birthday; this was his first contact with it. He sitting on the runway in a Jeep with a mag-mount antenna on the hood. He said he'd hand me a QSL card, in person, on my return stopover on my way back to KX6. (and he did... )
Meanwhile my father just sat smiling, slowly shaking his head in silent wonder.
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"Nice radio you have there, Dad..... "
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_______________________________________________
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Sometimes it pays to just listen and the let DX come to you.
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..............................................CF

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 01-22-2018 at 12:29 PM..
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Old 01-22-2018, 1:10 PM
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While I have never been the DX station, there is nothing worse than hearing a bunch of legal limit morons hammering away their callsign (N6xxxx) when the DX is looking for VE7 or W7 or “east coast USA, any zone other than who is hammering away(usually on the DX transmit as he is running split, never pausing long enough to see if they are being heard or to hear the ‘down 5’ cause they are on the wrong frequency.

As for working DX, years ago I worked a station in Brunei from central Alberta, well after dark my local, on 10m SSB. HUGE pileup, me running 100w into 5 elements fed with about 30m of 1/2”. It took a bit, I played the idiots, some of whom I was hearing echos(long AND short path) and times my calls to be between the idiots, and the DX QRZ call, but I managed to be heard.

Another time I heard an aeronautical mobile, but did not bother due to the insane pileup of legal limit morons


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Old 01-22-2018, 4:19 PM
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This has touch'd on a favorite topic, and I am afraid I could run with it indefinitely .... (but probably won't)
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W9BU's
"As I tuned around, I heard a station in a semi-rare western state (one of the ones I need for 80m WAS.............."
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This is Classic. I think that western station is hardly a rare operator- his operating style, that is- not his QTH. My guess, like so many of his 75 metre cohorts, was he was carrying far too many "807's." **
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75 should be declared the sanctuary band for alcoholics.....
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That is one if the many reasons that I shy far away from anything above 3750 khz..... and the only contests I venture briefly on are those on 160.
160.. such a difference! .... I never encounter rude, poor operators there.
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I have work'd split frequencies as DX--- transmitting outside the US 'phone bands and listening elsewhere- but it made me very unpopular very fast!

Clowns would call all over the place; on top any and everything they thought approximated my listening frequency. Plus I wasn't listening on my own frequency, which meanwhile was turning to mush as other non-US stations tried to call me there. Working splits can be a good technique- I guess-- if anyone know how to make it work I'd love to hear it. It can also turn 20 metre's in to Bedlam ! Once or twice taught me that lesson... why today I take along favorite books to read instead.
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Handing out a 'rare one' is fun for while- and I know the ego boast it gives- but for some of us its a very short lived thrill. I'd infinitely prefer long chats about where I am, what you're doing.... etc. etc...... and I don't think I am alone.
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That's why you look for me and my DX friends in the tucked away corners of the off-brand bands--- and you know what? operating there I hardly ever mind a break-in... they are rare and usually a welcome'd addition as a round table.
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..........................................CF
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Old 01-28-2018, 10:59 PM
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I never bothered. I had heard it was going to be a CW-only operation, so I wrote them off from the beginning. I don't do CW.
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