Friday, May 12, 2006


The heavy rain predicted for today moved out early. The day is partly; but mostly sunny and the temperature here is 69 delightful degrees. Half a roast beef sub and a bottle of Pepsi were my lunchtime companions, along with Jon W8TY. I called CQ on 14.047 MHZ (more about that later) and Jon answered. He's visiting Norman, Oklahoma getting in some training as part of his job with the United States Postal Service. He was working me from his hotel while he was on his lunch break! What a coincidence! His 15 Watts to a 44 foot wire tossed out his window sent a very robust 579 signal my way.

There's nothing odd about that; so why my title for this post? What happened prior to my QSO with Jon caused a raised eyebrow on my part. I originally dialed up 14.048 MHz, the SKCC frequency; and had fully intended to start out there. I listened for a little bit and heard nothing; so I put out a "QRL? de W2LJ". I went back to my sub sandwich for another bite; waited for a bit more than 10 seconds and put out a second "QRL?". Hearing nothing after about 20 seconds, I put out my first CQ. When I finished, my ears were assaulted by an ear-splittingly loud signal from a 3 station. He was in QSO with someone (who I obviously couldn't hear) and was complaining that he had a rough copy because "someone was calling CQ on top of you".

Now, I was taught, many a year ago, that when you are in the midst of a CW conversation and someone sends a "QRL?", that you either send a "C" or a "YES" or a "PSE QSY". This is part and parcel of CW operating and the process of finding an open frequency - no big deal. The 3 station was deafeningly loud - he HAD to have heard my query, which I had sent twice. Why did I not receive a "QRL" or a "C" or a "PSE QSY" or a "YES"?

I'd prefer not to believe that a 3 station with a 1X2 callsign (Extra Class) wouldn't know proper CW operating protocol. And I can't believe that the QSB was that bad that he didn't hear me. If I was loud enough for him to hear my CQ; then I was loud enough for my "QRL?". Very strange indeed.

Moral of the story? Better to learn the proper protocol and use it; than not and just complain.

73 de Larry W2LJ

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