I wonder if you have ever noticed (and I’m sure you have) whether during a contest or an impromptu Sporadic E opening or just whatever, how many people refuse to leave the ‘calling frequency’? Most everyone these days has a modern rig that has a VFO and to operate on a crystal, controlled frequency would take some major modification of the rig to allow one to do so. Yet, just try and pry some of these folks off that precious ‘calling frequency’ and it’s like pulling teeth. I know I hear all the time that during a ‘contest’ there is no calling frequency. Well, this may be entirely true for the inconsiderate and the unknowing and uncaring crowd.
Monitoring the ‘calling frequency’ such as 50.125 MHz on 6 meters is a common practice, and many times in certain areas of the country the ‘calling frequency’ is used like an ‘intercom’ which would seem appropriate as it puts signals on the band and on a frequency that is most monitored. But, how often do we hear tens of minutes of stations rag chewing on the ‘calling frequency’ blocking out DX stations that are trying to attract attention of the rest of the world. Even during stateside openings I can hear 3 to 5 stations on top of one another, probably not hearing the other stations just rag chewing away, totally oblivious to the fact that anyone else in the word exists.
Quick exchanges on the ‘calling frequency’ during a contest aren’t all that bad, or bad manners and should be encouraged especially when conditions are marginal. I find that on CW a quick exchange of call, signal report and grid can be accomplished in less than 8 to 10 seconds. But, to squat on the ‘calling frequency’ calling CQ (ad nausium) and then dominate it with exchanges or rag chewing for time on end over such trivialities as the medical analysis of ones grandmothers warts is totally unacceptable. How much time does it take out of a contact (QSO) to ask the other station, once a contact is established, to move (QSY) up the band a ways and have at it all day if you wish? Remember the other station more than likely has a rig that employs a VFO also. And, in doing so exhibit a little consideration by asking if the frequency is in use at which you have invited the other station to join you verbal battles can be eliminated. If that frequency is busy simple ask the station that has followed you to QSY up another five kHz and ask again. On a busy band it may be necessary to walked up five or six jumps before finding a clear frequency on which to operate, with the other station in tow. Granted, during Meteor Scatter or Tropo Scatter, the QSY from the calling frequency type of operation may not be possible and generally not practical. But, if you select a frequency five, ten or fifteen kHz away from the ‘calling frequency’ stations will come to you, usually.
We know this subject on the Internet has been beat to death but maybe with a little reminder here and there eventually it will sink in. The message might also be disseminated by simply asking a station that insists on dominating the ‘calling frequency’ if he or she is “Rock Bound”! Some may not understand the term as a lot of us have found a lot of Ham Radio terms not being understood here lately. A polite note of encouragement for the station to exercise the VFO feature on their rig might be in order. Or, just a simple request that the dominating station please relinquish the calling frequency for a second so that you might make a call and (even a CQ) and then indicate a frequency that you will be listening on. Another approach might be to invite a ‘dominator’ (of the ‘calling frequency’) to move up the band a bit with you, as the present frequency seems to have considerable traffic on it. Here in the Rocky Mountain Region there seems to be considerably more manners and finesse on the higher bands than observed in other parts of the nation and especially on HF. There are always going to be those that are ‘socially challenged’ that feel they must bring, from HF, their bad manners with them, but I think they’re trainable. Let’s hope so and do our best to be good trainers.
Dave W6OAL –
Olde Antenna Laboratory 41541 Dublin Drive Parker, CO 80138