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What ever happened to SSB CQ?

Oct 4th 2011, 09:48

K2ADK

Joined: Jun 12th 2011, 20:32
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I had a Novice license back in the mid '70s and boy did I wish I had a microphone so I could talk to all those folks calling CQ on voice bands! Fast forward to 2011. Last month I got my General license. Now everything is contests and nets. Nobody gets on the radio any more to chat with someone at random. Seems hams only want to do that if there's the protective layer of CW between them.

Nets and contests have their place, but really, they are crowding out the bands. 80 meters is 100% networks, 40 almost as bad. You can call CQ until you're hoarse, but unless you say CQ contest, you'll be the only one talking.

I think ham radio is much poorer for it.
Oct 4th 2011, 20:52

Macromancer

Joined: Jun 1st 2011, 01:11
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I can't comment on 80 or 40m, but lots of ssb "CQ CQ CQ" on 20m and 15m.

I am on one or both bands almost every evening and frequently hear folks calling CQ. Similarly, I've had good luck calling CQ and getting a return call on both bands.

73
KK4CIS
Alan
Oct 5th 2011, 12:19

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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While I've had great success running QRP in contests, I've found that it really helps to be loud when you just want to rag chew. Typically the loudest stations will have way more stations calling them than weaker stations--being loud allows you to be heard despite local interference issues.

Oct 5th 2011, 14:27

WB1GCM

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I've often thought the same thing, though as Alan has said, there are plenty of hams calling CQ on 20 and 15 meters. I've heard quite a few CQ'ers on 12 and 10 meters lately. On 75 meters; I hear a CQ rarely above 3800 kHz.

Contests are only a few weekend a year and they are worth participating in, even if you only casually participate. There is no other better way to find out how well your station is getting out on a particular band than spending a little time in a contest. I find it useful to determine which direction my antenna works best, for instance. Is your station being heard on the air OK?

Nets serve their purpose; friends commit to get on the air at least once a week for a common interest. 75 meters is the perfect band to do this with since the band covers up to a few hundred miles, reliably and usually, everyone can hear all others in the net. You just can't do that on 20 meters.

Call CQ on 3.885 using AM and there's a good chance that someone will come back to you and chat.

I think once you upgrade, you'll have more space to call CQ. The best place on the band for me to call CQ is below 3800 kHz, where the DX is, especially when the static level drops during the winter.

I will admit, though; the art of rag chewing is getting to be a lost art. Let's try and turn that around by calling CQ more often.

Bob
WB1GCM
ARRL Test Engineer
Oct 5th 2011, 16:04

W0BTU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by KD2AIP
... Last month I got my General license. Now everything is contests and nets. Nobody gets on the radio any more to chat with someone at random. ... 80 meters is 100% networks, 40 almost as bad.


What time do you get on? The last three times I got on 40 (after dark), there was only one net.

Last night, conditions on 40 SSB were the best I've seen in some time. I worked many stations both stateside and DX on my vertical and Beverages. And I never even had to call CQ. :-)

As for contests, I used to feel the same way, until I was asked to help in the ARRL 160 Meter Contest years ago. I found out just how much fun they can be.

73 Mike
www.w0btu.com
Oct 22nd 2011, 12:02

K2ADK

Joined: Jun 12th 2011, 20:32
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Okay, a few weeks have gone by since my post. I've had luck calling CQ on 10 meters, 15 meters, and 17 meters, but 40 and 80 still seem to me to be locked up by networks. In particular, the precious 7.175 - 7.190 portion is virtually impossible to use unless I want to give a .005 khz space between me and the next guy. And 80? It's like knocking on the door of some club to which you will never be admitted.

Yup, amateur radio has certainly changed. Networks are, in my opinion, not a good change. But the addition of 12, 17, and 30 meters has been an enormously good thing. Indeed they seem to me to be the ham radio of my youth: lots of CW, good propagation, and not so crowded.
Aug 16th 2012, 16:03

K8LTN

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Well, I dropped out of Ham Radio in the 60's because of contests. It used to be nice to listen to foreign stations calling and being able to rag chew with them but after getting my General lately I find most all ham radio is contests. What a waste of time to me and many others posted. K8LTN
Aug 18th 2012, 14:51

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I firmly believe that sponsors of contests need to limit the frequencies used during contests. We are not talking about the FCC rules here...we are talking about the rules for the contests that are set up by the contest sponsors. The sponsors of contests could easily set frequency limits within the Amateur Radio bands and/or sub-bands to be used during contests. Any contacts outside those limits could (and should) be disallowed. Too many contacts outside of the limits could be grounds for that station to be disqualified. I, and many others feel that it is not fair to non-contesters for any contest to use the entire voice, CW, or digital parts or sub-bands of any Amateur band allocation. (with the exception of Field Day which is an emergency preparedness event).

Contesters will mention the W.A.R.C. Bands. The fact of the matter is that propagation is not the same on the W.A.R.C. Bands, and compared to the other HF bands, the W.A.R.C. Bands are very small.
Some contesters will say that most contests take place over weekends, so non-contesters have the rest of the week to operate. Not always so. For many working hams, the weekends are the only chance that they have to operate. Also, it seems that there is some sort of contest scheduled almost every weekend, sometimes several. I wonder how those same contesters would feel if the contests were only held during the week instead on weekends!

Some contesters will suggest that non-contesters try CW/RTTY and Digital modes. But what if the non-contester chooses to use SSB voice? Perhaps he/she has no interest in operating CW, RTTY, or digital modes. Should his/her choice of operating in his preferred mode be taken away from him because the sponsors of a contest are inconsiderate and discourteous enough to not limit the frequencies used for a contest? I think not!

Also a note on how some contesters operate: They all seem to want to find any frequency that they can sit on (even if its far too close to another occupied frequency) and call CQ contest. If everyone did this, no contacts would get made! I realize that a station sitting on a frequency calling CQ contest makes a higher number of contacts per hour, but some stations must hunt and pounce, or no one makes any contacts. And a few contesters are rude enough to operate less than 3Khz away from frequencies where there is an ongoing net, such as 14.300Mhz where there the Intercontinental Traffic net, and the Maritime Mobile Service Net operate on a daily basis. While no Amateur or group of Amateurs “own” a frequency, it is well known that these nets operate daily on or near this frequency. The same is true of other nets.

Contest sponsors should have the courtesy to exclude these frequencies, and disallow any contacts made within 3Khz of these frequencies. Contesters should have the courtesy not to operate within 3Khz of any occupied frequency. I do not think that it is asking too much for the sponsors of contests to limit the frequencies to be used in the contest, and leave some room for non-contest stations to operate. I am not suggesting that contesting be stopped, or that the number of contests be reduced. Just that the sponsors and contesters have some courtesy toward those who are not interested in contesting. I believe that all Amateur Operators need to realize that whether there is a contest or not, contesters and non-contesters alike have the same right to operate, and the same obligation to be courteous to all other operators.





Aug 18th 2012, 15:16

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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In my experience there are not all that many formal nets on 40m and 80m. There are many groups that meet on the same frequency at the same time every evening. Some of these groups (but not all by any means!) are very clic-ish, resenting any newcomers. If you encounter such a group, just turn the large knob marked VFO and move on. It is a bit unfortunate that General class licensees are limited to 3.8 to 4 Mhz when there is the "DX Window" at 3.97 to 3.8Mhz, and below 3.97Mhz there are fewer groups crowded 3Khz (or less) apart than there are above 3.8Mhz.

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