How Not to Break Pile-Ups
Bob Furzer K4CY / 9K2ZZ
I offer the following non-prioritized list of operating techniques guaranteed to bring a fast-paced, orderly (no matter how heavy) pile-up to a grinding halt ….
QRP..QRP..QRP.. I fail to see the motivation or objective of this very common practice. For a start, I really don’t care if the station is QRP or QRO; that is the operator’s personal preference. If the operator is confident enough to think I can hear his plea for special consideration, then why doesn’t he have the confidence that I can copy his callsign? I copy three letters (Q, R, & P), why couldn’t I copy a few more and get the whole callsign?
Xray..Xray..Xray.. (ad nauseam) This practice seems to have spawned for list operations and is unfortunately becoming more and more commonplace. It is even spreading to CW. This is a sure-fire way to bring a snappy operation to a grinding halt. Not only does it necessitate several additional exchanges, but the Xray Xray station frequent feels compelled to repeat his full callsign several times to ensure I have, in fact, received it correctly. Not that it should be of concern to me, but I suspect that the FCC (or appropriate licensing authority) would be hard stretched to view this a correct station identification.
Can you move to…? Frequently, in the midst of a pile, I am requested by an avid DXer who needs a QSO on another band or mode if I will QSY. It never ceases to amaze me; I’m enjoying the pile-up. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be running one!. I’m not about to quit just because someone needs me on another band. I have no objection to requests as to whether I operate CW (or SSB as the case may be) or when I will be on another band/mode, but the blatant request to move elsewhere without consideration for everyone else on frequency is a certain. formula for incurring my wrath.
My name is Bob. Bravo Oscar Bravo, my QTH is Atlanta Tango Lima Alpha November Tango Alpha (or even worse Alabama Tumultuous Louisiana etc.). It is frequently said that I have limited mental capacity, but I’m not a complete moron. I do know how to spell Bob, If I don’t know Atlanta, and I’m curious, I’ll ask. I’ll avoid mentioning further numerous, totally superfluous, time-consuming, and aggravating phrases, expressions, and colloquialisms (Hi Hi, Old Man, Onetwothreefourfivebyonetwothreefourfiveoverover, Break Break, Please Copy, etc.).
‘Nine Kilo Two Zulu Zulu, Nine Kilo Two Zulu Zulu, this is November Six Bravo Foxtrot Mike. QSL, you are also five and nine. Over, over.’ Hey, I know my call (why repeat it once, never mind twice?). I know your call (I just gave you a report!). Why “Over Over,” you are soliciting an additional transmission. Why any Overs at all? Just let go the PTT, footswitch, or let the VOX drop, or better still, simply sign off.
Only very rarely do I change my QTH, name, callsign, or QSL manager between QSOs. It is abundantly clear that stations realize they are missing a vital piece of information only after they (or I) have terminated the QSO. Invariably the request for additional information comes as a belligerent unidentified demand over the top of another station’s transmission. I identify my station at the end of each QSO, I identify my QSL manager and give my name (without phonetic spelling) whenever requested by the station I am in contact with. This apparently does not satisfy a significant number of operators. It is not sufficient to have broken the pileup to establish the QSO; there is the inexplicable urge to blow away the next poor guy by overriding the QSO with inane questions.
The key ingredients that appear lacking (again, not in order of priority) are: Common sense, patience, and the all important one: the ability to listen.
If you hear pileups spread neatly at five kHz across the band, then try listening for me at the lowest frequency pile-up. I have solved the problem of utter confusion caused by the Italian and Russian operators (they are consistently the worst operators I have ever heard, and I have absolutely no reservation saying so), I simply say ‘Those stations with only two letters in their callsigns call me 5 up. Those stations with only three letters in their callsigns, call me 10 up. Everyone else, call me on this frequency. ‘ It actually works. I just stay where I am, simplex, and have snappy QSOs with the guys who know what they are doing.
If I am working stations who give two letters (heaven forbid) then by all means give me two letters, if not (and ‘I won’t!), then don’t. If I can’t spell Bob, then by all means spell your three- or four-letter name. If I’m working tail-enders, then tail-end, otherwise don’t. If I haven’t given my callsign, name, or QSL manager for several minutes, then ask.
If I ask stations for their grandmother’s maiden name and their age, profession, marital status, and social security number, then give it. Otherwise don’t!
Is this fun or what? Did you ever stop to consider that if this is a fun hobby, then why do we work DX? Some of you sure make it hard work. If you don’t like the way I do it, or you find my operating practices offensive, then don’t call me; go bother someone else. Just remember that while you are floundering with cute phonetics and exercising your right of verbal diarrhea, or expounding on the virtues of some esoteric and totally uninteresting subject, I have already terminated the’ QSO and worked two other guys who actually wanted a quick QSO, because I’m long gone. I don’t have to wait for you to finish mumbling salutations, all I have to do is say QRZ.
Oh well… QRZ the station with Xray Xray Over Over in the call…
The DX Magazine
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