Listen to What?

Listen to What?
by Wayne Mills, N7NG
Much of the current commentary about poor pileup operating is aimed only at the DXers’ side of the pileups. Such commentary blames callers for
1) suffering from a lack of knowledge, training and skills, and
2) being newer hams and just don’t know any better, and
3) having an “it’s all about me,” preferring to simply try to brute force their way through a pileup…
The problem is much more complex than this analysis suggests. Further, it’s not all about the DXers, either. The DX operator must carry a significant burden for his own operating. That’s a topic for another session, though. For now, let’s talk about DXers.
DXers have been admonished for years to “Listen, Listen, and Listen some more.” Some newer DXers rightly wonder “Listen to what?” DXers must listen to know what is going on. They must listen to know who the DX station is, whether he’s listening split, where he’s listening. They must determine who he is working, where that station is calling and when he’s calling, etc. etc.
To be efficient in a DXer must learn how to find the answers to these questions, and find them quickly. One way to determine the answers to these questions is through careful listening. To improve your DXing skill is to listen to 1) the pileup, and 2) listen to the DX station.
And here’s the hint: listen to both sides of the pile simultaneously. This is a very revealing exercise. Don’t just listen for a minute while you decide how to call in the pileup, but listen seriously, at length. Tape some of the pileup in stereo and study it. I guarantee that you will be amazed!
Yes, this requires a transceiver with two receivers, or it requires a second receiver. If your transceiver doesn’t have the capability to listen to two frequencies simultaneously, you can buy or build an antenna splitter and connect it to a second receiver. Most any transceiver will do for listening to the pileup.
Once set up, the knowledge and the experience you will gain by listening to both sides at the same timewill be well worth the effort. What you will likely find is that even if everyone in calling in the pile up were to follow the DX Code of Conduct to the letter, there would still be a significant degree of chaos. You will also find that DXers’ behavior isn’t actually as bad as you thought. Study what you hear, and we’ll talk more about it later at a later date.
(c) 2012, Wayne Mills, N7NG