Eric K3NA writes:
For myself only, I look for an apparently-free frequency and
call CQ. If it's occupied, I'll find out soon enough. I
don't ask QRL? and I don't answer people who send QRL?
(usually, they send it when I am trying to dig out a weak
signal that requires a bunch of repeats, so I've been mostly
listening rather than transmitting, and it breaks the
There's a difference between someone covering up your QSO by calling
QRL? and you covering up someone else's QSO by calling CQ.
In the former case, one of the stations in the QSO will probably
hear you and say QRL. You get the message and go away (I hope). End
In the latter case, five other stations may answer your CQ and totally
obliterate the stations that were originally trying to exchange reports.
If those two stations aren't particularly strong, you may never hear
them under the resulting clamor. (Especially if your station is strong
enough to attract a large crowd.)
I say this as someone who has gotten stomped on more times than I
can count. Having used your station once, Eric, I can well imagine
that it doesn't happen to you very much. :-)
Bottom line: although it's true that no one owns a frequency, there
is an accepted procedure for politely checking a frequency, and calling
CQ isn't it.