In a message dated 8/9/2006 10:12:49 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
"Di-di-dah-dah-di-dit" does not mean "is the frequency in use?" Using it
as such is bad form. MHO.
The "?" has a dual meaning, as heard by a guy who really is using a
Not only does it mean "if you don't tell me otherwise I'm going to start
calling CQ here in about a second", it also means "who was that who was just
calling here, whose call I did not get".
So you hear a possible open frequency, send "?", and a guy who has been
there and had let 3 seconds pass between a CQ can just dump in his call, both
showing that the frequency is in use and inviting you to work him before you
Or if he was quiet because he was digging out a weak one, "?" clobbers the
weak one a lot less than "QRL".
Send "QRL" and the guy who has been there has his blood pressure go up a
dozen points as he goes into frequency defend mode. And he probably won't send
just his call, and you won't get to get a qso if you haven't worked him yet.
All that said, I disagree that a failure to elicit a response to a "?" or
"QRL" constitutes a grant of a frequency. Call a quick CQ, and if a guy comes
on telling you "QRL QSY", do so.
After an uncontested CQ or two, then you have a pretty good claim to the
73 - Jim K8MR
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