Silly me, I guess I made the assumption that one should only inquire if the
frequency is in use if they have first determined that it is void of signals.
I am pretty sure that most people who send "?" on my CQ frequency while I'm in
mid-QSO with a weak one haven't listened well enough yet, and are in too big of
Also, there's a lot to be said for the old prosign "didit dit" which is shorter
even than a question mark, and which does mean "is this frequency in use?"
Finally I agree with Jim that even after you think it's clear and you actually
get out a CQ before you get told the frequency is in use, you ought to give it
up and move on in a gentlemanly fashion.
----- Original Message -----
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; CQ-Contest@contesting.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] "?" not equal to "QRL?"
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 frequency.
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 move on.
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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