> I think the "?" has become the de facto standard
> of asking if the frequency is in use.
This is news to me. I think it has become the "de facto standard" for
*some* people. K8CC's post, echoed below, pretty much says it all. MAny
ops are skipping past the "listen" part and going straight to the "transmit"
Any of these methods (QRL?, ?, IE) still require common sense and
courtesy. Many ops act like as long as they send one of these, unless
they get some raving lunatic response they have established their right
to the frequency.
I've had people sent "QRL?" less than a second after I just finished
sending a contest CQ - come on, that's not at all reasonable. How many
times have you been in the middle of a QSO when somebody blows in with a
loud "dit-dit-dah-dah-dit-dit" and you know they're going to start
pressing the F1 key within the next few milliseconds?
If you want to be "courteous", and have a "legitimate" claim to use a
frequency in a contest, the right thing to do is to listen for a short
time first, then send your preferred query more than once, with a
reasonable amount of time for any station to react. If you don't hear
anything, then you can proceed with confidence. If somebody comes back
from the bathroom and wants their frequency back, that's too bad.
I've started trying to do this because I hate being the bad guy in a
frequency battle. Yes, your heart stops beating while you're listening
on an (apparently) empty frequency hoping nobody will send, but it's the
right thing to do.
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