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Re: [CQ-Contest] "?" not equal to "QRL?"

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] "?" not equal to "QRL?"
From: Barry <w2up@mindspring.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2006 09:06:46 -0400
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
It surprises me that this topic has generated as much comment as it 
has.  This isn't brain surgery.  This is common sense and courtesy.  To 
me, a simple ? is certainly enough to get across the point someone's 
asking if the frequency is clear.  Remember, CW contesting is the land 
of cut numbers - the briefer the better.

If I stumble across a quiet frequency I send a ?  I wait at least 
several nanoseconds (joke here for the humor impaired) and if no 
response, I typically sent TEST W2UP.  At that point if the only 
response is quiet or someone calling me, it's my frequency.  If I hear 
someone sending TU W3XXX or NR AGN or TEST W3XXX, I assume the frequency 
WAS in use (and either I didn't hear the response or W3XXX was trying to 
copy the full callsign of HB0/DL1XXX/P/QRP and couldn't respond) and I 
move on.  If, after I've made 3 QSOs, someone tries to tell me the freq 
is in use, that's too bad for them.  They were gone too long to reclaim 
the frequency.  If they are louder than me and know it, they might win 

Of course, there are always a few badasses that don't believe in 
courtesy and will just try to muscle their way in.  That's a different 

Barry W2UP
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