[CQ-Contest] Various soapbox...

John Lash wa2go at erols.com
Fri Nov 7 21:55:44 EST 1997

Tom, while I wasn't the loud guy on 80 who called you, I can tell you what
I think might have been happening, because I probably did it myself to a
couple of stations during the SS.  If I am guilty of it, I apologize to
those few who were affected.  I'll describe the circumstances, and then
underscore how a related problem (invalid qso's scratched by the contest
committee) can be easily avoided:

I am using a rig with 2 VFO's.  
I am S&P'ing up the band on VFO A.
I tune you in and see that you're not a dupe.  I can't call you yet because
you just started sending a report to a caller.
I immediately swap to VFO B and start tuning it looking for my next qso.
Or, if I'm feeling alert, I switch to stereo mode (if not already there)
and start tuning VFO B in my right ear while half listening to you on VFO A
in my left ear.
I come across another station and catch the last letter of his call and the
letters "SS".  
I send "?", shorthand for asking him to please repeat just his call (NOT
his entire CQ, as so many do.)
I hear his call and immediately recognize him to be a dupe.
I keep tuning, get to the next station.  Instant replay - send a "?" to
him, find he's a dupe, and keep tuning.
I suddenly remember I had you on VFO A, go back to listening to you, and
catch the tail end of your CQ.   
Another possibility is that my VFO B "catches up" to VFO A and they're both
on you now.  This happens a lot when leapfrogging the 2 VFO's.
I send my call and work you normally.

What I think happened to you was that when the station called "you" the
first time, he thought he was actually calling the guy on his other VFO.
He had already tuned you in on VFO A and was waiting for the timing to be
right to work you, but he forgot to switch his Tramsmitter to VFO B when he
send "?" to the other station.  Obviously he didn't get an answer, so he
didn't work him.  But he didn't keep calling because he probably realized
it was a dupe or figured that the guy was deaf.  (You don't know how many
other times he might have tried calling that guy while you were sending CQ
or an exchange, unless you run QSK.)   So he kept tuning, found another
station, hit "?", heard that station's callsign, kept tuning, etc.  All the
while transmitting on the wrong VFO and never being heard by those other
stations.  Eventually he either said "duh, I'm transmitting on the wrong
VFO" and corrected the situation, or else his VFO B caught up to you as well.

I'm not saying it's OK to do this.  Obviously it shows that the person is
not paying close enough attention to what they're doing.  But ya gotta
admit:  1) you're at least a little tired, especially near the end of a
contest (even a short little one like the SS!);  2) the desperation for new
q's gets pretty feverish near the end of SS or any contest;  3) with the
plethora of lights and buttons on today's multi-VFO radios, it's a lot
harder to keep track of where the heck you're transmitting than it might be
on say a Drake C-Line or a set of Heathkit Twins like I used to use up
until a couple of years ago.  We've all heard US stations calling EU
stations on their 40 listening frequency.  It's the same problem, and it's
an honest mistake.  Illegal, but honest.  (Is that an oxymoron?)

The only way to stop the problem is to just keep on practicing with your
radio, both in contests and on a daily basis in the weeks before a contest.
 I personally have an 'MP, and the only use I've given it has been 3 or 4
contests, and that's why I'm screwing up with the VFO's a little more than
I ought to be.  My only comforts are that a) I'm in good company, and b) I
know by next year I should have it pretty well figured out!

Here's the related problem I have found running rampant lately, and the
very simple solution.  Experienced contestors and newcomers will benefit
equally from this tip:  
When you call a station who is CQ'ing, and he answers you and sends you a
report, unless you know in your heart of hearts that there is absolutely no
reason to do this, (i.e. that you are the only 2 stations on the band),
send HIS CALL first and then your report or exchange to him.  This way HE
KNOWS that YOU KNOW that you are working HIM and not the guy 200 hz away or
the other station who is listening "up" and happens to be listening on his
frequency, etc.  I have seen so many cases (mostly in DX contests, and
ESPECIALLY on 40 phone, but really it can happen anywhere anytime) where
someone calls a station and the CQ'ing station refuses to work the guy
because he swears he is already in the log, while the calling station
swears they have not worked.  If there is a language barrier, it's often
very hard to get them to log the real qso.  (Why does this always seem to
happen most with new mults?) This is clearly a case of either a miscopied
call (usually unlikely) or a situation like I am describing where somebody
thought they were working somebody who was actually working somebody else.
I know it takes a little time to send his call as part of your exchange,
but isn't it worth not losing Q's later?  If you're really concerned about
speed, at least send his suffix on CW, or say his call quickly without
phonetics on phone.

Enough talking.  Back to figuring out how to get my radio and my PC to talk
to one another.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to mention these noteworthy items.

73 & GL to all,

Way 2 Go!

At 01:40 PM 11/7/97 -0500, you wrote:
>In a message dated 97-11-07 12:24:11 EST, desmith at Telalink.Net writes:
><< About an hour before the end of SS, I was CQing on 80 when a strong
> (a known contester & good op) called.  Sent him my exchange, went back to
> receive, and all I got back was a ?.  Sent it again, and got another ?.
> Frustrated, I called CQ again.  This station called again, but so did
> someone else.  Answered the other guy, completed the QSO, then this guy
> calls yet again.  I send the exchange again - and this time he QSLs & we
> complete the QSO.
>  >>
>I wonder if it was the same, loud, well known contester that I had a similar
>experience with in the NAQP? It sounds very sympotmatic of poorly executed
>single-multi operation. Like Dirty Harry says, a man has got to know his
>Tom, K5RC/7
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