[CQ-Contest] Pile ups and giving the call every time

Martin Luther MartinL at AppDes.com.au
Fri Jul 31 12:41:55 EDT 1998

I have watched this thread with growing alarm. We are off along this
"one size fits all" arguement again.
For anyone who has ever operated in a situation where they generate big
pile ups (consistently more than 5 stations calling at the same time)
the pile up is a living entity with its own character. It is not a
collection of individual operators or calls. It is a pile!
The character of that pile is, at least to a large extent, governed by
the station running. They can spread the pile out, They can move it up
and down, They can slow it down, they can speed it up, they can even,
sometimes, shut it up! To me the critical issue is that I am in control.
Not the calling stations, at this point they are just part of the pile.
Once the calling station is identified then we work together to ensure
acccurate exchange of information as required by the particuar contest
and they become an individual, a friend or colleague.
It used to be that my control was respected; if I went quicker and
someone could not keep up they went away until I slowed again, if I did
not give my call they did not call until they found out who I was, if I
asked for calls up they moved off my frequency and so on.
Even with that arrangement I cannot remember a time when I worked more
than 5 stations without giving my call. A quick burst of two or three
can usually clean a pile down far enough to get it back in control
again. I have, in the last couple of years particularly, had the
experience of saying QSL VK5GN QRZ and being greeted by a crow on the
channel going CAW CAW. That is his problem not mine. He has missed
hearing my call and therefore  wants me to stop and repeat for his
benefit at my cost. 

The VK5GN reaction, if they overpower the pile, is to work them and only
log them if they are a new multiplier for me.

However, the problem is still there. The calling station has tried to
take over  control of the frequency. That is never ever the fastest or
best way to run a pile up. The run station has to stay in control. If
calling stations don't like they way the pile is being run then move off
and work someone else. You may not like what he is doing but he is happy
that it is giving him the best result; not necessarily the same as the
best result for you!

I agree with KH2D a modern EU pile up is not a joy to behold and often
requires firm (to the near rudeness) to keep under control from a long
long way away with a signal that is not commanding.

I have enormous respect for the top operators out of Europe who can
consistently find their way quickly to my ears despite the unbelievable

There is not one answer for every situation it requires the judgement of
the run station as to the best way to control the pile.  

If you want a common rule it is do what the run station wants. 
If he doesn't give a callsign he doesn't want new callers
If he says up - go up
If he says QSY then change to where he wants.
If he slows down both on phone or CW follow it. He has reason for
everything. I slow down on phone for difficult to copy foreign accents
like those from Georgia and Alabama (partly humerous and partly true!) .
If I'm having trouble they may be struggling with true blue Aussie.

The alternatives are:-
A set of SOP's (Standard Operating Proceedures) - one size fits all but
suits no real life situation.
The calling stations increasingly insist on their right to be first to
the run operator, the end result is even worse anarchy than the currrent
EU pile.

Contesting is all about making judgements, with experience you get the
right answer more of the time but when we remove all the judegments and
decisions then it will get very boring and I'll have to find another
game to play.


Martin VK5GN
MartinL at appdes.com.au 


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