GENERAL OPERATING PROCEDURE
- Amongst radio operators we never use expressions like ‘mister’, ‘miss’ or ‘misses’. Radio operators always address one another with their first name.
- In spoken as well as written language (including e-mails) we always greet one another using the expression ‘ 73’. Do not use incerely and similar expressions.
- ‘73’ means best regards. Hence, do not say or write 73s (seventy threes), best 73 or many 73s etc. Just ‘ 73’ is correct.
- If you used to be a CB operator, erase the CB language from your memory, and learn the 11 meter radio idioms which will help you integrate into the 11 meter and ham radio community.
- On the air, use the Q-code (see also Radio codes) correctly.
- Use the Q-code sparsely during phone contacts.
- Use the international spelling alphabet correctly. Avoid fantasies.
- English is the number one international 11 meter and ham language on the air.
- Eleven meter radio is an ideal tool to learn and practice new languages.
- Becoming a good radio amateur starts by listening a lot.
- Be careful, not all you hear on the bands are good examples. Old-timers also commit errors
- If you are active on the bands, be a good example on the air.
USE YOUR CALL (CALLSIGN) CORRECTLY
- Never start a transmission by calling your correspondent with his first name or nickname.
- Identify yourself using your complete callsign, not just the suffix! Identify frequently.
ALWAYS BE A GENTLEMAN
- Never use faul language, stay polite, courteous and gentle, under all circumstances.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A QSO?
A QSO is a contact by radio between two or more radio operators.
- How do you start a QSO?
- By making a general call (calling CQ).
- Or by answering someone’s CQ.
- Which call comes first?
- Correct is: ‘12DK345 from 67DK890 ’( you are 67DK890, and 12DK345 is the person you address).
- First give the call of the person you address, followed by your own call.
- How often should you identify?
- When you first come on the air, and when you leave th air, and in between every 5 (in some countries 10) minutes.
- Good operatings says you should identify at each QSO.
- A ‘pause’ or a ‘blank’
- When your correspondent switches the transmission over to you, it is a good habit to wait a second before starting your transmission, in order to check whether someone may want to join you, or use the frequency.
- Long versus short transmissions
- Make short transmissions, this makes it much easier for your correspondent if he wants to comment on something you said.
WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT ON THE 11 METER BAND?
- In principle: about the technique of radio communications
- … in the broad sense of the term.
- Some subjects which are a no no in amateur radio conversations on the air are:
- Business (you can talk about your profession, but you cannot advertise for your business).
- Derogatory remarks directed at any group (ethnic, religious, racial, sexual etc.).
- ‘Bathroom humor’: if you wouldn’t tell the joke to your ten year old child, don’t tell it on the radio.
- Any subject that has no relation whatsoever with the eleven meter radio hobby
HOW DO YOU CALL CQ IN PHONE?
- If you need to tune your transmitter ® on a dummy load ® if need to do it on the antenna, only on a clear frequency!
- Always start by listening for a while.
- Then ask if the frequency is in use: ‘is this frequency in use?’.
- If you have already listened for a while on an apparently clear frequency, why do you in addition have to ask if the frequency is in use?
- Because one station, part of a QSO, who is located in the skip zone vs. your location, could be transmitting on the frequency. This means that you cannot hear him (and he won’t hear you) because he is too far for propagation via ground wave and too close for propagation via ionospheric reflection. On the higher HF bands this usually means stations located a few hundred kilometres from you.
- If you ask if the frequency is in use, his correspondent may hear you and confirm. If you start transmitting without asking, chances are you will be causing QRM to at least one of the stations onfrequency.
- If it is in use, someone will probably answer ‘yes’ or also ‘yes, thank you for asking’.
- If nobody replies, ask a second time if the frequency is in use.
- If still no answer: call CQ…
- ‘CQ from 12DK345, 12DK345 calling CQ, one two international radio three four five calling
- CQ and listening ’. You can also end by saying ‘… calling CQ and standing by’.
- Speak clearly and distinctly and pronounce all words correctly.
- Give your call 2 to maximum 4 times during a CQ.
- Use the international spelling alphabet (for spelling out your callsign) at least once during your CQ.
- It’s better to use several consecutive short CQs rather than one long CQ.
- Never end your CQ with ‘QRZ’. QRZ has only 1 meaning: ‘who did call me?’… Quite outof the question here.
- Never end your CQ with ‘over’, you are not yet in contact with anyone, so there is nobody yet you can turn it ‘ over’ to.
- – If you call CQ and want to listen on another (than your transmit) frequency, always end your CQ by indicating where you will listen, e.g. ‘ …and listening 5 to 10 up’ or ‘…and listening on 27730 , etc.
- If you specify a separate listening frequency, always check first if it is not yet in use!
- WHAT MEANS ‘CQ DX’?
- If you want to contact long distance stations, call ‘CQ DX’.
- What is DX?
- On HF: stations outside your own continent, or of a country with very limited amateur radio activity (e.g. Mount Athos, Order of Malta etc. in Europe).
- During a CQ you can insist that you only want to work DX stations, as follows: ‘CQ DX, outside Europe, this is…
- Always be obliging; maybe the local station calling you after your CQ DX is a newcomer, and maybe you are a new country for him. Why not just give him a quick QSO?
CALLING A SPECIFIC STATION
- Let us assume that you want to call 67DK890 with whom you have a sked (schedule, rendez-vous).
- Here’s how you do this: ‘67DK890, 67DK890 this is 12DK345 calling on sked and listening for you
- If, despite your directive call someone else calls you, remain polite. Give him a quick report and say ‘ sorry, I have a sked with 67DK890…’.
- MAKING A PHONE QSO (1)
- 67DK890 answers your CQ: ‘12DK345 from 67DK890, six seven international radio eight nine zero is calling you and listening ‘ or ‘12DK345 from
- 67DK890, six seven international radio eight nine zero over
- ’. Someone who answers your CQ can obviously end his transmission with ‘over’ as he wants to turn it over to you, who called CQ.
- If you call a station that has called CQ (or QRZ), call that station by giving his call not more than once. In most cases it’s better not to give it at all; the operator knows his own call. In a contest you never give the callsign of the station you are calling.
- ‘12DK345 from 67DK890 (be careful, keep the right sequence!), thanks for the call, I am receiving you very well, readability 5 and strength 8 (usually the indication on the S-meter on your receiver). My QTH is Asunción and my name is Jorge (not my personal name, there are no such things as personal or impersonal names). How do you copy me? 12DK345 from 67DK890. Over
- -Using the word ‘over’ at the end of your over is recommended but not really a must. A QSO consists of a number of transmissions or overs. ‘ over’ stands for ‘ over to you
- – If signals are not very strong and if the readability is not perfect, you can spell out your name etc. Example: ‘ My name is Jorge, spelled juliett, oscar, romeo, golf, echo…’ Do NOT say ‘ …juliett juliett, oscar oscar, romeo romeo, golf golf, echo echo
- ’. This is not the way you spell the name Jorge.
MAKING A PHONE QSO (2)
- In most rubber stamp QSOs data regarding equipment and antennas will be exchanged, sometimes complemented with weather data (can influence propagation).
- It is the station that called CQ which takes the leading role in the contact. In principle it is this station which determines the subjects of the conversation. It is possible that he just wants to exchange a report. As a calling station, do not impose anything.
- What starts as a short rubber stamp-like contact can evolve into serious and lengthy technical conversations and even into real friendships. 11 Meter and Amateur Radio can be a real bridge builder between communities, cultures and civilizations!
- If you wish to QSL (exchange cards), mention it: ‘Please QSL. I will send my card to you and would appreciate your card as well ’. A QSL is a postcard sized report confirming a QSO you made.
- QSL cards may be mailed direct to the other station. Some stations only QSL via a QSL manager who handles the mail for him/her. Details of those can be found on various websites.
- To wrap up a QSO: ‘…12DK345, this is 67DK890 signing with you and listening for any other calls ’, or if you intend to go off the air ‘…and closing down the station
- You may add the word ‘out’ at the end of your last transmission, indicating you are closing down, but it is seldom done. Do NOT say ‘ over and out’, because ‘ over’ means you switch over to your correspondent, and in this case there is no longer a correspondent!
- Typical SSB QSO for the beginner:
- Is this frequency in use? This is 12DK345
- Is this frequency in use? This is 12DK345
- CQ CQ CQ from 12DK345 one two international radio three four five calling CQ and listening
- 12DK345 from 67DK890 six seven international radio eight nine zero calling and standing by
- 67DK890 from 12DK345, good evening, thanks for your call, you are 59. My name is Roberto, I
- spell Romeo
- Oscar Bravo Echo Romeo Tango Oscar and my QTH is Montevideo. How copy? 67DK890 from
- 12DK345. Over.
- 12DK345 from 67DK890, good evening Roberto, I copy you very well, 57, readability 5 and strength 7. My ame is Jorge, Juliette Oscar Romeo Golf Echo, and my QTH is near Asunción. Back to you Roberto. 12DK345
- from 67DK890. Over.
- 67DK890 from 12DK345, thanks for the report Jorge. My working conditions are a 100 Watt transceiver with a dipole 10 meter high. I would like to exchange QSL cards with you, and will send you my card directly. Many thanks for this contact, 73 and see you soon again, I hope.
- 67DK890 from 12DK345.
- 12DK345 from 67DK890, all copied 100%, on this side I am using 10 Watt with an inverted-V antenna ith the apex at 8 meters. I will also send you my QSL card direct, Roberto. 73 and hope to meet you again soon. 12DK345
- from 67DK890 clear with you.
- 73 Jorge and see you soon from 12DK345 now clear (…and listening for any stations calling)
HOW TO MAKE QSOs IN A PHONE CONTEST (1)
Contest: is the name for a radio communication competition between radio amateurs.
What is contesting? It is the competitive side of ham radio.
- -During a contest a radio amateur can measure the competitive performance of his station and antennas, as well as his performance as an operator.
- -‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’. How to become a good contester? Through lots of practice and participation in contests. Are there many contests? There are many contests from different Clubs and Organisations during the year. The contest calendar: available on all 11 meter radio sites.
What do you do in a contest?
- -Make as many QSO’s as you can.
- -Work as many multipliers as you can.
- -In a given time frame (e.g. 4, 8, 12, 24, 36 or 48 hours).
What makes a contest QSO? The exchange of calls, and most often a report and a so-called contest exchange (often a serial or progressive number).
Contest operating is all about speed, efficiency and accuracy. One is expected to say only and exactly hat’s strictly required. No time for formalities.
HOW TO MAKE QSOs IN A PHONE CONTEST (2)
- If you are new to contesting, it is advisable to first visit a contester during a contest. You can also make your first steps in contesting by participating e.g. in a field day with your local radio club.
- For your first contest, start by listening to see how the routine contesters go about it. Identify the right procedures to make fast contacts. Be aware that not all that you will hear are good examples. A few examples of common errors are discussed further on.
- An example of a fully efficient contest CQ is: ‘12DK345 one two international radio three four five contest ’
- Always give your call twice, once phonetically, unless you’re in a big pileup, in which case you give your call just once and forget about spelling it out every time.
- Why is the word contest the last word in your contest CQ? Because by doing so, someone who happens to tune across your frequency at the end of the CQ, knows there is someone calling CQ contest on that frequency. Even the word CQ is left out as it is ballast and contains no added information.
- The caller (67DK890) should call you by merely giving his call once: ‘six seven international radio eight nine zero
- If you don’t reply to him, he will after 1 second, probably call again (1 time his call).
- If you copy him, reply as follows: ‘67DK890 59001’ or even faster ‘67DK890 591’( if the rules permit the short number format). Do not add anything else, it would only be ballast.
- If you copied only a partial call (e.g. 67DK8..):
- Go back to him as follows: ‘67DK8 59001’.
- Do not send ‘QRZ 67DK8’ or anything like that.
- Being a good operator, 67IDK890 will return to you with ‘67DK890 six seven international radio eight nine zero, you are 59012
- Never say ‘67DK890 please copy 59001’, nor ‘67DK890 copy 59001’ which is equally bad. The ‘ please copy’ or ‘copy’ contains no additional information.
HOW TO MAKE QSOs IN A PHONE CONTEST (3)
- Being an experienced contester, 67DK890 will come back as follows: ‘59012’.
- If he had not copied your report he would have said ‘report again’ or ‘please again’.
- Last step of the contest QSO: ‘thanks 12DK345 contest’. Three parts in this exchange: thanks = end of QSO, 12DK345 = identification, contest = new CQ contest.
- Never end your QSO with ‘QSL QRZ’. Why?
- ‘QSL QRZ’ does not tell anything about your identity (call). And you want all passers-by that stumble across your frequency at the end of your QSO, to know who you are and that you are calling CQ-contest.
- Therefore, always end with ‘thanks 12DK345 contest’ (or ‘QSL 12DK345 contest’) or if you are very much in a hurry ‘ 12DK345 contest’ (this may however lead to confusion and sounds less friendly).
- ‘QSL’ means: I confirm
- Don’t say ‘QRZ’ because QRZ means ‘who called me’, unless there were more stations calling you in the first place when you picked out 67DK890.
- It all boils down to being fast, efficient, accurate and correct.
- Most contest operators use a contest logging program on PC.
- Search and pounce QSO’s: looking around the band for multipliers and stations not yet worked, and call them. How do you do that?
- Make sure you are exactly zero beat with the station you want to work (watch the RIT!).
- Just give your call once. Don’t call as follows: ‘13DK989 from 12DK345’; 13DK989 certainly knows his call, and knows you are calling him because you call on his frequency!
- If he does not return to you within 1 second, call again (1 time) etc.
Example of a contest QSO on phone:
- one two delta kilo three four five contest (CQ contest by 12DK345)
- six seven delta kilo eight nine zero (67DK890 answers)
- 67DK890 five nine zero zero one (12DK345 gives a report to 67DK890)
- five nine zero zero three (67DK890 gives his report to 12DK345)
- thanks 12DK345 contest (12DK345 finishes the contact, identifies and calls CQ contest)
- During some of the larger international contests (CQWW, WPX, ARRL DX, CQ-160m contest –all of these in phone as well as in CW-), contest operators not always fully live by the IARU Band Plan. This happens almost exclusively on 160m and 40m, because of the restricted space on those bands.
- It is nice however to see that during these contests many thousand of hams intensively occupy our bands, which is very positive in view of our required band occupation (use them or lose them).
- The temporary nuisances caused by this exceptional situation, should best be approached with a positive attitude.
THE CORRECT USE OF QRZ
- ‘QRZ’ means ‘who called me?’.
- The most classical use of ‘QRZ’is after a CQ, when you were unable to copy the call(s) of the station(s) that called you.
- ‘QRZ’ does not mean ‘who’s there?’.
- If you want to know the call of a station which has not identified for some time, don’t say ‘ QRZ’ but ask ‘your call please ’ or ‘ please identify
- ‘QRZ’ does not mean ‘is there anyone on this frequency?’.
- If you want to check if a frequency is in use just say ‘is this frequency in use?’.
- ‘QRZ’ does not mean ‘please call me’.
- We more and more frequently hear CQ calls ending with ‘QRZ’. This makes no sense. How can someone already have been calling if you just finished a CQ?
- Even more funny is to say ‘QRZ is this frequency in use?’ or ‘QRZ the frequency?’.
- ‘QRZ’ in a pileup:
- Incorrect: CQ 12DK345 …67DK890 you’re 59QSL QRZ 12DK345
- Incorrect: CQ 12DK345…67DK890 you’re 59QSL QRZ
- Correct: CQ12DK345…67DK890 you’re 59 QSL 12DK345
CHECK YOUR TRANSMISSION QUALITY
- Have you properly adjusted your transmitter?
- Is the microphone gain not set too high?
- Is the speech processing level not too high? The background noise level should be at
- least 25 dB down from your voice peak level. This means that when you don’t speak, the output level of the transmitter must be at least approximately 300 times lower than the peak power when you speak.
- Ask a local radio operator to check your transmission for splatter.
- It is best to check the quality of the transmitted signal by using an oscilloscope which continuously monitors the transmitted waveform.
- Transmitting a ‘clean’ signal is a question of ethics.
- If you splatter, you are causing interference to other users of our bands.