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Chaser operating standards on 40m


#1

Well, despite the cold windy weather and still laying snow, I managed my 5 summit activation trip yesterday.
(full report to follow on my blog at dd5lp.com in a few days).

My main target was to activate the summits on 10m and with 6.5 (0.5 - was a failed one-way contact) 10m contacts I did indeed manage that. In order to get at least 4 contacts on the last 4 summits, I also used 20m and 40m.

Finding ANY frequency on 40m without background noise from a nearby frequency was almost impossible, so thanks for those chasers who somehow pulled me out of the noise (I was only running 5w or 2.5w on the last summit).

Here’s my complaint however - Trying to call another activator to give them and get an S2S contact is now almost impossible because of the crazy operation of some chasers in these pile-ups. I had other activators at S7 to S9+, so some would at least hear me if I had a chance. Of the four I tried to call, I managed to get through to one only. Without the “SOTA chaser QRM” I think I would have been able to work at least 3 of the 4 if not all of them.

Trying to pull stations out of a pile-up calling me is also not made better when I specifically ask for a station with particular letters in their call, that I have heard in the Melé and another station with a totally different call keeps calling. In some cases two or three stations keep calling. I know QSB is a problem especially with the activator running QRP, but going by most of the reports I was getting, my signal was loud enough to hear which station I was looking for. I try to catch part of call and then call that out, I do not wait for “tail end Charlie” and often I find that when I have gone back to a call I have heard, “tail end Charlie” or “the keep repeat calling - 'cos I’m more important idiot” is still trying to call me, making it impossible for me to know whether the selected station has come back to me or not and I have to call him (or her) again. This problem means that I take at least twice as long to work each station and I’m sure several chasers who I’d like to give a contact to simply give up. Unless there is a safety reason not to, I will always try to work all chasers. Those ignoring my call for a station with a particular set of letters in the call are spoiling it for the others.

By all means give your callsign twice but make only one call per QRZ please!

73 Ed.

P.S. The reference to “tail end Charlie” refers to anyone waiting and calling at the end of a piile-up, not only people called Charles. :grinning:


#2

Very well done on your 5 summit round in the DL/AL region, good going in mid-winter, so it wasn’t all bad!

I know what you are saying regarding the operating standards of the few - and it is always the same desperate ones who either call when they can’t hear you or make long calls to try to block the pile up, as I mentioned a few weeks ago when a French station was always sending his callsign 3 times K (CW/SSB its all the same) when he called. By the time he got to the end of that long call I could have worked him and been working someone else, I don’t spend long on a summit so other chasers are losing out.

Name and shame the worst offenders I say (not those of us who make the odd mistake, but the persistent repeat offenders) and blacklist the really rude operators. Don’t work them just to get rid of them, and most importantly use the “Show who chased me” tab to check for phantom callers who claim to have made a contact with you and didn’t. These are the same guys usually who resort to these methods, desperate fellows…

And also - if you are a chaser and you hear this practice going on from the home shack e-mail the activator later so he can check whether the bluffer has logged a phantom contact. He can then be told to erase it.

Your e-mail reminded me to check those calls who wrongly logged me in CT/ES a few weeks ago to see if they have taken out or corrected the contacts, if not I will be seeking MT intervention.

73 Phil


#3

That doesn’t help matters, avoid using it.


#4

Please elaborate. Why doesn’t chasers only calling once help?

Ed.


#5

That is not what I am referring to Ed…

Do you know what QRZ means ?


#6

Do you know what QRZ means ? -

In this context it’s used like a CQ call.

OK, I’ll reword my statement to make it clear - Please chasers do not repeat call. Call once in response to my announcement that I am listening - not several times when you think I may go back to someone else.

Ed.


#7

It means “whos calling me”

Just simply call CQ, there is no need to put it in.


#8

In fact you had a Henry on one LOL
ME, thanks for that as you came up finally.
But do agree try to sticking calling once the activator no wastes time working the stations with less hassle.
But you should have heard it when Carl 2E0HPI/P was on yesterday doing a WAN/WFFF/LOTA ON 40M they were falling over each other not even awaiting for the Qso to finish.

One thing I do tend to do if it that busy, and the station is not too strong, i just do something else till its quietens down am not going to waste me breath till such time i know i prob can get through.

A little more art of self control, but it is easy to get drawn into it. Cause i had the worse one of all yesterday working a OK sota. Got through, confirm calls, your 5 by ??? then the radar kicked in on 20m one contact ruined. Also noted yesterday , had to call in again to another sota station as felt contact was not confirmed enough in other words not get my report for a reason may be by another shouting over top or sudden QSB. Yes I know am in you log but your not in mine cause contact is not confirmed by you signal report was missed.

I don’t think this problem will go away but it can be address,ed by a little more self control by the chaser.

Oh by way Ed marvelous job on the 5 Sota run yesterday. Thanks again

Karl


#9

QRZ is common parlance in amateur radio operating Jonathan where we don’t necessarily stick to the professional use of the Q codes. QRZ is often used when finishing off with one contact, you know there are others waiting in the pile up,so you use it and it helps establish a rhythym which most of us recognise, so I’m with Ed on this one and I use it myself on SSB. If on CW it’s common just to send TU or QRZ on its own or every 3 to 5 calls its also good practice to send QRZ de yourcall

I have now reported 7 “phantom chasers” to the database manager as I said I would above so that these non contacts can be taken out of the SOTA database from 11-13th January.

73 Phil


#10

Morning Phil.

We’re pretty busy here on MT. May I recommend that you find these stations’ email addresses (talking of ‘QRZ’…) and inform them directly that they are “Not In Log”? This is what I do, and almost always the response is polite, friendly and cooperative.

I’m just envisaging the email traffic if every regular activator took your approach! It would be unmanageable - but it can all be sorted out amongst yourselves without MT intervention can’t it?


#11

Its used far too much on the bands nowadays for the lack of amateurs misunderstanding its meaning.

Its senseless, if it isn’t needed don’t use it. I suppose some enjoy using meaningless nonsense in their contacts to try and big themselves up, choice is entirely yours.

Off out.

Jonathan


#12

Yes, the correct use of QRZ and QRZ? in cw should really be easy - if people would face the very different meaning…

Can not speak for phone modes, the intention of the caller may be probably clear(er) to see, hi.


#13

Hi Johnathan

Thanks for your input and clarification of how the Q codes should be used (especially in CW). I realise they do get “abused” sometimes in SSB however - your definition of QRZ (who is calling me) is still valid in the way I used it in my text above - I want to know who (now) wants to call me and as I clarified, my concern is with chasers making multiple calls following my request for calls. Some of the chasers seem to think, they must be THE station that I will respond to - which quite often will not be the case.

As you say - enough said on the subject.

73 Ed.


#14

For clarification Karl, I am not saying don’t wait until the pile-up has calmed down and no one is calling before you call - that’s fine. It’s in a pile-up waiting until you think that all other stations have given their calls and then add yours at the end in the hope that the activator will only remember the last call and reply to that station - that’s my definition of “tail end Charlie”.

Ed.


#15

EA7JPD
just heard a classic ED

You where working said station and another German was working him too (NOT)
Classic GHOSTING or what

karl


#16

That can happen, especially when the two chasers cannot hear each other, however if not sure you can ask for confirmation. I had two stations work me twice yesterday as they weren’t sure they had got though - I don’t mind that - “better safe than sorry”.

Perhaps this is something activators should remember to do - give the call of the station you are working a couple of times.

Ed.


#17

This subject matter also came up in the “WAB Net” topic yesterday. I heard some of these pile-ups, and I concur that the standard of operating of many of the participant was at best abysmal. I would say that this lack of discipline and consideration is as bad on the 20 metre band as it is on forty. The question that needs thrashing out is what, if anything, can be done about it. Little diversions into topics such as the true meaning of “QRZ” do not help us to concentrate on what is a real and worsening problem as the popularity of SOTA increases.

I think we all, chasers and activators, know who the worst offenders are. Indeed I have a list of offenders in my little red book that takes up two pages, and several of them have received warnings about their behaviour, I will return to this soon. The truth that has to be faced is that it is not just a few stations indulging in disruptive behaviour, there are many of them. Very many. In fact as the pile-ups become more frantic and undisciplined even stations that are normally well behaved can get drawn into the melee. Competitive tail-ending could be the next olympic sport!

As I see it we have two courses of action to combat the problem. Official action by the MT against the worst offenders, and individual activators making AND KEEPING TO their own list of stations that they will not work because of their disruptive behaviour. Black list the beggars!

A third course of action is to avoid using twenty and forty as this type of behaviour is less rampant on the other bands, but twenty and forty are popular for very good reasons so this is not a satisfactory solution.

Then there is inaction - somebody said in the other thread that “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” but is it really going to come down to activators abandoning SOTA because they were driven out by alligators? Is that what we want?

There is a positive course of action open to all activators, and that is to make a note of the callsigns of the worst offenders and report them to me via email, not on the reflector - brncarter@yahoo.com. Once I am satisfied that these stations are frequent offenders I can take action. This action is initially just a friendly warning that their behaviour is causing problems, and this usually results in an apology. However, if the behaviour continues we are prepared to suspend their access to the database for a month, and if this fails then we have the ultimate sanction - we throw them out of SOTA and delete them from the database. All their work wasted because they do not behave sensibly.

No suspensions have happened yet and that is for a good reason. This course of action depends on activators reporting problem stations. I am a fairly active chaser myself but I cannot listen to every activation, skip and other calls on my time prevent this, so unless activators report the problem stations there will be no action against them.

Bringing the alligators under control will only happen if we all co-operate.

Brian


#18

Seems a bit contradictory!


#19

I think we’re in danger of overstating the issue, and overreacting to it.

All it needs is for activators to manage their pile-ups correctly. After all, SOTA pile-ups are still nothing compared to major DXpedition pile-ups.

Activators should then check their “Who chased me” feature and drop them an email to advise “Not in log” where necessary.

Simples!

Victor - it is “contradictory”, because I have a different take to Brian on this issue.


#20

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what Phil was suggesting?
73
Victor GI4ONL