I was frustrated today as I waited to chase an activator whose call sign I never heard during the 20 minutes I was able to receive him on 20M CW. There was some QSB, and it’s possible he signed his call during a dip in the signal, but I counted 13 QSOs where he sent only the call sign and signal report of the station he was working, then “dit dit” or “QRZ?” to indicate the QSO was completed. Never a CQ SOTA, never a peak reference, and as far as I could tell, no call sign. I only knew he was an activator because of the frequency and the familiar chaser call signs I was hearing. Only later, when I could look at SOTAwatch spots, was I able to guess who he might have been from the time and frequency.
I think I am hearing this kind of operating practice more and more frequently. I think it is bad practice.
Activators: please don’t assume we chasers all have access to the current spots to deduce who and where you are. Also keep in mind that your signals are often quite weak and subject to QRM and QRN here at home stations.
And if these reasons are not enough, consider you may be operating illegally. FCC (US) regulations state, in part:
97.119 Station identification.
(a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any call sign not authorized to the station.
I read this to mean US hams should transmit their call sign at the completion of every QSO (SOTA, contest, or otherwise).
Before you flame me with “well that means chaser should also transmit their call sign at the end of the QSO”: yes, that would be literally correct. But let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good – chasers do not go unidentified in this scenario.
I hope to work you next time, whoever you are.