As I have previously posted, I have been “ICQ” since the U.S. Federal Communications commission gave me WN8ICQ in 1970, changing to WB8ICQ when I upgraded my license. It’s been previously remarked on the Reflector (I can’t find the post, of course) that a callsign with “CQ” in it can be confusing to other operators, especially with a weak signal or adverse conditions. I now have another danger to report.
On Saturday, October 21, I was activating Fishhawk Mountain, W4C/WM-050. After working 20m and 40m, I moved to 30m. I spotted myself by SMS at 1711 UTC, and RBNhole spotted me at 1713. Meanwhile, far away and without any coordination with me, WC1N was activating W1/NL-019 on 20m and was spotted at 1712:
When I was finished on 30m, I started chasing other activators for S2S QSOs. Seeing WC1N’s spot on SOTAwatch, I tuned up on 20m and gave him a call on his frequency, 14.063 MHz.
Apparently propagation wasn’t in our favor because Bob had trouble copying my callsign, and kept responding “?” to my calls. Finally I sent my callsign four times in succession: “WB8ICQ WB8ICQ WB8ICQ WB8ICQ”. That did it, Bob copied me and we were able to complete the S2S QSO.
But here’s the thing: apparently sending multiple repeats of a call containing “CQ” can confuse the software, too. When I was calling WC1N, somewhere a skimmer also copied me and the RBNhole system assumed I was calling CQ, because it spotted me about the same time it spotted WC1N again, and on almost the same frequency:
Apparently it is not enough to worry whether another operator can decipher my callsign. Now I have to worry about the skimmers, too?