Yet another peril of a "confusing" call sign

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:

Screenshot 2022-10-25 first

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:

Screenshot 2022-10-25 2nd

Apparently it is not enough to worry whether another operator can decipher my callsign. Now I have to worry about the skimmers, too? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


I have learned that the station calling CQ in the pile on my frequency is actually WB8ICQ looking for an s2s. Haha.
73! Mike, WB2FUV


Yep, Mike was another S2S contact that day. Hope to do it again, Mike!
Scott WB8ICQ

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I guess a callsign ending by BK or SK could also be confusing… :grinning:

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Who’d want a Swedish club call SK1CQ :wink:


At the risk of boring you:-

There is an American naval ship with the callsign" KKUI = I’ve heard a recording of the ship passing traffic - it takes a while to work out which letters are the start and/or finish.

A number of RN coastal stations along the south coast had callsigns which could be confusing"-

MTI, MTN, MTO & MTK - all of these worked on the same frequency too.

And when I worked in Gibraltar my callsign, GYU was sometimes mistaken for GYX which was across the Med in Malta. Big ‘fun’ (not) if we were both transmitting/receiving at the same time!

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