Acceptable DX Operation

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by W4AVZ, Aug 1, 2017.

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  1. W4AVZ

    W4AVZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am new to the HF bands, and having fun.
    But I have a question about accepted practices during a DX Pileup.

    I was listening to a call from Costa Rica yesterday evening.
    He didn't announce that he was contesting, but he was working the calls as fast as he could.
    I admired his ability to work as fast as he did.

    He was near the noise for me, but occasionally up to s9, so I thought I would try.
    I just couldn't break thru. As I listened, more and more East Coast and Mid West stations started calling.
    (as time went on, I could hear the callers moving further west ward)

    I was hearing Strong Calling Signals coming in at my location.
    Everyone was very anxious to qso, just like me.
    After a while I realized that I just wasn't able to break the pileup,
    and propagation was moving west, so I gave up my calling.

    But I wondered;

    Is it ever appropriate or acceptable to try to pick off someone who is trying to make the contact ?
    Meaning, should I ever try to make a call to one of the calling stations, and ask for a quick QSY up or down, for a short QSO, just for me to log ?

    I realize I would be adding to the unwanted noise on that DX frequency.
    And, I would be taking the caller away from a potential break thru for him or herself.
    I guess it would appear selfish of me.

    Is there an accepted or appropriate method for this ?
    Or would I just be a _______ ____ _______ ?

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
  2. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's essentially the same as you interrupting, in person, an attempt by one person to 'talk' to someone else.

    And, as you said, even if you wait until he is done, it's creating even more qrm to the others on frequency assuming they are all operating simplex. If the pileup is split, the person you want to call obviously isn't listening on his transmit frequency.
  3. F4WBW

    F4WBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Download a copy of Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur I've found it has some really excellent information and advice - specifically for DX operations, but also just in general. (And it has quite a bit of solid advice about pile-ups and contesting ethics.)
    W2VW likes this.
  4. W4AVZ

    W4AVZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info, and link to the Ethics presentation.
    I had the thought after the fact, and wondered if anyone did do it.
    The Idea seemed to be contrary to any fair play best practice.

  5. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    ive had some interesting luck calling CQ on the periphery of the DX station's operation - I.e. - 3kc down or up - and can often pick up some DX doing that when they have worked the station or have given up
  6. AE1N

    AE1N Ham Member QRZ Page

    K2CQW likes this.
  7. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Unfortunately DXing is not a GENTLEMANS SPORT!!! IT's DOG EAT DOG in the trenches!!!
    U nail the DX anyway you can and if that means stepping on someone, thats part of the game.
    That is what PILEUPS ARE. A THOUSAND people all calling at once on about the same frequency.
    But there are ways to squeak in there.
    Being a QRP station (only 1000 Watts and a lame Tribander) I get squashed every time. yet through Persistance and timing, I usually get in the log. One technique is to call a little after the main part of the pile calls, so your call will be heard in the clearing. works sometimes. Just have to see what does. Sometimes he will listen up frequency and keep going up in steps, so you adjust your VFO to suit and find where he is listenning next. (in a Split pileup)
    The main thing is to NOT GIVE UP. Sometimes propagation will change rapidly and it will suddenly favor you! Then it is your chance to shine!!!
    DXing is SERIOUS BUSINESS and U need to give it full concentrations. Nonchalant callers rarely get logged unless they are running a MEGAWATT!! The ones who do are the most RABID, VEHEMENT, ALMOST CRAZY CALLERS!!! They get in the log!!
  8. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't think I have ever heard that being done. Chances are you'd be ignored since the other guy is trying to work someone else that may be an important contact to him.
    MAYBE if you hear him work the DX at the bottom of the pileup you can quickly holler at him to go up 5. Or start calling him very nearby the pileup just after he works the guy. He may tune by and hear you.
    Exactly. Good move!
  9. W4AVZ

    W4AVZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    To WA6MHZ, and all;
    I'm new to the HF Bands, and don't want to start any bad habits.

    I try not to step on anyone, but in a Pile Up, everyone steps on everyone else. Unavoidable.
    It is hard to beat a Tower, Beam, and a Legal Limit Amp.

    I've been lucky (sometimes) with my 100 Watts, and 33' end fed wire in the attic.
    Surprised anyone can hear me at all !
    But, as long as the HOA doesn't see me, I'll be OK.

    I've already learned that it is a matter of Good Listening, Patience, Good Timing, and Band Conditions.

    Maybe the CQ'rs should start an online "Take a Number", but I guess then it would be a Net. Ha Ha.
  10. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am loathe to contradict the views of an Honor Roll DXer like Megahertz, but my experience is somewhat different.

    I've chased DX off and on for nearly 60 years, under various circumstances. I have had very good antennas and high power, and working the pile ups is easier. For the last 5 years or so, I've run 5 watts (REAL QRP!) with simple wire antennas, and it is more of a challenge. It is certainly doable, although you won't work every station every time when you want to.

    A real DXer learns his gear to maximum advantage, how to operate, how to listen, working split. You don't want to just bellow your callsign into the microphone hour after hour. It takes patience, persistence and prowess. Be realistic. If you are running 100 watts to a moderately simple antenna, you are not likely to break the pile up for a very popular and much needed station. There is always luck, though.

    Most of us operate CW, especially the QRPers. I've been surprised to work some pretty rare stations QRP with mediocre antennas, all CW, getting a feel for propagation, where the other guy is listening, and when. Of course, this takes time. You have to "wait your turn."
    VE6NS, K1TGX, N6RGR and 1 other person like this.

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