How time changes things - Checking if frequency is in use on CW

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by KG5NII, Jul 2, 2017.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: L-MFJ
ad: Left-2
ad: Left-3
ad: Subscribe
ad: abrind-2
  1. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Obtained my license in late 1950s, and chase dx 95% of available radio time, often with stations showing S-zero on my meter. Best estimate is I've made 500+ dx QSOs with S-zero stations.

    So, ANY interrogation method is vastly preferable to no interrogation, as long as it is very quick. One error some newbies make is the just listen method, but for thirty seconds to a minute. That is far from foolproof on HF. Propagation effects can and do deceive one into thinking a frequency is clear when it's busy. Occasionally there's a weak station in QSO, perhaps using long path, or perhaps whose sig is arriving at your QTH at a null in your antenna pattern. He's being copied by others, but not by you. In such cases, just listening may require five minutes or more, and few of us are that patient.
    W2VW likes this.
  2. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is there a service that uses radio operators sitting a circuit or net these days?

    I spent a couple of cruises standing a watch as a Navy radioman in the mid-60's, having been enlisted as E-3 because of my license. The Navy abolished the rating years ago.
    KA0REN likes this.
  3. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nets or circuits with dedicated radio operators at each end passing message traffic has become a thing of the past.
    Automated procedures now pass text and voice traffic without any operator intervention.

    The last remnants are when messages to and from aircraft and ships are passed via radiotelephony to ground or shore stations.
    Here procedures recognisable from the past still are applied, but the crews do not contain any dedicated radio operators any longer.

    Current doctrine is trying to eliminate any intermediates in the largest extent possible, having crew members or officials
    doing their own communicating.

  4. K9ZMD

    K9ZMD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was first licensed in 1960. My Elmer taught me that QRL? could be used to query if a frequency was in use, but DiDit Dit was a lot quicker and actually favored by more experienced CW ops. He also explained that DiDit Dit was a close representation of the land telegraph letter C, which those land ops sent to quickly inquire about circuit availability. He theorized that C might stand for CLEAR?. Right or wrong, his theory did help me remember what the DiDit Dit was all about.

    My operating experience over the next few years confirmed that DiDit Dit was in fairly common use among "older" ops, and that QRL?, although longer and more disruptive, was sometimes used by newer ops. I say "sometimes" because QRL? seemed to be only slightly more common than the miserable Lid practice of simply firing up a CQ without any inquiry at all.

    After a few decades on the air, I realized that I was seldom hearing DiDit Dit anymore; all the older ops must have gone silent key, I guessed. By then, it seemed to me, that QRL? was used more often than I'd heard it before, but the use of a quick ? was also coming into play. Good enough, I thought, since ? was almost intuitively understandable and a whole lot less disruptive than QRL? Unfortunately, it also seemed that none of the Lids had gone silent key. Even worse, it seemed that their Liddish progeny were now QRMing ongoing QSOs with a long, long antenna tune up before beginning their CQ.
  5. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have some old ARRL hand books and just did a quick check and over the years its been suggested by the league to use both methods ... Source attached below

    ARRL The Radio Amateurs Handbook 1976 page 649 --- DiDit Dit

    ARRL The Radio Amateurs Handbook 1976 page 649.jpg

    And then ARRL Handbook 1988 page 38-1 --- QRL?

    ARRL Handbook 1988 page 38-1.jpg

    I was taught and use QRL? after a long listen, then a second QRL and a shorter listen
    KA0REN, AG5DB, KC9YGN and 1 other person like this.
  6. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Since this thread started a while back I've been trying the di dit, dit thing and not once has a response come back.

    Here's the thing though, neither have I ever gotten a response back from a QRL? that the freq is in use!

    Probably several reasons for this...

    I don't call CQ very often, preferring to find someone else calling and answer them.

    When I DO call CQ I tend to listen for a good while before I transmit.

    The bands are not nearly as crowded as they were back in the day. A clear freq is relatively easy to find.

    As Gary said it would seem the practice has fallen out of favor (also evidenced by the fact that the handbook seems to have dropped that instruction)

    ... LISTENING FIRST is always the best practice.
    W5BIB likes this.
  7. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The best way to tell if a frequency is in use is to just listen for a bit.

    If you ask if the frequency is in use, Of coarse it is, You are using it. o_O

    Have Fun.
    K4KYV likes this.
  8. N2UHC

    N2UHC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've never heard the "didit dit" thing either, but I'm a relatively new ham being licensed in 1993. I don't have a problem with someone sending QRL? when I'm in a QSO. I do have a problem when they start calling CQ several times without stopping to even listen for a response, though, as happened to me recently while struggling to hear a weak station I was QSO with.
  9. W7DCM

    W7DCM Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is my first post here, after a lot of lurking. I am in the situation where I was QRT for 18 years, and I got back on HF three months ago. I well remember how it was in the mid70s and the early 80s. I've had to figure out, upon returning, what the "rules" are now. It's akin to being suddenly single again after a marriage of several years...........what changed as far as the dating rules while you were gone?

    I have been doing the QRL? thing since my return. Even if I've listened to a frequency for five minutes. Conditions being what they are, I haven't gotten any responses.........until this past weekend.

    I was 17 meters a few days ago. I had heard a JA QSOing a stateside station, and then signing. I waited for him to call QRZ?, but he didn't. I thought OK, he's abandoned the frequency. I wanted to call CQ on it , but did the QRL? thing first.

    Well, he came back with his callsign, and then sent K. I picked it up, ID'd myself, and then a QSO ensued. Sure, I've worked Japan before, but these days it has a special meaning since I've been over there three times. I'm always curious if I've been his city or prefecture, and I like being able to tell them that if that's the case.

    Anyway, I think the old dit-dit dit is the better way to go. Come to think of it, I heard someone on 20 making that kind of query some weeks back.

    Although the QRL did get me a QSO on 17, the old way, to me, has its merits.

    So, since I've been gone a while, what is the proper response if you're in QSO, and someone comes along with the QRL or the dit-dit dit? What is the proper response? The word "yes"? Or a "C"?
  10. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello Dave and Welcome Back OM!
    I've heard both "C" and Yes, mostly yes.
    Not hearing the dit dit but QRL is popular in my region.
    VY 73 from Lane de n8aft

Share This Page