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Issue 20: Let's Ditch the One-Minute QSO!

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Jun 4, 2023.

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  1. KG5SUZ

    KG5SUZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great column Dave. Thank you for no uTube.

    When I got my General License finally, I first went voice, never liked code. After a few months on voice I discovered FT8. I was hooked. Digital modes allowed me to see the band conditions change instantly almost worldwide, since FT8 has a window that shows the waterfall and station ID's, along with JTAlert. Meteor Scatter is another cool digital mode I would never have thought of. I suppose EME would be very enjoyable but requires more antenna's. Using just a 160m OCFD and 40m OCFD I have FT8'd around the world, and enjoyed watching other hams make QSO's that I could not reach.

    Occasionally I will listen to voice discussions on various bands. I hear the good ol local's on 160m before sunrise.

    100 Watts and a wire antenna, my signal goes worldwide as the conditions permit.
    To me, that is what I enjoy the most.

    I admire those who do code. It's what I first heard on my KnightKit Star Roamer short wave radio as a kid.
    That will remain in my memory forever.
    73 Ed KG5SUZ
    W7DGJ likes this.
  2. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    thanks Ed for the flowers! I had a KnightKit Star Roamer as well. That's how I got started, perhaps in about 1965 or so. You're right about that . . . hearing code, knowing it came from a faraway place. What excitement that was. Also, very interesting how you describe your experiences with the digital modes. I'm going to write up a column someday soon about my experiences there. I think I'll enjoy it. There are so many facets to the hobby -- Dave
  3. KG5SUZ

    KG5SUZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Another "digital mode" that fascinated me was WWV. "broadcasting on 2.5 5 10 15 and 20 MHz" they would say. I actually got a QSL card from WWV when I heard them on 25MHz and contacted them on their website. You could hear the tones, but buried in the analog were digital signals that clocks used to sync. I still have clocks that sync on WWV in my house. My 93 year old blind, Korean Vet, Father in Law, has an audio wristwatch that syncs to WWV.

    I could hear the WWV signal fading in and out, wow, propagation effects real time. And the various frequencies showed up at different times of the day/night. For a youngster growing up in the 60's, it imbedded a love of propagation that I still have today.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  4. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have one of those clocks in my house as well, Ed. It shows a "laser" red light on the ceiling and connects to WWV to sync the time each morning. In Arizona, it always gets screwed up twice a year because the time doesn't ever change here. I missed a Doctor appointment once because of it! Dave
  5. K7RLN

    K7RLN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting topic. When I first got my license, I had a carpool buddy ask me - 'You don't like talking to people, but you got into a hobby that requires talking to people???' I told him that more than talking to people, I like to see where, and how far my signal is getting to. So, yeah, I'm one of those introverted hams. I do struggle with the desire to call CQ and engage someone in a long coversation. I've done it before; I just don't make a habbit of it. If I mentally prepare myself for it, then I can do it. I find that I tend to be more mentally prepared for it on my long commute home in the car. I will throw out my call sign of the local repeater, and engage whomever comes back to me. I don't do that very often on HF. Then, at one point I had an elmer tell me to ditch the microphone while I was learning the code. It was good advice; it really helped me progress my CW skills. While I don't consider myself OVERLY proficient, I can SOMEWHAT carry on a conversation. It maybe A LITTLE longer than a minute, but not much... That's one of the reasons why I enjoy SKCC. Although the exchange is short, and predictable, it has lead to several short ragchew type conversations. And, because it's generally at a slower pace, it's a lot easier to head-copy. Having someone rattle off at 20 WPM can be stressful, because you're trying to write things down to follow the conversation. And generally, you turn on the radio for a stress-relief. So no, I generally don't call CQ for a ragchew, but reading this article tells me that I should probably try a little more often.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  6. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks Ralph, good comments. I used to be more active in SKCC and enjoyed some of those exchanges as well. Then, I just got so used to a paddle. I'll have to get back to a straight key sometime soon. That's the heart and soul of how I became a ham a long time ago -- straight keys and a bug!
  7. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's not the number of contacts you make to me, it's the Quality.

    I have a number of on the air friends. Sometimes I don't talk to them for months, but when we do hear each other, it's like old times.
    I don't do rag chewing during contest, however occasionally you'll recognize someone and you will ask a quick question, and go back and forth.
    Some modes are definitely not set up for RC, that's okay too. Then the fun is in the DX, new ones or band conditions.

    Best way to have a great qso is to ask questions of the other operator, about their station, QTH, occupation, other Hobbies, and maybe how did they get into ham radio.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  8. KN4ULD

    KN4ULD Ham Member QRZ Page

    USUALLY, if you listen, you're going to know with good certainty, before your QSO, whether it's going to be a short or long one. If an operator is banging out QSOs there would be no reason whatever to expect a one minute ten second QSO lol. OTOH, like last night, happened to be rolling up the band and heard the last part of "...CQ and standing by" so stopped in for a 25 minute chat first time contact. Some DX folks you get to know with near daily contact and out of courtesy for others, if busy, never tie them up as I know we will catch up later, but a quick hello is always in order.
    LOL I am hearing a regular who, once sigs are exchanged says, "OK BYE" and that's it.

    You mentioned POTA, with risk of flamed, there are plenty out there in the realm could use a lesson in courtesy / Code of Conduct. MOST activators seem to want to get on to the next one and 73 you right away, while those chomping at the bit will start blurting before you're even finished. But I have had a few more than one minute QSOs w an activator. No matter, always glad to hear a POTA station.
  9. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You're right, no matter the activator, I will always jump in and say hello with a report to a POTA call, unless there's a big line up ahead of me. It's easy, and we know its fun for the fellows who are out in the woods or a park having a great time.
    W7UUU likes this.
  10. N3UIQ

    N3UIQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hope the government keeps WWV going for a long time to come, but there's constant talk of shutting it down.
  11. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    To each his own, but traditionally, when many if not most hams assembled their station from scratch, often using homebrew transmitters and associated station equipment, the station description was an integral part of the QSO, often down to a circuit description of the transmitter (what tubes are used in the final, modulated by what tubes, what kind of antenna, the type of feed line used, etc.)
    We must be living in two different worlds. Over the decades I have made many lifelong friends over the air and met and visited many in person, and still keep in touch with some even if we don't talk OTA any more.

    That's the reason my interest in CW has waned. Lately, I find the majority of my CW QSOs degenerated to the "rubber-stamp" level: a brief exchange of RST, QTH, name, model number of the factory-built rig, antenna (and most recently, the mandatory age and how long one has been a ham). Once that default exchange is completed, the inevitable next step is "73, QRZ?". Only rarely do I find a CW operator any more, who wants to do a lengthy ragchew type QSO. And it's extremely rare to run across a CW station using a homebrew transmitter, except for maybe a few QRP enthusiasts. It's becoming more and more rare to contact another ham running any mode who is interested in discussing a radio-related technical topic to any depth, over the air.

    I never had any interest in contests, and don't see the point of racking up contacts just for the sake of making contacts without exchanging any real information; in fact I find that totally boring.

    To me, that's where the fun is, what amateur radio is all about.

    I can pretty quickly tell if the other person is genuinely interested in a topic or not. If not, I won't force him to continue the discussion or continue the QSO.

    Again, to each his own.
    WA4KCN, KC4ZPB, W7UUU and 2 others like this.
  12. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks Don. I think the short forum here has proven the "each to his own" comment. Agree!
  13. K7RLN

    K7RLN Ham Member QRZ Page

    For a newer CW OP like me, probably one of the BIGGEST reasons that I struggle with a longer ragchew QSO is because people will either go too fast (despite me asking 'QRS PLS'...), or they will run their words together. That ends up being stressful for me while I'm trying to write down furiously what you're saying - because I'm not as adept at head-copy as more experienced OP's might be. As a result, my QSO's might be shorter because I'm burned out trying to copy you, or I've run out of things to say. It doesn't mean that I don't value the QSO that I'm having with you; it just means that I may not have the CW 'vocabulary' that you have - like a child trying to hold a conversation with an adult. So, if I (or any other newer CW OP) send you something like 'BEEN A HAM FER 6 YRS ES CW FER 3 YRS SO QRS PLS' please try to understand that it's not that I want to rubber-stamp the QSO. It's that I just might be 'out of breath'...
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2023
    W7DGJ likes this.
  14. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great n0te on this Ralph, and that is a subject broached in the current issue of Trials and Errors -- please read and let me know if you like it. Thanks, Dave (PS tried to send you a web hello on your profile but it's not set up)
  15. AI5IZ

    AI5IZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you so much for the article, Dave. While I have been licensed only since 2022, I have been very disappointed in the lack of general ragchewing I hear on the road when mobile. I remember the CB days of glory, and I became a ham hoping for the communication with fellow licensed hams on the road. Those that respect the rules and a sense of some order over chaos. I keep hoping that one of these days Ill hear simplex and repeater QSO's on the road as often as I used to hear CB conversations. It seems so far though, no such luck. 146.52??? Whats that??? I get the point of contests also, and hope to participate in some. But if the Zombie Apocolypse happens anytime soon, I believe there would be much more value in knowing who I am talking to and whether the QTH is a safe place to go with resources we may need (like a great restaurant to stop at along my route) or the nearest EV charging station for those driving EV's. Perhaps even the nearest Zombie free protection zone (ZFPZ??). It means nothing to know I am 5/9 or 5/5/9 if I or the contact on the other side have no intention of using the frequency for an actual conversation (QSO).

    Sean (AI5IZ)

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