My First-Ever QSO -- 50 Years After Passing Ham Test

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by G3EDM, Aug 27, 2021.

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  1. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK my "busted call" mystery is solved. After a helpful hint from the Guernsey amateur radio society, and an exchange of emails, it turns out the other op was MW0BFY not MU0BFY and he did try to correct me, but I didn't get the hint, and the QRM was bad. For some reason I have never understood, the letter "W" has always tripped me up, even back in the States when I copied a lot of stuff on the air as SWL and so many calls started with W. And even though my old American call (never activated) was KB1WSY....

    So that makes the total QSOs in my first three months one greater, at a total of 66. And now I can add Wales to the countries, so the total number of countries is 20!!!

    FWIW my two most troublesome letters are "W" and "X". The "X" is the worst, so bad that I've got a piece of paper above my receiver: "X = dah-di-di-dah". That is another letter that you hear all the time, because many European ops send "CQ DX" in the early morning hours.

    [​IMG]

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
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  2. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is what this weekend's CW contest sounds like on a regenerative receiver on the 40m band. Causing G3EDM to flee to the frequencies above 7100 kHz, where the CW pickings are slim but at least I can hear myself think. Even if I wanted to participate in the contest, as you can hear, my receiver just won't make the grade!



    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
  3. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm on the air for a few hours, fleeing the contest frequencies on 40m by going way "up-band".

    Currently calling CQ using CW on 7122.5 kHz, not being spotted on RBN at all, but yesterday I still managed to score a great QSO with Ukraine despite the same situation then.

    Edited to add: Never mind, the contest traffic is now implanted on 7122 kHz despite contests not being supposed to use 7100-7130 kHz in Region 1 (source: RSGB). I guess it must come from other regions. So I'm going even farther "up-band" probably above 7150 kHz, dodging SSB traffic as I go.

    Had a fun QSO earlier this month with this OM in France, and his card(s) arrived yesterday. He was using a Heathkit HW-8 with a 25W amplifier. He also has a homebrew reproduction Paraset (World War II clandestine radio) with which he does conduct QSOs!

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
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  4. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Apologies to the contest mavens. What actually seems to have happened is that there is so much contest traffic, it has overloaded my receiver over the entire 40m band. I discovered this because when I tuned up and down, nothing happened: it all sounded the same, just a bedlam of CW signals, some of which were probably 50 kHz or 100 kHz away (!!!).

    This has now been solved by switching in heavy attenuation and the receiver is now behaving "normally" although of course, when you attenuate the input, the receiver becomes relatively "deaf".

    I am back on 7122.5 kHz but that may change.

    Edited to add: Aha, RBN is now spotting that signal, nice strong reports.

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
    G0CIQ and N3RYB like this.
  5. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    A good morning. Five QSOs. At least one new country (Portugal). One QSO was odd because the callsign does not appear on QRZ or in in any directories that I can find, but it has been spotted on RBN in the past week. It may be a "busted call" I'm just not sure; if confirmed, it may be another new country and I'm doing some reaching out via email.

    As my skills improve, a larger portion of the QSOs take place under challenging conditions in terms of QRM, QSB and so forth. Perforce, everything is harder to copy including callsigns. Also, once the brain has latched on to a particular idea about a callsign, it is surprisingly stubborn at hanging on to it even if the call is copied wrong. If conditions are good enough, the other op will be able to gently correct you!

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
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  6. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some excitement here as N5JJ (Texas) suddenly materialized at around 0800UTC, calling CQ and coming in 599, close to the frequencies on which I had been calling CQ myself. I answered several times but he did not hear me. Because I am QRP it was very unlikely he would. Later, I checked RBN and found an additional reason why it was essentially impossible: he was calling CQ on 7027.0 and the nearest crystal I have is 7025.0 (and that is the crystal I used when answering). With narrow CW filters I would have been inaudible anyway, without tuning up and down....

    Otherwise, a slow day in the shack this morning, the band was very quiet here much of the time then livened up an hour or so after daybreak. Catching up on QSLs.... Had one QSO, with a ham in Austria.

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
  7. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    A question from this newbie concerning the "definition" of a QSO.

    So this morning I received an answer to my 40m CQ from a ham in Croatia. We exchanged call signs (a couple of times). I sent him an RST (579). In answer I got: OM TNX FER UR RST and then ... QSB and he disappeared completely. The band basically "died" for several minutes. I made several attempts to re-contact him but no luck and never heard him again. I never received a signal report from him.

    Is that an official QSO that I can legitimately log? I have always assumed that without a two-way exchange of signal reports, a QSO is not "official". Is that right?

    The only exception I have made to my policy that a QSO is not "official" without an RST is:
    • Long QSOs where plenty is exchanged, lasting several minutes, but I did not copy the other op's signal report that s/he sent me for one reason or another. Almost always because of QRM/QSB/QRN. I do send PSE RPT RST but this request is not always complied with, or its answer is itself hard to copy.
    • In one case a couple of days ago, an op who was sending QRQ and I could tell he was sending the letters RST but the actual numbers were a blur. (Actually, they did not sound like numbers at all, but like three very short letters but they were sent too fast for me to make them out. This happened even though I had sent QRS PSE earlier in the QSO).
    Advice would be most welcome....

    Speaking of which: my format for all QSOs is to send the RST in my first answer, immediately after exchanging callsigns and without prefacing it with the courtesies. I do this precisely because there is no way of knowing whether QSB, QRM, QRN or whatever will obliterate the rest of a QSO. So, I want to "regularise" the QSO immediately, after which the other stuff (thank-yous, exchanges of name and QTH and so forth) can follow.

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
  8. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the 1950s and 60s this was extensively discussed in especially VHF circles, as meteor-scatter and EME communications started to emerge.

    After numerous iterations, a formal IARU definition was made;

    "A definition for a valid QSO is:
    A valid contact is one where both operators during the contact have
    1. mutually identified each other
    2. received a report, and
    3. received a confirmation of the successful identification and the reception of the report.
    It is emphasized that the responsibility always lies with the operator for the integrity of the contact."

    This was however driven by early distance record claims which previously could have a "slightly dubious smell" over them.

    For DXCC and similar awards, the definition is quite simple, a QSO for which a written (physical or machine-readable) confirmation exists is valid.

    73/
    Karl-Arne
    SM0AOM
     
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  9. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think that from now on I will adopt the IARU definition as far as my logs (paper and LOTW) are concerned. There are now 77 QSOs in my log. For 6 of those, RSTs were not exchanged in both directions. They will be "grandfathered" into the log but from now on the definition will be strict, RSTs must be exchanged. The reasons for the missing RST in the old entries (and it was always the "received" RST that was missing, not the "sent" one) were:
    • 3 early QSOs: I simply did not copy the RST, but there is otherwise no doubt about the integrity of the QSOs, including in one case an exchange of several emails with the other op afterwards. In addition to the callsign, other details were exchanged in these three QSOs and they matched the biographies in QRZ.
    • One case where I emailed the op afterwards and although he remembered the QSO (I initially got his call wrong, later corrected, hence the emails) he said he could not remember the RST of my signal (I don't think he sent me one on the air at all, he was understandably more preoccupied with trying to get me to copy his callsign correctly).
    • One special-event station in Belgium that acknowledged my call but did not send RST and will automatically be sending me a QSL card via bureau.
    • One QSO in which the other op was sending QRQ and too fast for me to copy the RST (I heard those three letters but what followed was a blur).
    The "exchange of RST" definition has the key advantage of being extremely clear. Any other definition gets a bit slippery.

    Edited to add: A corollary of this is that I do wish ops would "front-load" the RST and send it as the first piece of information in a QSO answer, immediately after the callsigns are exchanged and before the courtesies, the name, the QTH.... In dodgy propagation conditions it really helps if the signal report comes first before it is obliterated by some random atmospheric or QRM event....

    Edited later to correct the number of "non-RST" QSOs in my log to six, not five.

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
  10. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    In weak-signal VHF operations, the procedure of always sending the RST first in the exchange is to my knowledge universal, and has been for a very long time.

    It was "the order of the day" when I started, and was emphasised by my mentors.

    Regarding the IARU definition, one of the architects behind it was former colleague SM3AKW (recently SK) who pioneered European meteor-scatter communications in the mid/late 50s.

    73/
    Karl-Arne
    SM0AOM
     

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