I'm a new ham (licensed back in the spring) and very new to HF (only a couple of weeks). One thing I've noticed in the phone bands is that things seem to rarely go the way all the articles aimed at new hams say.

For example, I don't hear much CQ at all from people calling. Even when it's not a contest there is very seldom a CQ. I hear "QRZ" a bunch (as a statement, not a question). And some people just say "goodbye". I heard an Italian ham tonight sometimes saying "73" and sometimes saying "Ciao!".

So I find myself unsure of what to do if I want to attempt a contact. It doesn't help that for some people I can never hear the other side of the conversation so I don't know what the caller is expecting.

So first, when do I give my call? Since I can't hear the other side a lot of the time I don't want to step on the conversation the caller is having the with person I can't hear. Is it OK to wait for something that seems like an obvious end like a "73" or "goodbye" or "QRZ" as a statement and then just give my call once and wait for either a full acknowledgement or a request to fill a partially-received call, so long as call that's being asked to fill could reasonably be mine?

And second, what to say when ultimately acknowledged? Name, location, signal report and turn it back to them? But that might make the other ham figure you're not willing to talk for a bit even if he is. What's a good way to not waste his time if he's not interested but make it decently clear you're willing to talk if he is?

  • $\begingroup$ In what context is QRZ a statement, not a question? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly! And that's one of the confusing things to me, since I'm hearing it said as a statement, i.e. with even or falling pitch rather than rising pitch like you'd expect with a question. (And I hear this with US operators too, so it's not some ESL thing.) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ okay, then, ignore that part. It's a solicitation to call them, tone of voice notwithstanding :) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


Welcome to amateur radio!

While it is true that communications are supposed to follow a standard, folks can become lazy. You will find some frequencies where some folks have set up shop, apparently chatting all day long using vox; you'll never hear a station identification and they can even be a bit aggressive if you try to join the conversation!

I hear "QRZ" a bunch (as a statement, not a question)

Is it possible you are hearing something like "73 WA8BIT QRZ"? If so, you are hearing someone ending their previous QSO and asking if someone else is calling them. It can sound like a statement, but it's really asking if someone else is waiting, in a pileup for instance, rather than calling CQ again.

What do I say when ultimately acknowledged?

How you answer can make a big difference here. Obviously, if you can tell there are people contesting on the frequency (or the person who has acknowledged you is), they are not going to want to be chatty. Think about this response as an example:

N2QHV this is WA8BIT. I read you five nines here in New York. Thanks for the QSO. How are things today at your QTH?

If the person is willing to chat they might get the hint. If they aren't, they will just conclude the contact.


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