When you respond to an FT8 CQ and the other side doesn't respond after a couple of your transmissions, what is proper etiquette? (Assuming you're working split and not transmitting on his receive frequency.)

Should you keep transmitting so he knows you're still there so he will get to you (when/if he wants to) eventually? Or should you back off and stop and wait for another CQ and try again? Does the answer change if he's a special event station or a contester?


2 Answers 2


There are a few things to have in mind. First, be reasonable. :)

If there is no response, there's nothing wrong with trying again. There could have been interference that you cannot hear or the operator might have been distracted. However, should you keep on transmitting over and over? Probably not. If I don't receive a response after two or three tries, I'm going to move on.

However, it is good to think about why the station might not be responding. Bear in mind that your ability to hear another station has no impact on whether or not they can hear you. :) For example, I have a friend in the UK. He is using a (very) non-optimal antenna. I can hear him, I can hear and make contacts with people in the surrounding county, but he cannot hear me at all. In his specific case, I believe the issue is that he's using a non-optimal vertical, which will be much more noisy than a horizontally oriented dipole (which I am running).

Another possibility is the takeoff angle of your own transmission. Is it possible that the station you are responding to is within a skip region for you? The takeoff angle of the other station is almost certainly not the same as your own.

These are just some things to think about that could explain what's happening.

  • $\begingroup$ One thing I definitely do is look at both my sends and receives in PSKReporter.info. I don't bother trying to send to a station in an area that my signal isn't reaching. I ask because I've had times where I sent 3-5 transmissions, got nothing, went onto other things, and then 5 minutes later I get a reply to my transmission to the first station, So that sort of thing makes me wonder if I shouldn't have stopped in the first place. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ That's interesting. I wonder if the operator was backlogged or not paying a lot of attention. $\endgroup$
    – David Hoelzer
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 11:15

What I do in this case is place my transmission on some other free frequency after a few attempts to get a response: when the other station does not respond, I assume that they have a station nearby that I cannot hear but overrides my transmission. Using a different frequency is then the attempt to get my transmission through. And, yes, I usually work split mode in FT8.


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