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15 votes

Why do operators mention the band when calling CQ on phone?

I have a scanner capable of HF receive, multiple HF receivers, and several HF SDR transceivers capable of receiving on more than one amateur band slice simultaneously. Lots of contest stations run ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 13.5k
13 votes

Is it conventional to sign using the phonetic alphabet like people do in the military or aviation?

The choice of using phonetics ('alpha, bravo, charlie, …') versus plain alphabet sounds ('aye, bee, see, …') should be, and in my limited experience usually is, made based on how likely the recipient ...
Kevin Reid AG6YO's user avatar
  • 24.7k
11 votes
Accepted

Why say "break" and "over" on walkie-talkies instead of an automatic chirp?

"Break" is commonly used among amateur radio operators to mean "I am not done speaking yet", such as when talking through a repeater that requires transmission breaks every minute or so. "Over" has a ...
Chris K8NVH's user avatar
  • 1,042
11 votes
Accepted

Why does "Ethics and Operating Procedures" suggest tuning on a dummy load?

The text you refer to seems to be (emphasis mine): Sometimes before transmitting it is necessary to tune (adjust) the transmitter (or antenna tuner). Tuning should in the first instance be done on ...
Kevin Reid AG6YO's user avatar
  • 24.7k
11 votes
Accepted

If I receive an SOS signal, what is the proper response?

Since you're simulating the situation with non-transmitting equipment, you get the play the part of actual emergency agencies. You'd start by asking the SOS caller to identify themselves (call sign, ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 4,127
11 votes

Why do operators mention the band when calling CQ on phone?

It may have served a purpose in the past, with less filtering in transmitters and receivers, no digital frequency displays &c, e.g. to avoid mistaking a harmonic on a higher band for the ...
henryflower's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

What does "THREE ALPHA in Virginia" mean?

First, some background on general amateur radio procedure: Field Day "is not a contest", but acts a lot like one. In any contest contact, the "exchange" is whatever information is communicated, ...
Kevin Reid AG6YO's user avatar
  • 24.7k
10 votes
Accepted

What is proper procedure for asking for "distant" contacts on 2m FM on simplex?

One would usually call CQ DX, but on 2 m FM that would sound a bit odd. Also FM will be heard by many people close by, who will find CQ DX quite funny. You could simply call and explain what you're ...
tomnexus's user avatar
  • 11.4k
10 votes

Why do operators mention the band when calling CQ on phone?

Apart from historical reasons it's also a filler. When calling CQ on SSB you probably want to stretch out your transmission a bit because that's what you need to get heard. In theory you could just ...
Stefan I's user avatar
  • 141
9 votes
Accepted

Why aren’t emergency services using callsigns?

… Why don’t these unencrypted FM emergency services seem to use any call signs … ? They aren't required to and don't find it useful in their procedures. Also, they don't have call signs in the sense ...
Kevin Reid AG6YO's user avatar
  • 24.7k
7 votes
Accepted

How to interrupt a long discussion on HF politely?

Stating your call in the brief pause between transmissions is accepted procedure. It seems brief and rude by normal social convention, but it's necessary on the radio since anything longer might not ...
Phil Frost - W8II's user avatar
6 votes

If I receive an SOS signal, what is the proper response?

Since this is all for a bit of fun, you could respond with the typical Morse Code response to indicate that the last transmission was successfully received: R: •-• Some operators stylize this as ...
Glenn W9IQ's user avatar
  • 18.6k
6 votes

Why aren’t emergency services using callsigns?

Why don’t these unencrypted FM emergency services seem to use any call signs or ham codes? They are required to identify periodically and they do. That is the Morse code you heard. Emergency ...
WA9ZZZ's user avatar
  • 286
6 votes

How long should I wait to claim a frequency?

On VHF/UHF, just ask, "This is [your call sign], is this frequency in use?" If you don't hear anything after five seconds or so, go ahead and use the frequency. On HF, things are more ...
rclocher3's user avatar
  • 9,242
5 votes

What is the definition of DX?

In the US, DX most often refers to a foreign country no matter how far the distance. I live near Seattle Washington and the nearest foreign country is Canada, about 100 miles distant from my QTH. ...
K7PEH's user avatar
  • 3,008
5 votes

Why does "Ethics and Operating Procedures" suggest tuning on a dummy load?

We use a non-radiating dummy load at first so that we minimize the chance of interfering with others. When our tuning adjustments are as close as they can be using that, then we can switch over to ...
Mike Waters's user avatar
  • 8,071
5 votes

Is it conventional to sign using the phonetic alphabet like people do in the military or aviation?

In fact, hams use phonetic alphabet for their call signs (and also QTH) most of the time. The reason is simple - when you are establishing a QSO you don't know how well the other operator hears you. ...
Aleksander Alekseev - R2AUK's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

HF SSB etiquette when someone is working quick but not contesting and you're not sure they got you?

Re "When I gave my call he read back something that sounded a lot like my call, but some noise got it so I couldn't make out if it really was mine or just a similar call. " When that happens,...
AA6YQ's user avatar
  • 726
5 votes
Accepted

What is the procedure for calling someone you think might be listening but whose call sign you don't know?

There's no well defined procedure for this, so I'd suggest just approaching it from a very human perspective: This is firstname ...
webmarc's user avatar
  • 4,279
4 votes

How do I report an emergency using ham radio?

I used the 14.300 maritime net frequency to undeclare an emergency. My vessel was dismasted in the Gulf Stream during a Bermuda-Newport sailboat race in 2005. Had the situation been both urgent ...
Ted's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes

What's the difference between saying “CQ” or “QRZ” in a contest?

The answer is very simple: a contest station "running" a frequency calls "QRZ?" because it is faster than calling CQ and giving the call sign. The station running the frequency isn't trying to get ...
rclocher3's user avatar
  • 9,242
4 votes
Accepted

Are there any rules/conventions for transmitting coordinates in CW?

Send your Grid Square. It's short, includes your latitude and longitude, and is in common use. For example, mine is EM37. For greater location accuracy, I would send EM37CG. A grid square measures ...
Mike Waters's user avatar
  • 8,071
4 votes

Is it all right to call CQ to a foreign country in their own language?

if it is legal, or desirable Radio Amateurs may use any language which they can speak. I am not aware that there are any countries where the use of, or the not-use of, a particular language is ...
Edwin van Mierlo's user avatar
4 votes

If I receive an SOS signal, what is the proper response?

First, let's be very clear that making a false distress call is a federal crime carrying sanctions of up to six years imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000. Second, there is no commercial or maritime ...
Walter Underwood K6WRU's user avatar
4 votes

Why aren’t emergency services using callsigns?

who would know I wasn’t just some emergency/government service? There's national regulations agencies that monitor the spectrum, and come when someone notifies them of an interference. They can fine ...
Marcus Müller's user avatar
4 votes

What is NR and a number instead of city and state after my QTH?

I found a reasonable-looking answer here: https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/qso-party-question.156343/ As @Mike Waters said, it's probably the sequence number for a contest, i.e. the number ...
byl's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes

What is the process of sending an NTS message in to a disaster area?

You will need to originate a radiogram and pass it onto an NTS net. That either means you'll need to find someone who is active with NTS in your area, or you'll need to find a net and do it yourself (...
user3486184's user avatar
  • 1,957
3 votes

What are the differences of ham radio procedures compared to military or public safety procedures?

Ham radio procedures derive from multiple sources, including: the laws that govern the license the NATO phonetic alphabet (which should be identical to what the military uses, but differs from what ...
user10489's user avatar
  • 6,485
3 votes
Accepted

Is it all right to call CQ to a foreign country in their own language?

It is ok. Hams may use any language they want if both sides agree to use it. If ham calls CQ in Arabic that is invitation to use that language in QSO.
Pedja YT9TP's user avatar
3 votes

What does sending SK after calling CQ mean?

In Morse communication, SK is a so-called prosign - see the entry in wikipedia - meaning "end of contact". It's what you normally send when you have finished with another station. The KN you used at ...
John Connor's user avatar

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