My Pet Peeves

  • Endless chats on 50.125, otherwise known as the ragchew channel.
  •     They call it a calling frequency for a reason. Why is it that folks just can't bring themselves to QSY off of it? Many times each summer I hear West Coast stations calling the East Coast, only to be drowned out by the same stations who just can't pry themselves off of 50.125. A word to the unknowing- lots of folks hear better than you do. Get some hardline and listen for a change instead of calling endlessly or running pileups on the calling frequency. Remember, just because you are not hearing anything but local stations does not mean others nearby aren't either. Bottom line, listen more than you call, and if you call on .125, QSY off ASAP.

  • Running pileups on 50.110
  •     To all the DX stations out there- in case you forgot, the intercontinental calling frequency is for calling, not running pileups. We all appreciate working you but trust me, at least three other DX stations you can't hear will be using the same frequency and thus it will degenerate into a battle of signal strength. Do everyone a favor & QSY to some other frequency. I promise, we will find you and spot you there.

        For U.S. stations, use of this frequency is a subject that is touchy at best. Personally I hate to use it at all, but in some areas of the world (namely South America & the Caribbean) no one ever listens anywhere else, so no other choice exists. If I have propagation indicators from South America or Europe & no one seems to be aware of them, I use it- sparingly, but yes, I use it. As with 50.125 however, promptly QSYing off of it after getting a response is the best policy.

  • Run your own Damn DX pileup
  •     This one is probably laughable for some folks, but I get tired of beginning a DX pileup to South America or Europe, only to have some local U.S. station butt in & try to work everyone who responds to me. If I know the station would be a new one for someone, or is a rare entity, I have no problem leaving the frequency to the DX. However, my patience has limits, & during the fantastic 2001-2002 F2 season, I reached it after allowing myself to be bumped from 5 different frequencies in a one hour period. The moral here- get the hell off my frequency & run your own damn pileup, especially if you have a decent station & DXCC on 6 meters. If you want to work someone who calls me, ask them to QSY with you, but don't expect me to move- I won't.

  • Quit working the same DX stations every time propagation exists
  •    Though it should make me smile, this one still makes me cringe. When I first began DXing on 6 meters I heard Iceland and Ireland at least 5 times each before every completing a QSO with either country. Why? At the time I had only 100 watts out on 6 meters, and each time these (same) stations were in, the same local stations with more power would have to work them again and again and again. In truth, I owe these DX hogs a measure of thanks- they forced me to get an amp. Though I now have little trouble working any DX I attempt to, I have not forgotten the lesson. Under most circumstances, endeavor not to compete in a DX pileup unless you have yet to work the country, and if you rework many of the same DX stations, do so when no one else is. Never rework the truly rare DX, or you will likely destroy someone elses chance to do so, as a W8 did to me by duping KH2JU during the winter of 2001-2002- I'm glad he was 599 again for you, but he was 539 for me & gone for the cycle here after you duped him. So, to all the dupers & DX hogs, kiss my amp.

  • If you can't hear it, don't call it
  •    This should be a no-brainer, but stupidity hath no bounds like a DXer on the hunt for a new one. This idiot behavior comes in two forms. The most pernicious comes from Lids who want desperately to break the pileup by making call after call after call after call. They don't make it the first time, so they QRM everyone else (not to mention the DX) by repeatedly giving their callsign and calling over others intentionally. They usually keep calling even during those periods they cannot hear the DX, or anything else happening on the frequency for that matter. They are bringers of disorder, and are best suited to the HF bands from whence they came. The other kind of DX QRMers are more comical, and display their lack of understanding of the 6 meter band for all the DXing world to hear. These guys first see a 50MHz DX spot on the internet or packet cluster. After hearing nothing on the frequency in question, these idiots proceed to call CQ on the same frequency in the hope of a miracle. It is usually laughable, except for those times you yourself are actually hearing the target DX and waiting for them to get strong enough to call. The moral here- shut up and listen, you'll do everyone a favor and not make a fool of yourself.

  • Domestic QSOs in the DX window
  •    Another no-brainer, but with the advent of the HF + 6 meter rigs, the clueless are out in droves these days. When I get on HF, admittedly a rare occassion, I use a frequency chart to figure out where I should operate. I also listen- it is relatively easy to tell what frequencies are traditionally used for a given purpose. During a domestic E opening when the band is full from 50.125 (yep, you guessed it, the calling frequency) to 50.200+, it is not too hard to figure out that there is a reason the frequencies from 50.100 to 50.124 (inclusive) are empty- and it is not so that stations new to 50MHz will have a place to operate close to the calling frequency. It is a safe bet that more people monitor the DX window even during a domestic Es opening than are actually working it, but it never ceases to amaze me how many domestic QSOs occur here each opening. Do your part & ask these folks nicely to QSY, and explain to them why.

  • Get in & get out quickly with the rare DX
  •     Nothing is quite so disturbing as losing that once-in-a-cycle opportunity at working a rare entity while listening to some idiot already in the log tie the DX station up for a ragchew or needless questions. We are all happy for the guy who worked him for a new one and hope he gets his card, but look the damn address up on the net or ask someone local to do it- just don't ask the DX station in the middle of the opening. Sound like a no-brainer? Well, just listen to some of my sound files... Other stupid time-wasters include needless repetition of information like names, towns, mother's maiden name & etc. Some DX stations ask for this type stuff so, oh well, but don't bother if not asked- it might be you who misses out next time but for this type of nonsense. Also, if a station does not give his grid square, don't bother giving one either. If not asked for it the other station obviously couldn't care less anyway, and the time saved can allow many extra QSOs for fellow DXers. It can be looked up later.

  • Send an SASE if you want a return
  •     I admit it, I am a hypocrite. For a few years I answered every card recieved, whether or not an SASE was enclosed. In fact, I returned a few SASEs as well, and griped about those who refused to QSL without an SASE. However, the basic laws of economics caught up with me- at 37 cents a pop I can't afford to respond to QSLs that don't contain return postage. I dare not attempt to make an exact calculation, but suffice it to say that I could have bought a new ICOM 756 PRO II for what I have spent in postage over the last few years. When I QSL I always enclose an SASE, and even this does not guarantee a return (there are even some deadbeat U.S. 6m DXers out there too). The other straw that broke the camel's back (aside from my job as a 3rd call bureau sorter) was the volume of cards I recieved for activating FM28 & Delaware on 50MHz- at least 16 cards were recieved without return postage. Bottom line, if you want my grid, or any grid I activate, enclose an SASE or forget it.