Talk about band conditions…the Month of September had its ups and downs along with complete band blackouts. Don’t despair, even with poor conditions there is always something out there if you look for it. Remember the proverb ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. This applies to both life experiences as well as operating an HF radio station.
In order to develop good operating techniques prior to calling your first CQ, sit down at your station and listen, when you’ve listened enough, listen some more. The weekends are taken up with contesting…a great place and time to be listening and learning. I like to think of this as ‘boot camp’. Those of you who have served in the military will understand that you learn by listening. Having said that, I have to pass this along to you. Several nights ago I listened on my vertical to 80-meters in order to pick up some of the ‘good old boys’ that hang out on the band in the evenings. Please, just listen for entertainment, don’t pick up those operators bad habits…especially their potty language. Makes you wonder how they get away with it. The FCC or an ARRL frequency cop allowing that language along with poor operating on HF is a mystery to me.
Good operating techniques include the 5 most important words you will use as an HF operator. Prior to jumping on an open frequency you’ll say ‘is the frequency in use’ plus don’t forget to ID your call. All emissions require your call sign, no exceptions. Sometimes you’ll not hear another operator on the frequency so be sure to ask and if you’re on frequency and another operator asks ‘is the frequency in use’ you’ll reply, YES and THANK YOU FOR ASKING. This is the right thing to do and its good operating technique. Okay, it’s time to sit down at your station and call CQ because someone somewhere is listening for your call. Don’t disappoint them. So long from Huntersville for now…
Best 73 es gud DX Bob/WØZPE