A bait to get answer to your CQ

Nowadays, there are only very few calling me when I call CQ on any band. I have been wondering why they won't make usual QSOs on CW. I could not get any conclusive answer to this question yet. It seems there are less operators capable of not only ragchewing but also usual stereotypic contacts now. In addition, they are less willing and less energitic for conversation. Getting acquaintance with someone, either in real or on radio, requires us some energy. They might have run out energy to do so in the real relationship or in their family. It is the day of indifference to the others wherever they might be. All they want to is just to compete with the others, to get cards from them or to exchange almost meaningless reports. No interests in the other people.

If this is the conclusion of this post, there is nothing to add any more. It is too bad to those who went on reading this stereotypic and boring sentences by an ideologue. I would add a bit more hints how to find out those exceptional old fashioned operators who would like to converse with you.

Listen the spot you are calling CQ. When you could trace of signals on the background there, it could be loud enough for the guy getting ready to call you in the other part of the world. Even if you could not hear anything on the spot, there could be much QRM away from your area. Try to move up or down a little bit. It may let your partner listen you clearly enough. Yes, this is a kind of common sense which every experienced operator knows well.

The other point is regarding the bait you try to fish with. Generally speaking, slow and variable shaped CW is more attractive to listeners than machinery fast one. The machinery characteristics of CW, as if it was from a key board, in high speed is the worst bait. The listeners would like to be indulged in CW music but not machinery neat code after they get tired with machinery things at work or yelling voice of their wives. Bring out a bug or a hand key on the operating desk. Send CQ in swinging way with it. I am sure some of the listeners would respond to it. It must run at the speed of heart beat in rest. They would look for something human but not machinery.

Be a musician, not a key puncher.


  1. Shin,

    Yes it is getting harder to find QSOs these days. Your idea of using a bug may attract callers as it is unique in todays ham world.

    Other suggestions I have for you are not keen on. That is to use RBN to find operators around the bands. Why spend so much time calling CQ over and over when you can tune right to a old friend that is waiting and willing to communicate. We all miss tuning the bands to find QSOs , a lot like fishing. But his is a brave new world with new operators. My other suggestion is to answer CQs, I know you only will call CQ when there are many others around the bands calling CQ at the same time.

    I recently got into ICW as I shared with you, this is CW via the internet. Yes not as attactive as using HF but there are many operators that either do not have a station, have a poor station and small antennas. So this keeps them active with communicating even tho it it through the internet. The days of old are long gone and we need to expand our thinking as far as communicating via CW weather it is on HF or via the internet. Just my 2 cents

    161, Steve N6TT

    1. Steve,

      I will upload an article about RBN stuff soon. Debate with you then ! hi. It is not a problem of convenience but of a philosophy. Anyway, thanks for your kind comment.


  2. Shin,

    I had to laugh - "Nagging voice of their wives" sounds very familiar !

    You made an interesting point about non-mechanical CW. A fast CQ sent with a keyboard or memory is not attractive to me. It sounds like they are only interesting in racking up the numbers. Many station ops can only understand the sound of their own call sign when listening to DX. Then they respond with a key press matrix 5NN TU. It is not even necessary to send the DX call sign.
    So, when you hear machine CQ's it seems that they only want machine replies.

    I was trained on a straight key and never liked paddles. Straight key is too slow for a good ragchew so I changed to bug. Some people use paddles in such a way that it has character, by varying the spacing between characters and words for example. I like it when I hear that.

    RBN has its uses. I admit to using it. You can find people you know calling CQ, and go up for a chat. I wanted to claim that I never use a PC in the shack, but RBN is quite seductive.

    ICW is interesting and I'll find it on Google...

    Shin I have listened for you a few nights but 40m full of DX callers. Steve I have not heard you for ages.


    1. In the previous article, I have mentioned those who would call me with their call signs but not mine before that. I am pretty sure they just hit the button of their call with their memory keyers. It is really frustrating not to be sure whom they are calling.

      The subtle variation in sending code may be synchronizing some aspects of life. Such as heart beat or consciousness level. Nothing unchanged in our life. Music is full of such variation in rhythm, tempo or even tone like vibrato in instrument performance. So this is not only a problem of liking but characteristics inherent to our life in my view.

      Skimmer...I will deny it in my "big" article up coming soon hi.

      See you on the air.

  3. Shin

    As far as RBN Some do and some don't. I understand your philosophy on new technologies. I say that with great respect for you.

    John, well I have been on the bands and saw you on via RBN on the WARC bands the other morning. Congrats on your membership to FOC. You will be a welcomed addition to the club.

    161, Steve N6TT

  4. Shin,

    I offer this comment, CW to you is like music, and some can play an instrument well and others cannot. If calling CQ is not delivering you a decent QSO now and then, obviously there are some reasons, but you have given the matter some thought. As you know I use mostly a bug, and I too have often slowed down to straight key speeds, and still no reply. But you normally have a very powerful signal into the USA and I do not understand the lack of hams responding to you. I usually get a response on say 15 meters about once for every 5-6 CQ's and that I attribute mostly to lack of good signals in many locations, but then I go up and look at RBN and see I am being heard all over with respectable signal levels, so perhaps some of your reasons for not getting an answer
    are very accurate. I know that if I really do not mind a slow speed QSO in the evenings I can almost always find one in the 7.100 to 7.120 MHz part of the band where many slow speed operators seem to hang out. But I also have found during the hours when hams are not at work, the 30 meter band frequently has offered many more contacts than other bands.
    But as for a solution, I firmly believe that a few of us have pretty much outlived the best mode to communicate, while the new digital modes, and the old standby Voice modes continue to thrive.

    Thanks for the opportunity to say something..... I should be back on the radio in a few days. My power supply made a funny noise and a smell that concerned me was emitted into the air. I suspect a blown capacitor, but it seems to have continued to operate. But I turned it off while Lolita and I were out of town for 4 days and have not yet turned it back on, and I think I need to open the case and take a look before I do that.

    Bob Gates

    1. Bob,

      Thanks for another thoughtful comment. I am not really troubled not finding a guy to enjoy a good quality QSO. I must admit there are much fewer nowadays. But there seem to be pretty some good operators alive. I am not very pessimistic nor optimistic for the future of CW communication. We should accept it as it is.

      Bob, W6CYX, often calls me when I get off with a memory keyer and change it to a bug or a manually transmitting electronic keyer. He says he ate my bait! I know he was joking but his words hit me with the idea I wrote here.

      I am sorry to know you have got a trouble with the PS. I hope it is not a serious problem but easy to be repaired there.

      See you soon.