Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Call CQ

In todays digital, interconnected, instant access world we have become very dependent on gadgets, websites and notifications. In ham radio, if you chase DX at all, the cluster is probably your primary tool to see who is on from where. I know that I have become accustomed to checking the cluster and if there is nothing interesting I will go do something else with the idea that the bands are dead. There there are times when I check the low end of 20 meters to see what good DX might be available and more often than not, the band is quiet. In the old days, the lower end of 20m was a treasure trove of  DX. I wonder to myself if ham radio is waning in popularity. However ,when a rare country appears, its chaos with unending pile-ups. I am forced to conclude that we are all watching the cluster.

The other night I actually called CQ on 20 meters. In short order I had a nice pile-up of  Europeans, then someone spotted me and the pile-up increased significantly. Everyone must be watching the cluster, thats why the bands are quiet. I think we should all make it a practice to call CQ with some regularity. Tune the bands to see how much DX you can pick up without the cluster. How long will it take you to work DXCC without the cluster, or how many countries can you work in month by calling CQ. If we all do a little of this, the lower end of 20m would came alive again.


  1. Hello Mike, if everyone is only looking at the cluster and not listening calling CQ does not make it. I was listening on 15m yesterday and shure there was propagation. But a 15 minute CQ did not give me any QSO. It seems rule 1: Listen before calling does not make sense to everyone...Or it has to be changed to "Read the cluster before calling". 73, Bas

  2. Bas,

    You make a good point. It is equally necessary to listen fo CQ's. I guess the real point is to participate in the game, that is, CQing and/or listening, rather than watching the game on the cluster.


    Mike AD5A