Frustration X2

In honor of Holy Week, I will be charitable and not refer to certain ops the way I might normally be so inclined.

I had two nice rag chews on 40 Meters busted up by inconsiderate ops.  The first QSO was with Howard K4LXY.  This was a 2X QRP QSO. Howard was using his KX1 and I was using my KX3. We were going at it pretty well until a certain W2 station (I will refrain form posting the suffix, although I certainly made note of it) came on frequency and called CQ right on top of us. Before that, another station came on frequency, but had the decency to “QRL?” and politely moved when he discovered that there was a QSO in progress.  Unfortunately, this W2 station didn’t bother with such niceties.

The second QSO was with Hank K1PUG.  Hank had answered my CQ, which I sent AFTER listening to the frequency to make sure it wasn’t being used AND after sending a “QRL?” with no response. Our QSO was evolving into a rather nice discussion about the Ten Tec equipment that Hank was using.  Again, this chat was going nicely until some digital mode (not familiar with the sound enough to know which mode it was) user came on and just put the complete kibosh on things. For crying out loud, we were on 7.035 MHz.  Can’t digital stations stay above 7.060 MHz? It’s bad enough when they practically come down to the Extra portion of the band on contest weekends. Can’t they leave CW ops in peace during a weeknight?

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon OF …… back in the 90’s when I was doing A LOT of digital mode work, we made sure to stay above 7.060 MHz on 40 Meters – EVEN during contest weekends.  Has civility been completely thrown out the window?  Man, I hate sounding like some bitter old man; but now I think I can begin to understand how they get that way.

Anyway, I jumped on over to 30 Meters to escape the madness and worked HC1MD/HC2, Dr. Rick Dorsch in Ecuador.  Rick is operating from the Fallaron Dillon Lighthouse through Friday, according to his QRZ page.

Although Dr. Rick was 599 here, I didn’t know whether or not to expect that I was going to be able to get him with QRP.  For some reason, I don’t always have the best of luck working South American stations.  I guess maybe my antennas don’t radiate all that well in that direction.  But I did indeed, work Dr. Rick with 5 Watts with the 88′ EDZ antenna.  According to the QRZ page, Dr. Rick was using a Yaesu FT-857D at 100 Watts to an Outbacker vertical.  When I read that after our QSO, I was even more impressed! I wonder if he’s an ear doctor, because he has to have a good pair of ears to have picked me out of the pack!

And so ends my night.  Have to turn in so I can get up and go to work tomorrow.  But Friday is a day off as it’s Good Friday.  The bad news is that W3BBO e-mailed me today to inform me that the Easter Island DXpedition ceased operations today.  Another one missed!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “Frustration X2”

  • N5TGL Michael:

    7.035 is the agreed on frequency for PSK31 operation, so no surpise that you heard digital mode communication.

    Propagation is not always reciprocal, so there’s a very good chance that your 5w signal was not seen on the waterfall. PSK31 works very well in noisy environments, and it’s entirely possible that you were below that person’s noise floor.

    Plenty of times I’ve called CQ on PSK and had another station key right up on the same frequency and call CQ right after me. I just chalk that up to non-reciprocal propagation and move on.

  • LarryW2LJ:

    Ok, Mike. I wasn’t aware of that, as I don’t avail mayself to PSK, yet.

    However, the digital signal was VERY loud. I would assume that most PSK users do not run power, or is that a false assumption? I thought PSK was primarily a lower power mode.

    If he was lower powered and his signal was loud enough to blow my eardrums out, then I would be very surprised that both my and K1PUG’s signals would be invisible to him.

    Henceforth, I will stay away from 7.035. Thanks for the heads up.

  • John E Mann-KK4ITN:

    On the ARRL/FCC test they should ask what does QRL mean. The next question should be If you call QRL-QRL-QRL de _______, and get a responce,what do you do?

  • BOB AF2Q:

    Hi Larry,
    Not taking any sides here.
    Just want to say that I was running 5 watts into my loop and I called a ham in Bordentown,NJ to hear what the HB1B sounds like.
    I was blasting in to his QTH 9 miles as the crow flies.
    He had a 5BTV on top of his roof and he ran 100 watts and I never heard a thing.
    So if he was listening to another station my 5 wats would have covered it up.
    Even I sent QRL one time and the person sent yes but I never heard him so I started calling CQ.
    I later received a nasty E mail but I did look him up and called his home.
    I asked if he could turn the rig back on and he said he’s on the same frequency.
    He sent his call and I heard nothing.
    I sent my call and he refused to believe I was running 5 watts to a 3 foot mag loop.
    Also many DX hams are not allowed CW at 7.040 and up so I sent on DX ham some XTALS for 4 spots below 7.030.
    I think many times it the band conditions but I agree that PSK should stay up higher.
    Just my 2 cents on the topic
    BOB AF2Q

  • N5TGL Michael:


    PSK is a *lower* power mode, but there are many people who run excessive power (50w – 100w), which really kills it for everyone else in the passband. Normal power is ~20w. I find that usually 10w works just fine, and I normally start off at 1w, and then work up from there.

    As for being heard, well, sometimes people live in areas where there’s a lot of QRM from plasma TV’s, etc. Many people fight noise levels of S8-S9 on a daily basis. I’m out in the country so it’s better, but even out there I can get powerline noise of S9. It’s all dependent on conditions.

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