Name calling

Something that’s been puzzling me for the last couple of years, particularly on the digital modes, is the number of people who address me by name before I’ve told them. These are not stations I’ve worked before – KComm will alert me to those. But increasingly often when I reply to a station they will come right back with “Good afternoon, Julian.” I’ve even had people end JT65A contacts with “TU JULIAN 73”, despite the fact that the operator’s name is not part of the exchange.

I’m not egotistical enough to think that half of hamdom know my name because of my blog. I’ve had people address me as “Mr Julian Moss” which I think is a bit formal for the amateur bands. But it makes me suspect that some database is involved.

It would shake my faith in the parsimony of hams to think that 50% – because that’s about how often it happens nowadays – have stumped up for a subscription to QRZ. But if they haven’t, where do they get the information from? Is there a free callsign lookup database I haven’t heard of? And if there is, doesn’t the fact that you can access a station’s details at the click of a button render somewhat pointless the rest of the QSO?

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “Name calling”

  • Mike Whatley wa4d:

    Why would the “rest of the QSO” merely be pointless just because of an automatic name retrieval?

    I would offer Julian, that most ham exchanges are meaningless drivel and hard conversations of any value anyway. Tune the bands. ANY band and find a literate, engaging discussion of film, literature, history, art, technology (Current technology) or Social media. Rare are intelligent, substantive exchanges on the Ham bands.

    So to your point. Why bother at all? Mindless discourse is the norm on the bands. Meaningful exchange is the exception.

    mike/ wa4d

  • KK4ITN:

    RR Button pusher, love your new keyboar.
    Maybe the wx info can be exchanged.

  • KK4ITN:

    R R Button Pusher. Nice keyboard.

  • Ken Akin AC0HO:

    There are 2 different CD based systems (disks are updated several time a year). While I have not kept mine up to date (costs money), I have a slightly out of date copy, which works because most folk in it anyway.

    Ken AC0HO

  • n1swe:

    yes Julian there are programs to looh up a ham call besides qrz. another one is world wide ham call. i find both of them verry usfull. at least you know the person is paying attention to what is taking place. i find it more appropiate than a ham breaking into a pile-up running a five element beam stating the calling station is being coppied at 59+ and then asking what is your name,call and qth. just my openion thanks Al

  • Scott W9VHE:

    I don’t have either online or CD callbook, I just remember various callsigns, especially if I have read their blogs. Probably others do as well.
    73 de W9VHE

  • Larry AD7GL:

    Julian, You are a well known, successful operator that has been able to help many of us understand complicated concepts due to your able journalism.
    Enjoy it!
    Thank you.


  • Larry VE8NX:

    I use DXLAB and there are several CD and/or online sources that the program can automatically look up contacts on once set up.

    With digital modes it can be set up to populate the log with the info as soon as the other station’s Call sign is received. With voice, I only have to enter the call and hit enter.

  • Jason - N6WBL:

    In response to Mike, I hear and have had many interesting discussions on the ham bands. But it is difficult to feel a person out and have a substantive conversation on the bands with a stranger. For example, I’m a Christian man and those values permeate every aspect of my life and form my worldview, but much of the world becomes irritated by those values and discussion of the Creator who came to earth as the man Jesus Christ. So hams as a fraternity of sorts, we’re looking to relieve some of the day’s stress and have fun, so delving too deeply into anything without really knowing a person would probably have the opposite affect. And open exchanges and respect for others views isn’t really the norm these days in this era of political correctness. So a standard QSO and exchanges can be thought of as a high five between hams just trying to unwind and have a little fun. Consequently, I’m finally getting active on CW and standard exchanges is all I have in me at the moment until I can get my speed up and decode in my head….73

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