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Calling CQ

When I visited the UK in June, I did a bit of listening about and made a few calls. There was a certain amount of intrigue about M/KK4OYJ and I was surprised how many times I had to explain the call and what it meant. However, eventually, I got enough QSOs in that I felt I could find an empty frequency and call CQ.

It was quite an interesting experience! I had a run of 4 QSOs and then it stopped but that was fine – at least I’d done it. A few days later, I called again and was rewarded with a few dozen people that wanted to talk to me. That was nice. I found I enjoyed chatting when there were few callers and also ‘processing’ the eastern European callers who just want a 59 73 contact. Either is fine with me.

I think I got ‘over the hump’ of calling CQ on my birthday, July 7th. I was in Gozo, it was Sunday morning – I was about to discover something…

I’d become aware that having a 9H callsign seemed to attract a lot of callers. To be honest I’d put it down to a mixture of Geography and the Euro Crisis.  I mean, Italy, Spain, Greece and the like are all relatively close to Malta so they should be loud and the number of callers could be explained by the fact that none of them were working since most of their economies had shut down. This proved not to be the case 😉

I’d also noticed that the bands were busier at the weekends – In fact, from Friday afternoon, where most of Europe seems to leave work at lunchtime and get on the bands to Sunday night and sometimes Monday morning – the bands can be rammed.

But it was with none of this in mind that I called CQ that morning. I was like a small child with a box of matches walking into a room full of fireworks. I struck the first match and got a call straight back. Then I had a steady stream of callers and then it was just a mess. Everyone wanted to call – all at once. Clearly my technique was not up to it but we muddled through. 3 hours later, hoarse and knackered I went QRT. 217 QSOs at a rate of 71 an hour. Not great but OK for a beginner I suppose.  I had no idea I was on a DXpedition…sorry for not being prepared…

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