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5/9 – 73 or What?

I’ve always felt that the 5/9 73 exchange is a bit too impersonal except for contests and the like. I have to admit also that I’m a bit Jekyll and Hyde as sometimes I like to have a good old chat on the wireless and sometimes I really enjoy just working the pile-ups.

Yesterday was a pileup day. I started on 10m but I got going late and to be honest the band was hard hard work from my QTH here. The background noise was S7 and callers were few and far between. Previous experience and advice said I should work split and for the first time in my (short) ham career, I called CQ ‘listening up 5’. Well, eventually I got some callers but I rapidly came to the conclusion I was just wasting bandwidth and should have started simplex.

So I switched to 17m and answered a few CQ calls and decided to try again – this time simplex. I had a good chat with the first few callers and then it became apparent that I’d have to ramp things up since there were quite a few. So I went into my 5/x and ‘name for the log’ routine. I like to know I’m talking to a person and I think the callers do too. I try to greet them by name in the exchange when I recognise the call. I’ve been impressed at the number of callers who already know my name by ‘reading the mail’ and I like to return the courtesy where possible.

Imagine my surprise when I got “lidded” yesterday by a US operator who said there was ‘too much talking’. Well, my friend, it’s my pileup, I do my best to run it as well as conditions permit and I know how. My operations are not about how many QSOs I can get, it’s about answering as many callers who have waited patiently to work my station. If they address me by name, I’ll return the compliment when I can.

I’m here for 5 months so there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone to call and be answered. I’m flattered so many even bother but for me this hobby is about relationship not statistics and if you’re happy to QRM a pileup because you think there’s too much talking, then perhaps you need to have a rethink on what’s important.

Anyway, I’ll be working 10, 17 and maybe 15m from Stocking Island (FL23) for the next week or so about 1200Z for Europe and working as the bands move west.

73 and good DX

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