Top band DX-ing is real ham radio challenge. 160m is also referred as the "Gentleman's band"...
160 meters - DX-ing on the Edge...

Calling without hearing (was CQ 160 WW) - discussion

24. listopadu 2006 v 11:30 | Petr, OK1RP |  Operation topics
Tom, W8JI wrote:
This years top band CQ WW 160m contest was a mixed experience.
On one hand, a WW contest is always a thrill, but on the other hand this one was very frustrating. Why? Too many stations on too little room. This leads to a situation where you have, within minutes after the contest started, a string of pearls of strong (overpowering) stations continuously calling CQ
TEST, often not hearing stations coming back to them. My frustration was that I heard weaker US stations calling under the strong europeans. If I tried to call one of them I immediately heard the europoean cry "QSY">>

It is the same on this end. We could hear Europeans every few hundred hertz as i tuned the band, but no way could we work them all. When we would be on calling CQ there would be Europeans under us calling CQ. That prevents both us and them from making QSOs.

If we switched to maximum gain directional patterns on Europe, Carribean or western US stations would move on top of us. We were largely QRM limited in the contest.

That's just the way contests are. It would be interesting to hear solutions, but I think we have to accept it.

The bigger problem is this:

> There is probably not much to do about this situation but
a) donÂt call if you donÂt hear the dx and b) make ONE call
(not two or three).
> The discussion about DX windows earlier on this forum was
interesting. I think that in the future with contests on one
band, we must >develope some system with dx-windows but how?
Who knows!

I think the biggest single mistake made on 160 was doing
away with a DX Window in the USA bandplan. It was OK for me
and big east coast stations, but very unfair for small
stations. We now have another possible step towards
increasing problems on other bands.

While it has ALWAYS been a problem, there seem to be more
stations calling (often with long calls) when they very
obviously cannot hear the DX station at all. Why do people
do that? Is it because with enough power they can
occasionally make a "QSO" without really hearing the other
guy?? This is one step removed from just changing the
writing on a QSL card. Who can feel good about a QSO like

What's the best way to reduce that problem?

73 Tom, W8JI
Tom: In my humble opinion turning off the spotting network would go a
very long way to solving the problem. It amazes me how many guys dump
their calls when a spot shows up, even if they have not identified the
station they are calling. I often hear the dx come back to them with no
response.......I'm sure you have heard the same thing as you listen far
more than I on top band.

I know it is progress, but I would truly rather have it the old way when
we listened a lot and called our buddies on the telephone when a juicy
one showed up. Let the flames begin.
73 bob de w9ge
You are not alone Bob. In fact, that is why we have this rule in the Stew
Perry contest: "Remote or Cluster spotting shall not be used." However,
I believe there are other factors. Some of them are just due to more
stations being on the air - which is a good thing - but it makes working
the weak ones tougher.

Personally, I think the 5 kHz window is not up to the task any more. There
are simply too many "DX" stations on during a contest to make it work. With
perfect spacing and no key click problems, there is probably room for maybe
10 or 12 DX stations in the 5 kHz window. Maybe if you are lucky, you can
hear half of them. I never understand why we don't extend it to 1840.

It is easy to imagine a great system - like where people that are within
6 hours of their sunrise only operate from 1800-1820 - and everyone calls
them at +20 kHz of their frequency (1820-1840). However, I doubt anything
that complicated would work in the real world. The different frequency
allocations by countries makes this a non starter.

In the mean time - the single thing that can be done to help is to spread
out. I know not all countries can work up the band, but a lot of them can.
I heard VE3EJ near the end of the CQ160 working Europe at a great rate
around 1872 kHz. Make an effort to tune up the band and REWARD those
stations who have made the choice to avoid the more common frequencies.

It was interesting that packet didn't help me with the few European QSOs
I was able to make. Part of the problem is that there were a ton of spots
and I couldn't hear most of them. If a station did get spotted, the pileup
was too thick to deal with. The stations I worked were found CQing during
their QSB peak and quickly worked before anyone else found them. With te
exception of being beat out by W2VJN to I4EAT, there just weren't any other
stations calling the guys I worked.

No easy answers. Get your MPs unclicked and improve your receiving antennas.

73 Tree N6TR / K7RAT
Perhaps during every 'even' hour, domestic stations
count, while during every 'odd' hour, only
non-continental contacts (or perhaps non-same-country)
stations are counted?

There were a bunch of times that I heard DX under CQs
of stations on the 2nd night (even calling the CQing
station!) they weren't working them, and with their
ownership of the frequency, neither was anyone else.

I was disappointed to hear a US station ask a JA
station to QSY (as the band shifted to favor JA); it
wasn't clear that the US station was working anyone.

Of course, being a contest, DENIAL of contacts to
other contesters is also a strategy, I guess.

73, Brian Moran
>On one hand, a WW contest is always a thrill, but on the other hand this one
>was very frustrating.
Two things I enjoy most about Amateur Radio are contesting and DXing on 160
Meters. Yet for the very reason others have expressed, I have a hard time
getting psyched to do a 160 contest. Last year after getting run off a
frequency early Saturday night, I just decided it wasnât worth the
frustration. This year I worked about 20 friends and decided to enjoy my time
doing something else. With so many people packed into such a small space, the
problems are unavoidable.

>when they very obviously cannot hear the DX station at all.
I couldnât agree more and this IS a growing problem on the lowbands. Now I
know someone will say hey Iâve heard you in a pile-up once or twice and you
were calling out of turn. Fair enough. One of the things that draw most of us
to Topband is the challenge of working stuff that is routine on other bands.
Once and awhile an already weak signal suddenly drops even further into the
noise or an ill-timed burst of QRN takes out the station we are trying to work.
Itâs happened to the all of us at one time. Thatâs not what weâre
talking about here!
Take a listen the next time someone even semi-rare shows up. There are
people calling that clearly have no business doing so. A good example was
7X0RY Thursday night before CQWW 160. He would ask for the N2. A large
portion of people just kept right on calling. A K5, W3, WB2, K9 you name it.
They were in there. Or better yet, he would get a full call and these same
individuals would keep hammering away when he clearly was not calling them.
The process repeated itself with almost every station the 7X was trying to
work. This sort of thing is happening on a more frequent basis and it just
defies logic and common sense.
I donât know of any way to fix this other than to ask people to exercise a
little restraint and self-control. For starters, just because something is
spotted on packet doesnât mean you should start calling. The rule I use is
that I donât call unless I believe I have a reasonable chance of hearing the
guy come back to me. By that I mean, was I able to hear who he was working
before I pull the trigger? Lastly, keep in mind that your peers are listening.
Itâs your call and operating skills on display when you transmit.

Ken K4ZW

Tom wrote>
> What's the best way to reduce that problem?

Tom and others,

I am a beginner on Top band reflector so maybe I've no rights to talk
so much over there, but in this case maybe I have some solution
reducing the problem...

...not calling CQ DX at any price even not calling CQ DX when "I am"
using 2kW and "my" receiver is connected to LW 40m up 6m in industrial area !

It sounds me like Symphony to listenning ON4UN; G3ZES etc. how they
are able to work DX by DX on 160m although the band seems to be dead
in my QTH > just noise only, but these guys spent lot of time to
build an receiving antennas for first I guess and then solved the
problem with enough power...

Please follow my things shortly > after my moving to new QTH I have
no antennas for RX/TX on 160m so I am looking for any solution for
long time. I am testing number of antennas for RX and trying to find
the best solution in my crazy small lot over there. My idea is to
focuse to build up as best performance receiving antennas as possible
in my location to be able hear even small pistols DX's first and then
I would like to look for any TX antenna to go in the air. Yes, it
means for longer time be only SWL from my home QTH, but what I can do better?
As I am listenning on Top band every nite > I heard many times as
some EU's calling CQ and no answered to JA's or even VK's calling
back ! It means that my antenna (low inverted V for 40m) is so good
for receiving? Definitely not > it means that their receiving
conditions are pretty bad.
Many times I heard as big guns calling CQ DX and of course they are
working DX's > at this moment I thought that I will install some
inverted L for TX and I also should try to call CQ cause the band is
significantly openned. But I did not do it ever cause I never know
how much station answering me and thinking about me that I am crazy
with "potato" instead of receiver...

So what do You thing about changing the behaviour on Top band? Seems
to be a fashion to call CQ DX cause it shows to others "hey I am
DXer". From ownself experiences I can not recommend > if my setup is
not fairly DXer setup then it more saying to others "hey I am crazy
or in worse case I am LID"...

...or am I wrong?

73 and CU on Top,
Petr OK1RP
(ex OL1BVR)
Different people call CQ DX at different times - with different results.

W7LR recently discovered that he should probably call CQ DX more often than he does.

I occasionally do it under specific circumstances:

1. When I hear no signals on the band and am trying to create some activity.

2. When I determine that the band is *really* well open to Europe, and I
have a shot at working the 2nd or 3rd tier stations who normally do not
get results when they call CQ DX.

3. If I know several stations are looking for me on a specific frequency at
a specfic time.

Note that CQ DX only applies to the non-contest situations.

I think it has its place. Obviously, W8JI can get away with it more often
than I do...

Tree N6TR

Welcome to topband. Actually, CQDX makes considerable sense. There are times
when the band is open and nobody discovers it. Last night the A and K were
both at zero so I was on there CQing away when nobody else was to heard from
anywhere. There are unusual openings to various places that can only be found
by probing. The auroral oval causes all sorts of havoc for us northerners.
For example, I live in Minnesota, a very northern state just south of the
magnetic north pole. EU DX is rare around these parts. And when it does
happen, the signals are at levels that require ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)
to dig them out of the noise floor. Every once in a while--very rare--this is
not the case. And the signals can be pounding in when, amazingly, the east
coast does not hear them at all. Tree reports similar events from Oregon, much
further west of me. Is it a polar path? A Pedersen Ray? Who knows. But the
only way to find them is to check. I often listen to guys lik
e W8JI working DX, just to see if I can hear them. The vast majority of the
time, the DX is just a whisper from here.

Back in 2001, OK1TN was good enough to work me during the ARRL DX contest in
February. He was good enough to confirm it with a QSL card too. But he is the
ONLY OK1 in my log on Topband. I would love to add OK1RP to that very short

So if you were to get on and send CQDX, you would have a pile-up if the US can
hear you. And those of us in the hinterlands can only hope that the east
coasters will get bored with working yet another OK1 station at 10dB over S9
and let some of the rest of us have a shot at the rare OK1 QTH.

Again, welcome to topband. And by all means, CQ DX for me.


IF there is really a problem, it will probably take care of
itself. I made a mistake in never listening above about 1845
thinking there probably was no activity up there. Having it to do
over, there would be a lot of S&P or perhaps CQ activity by me above
1850. As activity increases stations will move to a more clear
frequency even if it is up as far as 1875 or higher. Think about when
10M was wide open about 5 years ago. I can remember running Europe
as high as 28200 or higher. When the band is not so alive, stations
probably don't even listen higher than about 28075. The problem on
160M is not nearly as bad as 20M where it is further compounded by
the fact that you sometimes cannot even hear the stations that are
100-600 miles away..

Finding a frequency and calling CQ when you can obtain results or
choosing to S&P when you believe you will produce better results in
that mode is all a part of it. As far as what W4ZV says, he is
correct in that you have a right to call a DX station who is calling
CQ regardless of whether there is a local calling CQ on the same
frequency and N2IC is also correct in saying that you have the right
to CQ provided you are not interfering with a DX station that has
locals calling that DX station.

However, it would be nice if the contest rules strongly suggested a
larger window (say 35 Khz.) be reserved for DX stations to call CQ
from 0000-0600. This would encourage the USA/Canada stations who want
to call CQ to go up the band during that time period.. They can work
the weaker ones calling CQ as well as the 50 loud Europeans who would
call CQ and run USA and Canada when the band is really open. It
would also be nice to recommend that same frequency QSOs not take
place in the JA band between JA sunset and W6 sunrise, whatever times
those are. A lot more stations would have the opportunity to work JA
if split operation were used. It is sometimes frustrating when you
may only have 30 minutes near sunrise to work a few JA stations and
there are 20 loud West Coast stations occupying 1810-1825 from 0800
to after the sun is up everywhere in the USA. The only hope with the
current situation is to grab a frequency at a very early time in that
window and call CQ until sunrise even if you may not hear a single JA
but in hopes that you might work a couple of them at a sunrise peak.

Stan, K5GO
/orig.published on Topband mailing list/

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