[AMRadio] Open vs Closed QSOs

VJB wa3vjb at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 28 08:39:47 EDT 2009

It's a fine line between counter-rudeness and helping someone who may simply have a lack of social skills.

Two ways I use, depending on the circumstances.  If someone breaks in and obviously hasn't been listening (like when they immediately go off-topic), I will toss it right back and directly ASK them whether they also want to comment on whatever so-and-so had previously just been talking about.  

Oftimes the breaking station will stammer and say something like they'll listen for a few minutes to respond (what they should have done in the first place).

It's rare I would want to exclude or prevent a roundtable. But sometimes indeed I'll want a one-on-one.  When a breaking station appears, I'll say that I'm catching up with so-and-so, but how have ya been, and so on. 

Really, only a dolt would then fail to see the conversation is directed and not really open. Usually, with such a cordial "clue," people wander off and you can continue. I don't carry it further than that. It's not worth being taken as standoffish, and I've never had someone persist.

Regarding pissweakers dragging down a QSO by buzzarding-on.  This is touchy, too. The real risk when congestion is high is that the QSO collapses because no one can hear the pissweaker(s). Yet, you want to bring along the weaker stations and provide incentive/motivation to improve things.

When I first arrived on the AM scene, I was running a low dipole and a 32V2, and really didn't have the fire in a wire to keep up with the Tall Ships that held the NE on the Big 85.

What they did, whether it was deliberate or not, is that their style of break in meant the pissweakers weren't heard. Sometimes I'd make a remark, and would let up only to hear someone else talking already. The break-in style of operating means there is no formal turnover, sequentially or whatever. 

This works well to create a signal-based Survival of the Fittest in a rapid-fire QSO.  I got the message, and really didn't mind.

One has to remember that for many people new to AM, on a contemporary transceiver at 25-50 watts, is that they will typically be hearing the Tall Ships much better than they will be heard.  There's no reference from experience, and a newcomer may naturally think they will be heard equally well -- as if they band is in really good shape or whatever.

This is when tact and diplomacy come into play.  An inquisitive "what's the rig there" usually yields a disclosure about the power level, and this is when you can point out the band's NOT so good and they're in the noise, etc. etc.  

You'll have provided some guidance to the newcomer, and some experience, that will encourage them to improve things and/or wait for better conditions next time.

The AM community is a well-regarded part of the hobby, partly because it's an inviting, easy-going activity with a relaxed pace that lends itself to hanging out for long periods of time on the air.  That's an image I like to nurture.



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