By IARU ON4 ON4UN & ON4WW - I retype and re-arrange. Any error is under my responsibility not the authors.


AMATEUR RADIO CODE OF CONDUCT I. 2.1. Basic principles


Basic principles that should govern our code of conduct on the ham bands are:

Social feeling, feeling of brotherhood, brotherly spirit: large numbers of us are all playing radio on the same air waves (our playing field). We are never alone.All other hams are our colleagues,  our brothers and sisters,ourfriends. Act accordingly. Always be considerate.

Tolerance: not all hams necessarily share your opinions, and your opinions may also not be the best ones. Understand there are other people with different opinions on a given subject. Be tolerant. This world is not for you exclusively.

Politeness: never use rude language or abusive words on the bands. Such behaviour says nothing about the person it is addressed to, but a lot about the person behaving that way. Keep yourself under control at all times.

Comprehension: please understand that not everyone is as smart, as professional or as much an expert as you. If you want to do something about it, act positively (how can I help, how can I correct, how can I teach) rather than negatively (cursing, insulting etc.).


The code of conduct

What do we mean by code of conduct? The code of conduct is a set of rules based on principles of ethics, as well as operational considerations.  Ethics: determine our attitude, our general behaviour as radio amateurs. Ethics have to do with morals. Ethics are the principles of morals. Example: ethics tell us never willingly to interfere with transmissions from other stations. This is a moral rule. Not living by it is immoral, as is cheating in contests.

Practical rules: to manage all aspects of our behaviour there is more than just ethics, there are also a number of rules based on operational considerations and on radio amateur practice and habits. To avoid conflicts we also need practical rules to guide our behaviour on the amateur bands , as making contacts on the bands is one of our principal activities. We are talking very practical rules and guidelines, governing aspects that are not related to ethics. Most operating procedures (how to make a QSO, how to call, where to operate, what QRZ means, how to use the Q code etc.) form part of it. Respect for the procedures guarantees optimal performance and effectiveness in our QSOs and will be a key in avoiding conflicts. These procedures came about as a result of daily practice over many years and as a result of ongoing technological developments.





A ham is a radio amateur.

As hams we address one another exclusively with their first name (or nickname), never with mister, miss nor misses or with a family name. This is also true for written communication between hams.

The ham etiquette says we greet on e another in our writings using ‘ 73’ (not best 73 nor many 73), and not sincerely or other similar formal expressions.

If you used to be a CB operator, erase the CB language from your memory, and learn the amateur radio idioms (jargon, slang) instead. As a member of the amateur radio community you are expected to know the typical amateur radio expressions and idioms, which will help you to become fully accepted by the ham community.

During your on-the-air contacts, use the Q code (attachment 2 ) correctly. Avoid overkill by using the Q code all the time in phone. You can also use standard expressions that everybody under stands. Some Q codes have however become standard expressions even in phone, e.g.:



the frequency interference interference from atmospherics (static crashes) a child leave the air, stop transmitting being ready, being available just a moment, stand by who called me? fading the card which confirms a contact I confirm a contact change frequency the place where your station is located (city, village)

Ethics and Operating Procedures for the

Radio Amateur

As well a s the small number of Q codes which are commonly used on phone, there are some other short expressions that stem from CW (see § II.9.28) and that have become commonplace on phone, such as 73, 88, OM (old man), YL (young lady), etc.

Use the one and only international spelling alphabet (attachment 1) correctly. Avoid fantasies which may sound funny or amusing in your own language, but which won’t make your correspondent understand what you are saying... Do not use different spelling words in one and the same sentence. Example: ‘ CQ from ON9UN, oscar november nine uniform november, ocean nancy nine united nations...

The most widely used language in amateur radio is undoubtedly English. If you want to contact stations all over the worl d it is likely that a majority of your contacts will be made in English language. It goes without saying though that two hams, both speaking language different from English c an of course converse in that language.

Making contacts in Morse code (CW) is always possible without speaking a single word in the language of your QSO partner.

It is clear that the hobby can be an excellent tool for learning and practicing languages. You w ill always find someone on t he bands that will be happy i n helping you with a new language.



A good radio amateur starts by listening a lot.  You can learn a lot by listening but be careful, not all you hear on the bands are good examples.You will certainly witness alot of incorrect operational procedures.

If you are active on the bands, be a good example on the air and apply the guidelines as explained in this document.



Instead of callsign or call letters, hams usually employ the short form call.

Use only your complete call to identify yourself. Don’t start your transmission by identifying yourself or your correspondent by your or his first name ( e.g.saying: hello Mike, this is Louis...).

Identify yourself with your FULL callsign, not just the suffix! It is illegal to just use the suffix.

Identify yourself frequently.



Never use abusive terms, stay polite, courteous and gentle, under all circumstances.

George Bernard Shaw once wrote: There is no accomplishment so easy to acquire as politeness and none more profitable.


Repeaters serve in the first place to extend the operating range of portable and mobile stations on VHF/UHF.

Use simplex wherever possible. Using repeaters to make contacts between two fixed stations should be an exception.

If you want to talk via the repeater while it is already in use, wait for a pause between transmissions to announce your call.

Only use the term ‘ break’ or even better ‘break break break ’ in an emergency or life-threatening situation. Better is to say ‘break break break with emergency traffic’.

Stations using the repeater should pause until its carrier drops out or a beep appears, to avoid inadvertent doubling (simultaneous transmission) and to allow time fo rnew stations to identify. Pausing usually also allows the timer to reset, avoiding a time-out.

Do not monopolize the repeater. Repeater s are there not only for you and your friends. Be conscious that others may want to use the repeater as well; be obliging.

Keep your contacts through a repeater short and to the point.

Repeaters should not serve t o inform the XYL that you a re on you r way home and that lunch c an be served... Contacts through amateur radio concern primarily the technique of radio communications.

Don’t break into a contact unless you have something significant to add.


Interrupting is no more polite on the air than it is in person.

Interrupting a conversation without identification is not correct an d in principle it constitutes illegal interference.

If you frequently use a particular repeater consider supporting those that keep that repeater on the air.



A QSO is a contact by radio between two or more hams.

You can make a general call ( CQ), you can answer someone’s CQ or call someone who has just finished a contact with another station. More on this follows...

Which call comes first in your conversation? Correct is: ‘ W1ZZZ from G3ZZZ ’ (you are G3ZZZ, and W1ZZZ is the person you address). So, first give the call of the person you speak to, followed by your own call.

How often should you identify? In most countries the rule is: at the beginning and at the end of each transmission, with a minimum of at least once every 5 minutes. A series of short overs is usually considered to be single transmission. In a contest it is not strictly necessary, from the viewpoint of the rule maker, to identify at each QSO. This 5 minute rule has come about as a requirement from the monitoring stations to be able to easily identify stations. From an operational point of view however, the only good procedure is to identify at each QSO (see also framed text on page 62).

A pause or a blank: when your correspondent switches the transmission over to you, it is a good habit to wait a second before starting your transmission, in  order to check whether someone may want to join you, or use the frequency. • Short or long transmissions? Preferably make short rather than long transmissions, this makes it much easier for your correspondent if he wants to comment on something you said.




II.8.1. How do you call CQ?

Sometimes before transmitting it is necessa ry to tune ( adjust) the transmitter (or antenna tuner). Tuning should in the first instance be done on a dummy load. If necessary, fine tuning can be done on a clear frequency with reduced power, after having asked if the frequency is in use.

What should you do first of all?

- Check which band you want to use for the distance and the direction you want to cover. MUF charts are published on many websites, and can help in predicting HF propagation.

- Check which portion of the band you sh ould use for phone conta cts. Always have a copy of the IARU Band Plan available on your operating desk.

- Remember, SSB transmissions below 10 MHz are done on LSB, above 10 MHz on USB.

- Also, when you transmit on USB on a given nominal (suppressed carrier) frequency, your transmission on SSB will spread at least 3 kHz above that frequency. On LSB it is the inverse, your signal will spread at least 3 kHz below the frequency indicated on your rig. This means: never transmit on LSB below 1.843 kHz (1.840 is the lower limit of the sideband section); never transmit on LSB below 3.603 kHz, or on USB never above 14.347 kHz, etc.

- And then? - Now you are ready to start listening for a while on the band or frequency you intend to use... - If the frequency seems to be clear to you, ask if it is in use (‘anyone using this frequency?’ or ‘ is this frequency i n use? ’). Some operators ask ‘ is this Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur 11frequency clear? ’, but asking this way may lead to confusion. It does not mean that, if a frequency is ‘clear’ for one particular station, it really is a clear frequency. So, let’s find out if other stations are already using the frequency by asking: ‘anyone using this frequency?’ or ‘is this frequency in use?’.

- If you have already listened for a while on an apparently clear frequency, why do you in addition have to ask if the frequency is in use? Because one station, part of a QSO,whoi slocated in the skip zone vs.your locati on,could be transmitting on the frequency. This means that you cannot hear him (and he won’t hear you) because he is too far for propagation via ground wave and too close for propagation via ionospheric reflection. On the higher HF bands this usually means stations located a few hundred kilometers from you. If you ask if the frequency is in use, his correspondent may hear you and confirm. If you start transmitting without asking, chances are you will be causing QRM to at least one of the stations on frequency.

- If the frequency is occupied, the user will most likely answer ‘ yes’ or more politely ‘yes, thank you for asking . In this case you have to look for another frequency to call CQ.

- And if nobody replies? - Ask again: ‘is this frequency in use?- And if still no one replies?

Call CQ: ‘ CQ from G3ZZZ, G3ZZZ calling CQ, golf three zulu z ulu zulu calling CQ and listening’. At the end you may say ‘ ...calling CQ and standing by ’, instead of ‘...and listening’. One could also say: ‘...and standing by for any call’.

Always speak clearly and distinctly, and pronounce all words correctly.

Give your call 2 to maximum 4 times during a CQ.

Use the international spelling alpha bet (for spelling out your callsign) once or twice during your CQ.

It’s better to use several consecutive short CQs rather than one long CQ.

Do not end a CQ wi th ‘over’, as in this example: ‘ CQ CQ G3ZZZ golf three zulu zulu zulu calling CQ and standing by. Over’. ‘Over’ means ‘over to you’. At the end of a CQ you cannot turn it over to anyone as you are not yet in contact!

Never end a CQ by saying ‘ QRZ’. ‘ QRZ’ means ‘ who was calling me? ’. It is obvious that nobody WAS calling you before you started your CQ! A totally wrong way of ending a CQ is as follows: ‘ CQ 20 CQ 20 from G3ZZZ golf three zulu zulu zulu calling CQ, G 3ZZZ calling CQ 20, QRZ ’, or ‘ ...calling CQ 20 and standing by. QRZ’.

If you call CQ and want to listen on another frequency than the one you transmit on, end each CQ by indicating your lis tening frequency, e.g. ...listening 5 to 10 up’ or also ‘...listening on 14295’, etc. Just saying ‘listening up’ or ‘ up’ is not sufficient, as you don’t say where you are listening. This method of making QSOs is called split frequency working.

If you intend to work split frequency, always check if the frequency you plan to use for listening is free, as well as the frequency on which you will call CQ.

Saying ‘ CQ fr om Victor Romeo two Oscar Port able’ is not very clear. Either VR2OP calls CQ using an incorrect spelling phonetic, or VR2O/p calls CQ and omits to add the expression ‘stroke’ while calling CQ. This can lead to a lot of confusion. Always use the term ‘stroke’ when you are portable, mobile etc.


II.8.2. What does ‘CQ DXmean?

If you want to contact long distance stations, call ‘CQ DX’.

What is DX?

On HF: st ations outside your own continent, or of a country with very limited amateur radio activity (e.g. Mount Athos, Order of Malta etc. in Europe).

On VHF-UHF: stations located at more than approx. 300 km.

During a CQ you can insist t hat you only want to work DX stations, as follows:

CQ DX, outside Europe, this is...’.

Always be obliging; maybe the local station calling you after your CQ DX is a newcomer, and maybe you are a new country for him. Why not just give him a quick QSO?


II.8.3. Calling a specific station

Let us assume that you want to call DL1ZZZ with whom you have a sked (schedule, rendez-vous). Here’s how you do this: ‘ DL1ZZZ, DL1ZZZ this is G3ZZZ calling on sked and listening for you’.

If, despite your directive call someone else calls you, remain polite. Give him a quick report and say ‘sorry, I have a sked with DL1ZZZ...’.


II.8.4. How do you make a QSO in phone?

Assume you get a reply to your CQ call, e.g.: ‘ G3ZZZ from W1ZZZ, whisk ey one zulu zulu zulu is calling you and listening ’ or ‘G3ZZZ from W1ZZZ, whiskey one zulu zulu zulu over’.

We have explained why you cannot end your CQ with ‘ over’ (§ II.8.1). When someone answers your CQ, he wants to turn it over to you (get an answer from you), which means that he can end his call with ‘over’ (meaning ‘over to you’).

If a station answers your CQ, the first thing you need to do is to acknowledge his call, after which you can right away tell him how you are receiving his transmission, give him your name and QTH (location): ‘W1ZZZ from G3ZZZ (be careful, keep the right sequence!), thanks for the call, I am receiving you very well, readability 5 and strength 8 (usually the indication on the S-meter on your receiver). My QTH is London and my name is John (not ‘my personal name’ nor ‘my personal’ nor ‘my first personal’; there are no such things as personal or impersonal names). ‘How do you copy me? W1ZZZ from G3ZZZ. Over’.

If you call a station that has called CQ (or QRZ), call that station by giving his call not more than once. In most cases it’s better not to give it at all; the operator knows his own call.In a contest (§II.8.6) you never give the callsign of the station you are calling.

In phone we exchange an RS report, a report of Readability and of signal Strength.

We have already said not to overly use the Q code in phone contacts, but if you use it, do it correctly. QRK means Readability of the signal, which is the same as R in the RS report. QSA means Signal Strength as the S from the RS report.

- One thing is different however, the range of the S in the RS report goes from 1 to 9, in the QSA code it goes from 1 to 5 only.

- So, don’t say ‘ you’re QSA 5 and QRK 9 ’ (as we sometimes hear), but if you want to use Q code, say: ‘you are QRK 5 and QSA 5 ’. Of course it is much Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur 13 simpler to say‘you’re 5 and 9’.On CW the use of QRK and QSA is almost non-existent. In CW only the RST report is used instead (§ II.9.6).



R1 Unreadable

R2 Barely readable

R3 Readable with difficulty R4 Readable with no difficulty

R5 Perfectly readable



S1 Faint signals, barely perceptible

S2 Very weak signals

S3 Weak Signals S4 Fair signals

S5 Fairly good signals

S6 Good signals S7 Fairly strong signals

S8 Strong signals S9 Very strong signals


Using the word ‘ over’ at the end of your over is recommended but not really a must. A QSO consists of a number of transmissions or overs. ‘Over’ stands for ‘over to you’.

If signals are not very strong and if the readability is not perfect, you can spell out your name etc. Example: ‘ My name is John, spelled juliett, oscar, hotel, november ... ’ Do NOT say ‘... juliett juliett, oscar oscar, hotel hotel, november november’. This is not the way you spell the name John.

In most short, so-called rubber stamp QSOs, you will describe your station and antenna and often other data such as weather info (related to propagation especially on VHF and higher) can be exchanged. As a rule it is the station that was first on the frequency (e.g. the station who called CQ) that should take the initiative to bring up subjects of conversation. Maybe he just wants a shorts hello and good by contact.

Use the correct terminology when describing your station. Do not say ‘ I am working with 5 Whiskey...’. This certainly is not standard ham language. Simply say: “I am running 5 Watts”.

Even during a stereotype QSO we often see technical discussions being developed and results of experimentation being exchanged, just as we would do during eyeball conversations. Worth mentioning as well is t hat many friendships have been forged as a result of radio contacts between hams. The hobby is a real bridge builder between communities, cultures and civilizations!

If you wish to QSL (exchange cards), mention it: ‘ Please QSL. I will send my card to you via the QSL bureau and would appreciate your card as well’. A QSL is a postcard sized report confirming a QSO you made.

QSL cards may be mailed directly to the other station or sent via a QSL bureau. Just about al lRadio Societies, members of IARU,exchange QSL cards for their members. Some stations only QSL via a QSL manager who handle s the mail for him/her. Details of those can be found on various websites.

Ethics require that ham should be willing to exchange QSL cards without asking money for it other than to cover return postage charges if a direct exchange is requested.

To wrap up a QSO: ‘ ...W1ZZZ, this is G3ZZZ signing with you and listening for any other calls ’, or if you intend to go off the air ‘...and closing down the station’.

You may add the word ‘ out’ at the end of your last transmission, indicating you are closing down, but it is seldom done. Do NOT say ‘over and out ’, because ‘over’ means you switch over to  your correspondent, and in this case there is no longer a correspondent!


At this point I am sorry to say that I disagree with IARU with the word over because as you mention his callsign and ours, it already mean over. The usage is redundant.


Typical SSB QSO for the beginner:

Is this frequency in use? This is W1ZZZ

Is this frequency in use? This is W1ZZZ

CQ CQ CQ from W1ZZZ whiskey one zulu zulu zulu calling CQ and listening

W1ZZZ from ON6YYY oscar november six yankee yankee yankee calling and standing by

ON6YYY from W1ZZZ, good evening, thanks for your call, you are 59. My name is Robert, I spell Romeo Oscar Bravo Echo Romeo Tango and my QTH is Boston. How copy? ON6YYY from W1ZZZ. Over.

W1ZZZ from ON6YYY, good evening Robert, I copy you very well, 57, readability 5 and strength 7. My name is John, Juliette Oscar Hotel November, and my QTH is near Ghent . Back to you Robert. W1ZZZ from ON6YYY. Over.

ON6YYY from W1ZZZ, thanks for the report John. My working conditions are a 100 Watt transceiver with a dipole 10 meter high. I would like to exchange QSL cards with you, and will send you my card via the bureau. Many thanks for this contact, 73 and see you soon again, I hope. ON6YYY from W1ZZZ.

W1ZZZ from ON6YYY, all copied 100%, on this side I am using 10 Watt with an inverted-V antenna with the apex at 8 meters. I will also send you my QSL card via the bureau, Robert. 73 and hope to meet you again soon. W1ZZZ this is ON6YYY clear with you.

73 John and see you soon from W1ZZZ now clear (...and listening for any stations calling)

II.8.5. Fast back and forth switching

If you are involved in a quick back and forth conversation, involving short transmissions, you do not n eed to identify at each over. One must identify at least once every 5 minutes (in some countries 10 minutes) as well as at the beginning and at the end of your transmissions (can be a series of QSOs).

You can also turn it over to your correspondent by simply saying ‘ over’, meaning you turned the microphone over to him/her to start his transmission. Even fast er is to just stop talking and pause. If the pause exceeds 1 or 2 seconds your correspondent will simply start transmitting.


II.8.7. The correct use of ‘QRZ’

QRZ’ means ‘who called me?’, nothing more, nothing less.

The most classical use of ‘QRZ’ is after a CQ, when you were unable to copy the call(s) of the station(s) that called you.In a way it means ‘I am sorry, I heard you calling me, but could not get your call. Please call again’.

It does not mean ‘who’s there?’ neither does it mean ‘ who’s on the frequency? and even less ‘please call me’.

If someone comes on an apparently clear frequency and wants to check whether or not it is in use, he should not use ‘QRZ?’ to do that! Just ask ‘is this frequency in use?’.

If you have been listening to a particular station which has not identified for some time and you would like to know his call, you can ask ‘ your call please’ or ‘please identify’. Strictly spoken you would ne ed to add your call sign, because you need to identify yourself.

QRZ’ certainly does NOT mean ‘ call me please’. We more and more frequently hear CQ calls ending in the word ‘QRZ’. This makes no sense. How can someone already have been calling if you just finished a CQ?

Another incorrect use of ‘ QRZ’: I am calling CQ in a contest. A station tunes across my frequency and just catches the tail end of my CQ, but missed my callsign. We often hear stations in such circumstances say ‘QRZ’. Totally wrong. Nobody has called this station. All he has to do is to wait for my next CQ to find out my call! The same remark applies to CW of course.

Other similar rather funny but incorrect expressions are: ‘ QRZ is this frequency in use?’ or ‘QRZ the frequency’ (should be ‘is this frequency in use?’).

One more rather widespread incorrect use of ‘ QRZ’: ‘CQ DX CQ this is UR5ZZZ QRZ DX’. Just say ‘‘CQ DX CQ this is UR5ZZZ calling CQ DX and listening’.

Another incorrect use of QRZ: ‘give me your QRZ’ which is supposed to mean give me your call’. It is remarkable that in most of the above erroneous uses of “QRZ” there is a link to the idea of “ca llsign”. But pleas e, do use ‘QRZ’ in the one and only meaning it has: ‘who called me

During pileups (see § III.1) we will often hear the DX station saying ‘ QRZ’, not because in the first place he previously missed a call but to tell the pileup he is listening again. This use of ‘QRZ’ is not quite correct.



ZK1DX calls CQ ON4YYY calls ZK1DX who replies with a report ZK1DX confirms the report (‘QSL’) and adds ‘QRZ’, which in this case means ‘I am listening again for the stations calling me rather than who called me?’ which is the real meaning of ‘QRZ’. Although you could argue that he heard other stations before and hence can call ‘QRZ’, the use of ‘QRZ’ followed by ‘ZK1DX’ is certainly not the most efficient procedure.


What we hear even more and which is completely wrong:

... QSL QRZ in this case ZK1DX does not identify at all. The pileup wants to know who the DX station is. The correct and most efficient procedure is as follows:

... QSL ZK1DX ZK1DX confirms the report he received by saying ‘QSL’. This is followed by his call, which is the sign for the pileup to call him.


II.8.8. Check your transmission quality

Have you properly adjusted your transmitter?

Is the microphone gain not set too high?

Is the speech processing level not too high? The background noise level should be at least 25 dB down from your voice peak level. This means that when you don’t speak the output level of the transmitter must be at least approximately 300 times lower than the peak power when you speak.

Ask a local ham to check your transmission for splatter.

Having an oscilloscope in line with the output signal so you can monitor f or flat topping is the best continuous monitoring system.



Morse code is a co de for transmitting text. The code is made up by seque nces of short and long audio tones. A short tone burst is called a DIT, the longer one a DAH. The DAHs are 3 times as long as the DITs. These are frequently but incorrectly called DOTS and DASHES, which make us think of something visual rather than sounds.

Morse code is not a series of written DOTS and DASHES, although originally, in the 19 th century, Morse code was scribed as DOTS and DASHES on a moving paper strip. Telegraph operators soon found out it was easier to copy the text by listening to the buzz of the scriber machine than trying to read it off the paper strips. So the letter ‘ R’ is not SHORT LONG SHORT nor DOT DASH DOT, nor . - . but DIT DAH DIT.

In some languages the letter ‘ R’ will be written as DIT DAH DIT, in others as DI DAH DIT. What we are trying to make c lear is that there are only two sounds, the short sound ( DIT or DI) and the long sound ( DAH). Representing two sounds by thr ee words may be confusing; therefore we use only DIT and DAH in this document.

CW makes extensive use of Q codes, abbreviations and pro signs. These are all shortcuts to make communicating faster and more efficient.

Hams normally use the word CW for telegraphy. The term CW stems from Continuous Wave although CW is far from being a continuous wave, but rather a wave which is constantly interrupted at the rhythm of the Morse code. Hams use the terms Morse and CW interchangeably – they mean the same thing.

The -6dB bandwidth of a properly shaped CW signal is approximately 4 times the sending speed in WPM (Words Per Minute). Example: CW at 25 WPM takes 100 Hz (at -6dB). The spectrum required to transmit one SSB (voice) signal (2,7 kHz) can hold more than a dozen CW signals!

The intrinsic narrow bandwidth of CW results in a much better Signal-to-Noise ratio under marginal conditions as compared to wide band signals such as SSB (a wider bandwidth contains more noise power than a narrower bandwidth). This is why DX contacts under marginal conditions (e.g . working stations in other continents on 160m and working EME) are most frequently done in CW.

What’s the minimum receiving speed you need to master to be able to regularly make QSOs in Morse code?

- 5 WPM can get you a starter’s certificat e, but y ou will not be able to make many contacts except on the special QRS (QRS means: reduce your sending speed) frequencies. These QRS frequencies can be found in the IARU Band Plan.

- 12 WPM is a minimum, but most experienced CW operators make their QSOs at 20 to 30 WPM and even higher speeds.

There is no secret recipe to master t he Art of CW: training , training, training, just as in any sport.

CW is a unique language, a language which is mastered in all countries of the world!


II.9.1. The computer as your assistant?

You will not learn CW by using a computer program that helps you to decode CW.

It is acceptable though to send CW from a computer (pre-programmed short messages). This is commonly done in contests by the logging program.

As a newcomer you may want to use a CW decoding program to assist you in order to be able to verify that a text was correctly decoded. However, if you really want to learn the code, you yourself using your ears and brain.

CW decoding programs perform veryill need to decode the same CW text poorly under anything but perfect superior. This is mainly be cause Morse

conditions; our ears and brains are far code was not developed to be automatically sent nor received, as is the case with many modern digital codes (RTTY, PSK etc.).

A large majority of CW operators use an electronic keyer (with a paddle) instead of a hand key to generate Morse code. It is much easier to send good Morse code using an electronic keyer than with a hand key.



II.9.2. Calling CQ

What should you do first of all?

- -


- -

- -



Decide which band you will use. On which band is there good propagation for the path you want to cover? The monthly MUF charts, published in magazines and on many ham websites can be very helpful in this respect. Check which band portions are reserved for CW work. On most bands this is at the bottom end of the bands. Consult the IARU Band Plan on the IARU website.


Listen for a while on the frequency you would like to use to find out whether it is clear or not. And then?


If the frequency seems clear, ask if the frequency is in use. Send ‘ QRL?’ at least twice, with a few seconds in between. Sending ‘?’ only is not the proper procedure. The question mark just says ‘ I asked a question’; the problem is that you did not ask anything. ‘ QRL?’ (with the question mark) means ‘is this frequency in use?’. Do not send ‘ QRL? K’ as we sometimes hear. It means ‘ is the frequency in use? Over to you’. To whom? Just ‘QRL?’ is correct. If the frequency is in use, someone will answer ‘ R’ (roger), ‘ Y’ ( yes), or ‘ R QSY’, or ‘QRL’, ‘C’ (I confirm) etc.

QRL’ (without question mark) means: the frequency is in use. In such a case you will have to look for another frequency to use.


And if a clear frequency was found?

Call CQ. How?

Send CQ at the speed at which you would l ike to be answered. Never send faster than you can copy.


AR’ means ‘end of message’ or ‘I am through with this transmission’, while ‘Kmeans ‘over to you’ etc. This means you should al ways terminate your CQ with ‘AR’ and never with ‘K’, because there is nobody there yet whom you can turn it over to. ( My own voew)I disagree because K stands for invite...

Do not end your CQ with ‘AR K’: it means ‘end of message, over to you’. There is nobody to turn it over to yet. End your CQ with ‘AR’. It is true that we often hear ‘AR K’ on the band, but it is not a proper procedure!

The use of‘ PSE’ attheendofa CQ(e.g.‘CQ CQ de...PSEK’) may seem to be very polite, but is not necessary. It has no added value. In addition, the use of the ‘K’ is incorrect. Simply use ‘AR’ at the end of your CQ.

Send your call 2 to 4 times, certainly not more!

Don’t send an endless se ries of CQs, with your call just once at the end. Thinking that a long CQ will increase the chances of getting a response is wrong. It actually has the opposite effect. A station that may be interested in calling you first wants to know your call, and certainly is not interested in listening to an almost endless series of CQ CQ CQ ...

It’s much better to send a number of short CQs (‘ CQ CQ de F9ZZZ F9ZZZ AR ’) than one long spun CQ (‘ CQ CQ CQ ... -15 times- de F9ZZZ CQ CQ CQ ... -15 more times- de F9ZZZ AR’).

If you c all CQ and want to work split (listening on another frequency than you transmit on), specify your listening frequency at each CQ. Example: end your CQ with ‘ UP 5/10... ’ or ‘ UP 5... ’ or ‘ QSX 1822... ’ (which means that you will listen on 1.822 kHz ). ‘QSX’ means ‘I listen on ...’.


II.9.3. Prosigns

Prosigns (short for procedural signs) are symbols formed by combining two characters into one without the inter-character space.

AR’, used to end a transmission, is a prosign.

Other commonly used prosigns are:

AS’ (see § II.9.9)

CL’ (see § II.9.6)

SK’ (see § II.9.6)

HH’ (see § II.9.20)

BK’ (see § II.9.7) and ‘KN’ (see § II.9.10) are not prosigns, as the two letters of these codes are sent with a space in between.


II.9.4. Calling ‘CQ DX’

Just send ‘ CQ DX ’ in stead of ‘ CQ’. If you want to work DX from a specific region, call e.g. ‘ CQ JA CQ JA I1ZZZ I1ZZZ JA AR ’ (a call for stations from Japan), or ‘ CQ NA CQ NA...’ (a call for stations from North Ame rica) etc. You can also make your CQ DX call more explicit by adding that you do not wa nt to contact European stations: ‘CQ DX CQ DX I1ZZZ I1ZZZ DX NO EU AR’, but this sounds a little aggressive.

You can also specify a continent: NA = North America, SA = South America, AF = Africa, AS = Asia, EU = Europe, OC = Oceania.

Even if a station from your own continent calls you, always remain courteous. Maybe he is a newcomer. Give him a quick contact and log him. You may actually be a new country for him!


II.9.5. Calling a specific station (a directive call)

Let us assume that you want to call DL0ZZZ, with whom you have a sked (schedule, rendez-vous). He re’s how you do t his: ‘ DL0ZZZ DL0ZZZ SKED DE G3ZZZ KN ’. Note the ‘ KN’ at the end, which mean s you do not want ot her stations to call you.

If, despite your di rective call someone else cal ls you, give him a quick re port and send ‘SRI HVE SKED WID DL0ZZZ 73...’.


II.9.6. Carry on and wrap up the CW QSO

Assume W1ZZZ is answering your CQ: ‘ G3ZZZ DE W 1ZZZ W1ZZZ AR’, or ‘G3ZZZ DE W1ZZZ W1ZZZ K’ or even ‘ W1ZZZ W1ZZZ K’ or ‘ W1ZZZ W1ZZZ AR’.

While replying to a CQ, do not send the call of the station you are calling more than once, better still is not to send it at all (you can trust the operator knows his own call...).

Should the calling station end its call with ‘ AR’ or ‘ K’? Both are equally acceptable. ‘ AR’ means ‘ end of message ’ while ‘ K’ means ‘ over to you ’. The latter sounds a little more optimistic, as maybe the station you call will return for another station...

There is however a good reason to use ‘ AR’ rather than ‘ K’. ‘AR’ is a prosign (see § II.9.3) which means that the letters A and R are sent without any space between them. If one sends ‘ K’ instead of ‘ AR’ and if the letter ‘K’ is sent somewhat close to the callsign, the letter ‘ K’ may be considered as being the last letter of the call. It happens all the time. With ‘ AR’ this is quite impossible as ‘AR’ is not a letter. Often no closing code (neither AR nor K) is used, which reduces the risk of making errors.

Assume you want to reply to W1ZZZ who called you. You can do that as follows: ‘ W1ZZZ DE G3ZZZ GE (good evening) TKS (thanks) FER (for) UR (your) CALL UR RST 589 589 NAME BOB BOB QTH LEEDS LEED S HW CPY (how copy) W1ZZZ DE G3ZZZ K ’. This is the time to use ‘ K’ at the end of your transmission. ‘K’ means over to you, and now the you is W1ZZZ.

Do not end your over with ‘AR K’: it means ‘end of message, over to you’. It is clear that when you turn it over you have finished your message, no need to say so. End your transmissions ( overs) during a QSO with ‘ K’ ( or ‘ KN’ when necessary, see § II.9.10). True, we hear ‘AR K’ frequently, but it is incorrect.

The reason for the improper uses of either ‘ AR’, ‘K’, ‘KN’, ‘AR K’, or ‘AR KN’, is that many operators do not really know what each of these prosigns exactly mean. Let’s use them properly!

We explained that it is not necessary to use the term ‘ PSE’ ( please) to end a CQ; do not use it either at the end of your over. So no ‘PSE K’ or ‘PSE KN’. Let’s keep it simple, and leave out the ‘PSE’, please...

On the VHF bands (and higher) it is customary to exchange the QTH-locator. This is a code indicating t he geographic location of your station (example: JM12ab).

The RST report: R and S stand for Readability (1 to 5) and signal Strength (1 to 9) as used for phone signals (see § II.8.4). The T (1 to 9) in the signal report stands for T one. It indicates the pureness of the sound of the CW signal, which should sound like a pure sine wave signal without any distortion.

These original tone ratings attributed to the different T values stem from the early days of amateur radio where often a pure CW tone was an exception rather than the rule. The above table lists the more modern CW tone ratings as published in 1995 (source: W4NRL).


T1 - 60 Hz (or 50 Hz) AC or less, very rough and broad

T2 - Very rough AC, very harsh

T3 - Rough AC note, rectified but not filtered

T4 - Rough note, some trace of filtering

T5 - Filtered rectified AC, but strongly ripple-modulated

T6 - Filtered tone, definite trace of ripple modulation

T7 - Near pure tone, trace of ripple modulation

T8 - Near perfect tone, slight trace of modulation

T9 - Perfect tone, no trace of ripple or modulation of any kind

In practice we generally use just a few levels of T with a definition which meets the general status of technology today:

T1: T5:

T7 – T8: T9: heavily modulated CW, signs of wild oscillation or extremely rough AC (means: get off the air with such a poor signal!). very noticeable AC component (often due to poor regulation of a power supply of the transmitter or amplifier).


/Nowadays the most common CW signal deficiencies are chirp and even more common key clicks (see § II.9.25). A long time ago chirp and key clicks were very common problems with CW signals: every CW operator knew that a 579 C report meant signals exhibiting chirp, and 589K meant signals with key clicks. Few hams nowadays know what the C and the K at the end of an RST report stand for, so better send ‘CHIRP’ or ‘BAD CHIRP’, and ‘CLICKS’ or ‘BAD CLICKS’ in full words as part of your report. A typical way to gracefully end the QSO would be: ‘ ...TKS (thanks) FER QSO 73 ES (= and) CUL (see you l ater) W1ZZZ de G3ZZZ SK ’. ‘ SK’ i s the prosign meaning ‘end of contact’.

DIT DIT DIT DAH DIT DAHis the prosign ‘SK’ (from ‘stop keying’) and not ‘VA’ as published in some places (SKsent without inter letter spacing sounds the same as VA sent without inter letter spacing). Do not send ‘ ...AR SK ’. It does not make sense. You are saying ‘ end of transmission’ + ‘end of contact’. It is quite obvious the end of your contact is at the end of your transmission. You will quite often hear ‘ ...AR SK’, but the AR is redundant, so avoid using it.


If at the end of the QSO you also intend to close down your station, you should send: ‘...W1ZZZ DE G3ZZZ SK CL’ (‘CL’ is a prosign meaning ‘closing’ or ‘closing down’).slightly or barely noticeable AC component. perfect tone, undistorted sine waveform.


Typical CW QSO for the beginner:










An overview of the closing codes:



atendofCQandattheendofyour transmission when you call a station (1)

attheendofanover(2)andattheendofyour transmission when you call a station (1)

at the end of an over

do NOT use

do NOT use

at end of QSO

do NOT use

when closing down









end of transmission

over to you

over to you only

end of transmission + over to you

end of transmission + over to you only

end of contact (end of QSO)

end of transmission + end of contact

end of QSO + closing down station

(1) when you reply to a station calling CQ or QRZ (2) a transmission or an over is NOT the same as a QSO (contact). A QSO usually consists of a series of overs


II.9.7. Using ‘BK’

BK’ ( break) is used for switching quickly back and forth between stations without exchanging callsign sattheendof the transmission. In a way it is the CW equivalent of ‘over’ in phone.

Example: W1ZZZ wants to know the name of G3ZZZ he’s in contact with and sends: ‘ ...UR NAME PSE BK ’. G3ZZZ answers immediate ly: ‘ BK NAME JOHN JOHN BK’.

The break is announced with ‘BK’, and the transmission by the correspondent starts with ‘BK’. The latter BK however is not always sent.

II.9.8. Still faster

Often even the ‘BK’ code is not used. One just stops sending (in break in mode, which means that you can listen between words or characters) giving an opportunity to the other station to start sending, just as in a normal face to face conversation, where the word is also passed back and forth without any formality.

II.9.9. Using the prosign ‘AS’ (DIT DAH DIT DIT DIT)

If, during a QSO, someone breaks in (transmits his call on top o f the station you are working, or gives his call when you switch over), and you want to let him know that you first want to finish the QSO , just send ‘ AS’, which means ‘hold on’, ‘wait’ or ‘stand by’.

II.9.10. Using ‘KN’

K’ = ‘over’. Sending just ‘K’ at the end of your over leaves the door open for other stations to break in. If you don’t want to be interrupted, send ‘KN’.

KN’ means that you want to hear ONLY the station whose callsign you just sent (= ‘go ahead, others keep out ’ or ‘ over to you only ’), in other words: no breakers at this time please.

KN’ is mainly used when chaos is a round the corner. A possible scenario: different stations are coming back to your CQ. You are decoding one partial call and you send: ‘ ON4AB? DE G3ZZZ PSE UR CALL AGN (again) K’. The station ON4AB? answers you, but in addition several other stations call simultaneously, making it impossible to copy his call. The procedure is to call ON4AB? again and end your call with ‘ KN’ instead of ‘K’, this to emphasize you only want to hear ON4AB? come back to you. Example: ‘ON4AB? DE G 3ZZZ KN’ or even ‘ ONLY ON4AB? DE G3ZZZ KN’. If you are still short of authority on the frequency you may try ‘ ON4AB? DE G3ZZ Z KN N N N ’ (keep some extra space between the letters N). Now you are really getting nervous...

II.9.11. How to answer a CQ

Assume W1ZZZ has called CQ and you want to make a QSO with him. How do you go about it?

Do not send at a higher speed than the station you’re calling.

Do not send the call of the station you are calling more than once; most of the time the call is not sent, it is obvious who you are calling.

You can use either ‘K’ or ‘AR’ to end your call (see § II.9.6): ‘W1ZZZ DE G3ZZZ G3ZZZ K’, ‘G3ZZZ G3ZZZ K’, ‘W1ZZZ DE G3ZZZ G3ZZZ AR ’ or ‘G3ZZZ G3ZZZ AR’.

In many cases one sends only the callsign without any closing code (AR or K) at all. This is also common practice in contests.

Do not end your call with either ‘...PSE AR’ or ‘...PSE K’ (see § II.9.6).

II.9.12. Someone sends an error in your call

Assume W1ZZZ has not copied all the lette rs of your call correctly. His answer is something like: ‘ G3ZZY DE W1ZZZ TKS FOR CALL UR RST 479 479 NAME JACK JACK QTH NR BOSTON BOSTON G3ZZY DE W1ZZZ K’.

Now you go back to him as follows: ‘ W1ZZZ de G3ZZZ ZZZ G3ZZZ TKS FER RPRT...’. By repeating part of your call a few times, you emphasize this part of the call to get your correspondent’s attention so he can correct the error.

II.9.13. Call a station that’s finishing a QSO

Two stations are in QSO, the QSO comes to an end. If they both sign with ‘CL’ (‘closing down’) it means the frequency is now clear as they both closed down. If one or both ended with ‘SK’ (end of transmission), it may well be so that one or the other will remain on frequency for more QSOs (in principle the station that initially called CQ on that frequency).

In this case, it is best to wait a while and see if either one calls CQ again.

Example: W1ZZZ finished a QSO with F1AA: ‘ ...73 CUL (see you lat er) F1AA de W1ZZZ SK’.

As neither one calls CQ after the QSO, you can call either one.

Assume you (G3ZZZ) want to call F1A A. How do you go about it? Simply send ‘F1AA de G3ZZZ G3ZZZ AR’.

In this ca se calling without mentioning th e callsign of the station you want to contact would be inappropriate. Send the call of the station you want to work once, followed by your call once or twice.


II.9.14. Using the ‘=’ sign or ‘DAH DIT DIT DIT DAH’

Some call it ‘BT’, because it is like a letter B and T sent without space (like ‘AR’ is sent without space), but simply is the equality sign (=) in CW.

DAH DIT DIT DIT DAH is used as a filler to pause for a second while you think of what you are going to send next. It is also used as a separator between chunks of text.

As filler it is used to prevent your correspondent from starting to transmit, because you haven’t finished your sentence yet, or you have not finished sending what you want to send. It is clearly the equivalent of euh or eh.

Some CW operators seem to use ‘ DAH DIT DIT DIT DAH ’ spread all over their QSOs as a text separator, to make the text more readable. Example: ‘ W1ZZZ DE G4YYY = GM = TU FER CL = NAME CHRIS QTH SOUTHAMPTON = RST 599 = HW CPI? W1ZZZ DE G4YYY KN ’. The use of this separation mark seems less common nowadays, and is considered by many as a waste of time . ‘W1ZZZ DE G4YYY G M TU FER CL NAME CHRIS QTH SOUTHAMPTON RST 599 HW CPI? W1ZZZ DE G4YYY KN ’ is as readable as the version of the text with the separators.

II.9.15. Send good sounding code

Listening to your CW should be like listening to good music, where one never feels like working at deciphering an unknown code or assembling a puzzle.

Make sure you space letters and words appropriately. Fast sending with a little extra spacing usually makes overall copying easier.

Experienced CW operators don’t listen for letters but for words. This can of course only be done successfully if the right spacing exists between words. Once you start hearing words instead of a stream of letters, you are getting there! In normal face to face conversation we also listen for words, not for letters, don’t we?

On an automatic keyer, adjust the DIT/ space ratio (weight) correctly. It will sound nicest (most pleasing) if the ratio is a little bit o n the high side (DIT a little longer than a space), compared to the standard 1/1 ratio.  Remark: weight is not the same as DIT/DAH ratio! The DIT/DAH ratio is usually fixed at a 1/3 ratio on most keyers (not adjustable).


II.9.16. I am a QRP station (= low power station)

A QRP station is a station transmitting wi th a power of maximum 5 W (CW) or 10 W (SSB).

Never se nd your call as ‘ G3ZZZ/QRP’, this is illegal in many countries (e.g.Belgium). The QRP information is not part of your callsign, so it cannot be sent as a part of it. In many countries the only permitted call suffixes are /P, /A, /M, /MM and /AM..

If you are really a QRP station, chances are that you will be relatively weak with the station you are calling. Adding unnecessary ballast (the slash and the letters QRP)to your callsign will make it even more difficult to decipher your callsign!

You can of course always mention during the QSO you a re a QRP station, e.g.: ‘...PWR 5W 5W ONLY...’.

If you call CQ as a QRP station and you want to announce that during your CQ, you can do it as follows: ‘ CQ CQ G3ZZZ G3ZZZ QRP A R’. Insert a little extra space between the call and ‘ QRP’ and do not s end a sla sh ( DAH DIT DIT DAH DIT) between your call and ‘QRP’.

If you’re looking for QRP stations specifically, call CQ as follows: ‘ CQ QRP CQ QRP G3ZZZ G3ZZZ QRP STNS (stations) ONLY AR’.

II.9.17. The correct use of ‘QRZ?’

QRZ?’ means ‘ who called me? ’, and nothing else. Use it when you could not quite copy the station (or stations) that called you.

In CW always send QRZ followed by a question mark (‘QRZ?’), as is done with all Q codes when used as a question.

Typical use: after a CQ F9ZZZ was unable to decipher any of the callers. Then he sends: ‘QRZ? F9ZZZ’.

If you have been able to copy part of a call (ON4...), and if more stations were calling you, do not send ‘QRZ’ but rather ‘ON4 AGN (again) K’ or ‘ON4 AGN KN’ (‘KN’ indicates clearly you only want to hear the ON4 station come back to you). Note that in this case you use ‘K’ or ‘KN’ and not AR’ because you turn it back to one station in particular, th e ON4 sta tion whose suffix you missed.


Don’t send ‘QRZ’ in this case or all the stations will start calling you again.

QRZ’ does not mean ‘ who is there? ’ or ‘ who i s on the frequency? ’. Assume someone passes by a busy frequency and listens in. After quite a while nobody having identified, he wants to find out th e calls. The proper way to do so is to send ‘ CALL?’ or ‘ UR CALL? ’ (or ‘ CL?’, ‘ UR CL? ’). Using ‘ QRZ’ is inappropriate here. By the way, when you send ‘ CALL?’, you should in principle add your call, otherwise you make an unidentified transmission, which is illegal.

II.9.18. The use of ‘?’ instead of ‘QRL?’

Before using an apparently clear frequency, you need to actively check if no one is there already (maybe you are no t hearing one end of a QSO because of propagation).

The normal procedure is: send ‘ QRL?’ (on CW) or ask ‘ is this frequency in use? ’ on phone.

On CW, some simply send ‘ ?’, because it is faster and thus potentially creates less QRM if someone else is using that frequency.

But ‘?’ can be interpreted in many ways (it says: I am asking a question, but I did not say which one...). Therefore always use ‘ QRL?’. Merely transmitting a question mark can create a lot of confusion.

II.9.19. Sending ‘DIT DIT’ at the end of a QSO

At the end of a QSO both QSO partners often send as very last code two DITs with some extra spacing be tween them (like e e). It means and sounds like ‘bye bye’.

II.9.20. Correcting a sending error

Assume you make a sending error. Immediately stop sending, wait a fraction of a second and send the prosign ‘HH’ (= 8 DITs). Not always easy to send exactly 8 DITs, you’re already nervous because you made an error, and now they want you to send exactly 8 DITs: DIT DIT DIT DIT DIT DIT DIT DIT, not 7 nor 9!

In actual practice, many hams send just a few (e.g. 3) DITs, with extra space in between the DIT s: ‘DIT _ DIT _ DIT ’. These extra spaced DITs indicate that the sender is not sending the code for a letter nor figure.

Resend the word where you made an error and carry on.

Often even these 3 DITs are left out altogether. When the sender realizes he’s sending an error, he stops for about second and starts sending the same word again.


II.9.23. Zero beat

A major advantage of a CW QSO is the narrow bandwidth such a QSO uses (a few hundred Hz), provided both stati ons in a QSO transmit on the exact same frequency.

For most standard contacts, both sta tions will transmit on one and the same frequency ( simplex operation). The y are said to be zero beat with one another .

The term zero beat comes from the fact that if two stations transmit on exactly the same frequency, the resulting beat from mixing the two signals would have a frequency of zero Hz: these signals are said to be zero beat.

Often however, they do not transmit on exactly the same frequency. For this there are two major reasons (often a combination of both):

- One of them is the incorrect use of the RIT (Receiver Incremental Tuning) on the transceiver. Most modern transceivers have an RIT function which makes it possible to listen on a frequency which is (slightly) different from the transmit frequency.

- A second reason is that the operator does not apply the correct zero beat procedure. With most modern transceivers the zero beat procedure consists of making sure that the pitch of the side tone (CW monitor signal) of the transmitter is at exactly the same frequency as the tone (pitch) of the station you listen to. If you listen at 600 Hz and the side tone pitch is set at  311.000 Hz, you will transmit 400 Hz away from the station you are calling.

On modern transceivers the frequency of the CW side tone monitor (pitch) is adjustable, and tracks the BFO frequency offset.

Many experienced CW operators listen at a fairly low beat tone (400 – 500Hz, sometimes even as low as 300 Hz) in stead of t he more usual 600 – 1,000 Hz. For most people a lower pitch frequency is less tiring during long periods of listening and, in addition it allows for better discrimination between close spaced signals.


II.9.24. Where can one find slow speed CW stations (QRS)?

- 80 m: 3.550 - 3.570 k - 20 m: 14.055 - 14.060 kHz - 15 m: 21.055 - 21.060 kHz - 10 m: 28.055 - 28.060 kHz

QRS means : send more slowly

QRQ means : send faster


II.9.25. Do I have key clicks?

Not only the content and the format of what you send needs to be OK ... but also the quality of the CW signals you transmit must be good.

Quality problem # 1 is key clicks.

Key clicks are always shown by the envelope waveform of the transmitted signal looking like a (nearly) perfectly square wave, with no rounded off edges, often including overshoot leading end spikes. All of this results in wide sidebands, which are witnessed as clicks left and right o f the CW signal. There are three main technical causes for this problem:

- One is an improperly shaped keying waveform containing a lot of harmonics (square edges). The cause of this is most often a poor circuit de sign by the manufacturer. Fortunately, a number of circuit changes have been published on internet to solve these problems.

- The second one is having too much driving power to the amplifier combined with improper ALC ( automatic level control) action (too slow attack time), resulting in leading edge spikes. It is always recommended to manually adjust the required drive power and not to rely on action of an ALC circuit.

- A third one is improper open/closure sequence timing of RF relays in full break in.

How can you detect key clicks generated by your own station? A well experienced ham in your close neighbourhood can listen carefully for clicks.

Much better is to continuously monitor all transmissions using an oscilloscope displaying the waveform of your transmitted signal.

Note that even some of the popular fairly recent commercial transmitters have outspoken key clicks.

If you notice key clicks on your transmi ssion or if you get reports on excessive key clicks, correct the problem or find help to do so. Your key clicks are causing problems with your other hams. Hence getting rid of your key clicks is a question of ethics!


II.9.26. Too fast?

Is the CW speed you master not high enough to be able to make many QSOs?

To increase your receiving speed, you need to exercise at a speed which is at the limit of your capabilities , where you gradually and constantly increase the speed (à la RUFZ, see § II.9.27).

Up to approx. 15 WPM you can write down a text sent in CW letter by letter.

At over 15 or 20 WPM you should recogn ize words, and write down only what’s essential (name, QTH, WX, power, antenna etc.).


II.9.28. Most used CW abbreviations

AGN: again ANT: antenna AR: end of message (prosign) AS: wait a second, hold on (prosign) B4: before BK: break BTW: by the way CFM: (I) confirm CL: call CL: closing (down) (prosign) CQ: general call to any other station CU: see you CUL: see you later CPI: copy CPY: copy DE: from (e.g. W1ZZZ de G3ZZZ) DWN: down ES: and FB: fine business (good, excellent) FER: for GA: GA: GD: good GD: good GE: GL: good GM: GN: GUD: HI: HNY: HR: HW: K: KN: LP: LSN: MX: N: NR: NR: near NW: OM: OP: OPR: operator

PSE: PWR: R: RCVR: receiver RX: receiver RIG: equipment RPT: repeat RPRT: report go ahead good afternoon day good evening luck good morning ood night good laughter in CW Happy New Year here how (e.g. HW CPY) over to you over to you only, go ahead please and others keep out long path (propagation) listen Merry Christmas no (negation) number now old man (male ham) operator please power roger, yes, I confirm, received SK: end of contact (prosign) SK: silent key, a deceased ham SP: short path (propagation) SRI: sorry, excuse me TMW: tomorrow TMRW: tomorrow TKS: thanks TNX: thanks TRX: transceiver TU: thank you TX: transmitter UFB: ultra fine business UR: your VY: very WX: weather XMAS: XYL: YL: YR: 51 and 55 73: 88:

Christmas wife, spouse, ex-young lady young lady year is CB slang. Do not use it. best regards 73 is also commonly used in phone: never say or write 73s, best 73 or best 73s; all of these are corruptions. Say seventy three and NOT seventy threes. love and kisses. Same remarks as for ‘73’.


SUMMARY (most important Q codes and prosigns)

AR: end of transmission: indicates the end of a transmission which is not addressed to anyone in particular (e.g. at the end of a CQ)

K: over to you: ends a transmission of a conversation between 2 or more stations.

KN: over to you only: similar to ‘K’ but you emphasize you do not want to hear any other callers or breakers.

SK: end of QSO: is used to end a QSO (SK = Stop Keying).

CL: closing down station: last code sent before closing down your station (CL = closing down)

QRL?: is the frequency in use?: you must always use it before calling CQ on a new frequency.

QRZ?: who called me?: QRZ has no other meaning.

QRS: reduce your sending speed

AS: just a moment, hold on.. = : I am thinking, hold on, uh... (also used as a separator between portions of text)



Chances are that sooner or later you will be hit by the DX bug, if you have not been yet. In that case you will inevitably be confronted with pileups.

III.1.1. Simplex pileup

Both the DX station and the callers are on one and the same frequency.

The main merit of this method is t hat it is space conservative (only one frequency being used).

It is an inefficient method of operating when many stations are calling. Depending on the expertise of the D X station, many can mean as few as 5 stations. Under such circumstances the QSO rate will be slow.

What starts as a simplex pileup often evolves into a split pileup.


heavy QRM and image deformation, parts of image indiscernible


heavily distorted image, callsign barely readable


average quality image


good image, little deformation, little interference


perfect image

4III.1.2. Split (frequency) pileup

Most QSOs are made when both stat ions transmit on exactly the same frequency.

When the DX station is confronted by an ever growing simplex pileup, his QSO rate will likely go down for one or more of the following reasons:

- interference from stations calling one on top of the other; - the callers will hav e difficulty copying the DX station because some (many) of them call while the DX station is transmitting; - more and more stations don’t hear or do not follow the instructions given by the DX station;

In order to be heard by the callers, the DX station operator will move the pileup: he will listen on a frequency away from his transmit frequency (often 5 kHz or more). The net result is that the calling stations no longer interfere with the DX station’s transmissions, as they are now on separate frequencies.

The problem however remains that the DX station still has to listen to the single frequency pileup in order to pick out stations one by one.

To maximize his chances of doing so, he will s pread out the pileup, and lis ten over a certain frequency range, e.g. ‘5 to 10 up’.

This method of course uses more frequency spectrum than strictly necessary. The spread should be kept as small as possible, to leave room for other stations.

Out of consideration for other spectrum users (other than thos e wanting to work the DX station) it is re commended only to use the s plit frequency method if the pile up has gr own too large to be handled successfully using the simplex method.


III.1.3. How to behave in a pileup?

Never call the DX station if you cannot copy him well enough.

Make sure your station is properly adjusted before calling.

Do not tune your transmit ter on t he fr equency where the DX station is transmitting.

Is the antenna in the right direction?

Have you heard the instruct ions of the DX station? If not, wait and listen f or instructions first!



Listen and get acquainted with the operating rhythm of the DX station.  If you hear frustrated hams making comments on the DX station’s frequency:

keep quiet and wait until the chaos has subsided. Only if all these requirements are met, can you call the DX station!


III.1.4. Simplex pileup in phone

How do you break through a simplex pileup?

Never call before an ongoing QSO i s completely finished. This means: no tail-ending (see § III.2).

Correct timing is the key to success. Do not start calling immediately, instead, wait until most of the noise on frequency has died down somewhat and chances of getting through are increased. This is not a competition where you need to be the first and fastest caller! What is important is to call at the right moment. Wait a number of seconds until the most excited callers have stopped calling and the QRM has died down somewhat, before giving your call. This may be several seconds (5 to even 7 seconds).

How should you call? Never give the call of the DX station you are calling; the DX station certainly knows his own call. Send your full call just once. Partial calls are bad. Not ‘zulu zulu zulu’ but ‘golf three zulu zulu zulu’. Giving just part of your call creates confusion and lengthens the whole procedure.

Yes, you will hear many stations giving only part of their call. It is bad practice and it is also illegal.

Do not speak too fast nor too slowly, act normally (don’t shout).

For spelling, use only the international spelling alphabet (see attachment

1). No fantasies! - In radio traffic the phonetic alphabet (Alpha through Zulu), prescribed by the ITU, serves to avoid mistakes during exchanges of letters and words. To achieve this goal a unique phonetic word has been attributed to each letter of the alphabet. Note there is only one such series of words, and not one for each language!

- A DX station listens for these unique words in the pileup cacophony. His ears are tortured by the chaotic presence of all these words (and figures) and fatigue increases. If we use other words than the standard words of the spelling alphabet, the procedure may become very inefficient beca use we’re using words that the DX station does not expect to hear.

- Far too often in pil eups one can noti ce that the DX station missed just that letter that deviated from the standard alphabet, and consequently he has to ask for a repeat. Example: The spelling word ‘ Lima’ cuts like a razor blade. Often we hear ‘ London’ as an alternative. If your signal is very weak or interfered with, the DX station will probably understand ‘ Lima’ but not ‘London’!

- Not only is the DX station listening for the exact words, he is also expecting certain consonants/sounds in these words and a defined number of syllables. If a syllable gets l ost due to static (QRN) or QRM, he can often reconstruct the word by completing the missing consonants and/or number of syllables.

- Only use the correct English pronunciation for t he spelling words . Attachment 1 lists the phonetic pronunciation for each of these words. Of course, when you converse in your native language, which is different from English, you have a little more leeway.

The DX station caught only a part of your call and says: ‘ 3ZZZ you’re 59, QSL?’. This means: the station with the call ending in 3ZZZ, you are 59, copy?

In your reply you should no w emphasize the missing part of your call: ‘ this is _golf three, _ golf thr ee zulu zulu zulu, 59 QSL? ’ ( _ indicates a little extra pause).

Normally the DX station should answer ‘ G3ZZZ thanks ’ whereby he confirms your call and ends the QSO. If he did not confirm the correction of your callsign, call again and a sk: ‘ please confirm my c all, G3ZZZ over ’. Keep insisting for a confirmation, to avoid being in correctly  logged. If he does not confirm your call, there is no reason no t to call him again, until you have heard the DX station say your call correctly.

If the DX station returns with an error in your callsign, repeat a few times the part of your call where the error occurred. Example: he says ‘ G3ZZW 59’. Go back to him with: ‘this is G3ZZZ zulu zulu z ulu G3ZZZ 59 over ’. Normally he will then answer ‘ G3ZZZ thanks’ or something similar. Make sure you have a confirmation of the correction as explained above.

If the DX station returns wi th a partial call which does not resemble your call, or if he comes back to another station, then keep quiet and listen. If you keep calling it’s likely that one of the following scenarios will happen: - The DX station notices you are not following his instructions and you end up

 on his black list, which means you will not be able work him in the next few (many) minutes because of your bad behaviour (the DX station would love to work, but does not appreciate being willingly or unwillingly disturbed by you!).

- Alternatively the DX station may call you and give you a RS ‘ 00’ report, by which you have been identified as an offender and displayed as such. If you keep calling out of turn while the DX station is trying to work another station, you are only causing QRM to that station, and you are slowing down the whole process. Not only will that station suffer from it, but eventually you will as well.

If the DX station calls ‘ 1ABC only, you are 59, over ’, this means he has a problem with undisciplined stations calling out of turn.

Listen carefully to see if the DX station is not calling for particular geographic areas. ‘ Japan only ’ means that all stations from other countries but Jap an should refrain from calling. Keep quiet, unless you are located in Japan.

Perhaps he is calling by numbers (also sometimes called by call areas): ‘listening for sixes only’ means that only stations having a number 6 in their call are invited to call him. Others: wait, keep quiet.

If you are a low power station (QRP), do not c all as ‘ G3ZZZ stroke QRP ’. The DX station has problems enough with the pileup, he does not need the extra ballast from the ‘stroke QRP’. Don’t forget, in many countries using ‘stroke QRP’ as a call suffix, is illegal.

When the DX station comes back to you with a report (‘ G3ZZZ 59’), return with a short confirmation and report ‘ thanks, 59 also ’ (or ‘ 59 thanks ’), and nothing else. There are many other stations waiting to make a QSO.


III.1.5. Simplex pileup in CW

The general rules and procedures as explained above, obviously also apply to contacts on CW.

Never ca l with ‘ DE DL9Z ZZ’. The word DE is superfluous and contains no information. The letters DE could also be the first 2 letters of a German callsign and lead to confusion.

Never end your ca ll with a ‘ K’ at the end (K as invitation to send). This c an cause confusion. If you send ‘K’ after your call (maybe after too short a space), the DX station may think that it is the last letter of your callsign. So: no ‘K’.

Listen to the pileup to determine the sending speed you should use. Does the DX station work the slower or the faster stations? Don’t show off by sending too fast, like we sometimes hear. This is bound to be counter productive.

In CW, ‘KN’ at the end of a transmission means ‘over to you only’. When the DX station sends: ‘ ...W1Z? KN ’ (or ‘ W1Z KN ’), he wants to hear only the stati on with the callsign containing the characters W1Z. All others should stand by.

If the DX station sends ‘ CQ NA’ or ‘ QRZ NA’, it means that he is looking for stations from North America only (NA = North America, SA = South America, AF = Africa, AS = Asia, PAC = Oceania /Pacific, EU = Europe, JA = Japan, U SA = United States of America). So, follow the instructions.


III.1.6. Split frequency pileup in phone

If too many stations are calling on the DX station’s frequency, the DX station will have to switch to split frequency operating, which will allow him to increase his QSO rate. How is this done? What do you need to know and to do, to be among the first ones to work the DX station in a split frequency pileup?

Start by listening. Next, listen more!  There are a few things you should know before you start calling:

- Where is he listening? Is he listening on just one frequency or on a frequency range?

- Is he listening for stations at random? - ... or for certain areas of the world? - ... or by numbers (the figure in your callsign)? - How does the DX station indicate where he is listening? He says e.g. ‘ up’,

down’, ‘up 5’, ‘down 10’, ‘listening between 200 and 210’ etc.  The better DX operator will indicate his listening frequency after each QSO; don’t however expect this is always being done. If the pileup is very big, the DX station operator ma y think he can increase his QSO rate (gain 1 second every contact) by not telling the crowd after each QSO where he is listening. Not good practice though and it makes the people who just arrived on the scene, nervous. They have heard the DX station making a number of contacts without giving its call.

Make sure you have well understood the listening range as specified.

If he indicated a specific area he is listening for in which you are not located, relax, get yourself a drink, and listen!

Maybe he is listening by numbers. If the number he specified does not match the number in your callsign, sit back and keep cool...

If he specifies ‘ listening 14200 to 14225 ’, it is almost like playing roulette unless you know where exactly he is listen ing. Therefore, keep listening and try finding out the exact frequency where the stations operate that he works. Most DX stations move slowly up and down in that range. Some just jump around like a kangaroo. In general , you will have the best chance to catch the DX station by calling slightly above or under the frequency where he worked his last station.

Try to know as much as you can about th e DX station’s way of operating. Is he the kangaroo type or the slow moving type? The more you know about his modus operandi, the better your chances are to catch him quickly.

Make sure you get the rhythm and the pattern of the DX station. A good DX station operator uses a fixed QSO pattern. Know the last words he sends before listening (usually either his call or ‘thank you’ or ‘5 UP’ etc.).

Before making any transmission, make sure all controls on your radio are set correctly. Is your transceiver set for split frequency work, and is your transmit

frequency set correctly? Double check!

If you found w here he made his last QSO, adapt your strategy to his operating pattern and give your call just once and listen.

If he did not come back to you within 1 or 2 seconds, call again on the same frequency. Repeat this procedure until you hear the DX station coming back to someone (hopefully you!).

If he comes back to another station, stop calling and start lookin g where that station is transmitting. It’s a little bit like a cat and mouse game, only there is one big cat, and many little mice of which you are but one...

Unfortunately you will always hear stations that keep endlessly throwing in their call even while the DX station is working someone . It often sounds like that’s the way the majority of the stations do it. Reality is that, by doing so, these stations cause QRM and make progress much slower than what it could be with a little discipline.

Operators who indulge in such procedures quickly make a non-enviable reputation for themselves. This procedure is the best guarantee for stations to be in there calling for a long time. It is clearly an example of how not to do it.

Maybe the DX station operator will identify them as poor operators by replying to these offending perpetual callers and giving them an RS ‘00’ report. Let’s hope they understand what that means.


III.1.7. Split (frequency) pileup in CW

In general the rules and procedures as explained for split operation in phone and for CW simplex remain applicable.

How does the DX station indicate it is working split? At the end of each contact it will send e.g.: ‘UP’, ‘DWN’, ‘UP 5’ ‘DWN 10’, ‘QSX 3515’, ‘UP 10/20’. A simple ‘UP’ or ‘ DWN’ usually means that the DX station will listen 1 to 2 kHz up or down from its transmit frequency.

It would be ideal to be able to transmit and listen at the same time, which we can approximate by operating full break-in (also called QSK). In full break-in we can listen between the DITs and DAHs of our own transmission. This means that we can hear the DX station the same split second he starts transmitting. Not all transmitters (and amplifiers) however, are equipped for QSK. You can also work semi break-in (slower break-in), in which the equipment switches from transmit to receive and vice versa between words or even letters. The delay time is usually adjustable to suit one’s preference. Fu ll break-in is an unmistakable advantage when calling in a split frequency pileup. It can help you avoid from inadvertently transmitting while the DX station is on the air. After all, we want to hear what the DX station is sending, don’t we?



What is tail ending? A tail ender tries to outrun the competition by being faster than his shadow. He i s listening to the station being worked by the DX station, and a split second before that station turns it over to the DX station, he throws in his call, usually half on top of that station. He is literally stepping on its tail.

Strictly speaking, tail ending is even illegal as you are intentionally transmitting on top of another station, and hence causing interference to that station.

In many cases it’s not only the tail they step on, but more or less the entire beast.

 This operating procedure is not very polite but rather aggressive. The consensus is: don’t do it.



Many hams chase DX stations or chase rare countries or entities with hardly any ham population or any population at all.

What counts for a country or better an entity, has be en established by t he DXCC (D X Centur y Club) , the organization which issues the much coveted DXCC award. See

Hams chasing DX try to work (= make a QSO with) a station operating from each one of these entities (almost 340 at present), and preferably on different bands and on different modes. This is the sport called DXing or DX chasing.

To make it possible to work the rarest entities, hams organize expeditions to such rare spots. These are called DXpeditions. Larger DXpeditions are organized by groups of hams, sometimes comprising a dozen operators which will make the rare country available day and night and sometimes for weeks on end.

The larger DXpeditions manage to make over 100,000 contacts in just one or 2 weeks! In most multi-operator DXpeditions multiple stations are simultaneously active on several of the amateur radio bands and modes.

If you want to know about the DXpeditions that are currently active, and about the planned ones and the past ones, check

During DXpeditions it can be very crowded in certain portions of the (HF) ham bands.DXpeditions should always take into account other users of the bands,



Yes they exist, and there are many, many of them. They just want to work the new rare one, whatever means it takes. They do not have the slightest consideration for other stations. They transmit their call just as a continuous broadcast transmission, and hardly listen at all. Often one can hear the DX station coming back to them, two or three times, but to no avail. They don’t hear the DX station because they (almost) never listen, and maybe because they have a typical ‘alligator’ station. Calling the DX station seems to be their hobby, not working the DX.

All of this would not be so bad and sad if, by this shameful practice, they did not cause a lot of QRM to other stations. What they do is pure and simple jamming.

This endless calling is an ultimate proof of egoistic behavior; shame on those who practice it. and not invade major parts of the band s for an activity not al l hams are involved in.

Contacts with these DXpeditions are usually as short as contacts during a contest: only the call and a quick report are exchanged.

Just about all contacts with DXpeditions are made in split mode

The quality and the expertise of DXpedition operators are often judged by the amount of spectrum they require to work a split pileup.

When important DXpeditions are active, a number of hams act like if they were called upon to complete a sacred mission to play frequency cop. Don’t be tempted to become a frequency cop, we have too many of them already (see § III.10).

Others, mainly frustrated minds, seem to enjoy making deliberate interference to such expeditions. They are simply making deliberate QRM (DQRM). If you witness this, do not react, just ignore it, they will go away if t hey have no audience to interact with. It is sometimes difficult to keep quiet but making comments only makes the chaos worse (see also § III.11). If you are sure you have identified one of these DQRMers, consider making a formal complaint to your licensing authorities.

If you need any information about a DX pedition, do not ask for it on the DXpedition’s frequency. Check the DXpeditio n’s website or one of the DX bulletins where you can find all details: QS L address, operating frequencies, operators, and if applicable, the calls of possible pilot station(s).

Pilot stations are the public relations managers as well as contact persons for a DXpedition.If  you need to know something which you cannot find on the DXpedition’s website, send an e-mail to the pilot station. He may be able to help you.

Never ask on the DXpedition’s frequency questions like ‘QSL MGR?’ or ‘PSE SSB’ or ‘QSY 20M’ etc. Better yet, don’t ever transmit on their frequency (assuming we’re talking split frequency operation)!



We have touched upon t his subject befo re, and as i t is such a bad habit and outspoken proof of poor operating practice, we come back to this subject: - In most DX-nets the callers are invited by the MC to call with only the last 2

letters of their call. It is ineffective and in addition illegal in most countries (you should always iden tify with the full c allsign as received from the administration).

- Net control stations use as an argument that they do n ot want to know the full callsign of the stations calling, so th at they would not give it on the air whereby the DX station would copy the call via the control station. Noble thought, but it does not make sense.

- The MC can ask the calling stations toch eck in correctly, which means by their full callsign. I f the DX station at that time already copies the station checking in, the better for him.

- If later in the procedure the MC calls the stations that have checked in, he

can call them by the last 2 letters of their call, which is quite legal. The rules say how you have to identify yourself, not how you call another station. Example:

The MC says: ‘stations for ZK1DX, check in please OH9ZZZ gives his (full) call: ‘OH9ZZZ If later in the procedure the MC calls OH9ZZZ , he simply says ‘ station with ZZ at the end of the call, make your call OH9ZZZ now calls the DX station: ‘ this is OH9ZZZ, oscar hotel nine zulu zulu zulu calling ZK1DX, you are 55 over etc.

It could not be simpler, and every step in this procedure is legal.  Some have even started using this 2-letter procedure off the DX nets, e.g. in DX pileups.

In addition to being illegal it is inefficient. Why?

- Some simple mathematics will tell you: assume your call has 6 characters. If you only send 2 letters, the chance that at least part of your call will b e copied is 3 times smaller than if you had given all 6 characters.

- Your call is unique; two letters from your call are far from unique . This means that this procedure will often lead to confusion (several stations with those 2 letters calling simultaneously).

- If the DX station copied your two letters (hopefully you’re the only one using those 2 letters to call) he will still have to ask for the rest of your call. It is a pure waste of time. If he could copy two letters, there’s a good chance he could have copied all 6 characters! All of this takes time, creates confusion and increases the chances of QRM.

Conclusion: never send just a part of your call. Are you ashamed of your call? Always send your full call, be proud of it! If, under whatever circumstances, someone asks you to identify by 2 letters of your call, identify by your full call and perhaps tell him you cannot do what he asks because it is illegal.

III.6. DX CLUSTERS DX Clusters have largely replaced the local an d international DX information nets

of yesteryear.

III.6.1. Main Purpose

Which DX stations are active now and on which frequency?  DX Clusters are part of a global (worldwide) network, spreading real time

information.  It’s a two-way system:

- Spotting: entering interesting DX information to be used by others. - Using spots: you use DX information that’s interesting for you.

III.6.2. Who do you spot?

Rare DX-stations that are of interest to DX chasers. An example: 14025 ZK1DX QSX UP5.

Do not send spots that have no added value. Do not s pot common stations,

e.g. all stations from countries where there is plenty of activity such as W, F, G, ON etc., unless there is a good reason for it that makes your spot valuable. You can e.g. spot W6RJ on 160m from Euro pe, as we don’t work W6’s every day from Europe on 160m.

Before sp otting a DX station, first check if n o one el se has just spotted that same call.

Watch out for typos! Wrong calls can sometimes be found in logs because t he operator worked a station without even having heard its callsign, blindly having copied a busted (incorrect) call from the DX Cluster.

III.6.3. Which information is available, how to retrieve it Activity info: the DX spots. The spots come a utomatically on your screen in chronological order. You c an retrie ve spots by band (e.g. sh/dx on 20m

gives you the last 10 spots on 20m , sh/dx 25 on 20m shows you the last 25 spots on 20m), by call (e.g. sh/dx ZK1DX, or sh/dx ZK1DX 20) or by combination of band and call (e.g. sh/dx ZK1DX 20 on 15m).

WWV (see, Solar Flux Index: common commands are sh/wwv and sh/wcy.

QSL info: on most DX Clusters you c an retrieve QSL info using SH/QSL cal. If this function does not exist, type SH/DX call 25. Now you get the last 25 sp ots for that station, and chances are that on e of th e spots has the QSL info in the commentary field. A third possibility is to type SH/DX call QSL. This will list the last 10 spots for that station where the word QSL or via appears in the commentary field.

- Some DX clusters may not have all of these commands , in which case you can find the QSL info via an Internet search engine.

- It is not good practice to spot the station for which you need the QSL info by typing QSL info please in the commentary fiel d. The purpose of this field is to provid e additional useful information regarding the DX station. It is not the place to ask questions.

- Depending on the DX Clus ter’s soft ware, the abovementioned commands may vary somewhat. See your DX Cluster’s help file.

III.6.4. A spot appears: a new country for you. What now?

Do not start calling the DX station blindly.  Make sure you copy the station well enough, verify if the spotted callsign is

correct.  Make sure you have heard the DX stat ion’s instructions before calling (his

listening frequency, is he working everybody or working by numbers or by

geographical areas?).  Apply the guidelines as explained in § III.1. (Pileups). Good luck!


III.6.5. Things not to do on a DX Cluster


Self spotting

What’s that? It’s a personal advertisement to the whole world, saying: Here I am, on this frequency, please call me.

It needs no explanation that this is just not done in Ham Radio. If you want to make QSOs, call CQ or reply to stations calling CQ.

Self spotting leads to disqualification in contests.  Disguised self spotting

- An example: you work a nice DX sta tion that came back to your CQ. When you finish your QSO you spot the call of the DX station, which was there but went off the frequency after finishing th e contact. This spot has zero added value for the DX community, as the DX station is gone, but at the same time you attract a bunch of DXers to your frequency, hoping that this will help you work some other DX stations. This practice makes DXers nervous.

Bragging A spot is not for telling t he world how great you are: don’t spot a DX station

(that’s been spotted several times anyhow) with a remark: I finally did it.... In such a case you are not announcing the DX station, you’re just bragging and telling the world how great you are... Modesty is a nice virtue.

Spotting a friend - A good friend of yours is calling CQ repeatedly, without reply. You want to

give him a little push and you spot him, though he is not at all a DX station. Don’t do i t. Neither your friend nor you will gain respect in the eyes of the ham community by doing so.

Asking a friend to spot you - Is self spotting, using a cover up. Self spotting is not d one, so do not you

ask your buddy to spot you.

Being a cheerleader: - Those who continuously spot their favorite contest station during a contest.

It’s like the supporters pushing bike racers during a race in the mountains. It isn’t fair and it’s unsportsmanlike.

Send a spot which actually is a private message We need to realize that each spot, each message on a DX Cluster is sent to

many thousand of hams all around the world. DX Clusters have been connected through the internet for some years and your local DXCluster is no longer local but part of a global network.

Unfortunately, some spots are private messages, like in this example: HA7xx sends a spot: VK3IO on 1827, with as comment QRV???, which obviously is not a spot but a private message (typed in the commentary field).

Another example: UA0xxx spots ZL2yyy on 3.505 kHz and adds ur 339, my RST 449? Pse confirm. This guy is making a fool of himself. His reputation amongst DXers is destroyed!

Using the DX Clusters as a worldwide chat channel With t he TALK function you can send individual messages to another ham

on your local DX Cluster. Some DX Clusters have a similar talk function where you can chat privately to a u ser on another DX Cluster, of course provided these clusters are linked (by e.g. a radio link or internet).

The Announce Full (To All) function is a totally different story. Any

message sent using this function will be sent to the users of all world wide linked clusters, and that may be many thousands at any given time. Be very careful when using this function. Most To All announcements are actually intended for one particular person, where 9,999 others are forced to read a message which is of no value to them. Example: a To All message from ON7xxx reads like ON4xx, good morning Frans. Another example, To All de DF0xx: wir warten auf K3714.Whatever that means. And there are, unfortunately, thousands more similar examples.

Do not ever use the Announce Full function as a chat channel. Also, never use this function to settle an argument or to insult someone. The world is watching you! Only send messages that are of interest to a vast majority of the DXers. Example: you could announce that t he DXpedition has just moved band, or frequency, or that they will be on such and such a frequency at such and such a time. Etc.

The general rule is: To All messages should indeed be o f interest to all. If a message is not of interest to all (or a vast majority of them), don’t send it via the To All function.

Using someone else’s callsign on the DX Cluster It appears that some disturbed minds check into a DX Cluster with other people’s callsign, and do to tally unacceptable things. T his is even worse than anonymous transmissions, as in addition the call of an ignorant ham is being defamed. Never react on the DX Cluster if you are confronted with a similar situation.


The IARU Band Plan is a worldwide accepted gentlemen’s agreement that 99 % of the radio amateurs adhere to.

This Band Plan lists a couple of formal DX windows, where it has been agreed upon to give full priority to long distance work (DX contacts).

III.7.1. DX windows on the HF bands Presently there are three such windows in IARU R1 (Europe, Africa and Middle

East): 3.500-3.510 kHz (CW), 3.775-3.800 kHz (SSB) and 14.190-14.200 KHz (SSB). In IARU R2 (North and South America) we count 7 windows: 1.830-1.840 kHz (CW), 1.840-1.850 kHz (SSB), 3.500-3.510 kHz (C W), 3.775-3.800 kHz (SSB), 7.000-7.025 kHz (CW), 7.175-7.200 kHz (SSB) and 14.000–14.025 kHz (CW) .

The DX windows on 80m: in the middle of the day these frequencies can be used for local traffic, as there is no long distance propagation at that time. But we should be aware that even shortly after noon, local contacts in the DX windows of this band can cause problems to stations that are 1000 to 2000 km in the direction of the terminator (the line that separates the dark hemisphere from the lit hemisphere). Example: 13:00 UTC in Belgium in mid winter. It is 3 hours before sunset. At this time it is impossible to work DX from Belgium. But our signals can be heard with quite good strength in Scandinavia, only 1000 to

2000 km away, where sunset is several hours earlier. Although we do not hear DX stations at that time, we can very well cause QRM to other stations that are much closer to sunset. Conclusion: stay out of these windows at all times, unless you are trying to work DX yourself.

When DXpeditions are active, these stat ions have full priority in using the abovementioned 20m DX window. Under those circumstances all other stations should clear these frequencies and do th at i n the true spirit of the IARU’s gentlemen’s agreement. This 20m DXpedition window was created in 2005, as a result of a continuous problem caused by an IT9-station.

In addition to these formal windows, there are a number of de facto DX windows:

- In SSB: 28.490-28.500, 21.290-21.300, 18.145, 14.190- 14.200, 7.045 and 1.845 kHz

- In CW: the first 5 kHz of each band, and also: 28.020-28.025, 24.895, 21.020-21.025, 18.075, 14.020-14.030 and 1.830-1.835 kHz

- In RTTY: ± 28.080, ±21.080 and ± 14.080 kHz

Avoid making local contacts in those wi ndows. These are the frequency ranges where you can look for interesting DX stations.

III.7.2.c On VHF-UHF See the official IARU Band Plan:



These are based on the same principles that apply to the HF bands.  For QSOs via tropospheric propagation (l ocal, or via temperature inversion) on

the 50, 144 and 430 MHz bands, the procedures are exactly the same as on HF. The only difference is that often calling frequencies are used to initiate a contact. Once a contact is established, the stations will mo ve to another frequency.

QTH-locator: on VHF and higher, station locations are usually specified by using the QTH-l ocator, al so called Maidenhead locator. The QTH-locator is a set of simplified coordinates (e.g. JO11) which allows the user to quickly judge the direction and the distance to the station he is working.

There are specific operational procedures applicable to some very specific modes, mostly used on VHF and higher, such as:

- Contacts via satellite. - EME QSOs (reflection via the moon). - Meteor scatter QSOs. - Aurora QSOs: reflection near the poles during Aurora. - ATV (wideband amateur television).

It is outside the scope of this manual to enter into detail on these subjects. In all cases, operational behaviour remains based on the principles as explained in § I.2.



As explained in § I.2, the fact that we all (we’re several hundred thousand hams in the world) play our hobby on one and the same field, the ether, will inevitably sometimes lead to conflicts. How do we handle these, that is the question! Our behaviour on the bands should be based on common sense, good manners and mutual respect.

Rule # 1: never do or say what you would not want your best friend nor anyone else in the world to know about.

A problem is that radio transmissions can be made anonymously. A person making unidentified transmissions with malicious intentions is not worth being a radio amateur.

Never ever contemplate jamming the transmissions from another station. As jamming can be done anonymously, it is the utmost expression of cowardliness.

There simply is no excuse for such behavior, even if you think that the station deserves to be jammed.

So, maybe there is a situation which in your opinion needs to be corrected? Perhaps rightfully so, but think twice what will be the added value to our hobby, to YOUR hobby, to your reputation, be fore you start doing or saying anything.

Don’t start discussions on t he air. Chances are that others will join in and in no time what maybe started as a mo re or less friendly discussion, may degenerate. Keep personal conflicts off the air. Settle your arguments on the telephone, the Internet or in person.



Cops are self appointed would-be frequency policemen who think they need to correct other hams making an error, on the air and on the spot.

Sometimes it is indeed necessary that a continuous offender (e.g. someone keeps calling on the transmit frequency of a DX station working split) gets told that he is causing a problem. But there are ways of telling...

Time after time we note that the intervening cops cause a lot more havoc than the station they want to correct.


III.10.1. Types of ‘cops’

Most cops have good intentions and are not using foul language. They remain polite and are often successful in their attempt to keep the frequency of a DX station clear.

Some cops also have good intentions but by using bad language and manners they don't achieve their goal to clear a frequency. These cops create chaos instead of calm.

A third category consists of those using foul language with the objective of creating chaos. Their bad language and manners attract comments from colleague cops, with a resulting total chaos!

Do not react if you hear one of those would-be cops in action. Keep your distance and ignore them completely. This is the only way to make them stop.


III.10.2. What makes the cops appear?

Cops mostly appear on a rare DX station/DXpedition's frequency, usually when this station is working in split mode.

The trigger for their appearance is when an operator forgets to activate the split function on his transceiver and starts calling the DX station on its transmit frequency. This is the time for cops to start shooting/shouting.

III.10.3. The good sinners ...

Quite a number of hams just don’t know the proper way of operating under all possible circumstances. Not that they don’t want to be good operators, but they just don’t know how. They have to le arn the trade by falling down and getting up. The reason is they were never taught. These are the good sinners.

Errare humanum est (to err is human): even so called experts make mistakes. No single huma n being is perfect. Everyone has on occasion transmitted on the wrong VFO (which means on the transmit frequency of a DX station working split). Maybe because we did not pay enough atte ntion. Maybe we were tired or distracted; after all, we are only human.

The first thing to consider in a situation where someone ’s error needs to be corrected is how to pass the message.

When one gets called to order by a cop shouti ng ‘up you idiot’, it is sometimes difficult to refrain from answering on the spot ‘have you never made a mistake, you arrogant cop?’.

Don’t however react in such a case, it will always be counterproductive.  This is how chaos usually sets in.

III.10.4. ... and the bad sinners

Some hams however seem to delight in using very poor operating habits. In this case Perseverare diabolicum (to persist is devilish) applies.

There appear to be more and more disturbed characters that literally enjoy making life difficult for the well behaved operators. These are the sorts that try to disturb DXers w ith all means at th eir disposal. In some cases these are frustrated hams who, due to lack of knowledge and wisdom, are no t successful in contacting the DX station, and w ho vent their frus tration on their more successful colleagues.

Sometimes we witness the most blatant use of vulgarity and obscenities from these characters.

All they want is to make others react so that chaos erupts on the frequency.  Some good advice: never react when you witness such an act. If nobody

reacts, these characters will go away by lack of an audience (see also § III.11). If you are sure you have positively iden tified a station making this kind of deliberate QRM, consider making a formal complaint to your licensing authorities.

Do not react either via the DX Cluster. Rest assured they are watching the DX Clusters as well.

III.10.5. Do you really want to be another cop?

When yo u hear someone making a big or repetitive mistake, re member that you too have made errors in the past, haven’t you? Be tolerant and forgiving!

If you really need to say something (to correct a repetitive error), say it in a friendly and positive way, without ins ulting or sounding patron izing. If ON9XYZ by error repeatedly transmit s on the wrong VFO, say ‘ 9xyz up please ’, not ‘ up youidiot’.Theinsultbringsnoaddedvalu etothemessage.Itonlytellsus something about the person making the insult.

Realize that your interventi on may caus e more interference than the actual error you try to correct!

Before playing cop, think twice in which way your act will have a positive added value. If you still think it needs to be done, twist your tongue three times before going ahead.

Always be polite and constructive.  If you need to tell someone he’s transmitting on the wrong VFO, always add a

part of that station’s call. How else can he know t hat your message is

addressed to him? Say ‘9XYZ up please’ not just ‘up please’ nor ‘up up up up’.  If you happen to b e the 9xyz station, do not feel too embarrassed, errare only

humanumest, and your apology will just cause more QRM.  Don’t forget that every cop, by acting as a cop, is doing something illegal:

have you heard many frequency cops identifying as required?  Another thought: one good cop can be a blessing, two cops are a crowd.


III.10.6. How to behave in the middle of a cop parade?

Being a DXer you will quickly grasp that you accomplish more by not reacting to cops at all. Try to swing something negative into somethi ng positive. Keep on listening (here's the magic word again) throug h the tumult to the DX station and in many cases you will be able to log the DXstation while the cops are having a jolly good time.



Maybe sooner or later you w ill be operatin g at the other side of a pileup. Maybe you will be operat or on a DXpeditio n, a dream of many hams. For the seriou s operator there are a number of guidelines and procedures to be applied as well, if he wants to be a successful operator. Here are a few tips:

Give you r callsign after every QSO. If you have a very long call (e.g. SV9/G3ZZZ/P), give it at least every few QSOs.

If you work simplex and you cannot sort out the calls well enough (because too many stations call simultaneous ly on the same frequency), switch to split frequency mode and spread out the callers. Don’t forget that, especially on the low bands where signals from far away DX stations can be very weak, you will be totally covered by the calling stations which are easily 50 dB stronger than you. For a rare DX station split is the way to operate.

Before changing to split mo de, check if the frequencies you want to use fo r listening are clear

If you work split, mention it after each QSO. For example in CW: ‘ UP 5, UP5/10, QSX 1820 ’ etc. In SSB: ‘ listening 5 up, listening 5 to 10 up, listening on 14237, up 5, down 12’, etc.

Do not give the spl it indication ‘every no w and then’. It may make the p ile where you listen a little less dense, bu t inevitably creates havoc on you r

transmit frequency and will make the sp lit frequency band muc h wider tha n

required. This is an unacceptable practice from all point of views.

In CW split, listen at least 2 kHz above (or below) your transmit frequency,

to avoid interference to you r signal from key cl icks gene rated by callers. A

split of only 1 kHz, as is done regularly, is not enough.

In SSB, this should be at least 5, preferably 10 kHz. Some signals of

calling stations can be very wide and cause a lot of splatter on your transmit


If, as a DX station, you operate split in the DX window of 80m (in Region 1:

3,5 – 3,51 MHz on CW or 3,775 – 3,8 MHz on phone), listen for the pileup outside the DX window. If you transmit e.g. o n 3,795, listen belo w 3,775 MHz for the pileup (in CW above 3,51 MHz).

Keep your listening window as narrow as possible to a void interference t o other band users.

If in SSB you copied only part of a callsign, reply with that partial call plus a report, e.g. ‘ yankee osca r 59 ’. Do not sa y ‘ yankee oscar, aga in please ’. Guaranteed this will attract a whole range of yankee oscars! If you have added a 59 report, you already made half of the QSO and there will be fewer disorderly callers.

In CW, in a similar case, ne ver send a question mark if you copie d a partial call (e.g. 3TA). A question mark will trigge r half of the pileup to start calling you. Send ‘3TA 599’, and not: ‘?3TA 599’. Never send question marks in a pileup situation.

The following applies to all modes: if at first you copied only a partial call, always repeat the full call once you have it, so t he station that called you is sure he worked you and can put you in his log. Example: assume you first copied a partial: ‘ 3TA’. Send ‘ 3TA 599’ (in phone say ‘ 3TA 59’). He confirms: ‘ TU DE OH OH3 TA 599 ’ ( in phone: ‘ oscar hotel, oscar hotel three tango alpha you’re 59 QSL? ’). If you now confirm with ‘ QSL TU’ (in phone: ‘QSL thank you’), there is no way OH3TA can tell you worked him. Therefore, confirm with: ‘OH3TA TU’ (in phone: ‘OH3TA thanks’).

Once you returned to a partial call with a report, stick to that station, and do not let him be overpowered by othe r callers. You’re the boss on the frequency, show it. You decide who g ets in the log, no one else. The pileup can be quite undisciplined, but often this is due to a lack of authority from the operator of the DX station. If the crowd notices that you stick to the original partial call, and that their out of turn calling is to no avail, they will eventually give up, and show more discipline.

If you give up on the original partial call and just pick up one of the loud undisciplined callers, you admit the wild callers are in charge of the frequency. Now you’re in trouble. In many cases, chaos is a result of the D X operator not showing authority or not living by his own rules.

If the partial call you originally came back to disappeared, do not just pick up the call of one of the strong undisciplined callers who’s been giving you a hard time the last several minutes. Just call a CQ again and listen a few kHz higher or lower. Never give the impression you are now calling one of the undisciplined callers. Show them that their undisciplined calling was useless.

You have returned for a particular st ation in the pileup (e.g. JA1ZZZ) and you have put him in the log. However he keeps calling you again, obviously because he did not hear you give him his report. Do not go back to him with ‘JA1ZZ you are in the log ’ (on phone) or ‘ JA1ZZZ QSL ’ (CW) but call him again and give his report again. He obviously wants to hear his report!

Always follow a standard pattern in your transmissions. Example (you are ZK1DX):

ZK1DX 5 to 10 up ON4XYZ 59 QSL ZK1DX 5 to 10 up

you hear ON4XYZ calling  you give his report  you confirm, identify and call again

If you keep following that same pattern, the pileup will know that when you say ‘5 to 10 up’, you are listening again for new callers. Always maintain this same pattern, the same speed, the same rhythm. This way everyone will know exactly when to call. Should be like clockwork.

If the pileup remains undisciplined, do not get too excited about it. If the situation does not improve, just move to another mode or band, but let the pileup know.

Always stay cool, don’t start insulting the pileup. All you can and must do is to firmly show the pileup that you are in charge, and that you set the rules. It is important that you emanate authority.

Do not work so-called two-letter calls. If you hear such stations, tell them you want to hear ‘full calls only’.

If in split mode it appears that many of the calling stations are not copying you well, it is likely that your transmitting frequency suffers from interference. If this situation persists , in SSB try changing your transmit frequency 5 kHz, and tell the pileup about your move. In CW, moving 0.5 kHz will usually suffice.

On CW, 40 WPM is about the maximum speed to be used during a smoothly ongoing pileup. On the lower HF bands (40-160m) it’s better to us e a little lower sending speed (20-30 WPM, depending on circumstances).

Always keep the pileup abreast of your plans. When you go QRT, tell them. When you need a pit stop, tell them: ‘QRX 5’ (‘QRX 5 minutes’, ‘standby’). If you move to another band, inform the crowd.

If you want to keep the pile up calm and more or less disciplined, and keep your transmit frequency clear, the most effective way of doing so is to keep the callers happy. Let them know what you are doing. Know that they all (with one or two exceptions) want to work you. You are hot!

The DX station operator sometimes works by numbers or call a reas. This means that he will only reply to stations having the number he specified in their prefix. Statistically the pileup should be 10 times thinner!

Avoid as much as possible working by numbers, it’s not a very good system.  If you want to apply this method, apply the following rules:

- Once you started working by numbers, go through al l number s at least once. If you go QRT in t he middle of a sequence, or start working random numbers all of a sudden in the middle of a numbering sequence, you are going to create commotion.

- Never forget, when you work by numbers that 90% of the DXers are idling, biting their fingernails! They keep a close eye on you and carefully count

how many stations you work of each number, and you can be sure some

operators will lose control if you do not soon reach their number. - Always start a sequence with 0, and move up in numbers one by one. No

frills. Keep it simple. - Do not specify numbers at random: first 0’s, then 5’s, then 8’s, then 1’s

etc... It will drive the pile up ma d. If you follow a logical sequence, the pileup can more or less predict when it will be their turn. A random system will make them utterly nervous.

- Work maximum 1 0 stations of each numbe r. Make sure you work approximately the same total of stat ions per number. If you manage t o work 5 st ations a minute, it will still take you 20 minutes to com plete the circle. This means some stations will have to wait and sit idle for almost 20 minutes, which is a long time. On av erage the waiting time is 10 minutes. Don’t forget propagation conditions can change a lot i n 20 or even 10 minutes!

- Always tell the pile up how many sta tions you will work from each number and repeat that information every ti me you i ncrement the number in the callsign.

The method of calling by numbers is seldom used on CW.  A better technique to make the pileup a little thinner is to work by continents or

geographical areas. This also gives a better chance to remote regions of the

world, where signals are often weak and openings shorter.  In this case you will specify a continen t, which means you insist that only

stations from that area should call you. Example: if you want to work only

North American stations, call ‘CQ North America ONLY’ or on CW: ‘CQ NA’.  Use this technique primarily to reach th ose areas of the world that have poor

propagation or short openings to you.  If you use this techniq ue because the pileup is too dense, rotate quickly

between the continents or areas. A good rule of thumb is that one should not

stay with the same area for longer than 15 to max. 30 minutes.  Inform the pileup of your plans, tell th em exactly how you will rotate betwe en

areas, and follow your planning.  Switch back to working all areas/continents as soon as conditions permit.  Both abovementioned techni ques should be avoided as much as possible, wit h

one exception, where you look for difficult to reach areas.  The main problem with these selective methods is that a large majority of hams

is sitting idle, and getting nervous. Ne rvous DXers can easily change into aggressive cops. If you go QRT or chan ge bands just before th eir number was supposed to come up, rest assured you w ill be called na mes on your transmit frequency.

We have witnessed some DX operators t rying to work by country. This must be avoided a t all times for obvious reas ons: now you have set 99 % of the D Xers wanting t o work you, on hold. This way of operating guarantees chaos i n no time.

Watch out when using a preferential trea tment for your friends or for stati ons from you r home country. Do it very discretely and make sure it ha ppens invisibly. Better yet, don’t do it.

So far we have listed a number of issues , all r elating to operating procedures,

aiming at making chasing DX more enjoyable for the DX chasers and the DXpeditioners alike. It is evident that by educ ation and trai ning both groups can improve their operating and achieve a win-win situation for both: a bett er and more enjoyable DXing world.

- At one time or another almost all of us have been confronted with a situation where deliberate QRMers are out to destroy the fun enjoyed by thousands of DX chasers. They QRM the DX’s transm it frequency either using no call or calls they ‘borrow’ for their unethica l behavior. This issue is indeed an ethical issue (see § I.2.5), an issue of go od and ba d, and not an issue related to operating procedures. To a la rge extent this k ind of QRM will not be changed by education and training.

- This D(eliberate)QRM is caused by a sm all group of social hooligans missing any degr ee of moral standards. Their acts are merely the expression of a steadily growing degree of selfishness we –unfortuna tely- seem to find nowadays in many layers of society.

- If you suffer from such DQRM, move frequency slightly, e.g. 500 Hz in CW, just sending your call followed by a string of DITS while slowly QSYing so the pileup understands what you are doing or , on phone, e.g. 5 kHz up or down after having announced your QSY. Don’t mention the reason.

- Never acknowledge you are suffering from DQRM. The sm all numbers of individuals causing DQRM will most freque ntly stop acting if the y have no audience, in other words if no one rea cts to their provoca tion. Always ignore them; never quit.



Are all the procedures as outlined in this document legally binding? Most of them

are not. A few examples: in most countries one should identify every 5 (in some

10) minutes. This rule exists for the monitoring stations and control authorities to

be able to identify transmissions. Thes e 5 minutes are a legal minimum, but good

practice and sound customs as well as sear ch for efficiency and good manners, in

one word ‘correct operating practice’ tells us to also identify at each QSO,

especially if these are short contacts as e.g. during a contest or when working a

pileup. These opera ting procedures must make it possible for the entire amateur

radio community to be able to enjoy the hobby in best understanding.

A similar example concerns the IARU Ba nd Plan which has no bindi ng legal

character in most countries, but clear ly serves at making living together on the

crowded bands more enjoyable.

Neglecting to appl y the operating procedur es as outlined in this document will

probably not send you to jail, but it w ill certainly result in inf erior operating

practice from your side.


Attachment 1: International Spelling and Phonetic Alphabet

Letter Phonetic Pronunciation Letter Phonetic word word


A Alpha alfah N November no vemm ber B Bravo bravo O Oscar oss kar

C Charlie

tchar li P Papa

pah pah

D Delta del tha Q Quebec kwe bek E Echo eko R Romeo ro me o F Foxtrot fox trott S Sierra si er rah G Golf golf T Tango tang go

H Hotel

ho tell U Uniform

you ni form

I India indiah V Victor vik tor J Juliette djou li ett W Whiskey ouiss ki

K Kilo kilo X X-ray ekss re L Lima limah Y Yankee yang ki

M Mike

maik Z Zulu

zou lou


Attachment 2: The Q Code



QRG What is the exact frequency? The exact frequency is ..QRK What is the readability of my signals?

QRL Are you busy? Is the frequency in use?

QRM Are you interfered with?

QRN Are you bothered by atmospherics?

The readability of your signals is: 1: bad, 2: Fairly bad, 3: Reasonably good, 4: Good, 5: Excellent. I am busy. The frequency is in use.

I am interfered with. 1: I am not at all interfered with, 2: Slightly, 3: Moderately, 4: Strongly, 5: Very strongly. I am bothered by atmospherics. 1, Not at all, 2. Slightly, 3. Moderately, 4. Strongly, 5. Very strongly.

QRO Should I increase power? Increase your power. QRP Should I decrease my power? Decrease your power.

QRS Should I decrease my sending speed?

QRT Should I stop my transmission?

Decrease your sending speed.

Stop your transmission.

QRU Do you have anything for me? I have nothing for you. QRV Are you ready? I am ready.

QRX When will you call me back?

I will call you back at ... Also: wait, standby

QRZ Who was calling me? You are called by ..QSA What is the strength of my signals?

The strength of your signals is: 1. Bad, 2. fairly bad, 3. Reasonably good, 4. Good, 5. Excellent.

QSB Is my signal fading? Your signal is fading.

QSL Can you confirm reception?

QSO Can you make contact with ... (me)?

I confirm reception.

I can make contact with ... (you).

QSX Can you listen on ...? Listen on ..QSY Shall I start transmitting on another frequency?

QTC Do you have a message for me?

QTH What is your location (latitude and longitude or by name of the location)?

Start transmitting on ... Also: change frequency (to ...)

I have a message for you.

My location is ... latitude and ... longitude or : my location is ..QTR What is the exact time? The exact time is ..


John ON4UN was introduced to the wonderful world of amateur radio by his uncle Gas ton ON4GV. John was merely 10 years old. Ten yea rs later h e obtained the call ON4UN. John’s interest in technology and science led him to become an engineer and his entire professional career was spent in the telecom world. All alo ng he remained active on the bands, which has resu lted in nearly half a million contacts in his lo gs. In 1962, 1 year after he re ceived his callsign, he took part in his first contest, the UBA CW contest, which he won. This was the

beginning of a near 50 year long amateu r radio caree r i n which contesting and DXing especially on the lower HF bands ha ve played a major role. On 80 meters John has the highest number of DXCC countries confirmed worldwide (he is holder of the DXCC 80m award #1 with over 355 countries confirmed) and on 160m he has the highest country total outside the US with over 300 countries confirmed. John also was the first station world wide to obtain the prestigious 5B-WAZ award.

In 1996, ON4UN represented Belgium at WRTC (World Radio Team Championship) in San Francisco together with his friend Harry ON9CIB . WRTC is commonly called the Olympic Games of Radio Contesting.

A highlight in John’s amateur radio career was undoubte dly his induction into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 1997 and into the CQ DX Hall of Fame in 2008, honours which until then had been bestowed upon only a handful of non-American hams. Jo hn wrote a numb er of technical books concerning our hobby, most of which are publishe d by the ARRL (the American IARU Society). These covered mainly antennas, propagation and o perational aspects concerning the low er HF bands. He also wrote technical software on the subject of antennae, including mechanical design of antennas and towers. Together with Rik ON7YD, he is the co- author of the UBA handbook for the HA REC-license. Already in 1963, as a very young ha m, he go t involved in Ama teur Radio society affairs and beca me HF Manager for the UBA for a short period. More recently John served as President of the UBA between 1998 and 2007.

John combined his experience and expertis e with that of his friend Mark ON 4WW, to write this uniq ue handbo ok Ethics and Operational Procedures for the Radio Amateur. A tri gger to write this book wa s the enormous success of ON4WW’s article Operating Practice, which was incorporat ed in the UBA HAREC handbook. Operating Practice is available in more than 15 l anguages on Mark’s website, and has been published worldwide in a large number of ham radio magazines.


Mark ON4WW too, was bar ely 10 ye ars young when he was bitten b y the rad io bug. His initial call in 1988 was ON4AMT, which he traded for ON4WW a few years later. Right from the start Mark was particularly interested in contesting, which may be one of the rea sons for his special interest in correct operating procedures on the bands. In 1991 he met ON4UN and after some visits to John’s pl ace he q uickly became a CW buff and in addi tion a supporter of the more difficult HF bands, 80 and 160m. In the mi d-nineties, Mark was one of the key operators at the OTxT contest statio station which was located at ON4UN’s place. In that period this station won world wide first place (multi -single) three time s as well as first places for Eu rope in several other CQWW contests.

TLS, a c ontest

In 1995 Mark joined the United Nations and went on a mission to Rwanda. In the following years he was sent on UN mission s to several other African countries and each time he was active on t he bands and especially on 160m and 80m (9X4WW, S07WW, EL2WW etc.). L ater he showed up from Pakistan (A P2ARS) and Afghanistan (YA5T ) as well as from Iraq (YI/ON4WW). Other calls Mark used in that period were JY8WW, J28WW and 9K2/ON4WW. Mark’s last mission for the UN was in Gambia (C5WW) in 2003.

In 2000 Mark real ized one of his dreams, going on a major DXp edition. He was partoftherecordsettingF O0AAAexpeditiontoClippertonIslandinthePacific, wherethecrewmade75,000QSOsinjust6 days.Inthatsameyearhewasalso part of the A52A DXpeditio n to Bhutan. Still in tha t sa me year he represented Belgium, together with Pete r ON6TT, at the WRTC in Slovenia where they scored first worl d wide in the SSB category. Tw o years later, in 2002, the same team represented our country again at WRTC in Finland.

Over the years Ma rk has ga ined a tremen dous amount of operating expe rience. Specifically he has operated for long peri ods at both ends of the pi leups. He has witnessed a lot of operating practice that was and still is today capable of vast improvement. Hence the publication of his articl e Operating Practice, and now his contribution to this more elaborate publication.


n of the local UBA club

Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur 68