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Since the E-X-P-A-N-S-I-ON




 
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k4kyv
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Don
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« on: January 06, 2007, 03:48:26 PM »

I am really enjoying operating AM on the new frequencies below 3750; in fact I have been inside the old "window" only once or twice since.  It's great not to have QRM to each side and often right on the operating frequency, and to be able to open the receiver bandwidth up to 8 kHz or so and enjoy the quality of the AM  station I am listening to, even during evening "prime time" hours.

I have noticed that the phone bands sound decidedly friendlier now that there is enough elbow room for everyone to spread out.  I even hear SSB stations calling "CQ."  Another thing I like is that there is now enough room to carry on several simultaneous AM QSO's, and not have just one or two big roundtables with 8-10 stations each.  Whenever a QSO builds up to more than 4 stations, I tend to sign out and QSY somewhere else in the band.  If no-one wants to follow me, I just call CQ and try to get another AM contact started.  Besides keeping roundtables more reasonable in size, it makes for increased AM "presence" on the band.

As for the CW community, the sky didn't fall, after all.  I notice that on 3500-3600 stations are spaced  a little closer together than they were before, when you sometimes had to tune 5 or 10 kHz between signals.  Now, that segment sounds more like what it used to sound like during the 60's when the band was packed with CW signals from 3500 all the way through the novice band, but it is still not too congested for comfort, especially if one has an appropriate bandwidth CW filter available in  the receiver.  I work a little CW myself, and have found it more enjoyable to operate on both 80 and 40 since the changes.  I actually believe an increased number of CW stations have become active on 80m to fill in the remaining CW subband.  Perhaps this is a counter-reaction to the no-code decision?

The only hassle I have run into since the expansion has been in the Extra Class segment, of all places!  A couple of times a slopbucket group has pulled the usual old tactic of dropping right down less than 1 kHz from an existing AM QSO, ignoring the fact that the frequency was already long in use while there was plenty of vacant space to each side of the QSO, and then proceeding to piss/moan about the AM QRM.  That has happened to me twice in the last few nights on the upper end  of the Extra Class segment, and I also heard it happen to a QSO between Gary K4XK and Jim W5JO, most likely from the same SSB group.  The last time it happened to me, I just continued to operate while ignoring the interference, and when I finally signed out, I listened for a few minutes, and the offending SSB stations openly acknowledged that they knew we were on frequency, as several members of their group mentioned that "the AM'ers are gone."  Maybe we should let some tapes roll and send them to "you-know-who" and see if maybe those slopbuckets can have the honour of sharing the ARRL website with Ashtabula Bill, with their callsigns posted alongside W8VYZ.

But other than that minor irritation, I've been having a great time on 80/75 since the expansion.  I haven't even been on 160 except for a couple of times.
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Don, K4KYV                                       AMI#5
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w3jn
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2007, 08:32:10 PM »

Can't be, Don.  Those Extras passed the CW test so they've GOTTA be the model of politeness and decorum.

Unlike those CBers soon to infest HF, who we know are ALL porrly mannered and have no technical knowledge whatsover.
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2007, 12:46:48 AM »

Yea, those Extra CBers. Gotta love 'em.

Had a nice small group on tonight up till 10PM on 3820. The freq was very quiet and signals were good - almost like 160 meters!
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W1ATR
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2007, 02:21:00 AM »

Starting to sound like QRZed around here. Roll Eyes
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Ed KB1HVS
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2007, 02:30:51 AM »

[

The only hassle I have run into since the expansion has been in the Extra Class segment, of all places!  A couple of times a slopbucket group has pulled the usual old tactic of dropping right down less than 1 kHz from an existing AM QSO, ignoring the fact that the frequency was already long in use while there was plenty of vacant space to each side of the QSO, and then proceeding to piss/moan about the AM QRM.  That has happened to me twice in the last few nights on the upper end  of the Extra Class segment, and I also heard it happen to a QSO between Gary K4XK and Jim W5JO, most likely from the same SSB group.  The last time it happened to me, I just continued to operate while ignoring the interference, and when I finally signed out, I listened for a few minutes, and the offending SSB stations openly acknowledged that they knew we were on frequency, as several members of their group mentioned that "the AM'ers are gone."  Maybe we should let some tapes roll and send them to "you-know-who" and see if maybe those slopbuckets can have the honour of sharing the ARRL website with Ashtabula Bill, with their callsigns posted alongside W8VYZ.

But other than that minor irritation, I've been having a great time on 80/75 since the expansion.  I haven't even been on 160 except for a couple of times.
Quote

 Sounds like "class" warfare!! Smiley Wink Nothing changes...........
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K1MVP
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2007, 01:46:49 PM »

Don,
 I really think its too early to tell the "ramifications" of the expanded phone
 bands yet.
 The no-code license(for generals and extras) becomes effective in about
 a week or so,--and the "results" will probably not show themselves for
 at least 6 months to a year IMO.
 The 5wpm "extra" was essentially not much better than a zero wpm
 test,IMO.
 While I do think they should have retained cw(at least 10 wpm) for the
 extra class,--I think in eliminating cw altogether,--that the written exam'
 should have been "beefed up" like they did in Great Britain, and thrown
 out the published answers, again IMO.

                                    73, K1MVP   
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k4kyv
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2007, 02:26:43 PM »

The no-code license(for generals and extras) becomes effective in about
 a week or so,--and the "results" will probably not show themselves for
 at least 6 months to a year IMO.

Let's enjoy it while we can.  We should at least make it through this season.  I'm not so sure no-code is going to bring the tsunami of new appliance ops the industry is hoping for, though.

Quote
The 5wpm "extra" was essentially not much better than a zero wpm test,IMO.
That's exactly why I am cautiously optimistic that the bands will not be overwhelmed with new slopbuckets and their riceboxes.  5wpm was supposed to bring in a big influx, which never materialised.

Quote
I think in eliminating cw altogether,--that the written exam'
 should have been "beefed up" like they did in Great Britain, and thrown
 out the published answers, again IMO.
I totally agree.

I worked several stations in the extra class segment last night (Sat/Sun), with no hassles at all.  By midnight the band was wide open propagationwise, with plenty of vacant spots.
                                 
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Don, K4KYV                                       AMI#5
Licensed since 1959 and not happy to be back on AM...    Never got off AM in the first place.

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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2007, 10:49:42 AM »

Yep, it's been much nicer down there with respect to space and operating practices. I've had two incidents(not counting the one I listened to with 'HUZ a week or so back). Both were over the weekend, once with a canadian SSB net on 3730 that fired up at 9PM in the middle of a QSO I was having with a mobile SSB cross-mode contact in Michigan on 3727. They complained about my signal, as if I'd just arrived, probably because they didn't hear the mobile station. I'd been there for an hour before they showed up.

Then last night with a group that moved in on 3717 despite Steve and others using the frequency from at least 6PM on. I got back just as Steve signed off and everyone was gone, so I called CQ. One of the guys from 3717 came up to tell me that I was intefering. Worked AB2KC and called it a night.The more things change...

It's still a whole lot better. When you can actually count the problems on one hand and still have fingers left, it's a big improvement. 3885 still sounds like a mess most of the times I've listened.
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2007, 12:20:37 PM »

That's the "3730 Group", a local gang here in Ottawa.  A bunch of relative newbies (compared to me), who get on there to rag chew. They're a bit arrogant.  They better learn to live wiith AM, because that part of the band will become even more populated with AM signals.   Anyway, I know that bunch. A typical run-of-the-mill slopbucket group.  Their "guru" is VA3MPM, a know-it-all.    If they insist on operating within the "Canadian AM window", let them suffer the consequences.

Yep, one of them made a comment after cranking up his lineeyar amp that "I was hearing him 20 over, and I guess now he's hearing me". Uh, no sh*t, Sherlock - when you're 3 kcs away and a couple hundred air miles at most, I can hear you without it.  Roll Eyes The fact that they began their "net" in the midst of a QSO apparently makes no difference.

Had a run-in last night with the group that had decided to claim 3709. I'd just gotten home and was talking with Duane, KK4AM on 3712 just before he was heading out. Before he could complete his transmission, here comes the SSB splatter. I got a bit miffed, and decided to stay on the frequency calling CQ for a while. Duane did say he might be back, and I was more than a little annoyed to be running into the same crap we get on 75.

Things went downhill fast, and we ended up having a 'discussion'. Seems they are know as the 3821 group or such, a guy named Walter W2DES being their leader. He explained to me that they took this frequency because "another group has 3705" so they moved up a ways and claimed 3709. He also mentioned that they have operated there for a number of nights without any problems. I pointed out that this is because AMers aren't trying to lay claim to specific frequencies, just using what is available. He didn't see a problem with their approach, one of the stations even pointed out that the FCC favors nets because it's a more efficient use of the spectrum, says so in the rulebook. So let's see....someone claiming 3705, these guys on 09, someone using 15....how long before this new space we enjoy is all "taken"?

As I'm getting lectured by these guys about my wide AM signal and told that I was wiping out "half of the band", someone came in on SSB and said 'no he's not'. No idea who the station was, but he defended the AM mode and pointed a few things out to them. If it was someone who frequents this board, thanks for the help OM.

Cooler heads finally prevailed, and I made a deal with the guys: we wouldn't cozy up to them on any particular frequency that they are using on a given day(we don't anyway), provided they don't do the same to us. And they also agreed not to lay claim to any particular frequency, just try to use it and move elsewhere if it's already in use by AMers (or anyone else, for that matter). One of the group mentioned that he tried their old 3821 frequency when W1IA and I were on 3710 two nights ago, and it was quiet. Why they moved down in the first place, I have no idea. But claiming a frequency then jamming anyone using it by trying to talk over or under them in hopes of driving them away is wrong, under any circumstances.

We ended the discussion on friendly terms, I even heard one of them say something about giving AM a try. I left the frequency to them since I had mainly called CQ to stubbornly prove a point. They didn't come across as the typical knuckle draggers we're used to from 75m, just a group of old farts getting on for a nightly ragchew. And it shouldn't have gotten me so wound up, but it did. These guys did agree that if a frequency is in use, you should find another spot. I hope they remain this flexible.

So take note, guys - the new spectrum is slowly being claimed. Some Canadian activity was already there, but more than half of what I'm hearing is coming from US callsigns. The gang on 3730 seems pretty determined to run AMers off, as does the group around 43 that hassled HUZ and the gang recently. Others seem willing to compromise. How long before the nonsense migrates down the band and renders it useless to anyone but netwits?
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WA3VJB
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2007, 12:49:33 PM »

As things sort out, and before such operators go covert with their comments, I suggest making as many recordings as possible, and just save them away to establish the date as to when such problems began to occur.

Our behavior, and that of everyone else's, comprise the first writings on the blank slate we have been given with the FCC's decision to expand the phone bands.


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k4kyv
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2007, 04:28:08 PM »

Last night while I was on 3685,  someone kept sending over and over on CW: "AM GET OUT... AM IS ILLEGAL HERE".

Naturally, the station never sent a callsign.  I made it a point not to make any mention or acknowledgement of this over the air.

It's one thing to agree to a frequency plus/minus QRM so you will know approximately where to look for your cronies on the band, but we must feel perfectly free to use any frequency in the band if it is vacant.  All frequencies are first come, first served, and Riley has pointed that out numerous times, even  regarding nets.

A frequency is fair game when a "group" claims to be using it, but nobody is saying anything.  Dead air does not count as occupying a frequency.  Some SSB groups are notorious for monitoring a frequency 24/7, whether they are actively using it or not, and as soon as anyone else fires up on or nearby, jumping on and saying "the frequency is in use."  If I have monitored a frequency on 75/80 for 10-15 minutes and heard nothing, to me that qualifies it as "not in use."  If they are hearing me well enough to claim I am interfering, I should be able to at least HEAR them if they are actually using the frequency.  Again, the best way to handle the situation is NOT to argue with the offending stations, but to simply ignore them and pretend they don't exist.  Also, I tend not to QSY if an operator goes out of  his way to be rude about claiming I am on "their" frequency, or if they deliberately try to jam the QSO. 

But remember to take into consideration that you may not hear a station at all when the band goes long.  As the low ebb of the sunspot cycle approaches, there will be many evenings when the propagation on 75 becomes much like what we are used to on 20, with a substantial skip zone.

We should not claim any specific frequencies as "AM" frequencies, or try to establish any "AM Windows" in the expanded portion of the band, nor should we recognise or bow to any other group's "claim" to any specific frequency.
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Don, K4KYV                                       AMI#5
Licensed since 1959 and not happy to be back on AM...    Never got off AM in the first place.

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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2007, 05:03:43 PM »

Last night while I was on 3685,  someone kept sending over and over on CW: "AM GET OUT... AM IS ILLEGAL HERE".

Naturally, the station never sent a callsign.  I made it a point not to make any mention or acknowledgement of this over the air.

I don't agree with you on this one Don.....

Usually, with the idiot jammers or troublemakers, yes, ignore them, and MAYBE they'll give up....

BUT, in this case, it's a matter of education......

I would have at least once, announced that, "AM is phone, phone operation is allowed here, whether it's SSB or AM  etc." 
Definately would have made it be known that I was talking directly to the CW staion....

After once or twice....sure, leave it alone, That particular station has heard the message, and then is probably only interested in provoking you.....


The thing is.... though people SHOULD know better, most SSB only ops really DO BELIEVE that the only place AM is legal is "...in the window..."


And, what better place to start their education, than right there on the air, for them and others to hear...
Who knows, they may go away knowing more about Ham radio than they ever did!


IMHO

Bruce G

'
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WA3VJB
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2007, 08:32:25 PM »

Quote
most SSB only ops really DO BELIEVE that the only place AM is legal is "...in the window..."

I do not think it is "most."

The vocal few who hassle others probably don't even bear malice toward AM. Next week it will be contestors that provoke them, or "southern hicks," or name your identifyable group.

One thing that is true, we have been giving such detractors a reason to hassle us by only sitting in the back of the bus.

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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2007, 09:18:17 PM »

Yep, all those died in the wool, 20 WPM, Extras, old farts are the problem here. Things will get better as newer, more intelligent people show up as a result of the recent licensing changes.
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2007, 10:43:09 PM »

Quote
most SSB only ops really DO BELIEVE that the only place AM is legal is "...in the window..."

I do not think it is "most."

The vocal few who hassle others probably don't even bear malice toward AM. Next week it will be contestors that provoke them, or "southern hicks," or name your identifyable group.

One thing that is true, we have been giving such detractors a reason to hassle us by only sitting in the back of the bus.



 Exactly the point, Paul. Some people are just flat out miserable. This goes beyond the scope of radio, and is a part of their daily lives. They're not happy unless they are P&M'ing about something. Whether it's who's a few KC away, that cup of coffee they just got that isn't just right, traffic moving slowly, temperature and weather conditions, the President, what ever.... They perpetuate a miserable existence, and thrive on finding that next sounding board, whether it be other stations, pets, family, or friends.

These people cannot be helped. They're not happy unless they're arguing with someone or something, and that's that. I refuse to cater to that personality by cutting them some room. I was here first, first come, first serve. If you don't like it, don't let the band hit you on the ass on the way out.
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2007, 10:49:52 PM »

   I agree 100% wiyh Don. As an Extra, I can go from 3600 to 4000 kc as long as the  frequency is not in use. 45 seconds of silence is good enough for me. By the way, I traded my Advanced for one of those Extra-lite tickets but it still works down there.
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2007, 07:02:05 AM »

Quote
Yep, all those died in the wool, 20 WPM, Extras, old farts are the problem here

Sometimes I wonder if that isn't precisely true. After all, they're the only ones left who remember SSB's struggle for acceptance and still feel compelled to fight the fight.

It's like the Japanese soldiers lost in the jungle for 60 years. Cannot convince them the war's over.
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WA3VJB
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2007, 08:36:25 AM »

But it is so easy to commission a "net"  doncha see ?

"What's for Dinner Net."

There's one where there is ALWAYS traffic !


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Jim KF2SY
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2007, 08:41:14 AM »

I still say WE should have also layed claim to specific frequencies.  
We have to think like SSB ops do.  Other clear frequencies are fine and dandy, but in time with no
specific frequencies in the expansion, SSB ops will just look at us as perhaps "Roving Rogues"
We had a golden opprotunity that may be slipping away.  That clear frequency in the new expanded
portion that we just had a super enjoyable AM qso with, may be "Taken" and layed claim at any time by SSB ops in the future.  (Remember folks this is 75/80M).  In a perfect ham radio world the roving and operating AM on any clear frequency is nice, but will never be accepted with the mentality of todays SSB ops.   Just my 3 cents here and being realistic.
I hope I'm wrong.

Jim KF2SY
 Undecided
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WA3VJB
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2007, 08:54:16 AM »

Jim I wish I could find a reason to take your suggestion.
But look, if the strategy of claiming frequencies had worked, we would not have had to constantly defend 3885 the past 25 years.
How much proof do you need? Same deal on 7290Kc, not as well-known as an "AM Window"  and puzzling to folks who otherwise might clear a path. And forget 14286Kc, even in it's heyday of AM activity, it was not a respected slot domestically nor internationally.

But back to 75m specifically, California and western states have tried to keep 3870 as an AM gathering point, and they too are constantly defending against disrespectful operators.

What is different about our prospect for success if we were to start claiming new 80m frequencies?

A good tradeoff will be to maintain a presence during times when the "window" is clear. This may help preserve years of investment and what little advantage there is against interference from bystanders, malicious or benign.  Most of the time, I think it's best to use frequency agility and other strategies to minimize friction with bystanders and improve the reception of AMers we enjoy talking with.

Moving around may create the impression of "rogue" AM operation among the few enemies we may have, but it also will introduce the mode to people who are value-neutral and perhaps friendly toward nostalgic/vintage radio. It is our responsibility to provide opportunities for them to participate, and staying in one place won't do that nearly as well.

When it comes to belligerent operators, they are few in number but irritating nonetheless, I'd rather not spend my time arguing with idiots, frankly. It was never worth it for what limited operating time I can find. Now, with the FCC"s decision to expand the 75/80 meter phone band, the overall density of band use has created a f ar better chance to find an open spot on the dial. The most effective way to take advantage of that is to realize the time and frequency of that "clear spot" will vary.

I also am not convinced that there is a mentality of claming spots. Sure, it's human nature to congregate like cows under a favorite tree, but in the forseeable future no one has a basis to say they've been on a given frequency since Methuselah was a boy. We also see fewer hams leftover from when SSB was having problems becoming mainstream, and those who replace them are, in my experience, open-minded to our activity and certainly not automatically combative.

That's where a welcoming stance and other diplomacy can purge, rather than perpetuate, the defensive attitudes some of US have when we are confronted about our use of AM.
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« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2007, 10:43:12 AM »

I have to agree with you, Paul. I've been converted in the last 6 months or so from someone who felt we should stay in the AM Window (ghetto) to exactly what you're saying. And I can verify exactly what you relate about exposing new ops to the mode. I've worked several stations as their first AM contact recently, also a number who are returning after many years (or decades) away from it. Even had my first cross-mode contact recently with the Michigan mobile station I mentioned previously. All down in the 3715-3750 area.

The more we can move around and utilize different frequencies, the more people will understand that AM is just another accepted mode of operation, not some special exception. As more AM stations are heard, it becomes just another type of signal on the bands.
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k4kyv
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« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2007, 12:29:10 PM »

If last night was any indicator, we shouldn't have any problem finding clear spots.  I got on 3725 about 0330 GMT, and there were maybe five QSO's total in the Extra segment, and no more than a dozen total in the Advanced segment. The band was more crowed above 3800, but still not congested.  Absolutely NO QRN, and the lightning storm map was completely dark.

I worked a station in Birmingham, AL (about 250 miles away), who was  running an Argonaut QRP rig, 5 watts on AM.  Said it was his first QSO ever on AM.  He was a little weak, but I managed to understand him 90% or better.  He said he would listen around for more AM in the days to come.

Since the expansion I have tended to hang around 3625, 3670, 3685 or 3725, but if there is activity near any one of those frequencies, I QSY to a clear spot and let 'er rip!  No sense in battling with idiots over a frequency when there is a clear spot elsewhere in the band.  When we allow that to happen, we are just doing exactly the same thing as the idiots.

But once I am established on a frequency, I am very reluctant to QSY when slopbuckets deliberately move in within a couple of kc/s even though there may be plenty of vacant space nearby.  Why didn't they start up on a clear frequency to begin with?  I will not be chased up and down all over the band every eveing in order to maintain a communications channel.  First come, first served, and once established, I prefer to stay there until the QSO is ended.  I rarely, if ever, allow myself to be "run off" a frequency.

And when a group of slopbuckets takes a break, their vacant frequency is fair game.  When they try to come back and reclaim the frequency 30 or 45 minutes later, it's too late.  The frequency is already in use.  It's like waiting in line at the bank.  You step out of the  line, you lose your turn.  Dead air doesn't count.

The best way to "claim" a frequency for the evening is to start up early, while the band is still lightly occupied, so that when the heavy activity comes on during prime time, the frequency is already occupied with AM.  As the original stations leave the frequency, others have already joined to keep the QSO going.  But tomorrow evening, if the frequency is occupied, start up somewhere else where it is clear.

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Don, K4KYV                                       AMI#5
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2007, 01:01:26 PM »

New Jersey hams lay claim to all frequencies between 3700 and 3800. Please honor our claim.
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« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2007, 12:25:47 PM »

A Modest Proposal

Gentlemen, the solution is simple.

We just need to build a national "Frequency Fence", just like the "Border Fence", to keep both sides apart. We can staff it with National Guardsmen Offical Observers who are fully authorized to watch, but not interfere when the border frequency jumpers, try to invade "our side".

In addition, we will supply whatever illegal border frequency jumpers do make it to "our side" with free vintage AM gear, complimentary membership in both the ARRL and AMI, a free subscription to Electric Radio, and a large tube stock for backup. In addtion any offspring of said border frequency jumpers will be automatically granted an Extra class license and given a free station, of course all training and repair work will be done free of charge to thank them for illegally jumping over our border frequency.

Sounds like an equitable and fair solution, no?  Shocked

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« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2007, 01:18:48 PM »

"Sounds like an equitable and fair solution, no?  Shocked"


You left out the famblies accross the boarder.....     what a cold hearted, cruel person.   klc
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