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 My frustration with working skip...

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PostSubject: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeWed May 19, 2021 11:11 pm

It seems every time there is good working conditions I hear people talking local to each other afterwards reeling off the list of contacts they've made all over the place.   How are they making these contacts.   Pretty much 90% of all the CQ calls I put out are unanswered.   90% of the people I call back to when they are coming in 5/9+  respond to another station, even with multiple attempts;   this is not helped by those who just steamroller in with their callsigns before waiting for the QRZ.    

It seems like there is a very special type of sporadic E working today.   Two way for everyone else, one way for me.    Had a session on the home base in the day, managed one into Denmark, and one Germany.   Been out on the hills this evening, finishing up on the home base.  It has been utterly futile.   In the meantime, there are people up and down the country working North America etc,  and I've not even managed to get a single shout into Europe this evening.  This seems to happen time and time again.  Are these people making these contacts all running yagi beams or just telling lies?  I always do well on UK nets and get compliments on my mod and signal with both the radios which I use.    I realise that going up on a hill isn't necessarily an advantage working skip, I just went out because is was a nice evening.    I'm getting to the point of giving up on trying to work skip, it just seems to be a complete waste of time.

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 1:29 am

It can be difficult, especially if they aren't hearing you as well as the other stations.
In that circumstance iv had some luck calling CQ DX, HZ253, area 43 South Australia calling, any stations copy QSY ch 36 ( or Whatever channel that I've found to be clear ) often I'll get a few followers, and others find you quickly if your close to the call ch.
I heard a power station yesterday banging my needle, he could hardly hear me and I was pushing 100w he was only 80km away

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 6:26 am

Hi Chris,

I feel your pain mate, it can all be frustrating.
(I'm still currently without transmit on my HF rig so can hear all this lovely 'skip' but can't work it!)


I would say the biggest part of working DX more than anything else is 'patience'.

I've known guys lash out on 'bigger & better' radios, antennas, coax and linears  only to be ultimately rewarded with the same frustration you're experiencing. Can be a real kick in the teeth.

You've been making contacts as shown by your Danish and German examples so you know your setup is working and you can get out there, so in all reality you should be giving yourself a pat on the back. If you personally reward yourself with the good feeling of making those DX contacts it'll far outweigh the failed CQ's.


If you're working the old 555 then just remember that every man and their dog will be calling on that frequency when conditions are up.....all trying to shout over the top of each other and often not knowing each other is there! One direction skip is common in that you hear the DX station but not all the 'local' or your own countries transmissions. Think of the poor operator at the other end who is being barraged by a cacophony of operators all shouting back at once, they'll only be able to pick out the call they can hear above everything else.

I rarely make a call on the 555 or even try responding to a big gun station CQ knowing that happens. Instead I will flick up and down the frequencies around the triple five and see if I can catch someone intelligent enough to be putting out a CQ elsewhere. Responding to those calls can often reward you with an easier contact. The same is true for calling out a CQ, try it away from the main calling frequency making several CQ's as there may be someone out there utilising the same method of 'scanning' up and down for a contact.

There's no point making a CQ with a QSY instruction on the 555 unless you're a big gun station but take advantage of those scenarios. If everyone runs off to the new QSY frequency then the 555 will suddenly be a little quieter and that's when you can jump in with your CQ and stand a better chance.

Always worth listening to the conditions first as well. If you have France one second, Germany the next then suddenly Spain is being heard you know that conditions are hopping all over the place and although exciting it's much harder to work. Probably best to wait for more stable conditions where you tend to hear one countries CQ's more than anything else.

There's that 'patience' thing again. Wink


You can of course go all 'big gun', buy the 'best' radio, linears and a dirty big beam squirting RF in your direction of interest. That doesn't always work but when it does you can find it's like shooting fish in a barrel, which although exciting at first can soon become a bit monotonous. If the excitement comes from how many countries you've worked what do you do when you've worked them all? Work them again? How many times can you do that before becoming bored again?


I always find when something becomes frustrating I walk away, give it up for a bit and maybe come back to it at a later time. The frustrated feeling quickly leaves you and you're in a better frame of mind when you come back to it.

Congratulate yourself on your achievements and don't muster on your apparent 'failures'.....

It'll make you far happier. Smile



Anyway, that's maybe/probably all waffle but it was in the spirit of helping a fellow Charlie Tango member and radio enthusiast. Hope it helps even a little.

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 8:01 am

A lot of what I could offer has been said above already.

Most QSOs I have had have been been initiated by going back to other's CQ calls quickly, or QSKing into them near the end of an existing convo. Only a small percentage have been from me putting out a CQ, and hardly any from a CQ on the 555.

If you're using the channels around the 555 then have a listen on the 0s (+5KHz). Not all "CBs" can get to them.. less people using the frequencies = better chance of getting through.

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 9:13 am

Great tip there on the 0's Neal. My frustration with working skip... 1f44d
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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 9:40 am

Also, try dropping down to mid-band or low-band and calling CQ.......the skip will be there too ! A lot of people seem to think that T5 is the only frequency to DX on but there are plenty of others lower down which will usually be less crowded so you will have a better chance of being heard.

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 11:10 am

Another nice tip there Phil. My frustration with working skip... 1f44d 

I think I've had my most enjoyable 'DX' QSO's down on the mid-band Euro frequencies, often with FM and low power, (great when the conditions are right for that! Smile) Sometimes it's just nice to have a conversation than the typical "5-9 QRZ".
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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 12:27 pm

Some great advice been given.👍

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 1:04 pm

Thanks for all the advice everyone.   I do like the idea of calling on another channel.   And SangueG says, I have rarely made contacts from calling CQ on T5.    I made another contact with Denmark later in the evening with a nice chap called Torben, ad a nice long conversation.   A long and pleasant chat is worth 20 x "five by nine, you're in the log".

When Scotland, North of England and Ireland is coming in, I've made some great contacts just QSKing on the muppets.   WHen I was in Cornwall last week, I worked a fair few stations in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria from Lands End.


I hope my initial post isn't too whiney but there are times I wonder why I'm bothering with this hobby.   But I will take all of the above advice on board.

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu May 20, 2021 7:27 pm

Just keep at it 26uk81,Have a flick around the bands and listen.
Your be surprised at that distance voice at the back of the box will be able to hear you a lot of the time.Yesterday I was chatting with Glasgow and his signal was better then most around me.(And this was on UK Fm too).
The propagation is in and out at the moment and the bands are open but it just takes time and ignore the Italian singing with the echo mic..lol
In the past 24 hours I’ve managed to Dx with Glasgow,Germany 13 pt 130,Norway,The Netherlands,Italy and even Copenhagen to name a few and on different bands..Stick at it
Tom. CT-4029

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu Jun 10, 2021 8:27 am

Your doing it wrong or you have a problem with your setup. Ignore the people on nets giving you reports its pointless and often not even accurate. A lot of homebased stations on nets blag or bullshit their contacts in a vain effort to cover up the fact they are deaf as a post. The station asks them something simple like their name and more often than not reply with one of three things:

1: Ive suddenly got a bit of noise im losing you
2: Im pleased with that one ill hand it back to the chair
3: Great contact wont hog it hand it back to "insert name here" 

Not the correct reply, and easy from afar for people to realise they couldn't hear diddly squat. Yet in todays daft world people wont tell them the truth in that they have actually just had a no contact. 

For "Dx" i think you mean perhaps Eu stations, if you want to try and work some off the T5, put a call in and give a QSY at the same time. After of course making sure beforehand that the QSY Frq is clear for you, dont call on T5 and expect to hear anyone come back to you if its busy. You can do it but its hard to hear for obvious reasons if anyone comes back to you, you then have the ball ache of trying give a QSY on a busy Frq. Your just making it harder work than it needs to be and creating more QRM for everyone else. Put a call in, give a QSY, move, start calling CQ. If that doesnt work try listening and pouncing on stations like some else suggested. With conditions like they are now it shouldn't be hard to work EU countries at all when /P.

What is your setup when you go out portable. i cant see anyone asking you this yet.

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu Jun 10, 2021 2:43 pm

I have played on or around 26.285 USB over the years with good contacts, not as busy as 555 area but can be productive for nice DX.
Try it.
73
Mark.
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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu Jun 10, 2021 2:52 pm

Starship I do exactly the same thing,When the Mids is crazy with station upon station keying over each other or USB seems to hard to work.
That S low band and the one above Low,Just seem to be so much quieter and your able to communicate so much better to each other.
Nothing worse then calling out to a Romanian station only to get an Italian reply..😂😂😂
It’s not all about 27.555 USB

CT4029

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu Jun 10, 2021 9:05 pm

hi Chris, I feel you pain, but stick with it and it will turn out right. I've made several hundred qso,s in the last year and never had a CQ call on t5 answered . I only use about 50 watts so can be hard to play with the big boys. As well most using a killerwat and yes meant to spell it like that, are using beams and HF rigs. Some really good advice given. But try this if you can, try through the day when its quieter on the band and try search and pounce.listening on 10m,if you like what you hear, get your foundation licence and work that band through the summer months  .I am a convert from 11m to 10m now
good luck
mark

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeThu Jun 10, 2021 11:28 pm

5Watts QRP, FT991 but radio really irrelevant, /P last week waiting for conditions over to the west: 

329SD010 Thomas Czech republic
13TW666 Alex Leipzig Germany
30AT210 Raul Saville Spain`
56LR007 Pasi Kanta Hame Finland
21WR01 Roger Sweden
161RC103 Pawel Poland
14SD515 Fabien Nouvelle Aquitai France
45CI121 Philip Vojvadina Serbia
233CI073 Cosmin Deva Romania
31SD175 Carlos Algarve Portugal.

2 Answered a CQ call after putting a QSY out on T5 that they may or may not of heard, the others i pounced. Its not just about the power, beams or radio.

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeFri Jun 11, 2021 8:16 pm

Smudger wrote:
5Watts QRP, FT991 but radio really irrelevant, /P last week waiting for conditions over to the west: 

329SD010 Thomas Czech republic
13TW666 Alex Leipzig Germany
30AT210 Raul Saville Spain`
56LR007 Pasi Kanta Hame Finland
21WR01 Roger Sweden
161RC103 Pawel Poland
14SD515 Fabien Nouvelle Aquitai France
45CI121 Philip Vojvadina Serbia
233CI073 Cosmin Deva Romania
31SD175 Carlos Algarve Portugal.

2 Answered a CQ call after putting a QSY out on T5 that they may or may not of heard, the others i pounced. Its not just about the power, beams or radio.
Well done on those contacts with that power level. Recognise a few of those from my listenings and couple in my log book. Whilst some are heavy hitters, I know Alex was running relatively low power too and his antennas are nice but not monsters. My contact with him was just good timing in my answering and the conditions playing a major factor.

Chris, I am sure if you take on board everyone's suggestions and just stay relaxed about it you'll make some great e skip contacts in the future. I haven't made contact with any very long distant stations (out of Europe) from my home yet since coming back to this. E.g. I have heard some local DXers making contacts with 3 divs, but I haven't managed it myself. But I'm totally relaxed about it. When I do finally manage a contact I know it will be a good feeling and memorable. Keep at it Smile

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeSat Jun 12, 2021 2:36 pm

You do get days on 11m where you wonder what the hell is going on. Many factors could play into it... your set up, e layer paths, rx stations noise levels, beams in use (you might be on the side or back). Skip favours one direction over the path than the other and simply more efficient paths to other destinations than to you... you might land an S6 and others S9 and +10 over for others.

Also don't discount someone not wanting to work the 9th UK station for the evening. It happens, I have done it myself.

Exceptions aside and there are many - correctly set up 1/2 or 5/8 wave antenna as high as possible from the ground - 100Watts - it will be hard not to make e layer dx on 11m when E layer is charged reasonably.

Lesser set ups can work as well. Prop is a strange thing and some days the planets align in a way that it just does not favour your QTH, radiation angle and RX situations of counterpart stations.

I have definitely been out and wonder what the hell is going on hearing loads and making almost zero contacts.

I have largely mitigated all this with a almost dead cert euro hop setup over the years, conditions allowing of course and sometimes they don't allow.. but that takes time and effort and some cash.... and still not using a beam.

Every one of us has those days and they are disheartening... just get back on the horse, one way to make no contacts at all is not being on the radio.

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeWed Jun 16, 2021 8:40 am

I DX without using t5....
26.285 usb,27.515 lsb or just pick a freq,listen to see if it's free then put out some calls..

Patience reaps great rewards and while my set up is decent enough I rarely use more than 50w...

Sam..

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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeMon Jun 21, 2021 10:27 am

Im really glad all thats well above my pay grade or i might be sitting reading stuff instead of enjoying the radio. I mean if i was that desperate enough to make contacts or alleged ones id just let my computer hammer out some FT8 for me giving me time to take in what youve just typed. Is that you Mark ?
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PostSubject: Re: My frustration with working skip...   My frustration with working skip... Icon_minitimeTue Jun 22, 2021 8:09 am

Hahaha you nearly had me fooled. Then you started a new sentence and paragraph with the word "But" and that kind of puts us back in reality. 
All joking aside,,
Maybe you didn't realise but your in the section of the forum pertaining to Dx on 11mtr. This chap is having trouble making "SSB" "Dx" contacts "on 11mtr" and is getting frustrated.

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