Do you ever wonder why you can call CQ on amateur radio and no-one comes back? It could be that you have a poor antenna, cheap coax and badly set-up rig or it could be that it is just because you are an irritating arse, but the chances are it is all of those things. Listen how those other stations call once and everyone wants to talk to them, they have well set up stations and always have something interesting to say. Could it be that the ability to converse and the ability to set up a good station have something to do with that other ability, the ability to listen and not only listen but to learn from what you hear.
I dragged myself out of bed at about 15:30 UTC with a banging head and stumbled down stairs. One more 12 hour nightshift to go. It seemed like forever since I had a day off. Helen put the kettle on to make some coffee and I took something for my poor head. I powered up the shack and read my emails. I really needed something to cheer me up, a funny email or a nice ten pointer SOTA contact would do. I seemed to have missed all the SOTA stations and there was nothing to cheer me up in my inbox either. I looked at Facebook. "Ten metres is bouncing!" said a post from Graham GW0HUS hours earlier. I tuned through the band. One UK station. "Not now it isn't I wanted to shout!" Thanks mate that really cheered me up.
On 5MHz I managed a contact with Dave M0MYA/P on Cleeve Hill G/CE-001. One point in the log. Oh well it is better than nothing, I thought. I had started to do some up-dates on SOTA-TV when just before 16:00 UTC I got another Dave and my second SOTA summit of the day in the log. M0TUB/P was on G/SP-002 Black Hill. Shortly after that my evening meal arrived.
It was after my evening meal that a certain station came on the local 70cms repeater. "Crrrsshh shaahhh for a rig check", "Crrrsshh shaahhh calling on "Crrrsshh shaahhh for a Crackle phisss". What happened next was almost unbelievable "The station for a rig check, you are fully quietening in to the repeater. Great audio." I just could not believe it this guy must be listening on the input because the station calling was 90% noise through the repeater.
The station calling was known to me and he caught me off guard in a grumpy mood, I told him his signal was very poor in to the repeater, as it always is because he is using a handheld with a rubber duck antenna from over 30 miles away. The other station, an M6 with a cracking signal from his mobile set, was not too far from the M0 who was calling on a handheld and I am certain must have been listening to him on the input. My RX on the repeater is always 9+ 60dB as it is a couple of miles away and line of sight.
The issue is that this is not unusual. There are a number of stations locally whose only conversation is "Testing Access!" and "For a rig check". I try to ignore them. There are also a number of idiots who like to go back to these stations and say "You are 5/9 here". I am sure these morons don't know what 5/9 is and on a repeater the signal strength is totally irrelevant. So how can someone be S5 if you have to ask for them to repeat their callsign eight times? Often when I am driving I will tell a station that he is a poor signal in to the repeater only for someone who doesn't understand how repeaters work to tell them they sound great. If you cannot be heard above my engine noise when everyone else can then you have a problem. I just wish people would tell the truth about peoples signals. Is everyone to afraid to offend each other that they have to lie?
The issue with signal reports in contests is another issue entirely. I won't open that can of worms here, but hey it doesn't half screw up the big guns if after you get your 59 you give them 43."43? But I am running 2Kw into an 18 element at 250 feet". Oh Joy!