Pile up!

amateur radio pile-up cartoon by N2ESTSometimes the best illustrations are the ones that never make it to print. This cartoon of a pile-up was an unused drawing from a larger commission last month. Those of you about to participate in Field Day will hear more than a few pile-ups and will soon learn what they sound like. This is what I’ve always imagined they look like.

Personally, I identify more with the cartoon below of a CW operator: a smooth tone and smooth sailing. I’m not particularly fast but my favorite mode has long been CW.

amateur radio CW operator Morse code cartoon by N2ESTWhich mode do you plan to operate for Field Day?

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Have you ever caused a pile-up?

Who do I answer?When that rare DX station appears, we’ve all had the experience of trying to be heard in the ensuing pile-up. But have you ever caused a pile-up?

Of course, operators of DX stations are used to sorting out calls in pile-ups. But what if you’re a new operator who’s just called his first CQ and more than one station answers?  For the novice ham — like this one in a cartoon I drew for “W1FB’s Help for New Hams” — the effect can be overwhelming and seem like a pile-up.

If you’re a DX station on the receiving end of pile-up, how do you pick who to answer? And how would you advise a new operator to handle multiple answers to a CQ?

 

 

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