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Norfolk Island Dxpedition 2015

Operating Principles - How to work us

A goal of VK9NT is to encourage new Dxpedtioners to come onboard and experience a Dxpedition first-hand in a relaxed environment.  More experienced operators are always available to assist and provide support in dealing with the pileups, operating procedures and building confidence.

We recognise that many operators are happy to operate the radio for a limited number of hours each day and may wish to experience the other attractions that a new country/island has to offer.  As such, please understand and be patient if the operator does not work as quickly as you expect or does not have the confidence in dealing with the “rabble” that often goes with pile-ups.  We are all working to improve our skills and become better operators, not just for VK9NT, but for future operations. 

·         Our goals are to provide as many amateurs as possible the opportunity to make at least one QSO with VK9NT.

·         Before calling, please make sure you can copy VK9NT well enough for a good QSO. If signals are poor, it would be worth your while to wait for better propagation. We will be active for nine days, so there should be adequate opportunities to make your QSOs.

·         Most of the time will use split operation only: Generally, we will be listening a few kilohertz higher than our transmit frequency. Please do not accidentally call on our transmit frequency. Instead, determine where we are listening (the VK9NT operator will say, or simply find the pile-up!) and call us there.

·         Here are some tips: Who are we working? What is the callsign? Where is this station transmitting? While we are listening, you should quickly scan the pile-up to find the station we are working. On CW, increase your receive bandwidth if necessary. Determine where we are listening and then pick your transmit frequency accordingly.

·         Our operators will try hard to work stations in all parts of the world, but some areas will require more time and effort than others. Listen to determine if we are trying to work a particular geographical area (again, the VK9NT operator will announce, for example, “Europe only” or “South America only”). Call if you are in that area. We will not respond to callers who are not in that area. If you are not in the desired area, spend the waiting time studying the pile-up procedure of the operators.

·         Call us only when we are asking for anyone to call, e.g. after a CQ call or, more likely, when an existing QSO has been fully completed. When the VK9NT operator says “VK9NT QRZ?”, announces his listening frequencies, or says “VK9NT… thank you” (“VK9NT TU” on CW) that is your cue to call.

·         If we respond immediately with your full callsign and a signal report, fine. In that case just reply with your signal report to us and that is a good QSO. But bear in mind that many stations are likely to be calling and it is possible the VK9NT operator will not have been able to copy your complete callsign the first time. He would then respond to a ‘partial’ call (e.g. “the Mike Zero Alpha station, you’re 59”, or “station ending X-Ray Yankee Zulu, you’re 59”). Please call again then only if your callsign corresponds to that being called, or is very similar (one matching letter in your callsign is NOT enough!) We will not respond to calls from stations other than those we are addressing.

·         If you do not hear who has been called, listen for a short time as the operator will repeat the call. We recognise that QRM might have covered the VK9NT signal just as you are being called! If in doubt, please do not call again, but listen to the VK9NT operator. If he has heard you, he will call you again if you do not respond straight away.

·         Be sure you have made a good QSO. If you aren’t sure, make another QSO. It is best not to send a report until the operator sends your callsign correctly, as he will take reception of your report as a confirmation that he has copied your callsign correctly. If the operator does not send your callsign correctly, make another QSO later. Logs will be uploaded to ClubLog as often as we are able, so check whether your callsign has been logged correctly before trying for an ‘insurance’ contact.

·         Reiterating, we will not work stations who are:

o   Calling out of turn – when we are trying to work someone else

o   Calling out of the called area – wait for your turn

o   Calling with an obviously wrong partial callsign – study the pile-up

·         We will not be monitoring the DX Cluster network, so do not try to communicate with us that way

·         We understand that no-one is perfect, and that everyone makes mistakes. People will transmit on our frequency, and they will do so repeatedly because often they can’t hear the DX station. Please don’t get frustrated and respond to this: let us deal with the situation!


Our thanks to Wayne N7NG, Steve 9M6DXX and members of the T32C and VK9NT team for contributing to this document.


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