Calling CQ – Single Sideband Modulation
I’ve been Ham operator for many years and have heard a lot of CQ’s in my lifetime, so bear with me and I’ll tell you the most effective ways I’ve heard Hams calling CQ on Single Sideband.
For New Hams: What is Single Sideband Modulation?
AM and FM are almost unheard of on HF these days. Single sideband modulation is used in radio communication systems because it is a more efficient use of bandwidth by eliminating the transmission of one of the sidebands and reducing the power transmission required.
Most everyone uses SSB on the Ham radio these days. You’ll either be operating USB or LSB. Upper Sideband on the higher frequencies and Lower Sideband on the lower frequencies. USB on 10 Meters thru 20 Meters and LSB on 40 Meters thru 160 Meters.
When calling CQ (general call to all stations), using SSB modulation requires the operator to select the appropriate sideband, USB (Upper SideBand) or LSB (Lower SideBand), based on the band plan and the intended frequency of communication.
The operator should also follow the standard protocol. Listen before transmitting and make sure the frequency is clear. I always listen a minute or two first before calling “QRZ is the frequency in use. This is K0PIR”. After a couple of transmissions of asking, and hearing nothing I can start my CQ. For example: “CQ, CQ, CQ, this is Kilo Zero Papa India Radio, K0PIR, on [band you’re on], calling CQ and listening.” You can do that a number of times, but I never go over three consecutive times. For example, “CQ, CQ, CQ, this is Kilo Zero Papa India Radio, K0PIR, on [band you’re on], calling CQ. CQ, CQ, CQ, this is Kilo Zero Papa India Radio, K0PIR, calling CQ, CQ, CQ, CQ, this is Kilo Zero Papa India Radio, K0PIR, on [band you’re on], calling CQ and listening.”
There are many variations. You may hear Hams saying, “Hello CQ, hello CQ [band you’re on], hello CQ.” That’s also good.
It is important to note that proper etiquette and adherence to regulations is essential when making radio calls, including using the correct modulation and frequencies, and maintaining a polite and respectful tone.
Using a band plan diagram as your guide (below), find a free frequency in your license class. I suggest 20 Meters. Check to make sure it’s clear and if so, you can start calling CQ. 20 Meters is a good band most of the day to try your luck.
Try three or four rounds of calling CQ and if no one responds, try another frequency. Persistence pays off.
Okay, I got a Reply, Now What?
When a Ham replies, give them your name, a signal report, your QTH and on the second round tell them about your station and ask about theirs. Hams love talking about station equipment and who better to ask about equipment than another Ham who owns and operates a particular radio, microphone, paddle, etc.
There’s always something to talk about besides the signal report and weather.
Following a successful CQ, many ham radio enthusiasts often find themselves hooked.
Calling CQ POTA
Same as above, make sure the frequency is clear and then start the CQ. For example, “CQ POTA CQ POTA, this is Kilo Zero Papa India Radio, K0PIR, calling CQ Parks on the air and listening.” or “CQ POTA, Kilo Zero Papa India Radio, K0PIR, Parks on the air.”
Do Your Best and Don’t Worry About It
If you are new to this and don’t get replies, don’t worry about it. Get on the air and call CQ and do your best. Everyone makes mistakes. Practice just like you would practice calling CQ with a CW key or paddle. You’ll make new aquaintences and maybe even some new friends along the way.
It’s always fun to try something new. So why not give it a try?
If that get’s boring, try CW or FT8. I have articles on both:
WSJT-X FT8 and the Icom 7300 the Easy Way!
Learning Morse Code (CW) The Best Way
Do you have any ideas on calling CQ? Please comment below.
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