How can we handle a QSO if we are open to a longer chat but do not want to push the other operator who may not wish to do so, or who may not have more free time?
This is a question we may sometimes ask, and there is an easy formula how to allow the other operator to make the decision, while clearly leaving the door open!
First, before we present the method, let’s look at the difference between a QSO where you were the CQ caller, and one where you are the one answering a CQ.
If you are the one who called CQ and are now having the first over in response to someone who answered your call, this puts you very much in the “driving seat”.
If you were to make the first over a simple “5NN TU” you are setting the pace. However, we QTT are not about 5NN TU! On the other hand we should not make the first over too long and introduce too many things right away.
In this case we set the example to the other station, as we are sending the very fist over. We can use the traditional QSO format, if this is a first QSO. This sets the minimum expectation for our QSO partner to reciprocate.
We thank them for the call, give an honest RS(T)(N) report, our QTH, name (perhaps age) and hand it back after HW? to check if they have received everything OK, and now it is their first over.
On their first over, we will expect at least to receive the same info back (minus age, this can be considered private info), and then it is our second over. If we did not receive the minimum info from them, say they did not give QTH, at this stage it would be quite acceptable to send “PSE QTH?” and put it back.
On your second over, if they did not make it clear on their first over that they’re done (by sending parting greetings or <SK>) then you can now send additional information, such as (RIG) PWR, ANT (normally, include at least height or length info e.g. “LOOP” or “Dipole” isn’t enough), maybe WX.
Now do you show that you are open to a longer QSO by including even more info such as how long you have been LIS, your AGE, etc? We suggest NO. Because you still want to keep overs a reasonable length, and, not “force” the other OP into feeling they need to do they same when they don’t want to.
We suggest not closing off on your 2nd over, by not sending any parting greetings or QSL info yet, nor any <SK> but simply end as usual with both callsigns and <KN>, if you end with <BK> this may give the impression you are in a hurry.
On their second over, you can expect they will give you the same info, and at their option, more. If you gave PWR and ANT info, they should do the same. If they do and they do not end with parting greetings nor any <SK> then now you are still in the driving seat on your third over!
Normally in the traditional QSO the third over would be the final, where QSL info is exchanged, thanks and parting greetings, e.g. for CW operators, 77. Here, you may explore the extension of the length of the QSO by giving some info such your age and how long you were licensed, and info about your KEY. Maybe even FISTS membership number etc. Again put it back with callsigns and <KN>
Now you will see on the 3rd over of the other side, whether they have had enough and are thanking for the QSO. If so, do not push it further, on your final (now 4th over) send the traditional final: QSL info, thanks, and parting wishes. However if they clearly left it open by not closing it off, once again, it is up to you what you transmit on your next over, e.g. you could at this stage talk about any additional info or ask if they like to rag chew, what their comfortable speed range is and so on.
What about if you aren’t in the “driving seat” but have responded to a CQ? Well, here, you also note if there are any “closing off” by the other side, and if not, you volunteer more information. Again we recommend not pushing it if they have sent parting greetings or <SK> this should be respected.
If on their first over, the did not send info about QTH, for example, only RST, or only RST and name, then you can, on your first over, send RST, QTH, NAME and PSE UR QTH? QTH? <BK> (or callsigns and <KN>). You now have shown you want at least a minimum QTT.
Depending on what they do after that, you can see if they are open to further information such as their RIG. If they did not give anything more than the requested QTH, and/or send parting greetings, respect this and do the same.
In summary, the clues are the parting greetings, and a definite clue is an <SK>. You can explore the possibilities of an extended QSO using the above well tried and tested traditional methods. You should never force an OP to give more info than they wish to, they may be short of time, or lack confidence.
The way not to close off a QSO is not to send parting greetings and to end an over with <KN> provided, of course that the other side has not already done so, in which case you should also reciprocate with your final over.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or experiences to share, let us know in the comments below!