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Suggestion re grid squares


Having recently operated again from the UK on UO-14 and UO-27, I would like 
to offer a suggestion.  Satellite operators in Europe generally exchange, 
during QSOs, their full six-character grid locators (eg, IO91QF).  In North 
America, only the first four characters are normally exchanged (eg, FN20).

It seems to me that the use of six-character grid squares in Europe is a 
carryover from terrestrial VHF/UHF operating practices, where the full 
Maidenhead locator provides meaningful information for such things as beam 
headings.  However, when using a satellite, one's antenna is aimed at the 
satellite, not at the other station.  Those major operating awards of which I 
am aware which are based on grid squares, eg VUCC, use only four-character 
locators rather than six.

The level of crowding and, consequently, of QRM on satellites in Europe is 
considerably worse than in North America.  If European satellite operators 
were to switch to using four-character grid locators, not only would contacts 
take less time to complete, but the QRM level would actually decrease 
somewhat as fewer incomplete QSOs would occur.

So, my suggestion is that we satellite operators adopt, by common consent, 
the four-character Maidenhead locator as a global standard QSO exchange in 
preference to the full six-character locator.  No change is proposed for 
terrestrial operation.

Please copy me (w2rs@amsat.org) on any comments posted to the bulletin board.

73, Ray

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