Rag Chewing

Back when I was a kid, I never got into many long conversations on the radio. Maybe it was because I was a kid and really didn’t have that much to say to older hams. Maybe it was because I had a lousy fist (although I thought it was at least decent). Whatever the reason, it was pretty much RST-QTH-name, maybe followed by a recounting of the weather and rig, then QRT.

Now, however, I find myself having much longer QSOs. Today, for example, I only made two contacts, but each of them lasted 45 minutes. Both were very enjoyable.

The first was with a guy in Connecticut. Turns out that not only was he using a Vibroplex, he had a collection of ten of them. I had to tip my hat to him on that–learning how to use a bug has got to be one of the hardest things to do.

The second was with a guy in Springfield, MO. We didn’t discuss anything in particular, but we managed to waste 45 minutes doing it.

Hams, in general, are interesting people. They’re “doers.” Those that are immersed in the hobby are doing lots of interesting things, such as bouncing signals off the moon or satellites. Those that aren’t quite so rabid, often have interesting jobs or are involved in other interesting pursuits.

So, my advice is to get to know the person you’re having a QSO with. Get the formalities out of the way quickly, then ask them about their job, their communities, or their other hobbies. You’ll have a lot more fun and get a lot more out of the hobby if you do.


By the way, why do we call having long conversations “rag chewing” anyway? Anyone know?


  1. Kb1vez - stevy says:

    I enjoyed this post. I am a new, young hammy. Just got my tech license going for general next month! Love the phrase rag chewing… lol not sure where it came from though..

  2. Hey, Stevy. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope you’ll have many long ragchews in your ham career.

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