HAM Radio 101

Word of the Day: “Tuner-Upper”

In our continued exploration of the DX Code of Conduct, we look at this important operating principle: I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.

A tuner-upper is an operator who tunes up the radio or amplifier with the antenna tuner right on the DX’s frequency while a pileup is in progress. It is proper etiquette to move down the band to tune up before returning to the DX’s frequency.

There is nothing more maddening for a DXer on the verge of logging a rare contact than to be blindsided by QRM (man-made noise) from a tuner-upper. This doesn’t just apply to pileups. Many a friendly rag-chew has been interrupted by a third-party operator who caused QRM that lasted for minutes (what may seem like an eternity) while adjusting an amp or transceiver. Tuner-uppers fall into different categories: those who simply lack the knowledge that what they’re doing affects other operators; operators who unintentionally disrupt an ongoing QSO; and, worst of all, bad actors who do it maliciously. Long story short, don’t be a tuner-upper!

A dummy load is a handy device that enables you to pre-adjust your amplifier or transceiver rather than tuning up QRO (transmit power) on the air or risking damage to equipment. DX Engineering carries dummy loads (rated 100 to 2,500 watts) from MFJ, Palstar, Ameritron, Vectronics, and Elecraft.

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