(When aren't they?)
No, the Blind Call is not a movie starring Sandra Bullock (that's The Blind Side.) It an annoying practice over-used by some stations.It's especially obnoxious on FM satellites because the repeated blind calls are taking up pass time when other stations (who are actually there) can make contacts.
The Blind Call is tactic used when you're not sure if someone will be on a satellite pass but you want to work them regardless, so you keep calling over and over. And over. And over. Guess what? They don't answer because they aren't present. You look like a champ! (a chump, actually)
Here's the scenario:
- Some operators hear and work a station somewhere rare. Let's use VE2BMC for example. He lives in California but was visiting his native land in Quebec, grid square FN38. That's a rare grid, seldom heard, and to my knowledge not on satellites until Jimmy went home to visit.
- Word on the street gets out that Jimmy is going to be operating some SO-50 and AO-85 passes. That's a good thing. We want people to make new contacts with new stations, right? Instead of relying on secretive list servers, publishing the reports on open Twitter feeds and publicly-accessible email lists (and archives) is a good way to share information.
- The word is out. People will be listening for VE2BMC when there are mutual footprints with their grid and FN38.
- Now comes the fun part. Some stations want to call "in the blind" to see if they can "fish out" VE2BMC. That's fine. Sometimes it works. I've done it. Is he on the pass? We don't know, but we will call anyway! (that's the Blind Call)
- And now, for the bad part. After you have blind called once or twice, giving pause in between, you should really "ease off that throttle." Repeated calling makes you look like a fool. In fact, it's down right disruptive.
- Blind calling repeatedly in between other stations' QSO's is rude. Yes, I want the grid as much as you do, but I don't sit there and give my call sign over and over. If the guy is there, he will either (A) answer or (B) throw his call out once or twice.