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Author Topic: What is the proper way to answer a ? with a negative response  (Read 4452 times)

Posts: 92

« on: August 15, 2010, 05:26:00 AM »

I am new CW op and I am enjoying the WAE DX contest. I often use the contests as an additional means to learning CW. Sometimes because I can only send at around 15WPM (12 comfortably), the ops will think my call is "reg" instead of "rp" or some such, and send with a question to confirm. These folks send at lightning speeds but I have learned to copy it, I just can't send it that fast. I think my timing is right because I usually practice send with CWGet. Most OP's, being kind, will space out the letters when asking. Then I can space mine out, making even more slow, but they'll get it. Is there a proper or standard Shorthand for No or Negative, etc to send before repeating? I usually send an r a couple of times when they get my call. Or, if they ask me for a QTC? and I don't (we could be at it a while  Smiley, I have responded No, but i often wonder if there is a standard negative response response. How would you respond?

Thank you,


Posts: 2994

« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 05:32:17 AM »

The standard negative answer to QTC? is "QRU."  QRU is the Q signal that means "I have nothing for you." 

Chuck  NI0C 

Posts: 4710

« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2010, 06:01:13 AM »

Sometimes because I can only send at around 15WPM (12 comfortably), the ops will think my call is "reg" instead of "rp" or some such, and send with a question to confirm.

That indicates you're sending "dit..dahdahdit" for "P" instead of "didahdahdit".

Is there a proper or standard Shorthand for No or Negative, etc to send before repeating?

"NO" or just "N"

73 de Jim, N2EY

Posts: 92

« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2010, 06:08:00 AM »

Thank you. Yes, I have much more practicing to do.


Posts: 7718

« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2010, 06:10:06 AM »

Simply resend you call. That tells them they did not copy it correctly.

Don't resend your call if they copied it correctly. If you do you are telling them they called it incorrectly. It can be confusing.

Posts: 5214

« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 05:58:07 AM »

I'm not sure what they were mis-copying, but were you doing the contest with a straight key? I appreciate the importance of learning with a straight key but above 15 WPM IMHO you might want to be transitioning to a keyer. Some keyers can auto-enforce inter-character spacing.

I'm guessing that less than 2% of QSO's in a contest are with a straight key.

90% of the sending you hear in a contest will not be with a keyer, but with a computer. The wise ops will slow down to help complete the exchange reliably and accurately but not everyone is so wise.

It is not the sign of a wimp to use computer keying in a contest. It's pretty much accepted practice today.

Hope you had a fun time in WAE. Most of the contest runs at 20-25 WPM and I appreciate the effort it takes to copy exchanges. Even I sometimes have trouble with the speed-demon big guns who don't realize that their call is hard to copy. (I think back to "EE5E", wow, I have never seen so many busted versions of that.) I think the real-world conditions on the bands are the best way to enhance your CW abilities, and probably have 10 times the effectiveness of any "practice" session. So keep it up!

The negative response to QTC? can be QRU but more commonly I hear N or NO or NIL in WAECW. I think NIL is kinda confusing because it's also used to declare "I'm giving up on this exchange."  If you can't QTC because you've already exchanged traffic with that station in the contest the usual negative response would be "QTC B4".


Posts: 92

« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2010, 03:44:00 PM »

I was sending with a paddle and keyer. It could have been that the contest rythm sometimes get so high and heated that when a slower guy comes in, it can throw a wrench in the works for a minute. Yes, I could tell there was some memory keying and other's being used for RST and such. I had a blast and am striving for the day I can confidently pass on QTC in that contest. I just keep practicing and try to stay interested. Having much fun with CW at the moment. Thanks to all for the clarification on the correct and preferred responses.


Posts: 5688

« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2010, 06:50:38 PM »

It could also be that you sent it just fine but the other end screwed up, maybe they were tired and burnt from contesting. 

Practicing into the machine is a wonderful thing and if you can send your call at that speed and the machine copies it, safe assumption you are sending the call correctly. 

Consider a Contest Memory Keyer where you can program in your callsign and just hit the button again also.  This will assure the exact same spacing and timing every time. 

I never bothered with sending the negative, takes less time to simply repeat my call twice. 

With that E after the K, even when sent perfectly, which I try to do all the time and generally succeed, it is still surprising how many try to turn it into "C3WD" for reasons unknown to me.  In casual CW I often give just a wee bit more space between the K and the E for that reason. 

Dahdidah ==== Dit ==== Didididahdah = Didahdah = Dahdidit 

And still there are those who get it scrambled. 

No big deal, simply resend your callsign. 

Good luck on the next contest, OM! 

Contesting can teach us a lot more than just CW operating.  After working them awhile you may be surprised how much you've learned about propagation, band choice vs time of day, where to be and when to be there, etc. 


Posts: 189

« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2010, 12:34:25 AM »

Another idea: Why not get some contest software such as N1MM Logger, build a rig interface and let the computer send the CW for you?

I enjoy my straight key a lot, but I find that it's not possible for me to send CW at > 12 wpm cleanly. Since I love contests, a computer is the only choice.

You can keep practicing sending CW with a key during the week when there's no contest on. I suspect you will enjoy the contests a lot more too. The high-speed ops will appreciate you more too!

Gary, WS4T
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