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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: CW DX ..- - ..  (Read 12273 times)

Posts: 6

« on: August 13, 2001, 03:58:23 PM »

Hello all, I have been enjoying CW for a year now and my code speed hovers around 10WPM. I enjoy a leasurely chat and trying to get my WAS on cw. I was wondering how to break into doing DX on CW. I mainly work 40 meters in the evening. How, where, when and how fast do I need to send and recieve code. Thanks for any tips that might help. 73!

« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2001, 09:40:22 AM »

Naturally it would help if you could send/receive code a little faster...say 15-20 wpm. However, you can usually find DX stations that will talk to you at any code speed. I would recommend that you try some different bands though...40m is a mostly "winter" band - lots of QRN during the summer months which makes it hard to hear much DX. Try 20m at night or 15m during the day.

Posts: 15

« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2001, 05:06:15 PM »

Often, DX stations will create a pile-up where the exchanges are quite fast. I believe if you are serious about working DX on CW, you must improve your copying ability to at least 20-wpm. You can do this on the air or with tapes, software, etc., but you must push yourself a bit to achieve this level of proficiency.

Posts: 21

« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2001, 01:54:37 PM »

I dont want to discourage you however, the other replies that suggest you improve your code speed are correct.  At 10 wpm you are at a well known sticking point in code speed.  Years ago the fcc chose the various speeds for different licenses because of these well known sticking points. 13 wpm for general because it showed you had broken the 10 wpm barrier and 20 wpm for extra because there was another barrier at 17 wpm.
there is also one at about 7.5 wpm.  If you break through the 10 wpm barrier you will have more or less smooth sailing to the 17-18 wpm level. At that point you will have sufficient code ability to enjoy some real cw dx fun. the qsos tend to follow a format and because of this youll find that you can actually work
a contact at speeds above what you can normally copy text at.  I like to stay away from the dx hot spots like 20 many kw+ stations, instead i find the dx activity on 28, 18, 21 mhz abundant but with fewer big guns snatching all the good stuff up. A couple weeks ago i put a new antenna up and decided to give it a try on 18mhz. one 3x3 cq resulted in three stations calling, ra3, 4x4, and hb9.  That does not happen to me while operating in killowatt alley (20 mtrs) also seldome happens while operating ssb on any band....that for me is the main feature of cw dx'ing, and a very good reason to work on your code speed so you can participate in the fun. Go for it, the effort is worth it.

have fun working some exotic places and getting a little enjoyment out of your investment.

aloha de ron kh6dv


Posts: 21764

« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2001, 06:39:06 PM »

Good question, and good answers.

I'll add this:

If you want to break into DXing, especially on 40 (but really on any of the HF bands except 12-17-30m), try contesting!

Because the contest exchanges (which vary) are very brief, you may surprise yourself to find that you can copy them at 30-35wpm.  It sounds like gibberish, perhaps, at first, but you really only have to copy the other station's callsign and very few characters beyond that -- and, bingo! -- you've worked DX.  Not exactly a leisurely ragchew, but unless you have a great signal abroad, you're not in for many leisurely ragchews with DX stations.

The use of contest logging software and utilities, and a keying interface for your rig, are ultimate weapons in succeeding with the DX during a contest.  They will be immediately helpful, and you'll see how.  I prefer WriteLog for Windows (the most powerful, user-friendly contest logging/operating program), which can have updated "frequently heard/worked DX contest callsigns" downloaded during its license period (and continually updated for renewal fees) that make it MUCH easier to get a DX station's callsign correct, using the feature called Super Check Partial.  This feature enables your computer to look up a "probable" DX callsign, if you only have partially copied it, and is a very powerful utility.  The interface to your radio can be Rig Blaster or any number of hardware interfaces, none of which are expensive.

Best contests for working DX on 40m CW are CQ WW CW, ARRL DX CW, and CQ WPX CW, although there are many "smaller" contests that are fun as well.  You do NOT need to be a "big gun" to have a ball in contests, especially on CW, where the big guns have great antennas, great receivers and wonderful operators more than capable of pulling a weak signal out of the noise and QRM just fine.  In the heat of a DX CW contest, I've often worked the other side of the world with 5W.

It can be so enjoyable, and there's so much "instant gratification" in being able to make 50-100 DX contacts in a very short time, that your CW skills will just naturally improve without your thinking about it.

The DX CW activity on 40 is anywhere from 7000 to 7070 kHz or so, sometimes even a bit higher during crowded conditions (which are the norm in contests).  Working DX on 40m phone (SSB) is mostly "split" operations, requiring dual VFOs and some additional skills, but on CW it's 99+% "simplex," with contacts made on a single frequency for TX/RX.  The contests are all during the late fall, winter and early spring, to take advantage of the best propagation.  Don't expect to work much DX on 40 during the summer!

Have fun and happy contesting!

73 de Steve WB2WIK/6

Posts: 2

« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2001, 03:56:35 AM »

> my code speed hovers around 10WPM.

Well, I think most ham would QRS, but more speed is mor fun.

> wondering how to break into doing DX on CW. I mainly > work 40 meters in the evening. How, where, when and
> how fast do I need to send and recieve code.

I would be happy to work with W6 on 40m. What is your usual time? I will be QRV in October, so why don't we try then?

73 Jindra OK1FOU

Posts: 3160

« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2001, 05:00:12 PM »

As you are working on your code speed, take a try at the W1AW 18 wpm CW bulletins (or propogation forecasts).  It gives you some "real radio" listening that is not quite the same as tapes.  Also helps you understand how to use your radio better for CW listening (fliter selection, BFO control(BA), etc.)

Once you listen to the "total sound" of the letter, rather than counting dits and dahs, your speed will ioncrease.  You will also start to recognize common 3 or 4 letter words.

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