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Author Topic: "SO" much easier ....  (Read 1964 times)
N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« on: July 06, 2004, 02:33:27 PM »

Good point, Scott...except, I deeply fear it is too late, already.  This was my fifth Sunspot cycle...I can remember times when the bands were so crowded, etc...  Now, as you well point out, it ain't so!  This may well have become an Old Man's hobby. The Internet, Cell Phones and a few lesser factors have well and truly made us obsolete. Let's face it, Morse is a Skill and Art-form to be perfected personally...or why would anyone DO it ?

In recent years I have come across some very good rag-chews with U.S. hams. Not often, though.  During the peak of the last Cycle, I worked an awful lot of 12 meter CW.  The Eu guys are great rag-chewers. If nothing else they will always talk about the last World Cup. If you have ever learned a foreign language, you remember how much easier it is to read and write one than it is to understand the spoken word, much less utter the reply!  Morse seems to be a lot like read/write.  *I* will attempt a little Spanish on CW...NEVER on phone !!   The Eu guys often view English in the same manner.

But... they are gone until the next Cycle.  At least from here in W7 Land. So... it is dry, dry, DRY... between contests, Scott...

dm
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NJ0E
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2004, 11:44:28 AM »

i hope you all don't neglect to enjoy some casual cw
operating, too, in between the contests!

one of the changes in amateur radio that has
disappointed me somewhat is the precipitous "drop"
in hf cw activity in between the monumental "spikes"
that occur during contests.

when i was first exposed to amateur radio and licensed
(1975-1976), you used to hear all kinds of cw
roundtables on weekend mornings, especially on the 80
and 40 meter cw subbands.

radio amateurs cultivated friendships and
"conversed" using cw, at pretty high speeds. i think
most of those fellas are silent keys now, but i
feel it's kind of tragic that the extended cw roundtable ragchews seem to have largely become a
thing of the past.

73
scott nj0e
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2004, 09:52:22 PM »

I just completed my contribution to this year's Field Day...  I am by nature, a CW OP... But, since I was running class 1E at my own station this year, and by Sunday morning, it is normal to have worked almost all available participants in any mode anyway, I decided to switch to SSB for the final hours of Sunday morning.  Wow!  What a revelation!  My hat is off to Phone Ops.  That noisy bedlam was HARD to work with, when you are used to a quiet, narrow IF.... and everybody has the same accent!

From my limited view of it, 'contesting' comes off with CW as the better mode... (sigh).. again.
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2004, 10:40:34 AM »

I agree that CW is much less difficult to work in a contest despite the fact that I'm not particularly good at it.

If you think the bedlam was bad on Sunday morning, you should have tried the first few hours of the contest on Saturday.  The beginning of a contest is even worse.
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2004, 11:10:28 AM »

Yeah...I'll bet you are right!  Well, I'm happy to find enough participation to HAVE bedlam...

73.....
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KE4MOB
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Posts: 721


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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2004, 01:40:38 PM »

This was my first year at attempting to work some FD CW (FD call WR4RC).  I didn't realize that the other stations would be running so fast.  I found about two dozen stations I felt comfortable with mostly in the Novice bands.  I guess I should have asked some of the fast ones to QRS, but in hindsight, I need to work more so I'll be one of them next year.

I worked both CW and SSB and yes, I agree, CW is *so* much easier.  The ops seemed to be much more orderly, and the QRM was easier to mentally filter out.  A noise level SSB signal?  Forget it.  A noise level CW signal?  Easy pickings.  Pointwise, 22 SSB points was a throat numbing, mind draining fight.  22 CW points were painless!

Things I'd do differently?  Yep.  In addition to normal QSOs, about a week before FD I'd start running practice on just numbers.  I'd also build a small platform with adjustable feet to put on the folding plastic tables we use.  The table surface wasn't perfectly uniform and my bug and straight key rocked about 1/16th of a inch up and down.

And I would really get away from the voice operators.  It's hard to concentrate on CW when the guy running SSB next to you is coming around your headphones yelling "CQ FIELD DAY CQ FIELD DAY"!!
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2004, 05:22:21 PM »

I looked..I didn't have the pleasure of QSOing your Group.  Can't work 'em all, single handed...  I have often had 'help' on F/D...and usually the OP that is General Class will settle in and find that by the time he gets a belly-ful... he is able to copy certain numbers and letter combinations up in the high 20's... as you know now, IS the pattern.   Interestingly, I have a Half-Contester pal and mainly works  DX things... all CW. *I* work some phone; he never does. He has the high speed contest patter down pat, but I have tried to rag chew with him, and he is barely able to 'chew at 20... odd.

Anyway, 'Lord willing, and the creeks don't  rise', I'll be around next year..maybe Q with you then.  By the way, I strongly suggest you consider the November S/S. Wonderful little break in the doldrums !

VY 73

dm
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N0UY
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2004, 09:10:26 PM »

This was my first FD as an operator.  I enjoyed it tremendously.  I only made 116 Qs with 55 of them on CW.  There was just two of us and we goofed off a lot as you can tell.  But being in the back woods of Minnesota trying operated in a tent with no heat was a new life experience for me.  At 38 F. the hand and paddle didn’t make the best music but were still working better than the brain.

I have a friend who is a whiz at CW contesting but can’t do the rag chew either.  He’s not much of a talker anyway so maybe that’s why he prefers the contest environment.  He came to visit us on Sunday and made 80 Qs in about an hour using his own call.  I guess the set-up was up to the task so maybe next year I will improve my volume of Qs but can’t really improve on the event itself.  I had a blast.   Ray  N0UY
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2004, 10:06:56 PM »

Oh, that's great, Ray...  Lot's of fun.  Before a couple of our friends got wise, we used to have some great times, having a 'local' contest. I'd invite them to work THEIR station, here...on SSB.  *I* would work CW. Raw QSO count, the loser buys dinner for the winner.  But, pretty soon, they caught on, (burp).   I have run QRP and done well, also, but not on SSB.  I have run QRP SSB in the November S/S...and that worked out OK, but F/D is not a good place for  5 watt phone.

I'll be watching for  N0UY next year..  I just looked and you were not one of my 254 Q's...

dm
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KI4EFO
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2004, 05:27:48 PM »

I ran PSK some for our club on FD and had a total blast with it. The guy running the station was so turned on about PSK and sharing the hobby that he made it really fun for a lot of people and was constantly handing the controls over to others.

I actually prefer CW and was very dissapointed with the one CW station we had. The guy was super nice but it was *his* station and *his* contacts. He spent most of the time hunched over his computer and scratchpad with headphones on. Other CW'ers kept coming by but never stayed for long. He was a good ways away from any other station so it really wasn't necessary to block out the sound.

I'm a very new ham so I don't know if my perceptions are somehow out of sync with reality but I'm going to do a CW station next year on a different band and see if I can create more of a cooperative spirit. I'm going to set up a Y so the primary op can use headphones but have speakers so others dropping by can hear. I plan to also make better use of the computer but will have a paddle and a key around in case someone wants to run manually just for kicks. I think pausing and asking a listener stuff like "that was a '5A' wasn't it?" would realy help draw in other people. I could also see inviting others to do the computer stuff.

I'm pretty sure I'm not too far off base because I had one guy tell me his former club always had a Y cable in place and would often have 2 or 3 guys helping pick out information. He seemed really dissapointed with our setup and only spent a couple of minutes at the CW station before wandering over to the PSK station where he ended up having a real ball running it.

I guess the bottom line is I would make fun the primary goal and the score secondary. I don't think our club is very competitive so I believe it is really more in keeping with our field day spirit.

73,
Eric
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2004, 06:12:58 PM »

I'm sorry Eric.... But, I think I know the situation, and *I've* probably been 'IN' it too much, from time to time.

Our Local Club is not at all competitive... they are into the VHF/UHF stuff...and from what I've experienced, they have quite a dislike for the Music Mode, and any that like it.  So... for several years now, I have been either 1E, right here on my front porch, or..with luck..2B with a pal.

I have never had the honor to serve with a computer... I just work 'em and keep a 'scribble log.. for later cleaning up.  As such I *DO think that it is a very good idea for  ONE (1) guy to run a station.  He will gather a feel for who he has worked, and not get 'dupe' come back to him often. I only had two...in 250 QSO's.  The way around it, when there has been more than one of us, was to have 'our  band'...  Two of us broke it down to 80 and 20,  40 and 15.   That way you weren't stuck witha dead band when there was 'action' elsewhere, but could still have your 'feel' of what you were doing. Maybe something like that will do for you.

In ANY case, if you don't have a  FULL QSK rig available, beg, borrow...or....  get one, It saves you a heck of a lot of trouble to answer somebody...and partway thru YOUR calling, hear him reply to somebody else. You can just 'quit' and wait for the right break in the noise...

See if you can't get something going for the  November S/S.
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N8CPA
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Posts: 87




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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2004, 09:27:39 AM »

I felt the same way the first time I tried to be an FD CW op, overwhelmed by the pace. I only made about 17 Qs if I remember correctly. All the other Qs that year were phone and packet. A lot of easy points were lost. I made up my mind that wouldn't happen again.

I did as has been suggested by others here. I participated in the following NovSS. There have been volumes written about how SS can increase your code speed in a single weekend--it is absolutely true. I'm sure you can find articles about it online.

Between now and Novemeber 6, try participating in state QSO parties. Then, jump in the fray in November. After SS, try the other CW events throughout the winter and Spring. I guarantee, you'll be more ready than you right now believe for next FD.

One word of warning though: CW contest participation is highly addictive, even if you're not really competing, just participating. Expect withdrawal symptoms after each event.

CU in NovSS--###A N8CPA 79 OH
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2004, 09:03:45 PM »

RE: "SO" much easier ....
by N8CPA on July 3, 2004
[SNIP]
One word of warning though: CW contest participation is highly addictive, even if you're not really competing, just participating. Expect withdrawal symptoms after each event.
______________________________________________________

I end up hearing CW in my sleep after a significant level of participation.
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N8CPA
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Posts: 87




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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2004, 08:56:04 AM »

Only in your sleep?  I hear it in the hum of the refrigerator motor, the way the neighbor's dog barks, the squeaking of the garage door, ceiling fan, etc.

Starting about 17:00 on FD Sunday, I start thinking about SS.  It's really funny.  I started participating in SS to improve my FD operation.  Now I'm thinking about SS before FD is over.  
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2004, 11:22:08 AM »

The Spirit seems to be alive !   Yes, I am planning for the November S/S ... just have to get past this 'dry' period.  With the ...'evolving'....of Ham Radio, I hardly go on air, except for the Contests anymore...
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