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Author Topic: My first MAJOR CW contesting experience  (Read 2591 times)

Posts: 28

« on: November 04, 2001, 11:02:44 PM »

Hello.  Recently, I wrote of my first CW contesting experience, here in this forum.  I have been gradually getting into contesting, and I believe that it is improving my CW skills.  I had been "warming up" for this one for the past few weekends, participating when I could in various CW contests, QSO parties, and the like.  This was the first one where I really decided to jump in.  Here are my impressions:

Nothing at all(even all of the other contests) could have prepared me for the CW sweepstakes.  I'll admit that for the first 2 hours, I think I was shell-shocked.  However, I stuck with it.
The biggest issue for me was not so much the speed of the CW, but the QRM.  I know that if I continue to use my Icom 718 for this sort of activity, I will probably install a narrow filter for the radio.  However, I am a music teacher by trade, and used my sense of pitch to narrow the CW contact and it did help me zero-beat most of my contacts.  That being said, a filter would more than likely help, but the filter between my ears seemed to hold up OK.
The exchange took some getting used to, but when I finally got into it, it got rather easy.  Another thing, I cannot say that one CW operator was rude, or anything else; all of them sent anything I needed again.  
The other thing that really struck me was the average year of the license.  I think that the average year of operators being first licensed for the folks that I managed to work was probably 1965-1970, so it was an older crowd.  I got a lot of request to send my CK year again, as it was 00; probably surprised a few folks, but I really have come to love operating in this mode.  
My final score was not that impressive in comparison to seasoned contesters( only 147 QSOs and 57 sections) but I was pleased with myself for my first effort in a major contest.  All in all, I'll be back, and I know I learned a lot about CW contesting, propagaion, and other sorts of things.  I figure this is a work in progress, and now I have a starting point.  I did have fun, and enjoyed another aspect of this wonderful hobby.  73

Posts: 3160

« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2001, 03:11:14 PM »

YOu should see what it looks like on a 756Pro in "Scope" mode.  Looked like a bumply road up and down 15 meters this past weekend.  1 kHz between stations was rare, more like 500 to 600 Hz.



Posts: 21764

« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2001, 04:58:05 PM »

500-600 Hz between stations??  You must have been using a small antenna.  Here, average spacing was probably 30-60 Hz between stations most of the time, on whatever the major "run" bands were at the time.

The QRM is part of the fun.  Several stations had CK numbers below 1950, and some club stations were <20.  We are indeed getting old as a group, but remember those club stations give the year the station was licensed, not the operator.  So when you work the MIT club station with its 09 check (I think it is), I seriously doubt the operator's 100 years old.  It's probably more like 19, just an old club call.

And if you "survived" SS, you'll survive DX contests much easier, since the exchange is much shorter and less challenging!  The SS has the longest exchange of any major contest, and I'm kind of glad the League is sticking to this -- it's great training, although it certainly slows down the Q rate a bit.

73, GL & CU in the TEST


Posts: 787

« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2001, 08:58:36 AM »

KC0IOX, I'm glad you enjoyed the experience, and I hope you will continue to participate in CW contesting.

I wonder how many hams avoid contesting because they know that their modest station can't compete with the multiple tower, stacked beam superstations. Well, most of us who golf will never be a threat to Tiger Woods, but that doesn't keep us from enjoying the game just the same.

With just a "stealth" long wire antenna, I don't expect to win anything, but I still have fun each year improving my previous best score, and trying for that elusive clean sweep. Maybe next year...  :-)


Posts: 242

« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2001, 07:10:54 AM »

Yes, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, and no doubt about it, you can really improve your skills over the course of a major contest like SS. It makes sense to take the long term view and just have fun, because if you aren't having fun, it's time to think about finding something else to do with your time. I'm a casual contester and as far as CW contests are concerned, I see it as a way to improve my skills for ragchewing, which is my favorite. It really feels good when you have the first realization that you ARE improving, and no doubt about it, musical ability is very helpful for anyone interested in CW...did dit.

Posts: 9


« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2002, 05:46:00 PM »

Just ran across this forum and it reminded me of MY first contest encounter in the last Field Day just last month.  WOW!  I felt like a newborn colt amidst a stable of CW thoroughbreds, for the most part.  After a few minutes listening and tuning around a bit, I noticed some other 'not-so-experienced' types giving it a go.  I also noticed contest-keying stations slowing down a bit and resending their exchange to accommodate others >> I had to jump into the fray!  Though I seemed to stumble through my first couple of QSO's, eventually I was able to get a couple of good, clean ones into the log with little perspiration!  Only five CW logged this time, but next time I know I'll set a respectable new personal best!
CW ROCKS!  73!
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