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Author Topic: Techs & Novice & 10 Meter Contest  (Read 465 times)
W4YA
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Posts: 317




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« on: December 11, 2003, 02:10:30 PM »

One way to help increase your code speed and have some fun at the same time is to get in the 10 meter contest this weekend, Dec 13 & 14. Techs and Novices will be just like rare DX because people in the contest get double points for working you. They will slow down and treat you royally! Just operate between 28.1 and 28.3 and sign your call /N or /T. The rules are at http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2003/10-meters.html

Have fun!
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20666




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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2003, 03:52:40 PM »

The 10m contest is a great bet for those with 10m privileges...but this weekend is predicted to have pretty poor propagation, relatively speaking.

SFI is running below 100, and A index is running above 40, not a great combination.

Predict more north-south prop than east-west, and the band should go into a dark hole by sundown each day, for those not living near the equator.

Still, the contest produces a lot of activity and the bands will sound more open than they really are!  Get in there and work it!
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2003, 11:33:49 AM »

I was on, yesterday at 0000... worked several stations, but all were clearly competant at 'normal' CW speeds.  I always tune the Novice sections of any band, but...alas.. precious few OPs there, any time...

We'll see how it goes when the sun comes up out here in  WA .........
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2003, 12:19:40 AM »

Today..around 1800 (GMT) ... I was up in the  28.1+ region and worked two   /N   stations.  They were both calling CQ Test...at around 18 to 20  WPM.   I reset the range on my Logikey to  10 thru 30 and called 15 minutes  worth of CQ /N  ... at 10.   No replies; I tried..........
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W6WAT
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2003, 01:50:19 AM »

I am the worst CW op in the history of Ham radio or any other use of the mode.  I had a lot of trouble learning it, and don't use it much as my life is really too busy to spend time getting better at it.  As a matter of fact, I have trouble finding time to operate at all, except mobile.  

When I do have the time, I never engage any other ops in CW QSO's as I'm ashamed of my operating skills.  I know that by actually working CW, I'll eventually improve, but it's honestly tough to find the time.  

Now, that being said......I love CW.  I have loads of fun working contests, especially the 10m and 160m CW contests.  I was able to find a little time here and there this weekend to play in the 10m contest and found the opportunities for contacts plentiful.  I consider it an enjoyable challenge to work stations that are sending twice and three times my comfortable copy level, and if it takes several times to decipher their calls, then so be it.  I love it!

Now, perhaps some of you pros can suggest some tips on how I might improve my speed without spending hours on end working "Q's".  I simply lose concentration while trying to copy, and my mind always drifts to other things going on in my life.  Once this happens, I copy a word here and there and that's it.  Help?!?

For those of you who I worked this weekend and put up with my poor skills, TNX!

73
W6WAT

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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2003, 12:32:16 PM »

I looked up your call in QRZ... and did not find a birthdate for you...  Therefore, my reply may be wordy, for little purpose.  My heart goes out to 'older' guys that get into Ham Radio and try to learn to be functional at Morse.  Morse is very much like piano lessons; you learn it quickest and best---  young!  I was 13 years old when I learned Morse, and it has always been easy for me. Actually, reading it in my head made it just another language, as Spanish might be. *I* think in Morse, as my Sister-in-Law, a missionary in  HR  is SO Spanish oriented that she now thinks in Spanish. SENDING Morse is a mechanical skill, that limits me. I cannot send good clean Morse much over 30 wpm.  25 to 35 seems to be about the range of conversational Morse.    Anyway, I have always loved Classical Organ music...J.S.Bach.  When I retired from the military at age 41, I decided I would learn to play that music. I lined up an organist and access to a pipe organ and went at it... HARD. After a couple of years I found that I could advance to a certain point... THAT was it!  No amount of practice moved me past that point. Ultimately, I went back to listening to my LP's and CD's.    If you came to Morse as a mature adult, it is possible that you are just plain past the point where you CAN become competent at 'useful' Morse.  I hope that is not the case, but I think it is pretty common amongst older hams today.
In any event, remember the analogy to Piano Lessons; you WILL HAVE TO PRACTICE...and 'on-air' has always been the best way for that.    You might try learning to read the code in your head. I can't even remember how I did that. Just one day, I could 'see' the words coming, in my mind.  THAT really helps. In fact, when I took my Extra Exam 'a while ago', I had to go on W1AW and practice writing it down...I could barely manage 15 WPM on paper, EVEN THOUGH I COULD READ 40 IN MY HEAD.

I hope I may have helped you some...  VY  VY  73
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KI4AOB
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Posts: 7


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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2003, 11:10:02 PM »

I sent slow code and others slowed down for QSO.
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W6WAT
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2003, 01:28:36 AM »

I am 51 years old, and didn't learn the code until the mid-90's.  I actually learned the code in the late 70's for my novice test, but after testing, moved and never received my license, and never got on the air.  My interest in Ham radio was rekindled in the early 90's, and I relearned the theory and the code.  However, I've never had the time or patience to really work at CW.  I can copy good fists sending 20-25 wpm, but lose my concentration after a sentence or two.  In the contest environment, it's much easier to copy the call and report and move on.  I don't lose my concentration that way.  I never tested at 20 wpm, but passed 13 wpm quite easily when I tested for general.  When I took the Advanced test, I thought about taking the 20 wpm test at the same time, but chickened out.  So, a few years later, I'm lucky if I can truly copy a conversation at 13 wpm.  You may be right about "hitting the wall" when past youth.  But, I'm going to keep trying nonetheless.  I've found listening to nothing but code in the car while stuck in traffic is helping.  It's hard not to reach for the mike and chat with someone, but it's much more productive to develop CW skills which is the very basis of Ham radio.

TNX
W6WAT

PS  I am still an Advanced class operator, and will upgrade to Amateur Extra only when I can reliably send and copy at least 20 wpm.  I would feel guilty and like I cheated by getting an "Extra Light" class license.  I don't want to offend anyone who is licensed by the new structure.  But in my case, I was licensed under the previous requirements and feel the need to fulfill them.
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2003, 03:13:26 AM »

Well, you've got the right idea, alright.  And if there is no "wall" for you, I'm sure you will get to enjoying it completely.  It is rough to find a CW QSO anymore. I work 17 meters daily, and it is pretty darned lonely.  But, you know...one slow day this past Fall, I tuned on 20... found a few QSO's going, so I flipped to wide I.F. and listened to 20 SSB.  This was a week-end day..  Including a  'QSO' on the slow-scan frequency of  14.230.. there were exactly six (6) QSO's going on the whole phone sub-band !!  In the 70's I'd BEG for a couple clear KC to run a few phone patches from the ship I was on.  Just...drying up.  

Anyway we'll run into each other sooner or later on the Music Mode..

VY  73
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