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Author Topic: Working Dxpeditions if you are a slow CW'er  (Read 686 times)
N3OYO
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« on: August 22, 2007, 08:07:06 AM »

I was wondering..if you are very slow at CW..will a Dxpedition (eg: N8S, BS7H) even bother with you?..To be honest..I never tried..I thought I was too slow (& I AM very slow!!) What do you do, try anyway, or don't waste their time?
                             73'..Tom  N3ZC
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2007, 09:16:43 AM »

Tom which end of the CW QSO are you talking about being slow?

If you have a problem hearing and understanding the DX's code speed, yes you have a problem.

I can think of only two chances.  One is your buddy works them and asks them to listen to their slow newbie(this in turn may invite the frequency police to comment!)  The other chance is towards the end they may be calling CQ (hopefully you can copy this and their call) you may be able to send QRS to get them to slow down for you.


If you can't send that fast, that's not a problem as long as you can get them to respond to your first call.  Personally I always send at 20-23 wpm regardless of their speed, unless they're slower and I then match to them.
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N8UZE
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2007, 09:52:55 AM »

Here's what I do for those that are "too fast" for me to copy.

1. Learn to copy your own call sign and 599 at a wide range of speeds.  Also work on "agn", "QRZ" and "?" as well as your suffix and prefix separately.  It's not too hard to learn to copy these at speeds much faster than you can normally work.  Try to get these up to 20wpm.  This is only seven sequences that you absolutely need to be able to recognize.

2. Set the keyer memories up with your call sign, signal report, and "TU" for thank you.  And set the speed to 20wpm.

3. I listen over and over to them until I KNOW that I have their call sign right

4.  Try to catch the rhythm of the pile up.  Listen for the DX's "TU" or "QRZ".  When you here one of these two sequences, you can throw in your call sign.

With this approach, I've been able to work DX stations that were sending well above my speed.  Normally I'm at 15wpm for ragchews and 20wpm for contests and DXing.  However following these steps, I've sometimes been able to successfully work DX and contest stations that were as high as 35wpm.

The key to it is to be able to recognize when he is done with someon and recognize when he is coming back to you.
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NS5M
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2007, 10:17:37 AM »

Tom,
It may sound counter-intuitive, but it seems that DX ops are more likely to work a QRS station than not. It may be that they recognize a newer CW op, it may be that they enjoy the litle break from the 30wpm exchange, or it may be that they're just trying to clear the slowest key on the freq to make room for the others. But, whatever their reason, take advantage of it!

As the others noted, learn to hear your call sign, 599, TU, AGN, QRZ etc at higher speeds, but key at a speed in your comfort zone once you have the DX callsign down pat.

Hop on in and have a ball ...

Jim NS5M


   
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OLDFART13
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2007, 09:27:41 PM »

You may want to recognize the word UP in CW also.
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NS5M
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2007, 10:20:03 AM »

OF13 - you are absolutely, positively, down-on-the-farm, dyed-in-the-wool RIGHT about that - sorry for the omission. UP may be the most important thing to catch other than the callsigns!

73,
Jim
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N8UZE
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2007, 10:56:44 AM »

Yup, definitely need to know "UP"!  Forgot to mention that one.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2007, 06:05:27 PM »

The way to learn how to operate is to listen.  

Listen to the hams who break the pileups in one call.

Jot down where they were in relation to the calling station in order to find out where you should be.  

Don't be in a hurry, just don't wait so long as to miss the chance.  

You can find out the needed exchange quite easily by listening to the others, actually, and that's all you need to know to get the contact and that card.  

The best practice is going to be during CW contests, so get out there and get some contesting under your belt!  Don't be afraid to call a contester at a slower speed than what they are sending, on contest day all bets are off as to the jaded nose-in-the-air high speed ops who won't talk to QRS ops, they will want to log you, too, so take advantage of that fact to build your CW chops a bit.  You may just turn into a contester as well as a DX'er, too.  

Listen.  

Listen.  

Listen.

Builds up over days, weeks, months, years in no time.


KE3WD
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N8UZE
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2007, 02:01:40 PM »

Also for the 2 day contests, the big ops are crying for contacts on the 2nd day.  Those who are "deaf" to your slow CW or your QRP operation, etc. suddenly "hear" a lot better by Sunday afternoon.  Pickings are often getting a little thin for all ops by then including the big boys.
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WO7R
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2007, 10:23:34 AM »

Yes, come back later in the DXpedition or contest if you can't crack the pileup early.

Authorities like Wayne Mills (who has written a well-received pamphlet on DXpeditioning) outright advise DXpeditioning stations to work the faster stations first.

It's a matter of sheer rate and sheer math.  If you (the DX) have X hours at a site, you, as the DX, will hand out more "new ones" if you work the fastest and loudest stations first.

If you work them solidly and well, 95 per cent don't come back for another.  Therefore, you'll eventually be down to slower and quieter stations.  As time goes on, that's who gets through until the DXpedition ends.

So say all the experts I can find on this topic.

What do you mean by "slow" here?  I have worked nearly every major DXpedition of the last couple of years on CW (the ones I could hear, at any rate) and I typically send (and comfortably receive) between 15 and 22 WPM.  I mostly work around 18.  I do not have a monster station.

If that's where you are, you'll work plenty of DX.  If not, get old code tapes and get back to 13/15.  You'll soon drift up to about 19 which will work fine.

You can even train yourself, over time, to decode very fast sendings of call signs (short bursts) well above your comfortable ragchewing rate.  Especially your own.  Just get on the bands and it should happen.  Work "lesser" pileups (even for ones you don't need or, better, band or mode countries) and you'll get there.  Let your success rate be your guide.  If you have no idea whether the DX is coming back to you, find a pileup where you know he/she is.

Oh, and try MorseRunner.  It's free and a nice little training tool (besides having the simulated fun of being the DX).  Very good for just this issue.

Above all, don't worry.  It's not a race.  There's even been two Peter I DXpeditions, after all.
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K9MRD
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Posts: 331




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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2007, 07:44:23 PM »

Tom,

I just received the September issue of RADCOM, Radio Society of Great Britain. There is an article about the Sept 7-24th 3B7C DXpedition to St. Brandon.

Here's a quote:

"3B7C is committed to encourage newcomers to CW DXing and towards the end of the operation will be slowing down the CW speed to try to work as many newcomers as possible."

Hope you can work them!

73 & Best DX,

Wayne, K9MRD
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