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Author Topic: CW- Contest Vs. Ragchew  (Read 2036 times)
AB9NZ
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Posts: 177




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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008, 07:54:44 AM »

To me a ragchew is a contest, a contest to see who has the stronger bladder. No "559 tu dit dit" will ever beat the joy of passing time with another op through the magic of radiotelegraphy. SKCC has an award for 100 one hour QSO's, now that's a contest. I hope I get to work to work your shortwave station soon.
          73 Guys, de Tom, AB9NZ
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N5XM
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2008, 09:00:41 AM »

I like both, and you can add chasing DX to that short list.  If you think about it, ragchewing and chasing DX between contests you are interested in helps make you a better CW op.  Each is an acquired skill, as is CW to begin with.  Enjoy what you are doing and over time you can have the best of all CW worlds!
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9910




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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2008, 10:55:03 PM »

I usually only run cw  during a contest.  I too like the short exchanges, and knowing almost what is coming, makes it easy for this old brain
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K0DXC
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Posts: 9


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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2008, 01:15:52 PM »

Thanks for all the nice replies so far....

Things have changed since the first post, my views on things also slightly differ. I have since then joined the SKCC and now most of my QSO's (not including DX) are at least 10-15 minutes long. Ragchewing is very fun. I do still prefer contesting though.
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K5RIX
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2010, 02:08:18 PM »

Hi Cal - I'm glad you use CW.  I far prefer ragchews, for a couple non-quantifiable reasons.  I find the actual operation of the keying device appealing, whether it is a straight key, paddle(s), or bug.  It's a lot of fun learning new things from the ops I meet on the air.  Some of them are downright inspiring, sometimes in content, sometimes in the quality of sending.  Over time, I have made a few friends on the air.

Stuff to talk about will quickly become no problem as your life experiences inexorably expand.  It is (I think) good to develop the skills and savvy to converse casually using International Morse Code.  Heck - all the code stuff is positive operating for my $.27 (2009 cents).  Good luck!
73
K5RIX, ex-WI6I, JE1GWN, nee-KB6CYB
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WA8JNM
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Posts: 175




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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2010, 05:27:51 AM »

Cal, I think the key is to ask questions, then more questions.  Everyone likes to talk about themselves; it makes them feel important.  And, try to think about his answer to your question, and follow up with another question that is motivated by a sincerely interest.  Don't fake the interest in your follow-up.  It's pretty easy to be genuinely interested in about anything.  And be sure to make comments of your own that spring to mind, on the same topic.  The key: honest questions. (And, be sure to let the guy know your age.  That will stimulate the conversation as well.)  Don't jump subjects too fast.

When you run across a guy that starts asking YOU questions, he likely knows this technique.  Then, be sure you answer him sincerely, not with quick, glib responses.  Allow him to get to know who you really are.

When I was your age, and found I was regularly talking on the air to guys  four times my age in a typical QSO, I was forced to learn this technique in order to maximize my pleasure from the hobby.  That ability became extraordinarily useful as I grew up, and remained very valuable in my adult years. I've been a lawyer for over three decades, and I think the career has been good to me in large part because I learned, early on, to really LISTEN to the other guy, find in me a genuine interest in what he is trying to saying to me, and then respond with bona fide curiosity.  I believe that developed in no small part from my early ham radio years.

Enjoy it.  The beauty of a radio contact is that it is of no importance whatsoever. A dull or failed QSO means nothing.  There is nothing at stake. So, experiment with how best to successfully communicate, using questions and meaningful responses based on honest curiosity.

Dave
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K6LO
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Posts: 226




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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2010, 08:57:58 AM »

Hi Cal.  Great to see you have an interest in CW. I made my first CW contact when I was 13.  Now I am 45.  I might log 3 hours of SSB a year, but about twice that a week on CW.

CW contests are a terrific way to work a lot of DX contacts and build operating skill.  It is more than just copying fast code. You can really hone listening skill trying to find a DX station in a pileup.

It should not be an either or question.  Mix them up.
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N2EY
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Posts: 3894




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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2010, 08:33:05 AM »

I do both. Not an expert at either but they're both a lot of fun.

I also used to be a regular on the traffic nets, which requires the most skill of all.

As others have said, the key to an interesting QSO is being interested in what the other person has to say and asking leading questions, such as how s/he likes her rig/antenna, what key is being used, what sort of operation s/he likes, local features of the other ham's QTH, etc.

btw, CW contesting does not require the utmost in a "modern" station. What it requires of the hardware are simple things that can be done with 1930s technology:

1) A reasonably selective receiver (they had crystal filter superhets in the 1930s)

2) A transmitter with VFO and the ability to zerobeat the received station.

3) Quick one-switch TR control (they had relays in the 1930s)

4) Good clean stable signal.

The harder part is that the operator needs to have quick reflexes and "situational awareness".

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2010, 11:08:03 AM »

> btw, CW contesting does not require the utmost in a "modern" station. What it
> requires of the hardware are simple things that can be done with 1930s technology:

I agree with Jim. I looked at some historic contest results in Sweepstakes-CW over
the holidays, and some of the high scores made in the 1950's would still be considered
excellent results today.

For example, in 1958, the winner of SS-CW was W4KFC, who completed 1296 QSOs.

The winner in 2008 completed 1529 QSO's. Remember that in 1958, separate
transmitters and receivers were generally used (particularly on CW), logging
and duping were on paper, and bugs were generally used rather than electronic
keyers or computer-generated sending. According to the article, W4KFC used a
Collins 75A2 receiver, and a VFO controlling a transmitter using an 807 driving a
4E27 (I assume this is homebrew). Vic Clark was one of the most famous contesters
of that era.

1296 contacts and a clean sweep would have earned you 23rd place in 2008;
still very respectable.

73
Scott W5ESE
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K5TR
Administrator

Posts: 387


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« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2010, 11:24:22 AM »


For example, in 1958, the winner of SS-CW was W4KFC, who completed 1296 QSOs.

1296 contacts and a clean sweep would have earned you 23rd place in 2008;
still very respectable.


The contest was spread over two weekends and you could operate 40 hours out of the 66 hours the contest spanned.

Today's SS is 24 hours out of 30.

--
George - K5TR
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George
K5TR
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3894




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« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2010, 02:56:24 PM »

W5ESE writes: "1958, the winner of SS-CW was W4KFC, who completed 1296 QSOs."

As K5TR points out, the 1958 SS covered a lot more hours than the 2008 SS, as well as two weekends.

The time-use strategy of those days must have been a big deal. Today, you have to take off at least 6 hours of the 30 hour period. Back then, you had to take off 26 hours of the 66 hour period - big difference!

Also, 1958 was about the peak of the best sunspot cycle in recorded human history.

W4KFC was a top op; he also had a very good signal and could hold a frequency and call CQ for hours. If you think hunt-and-pounce is tough today, try it when you have a longer exchange and have to zero the transmitter every QSY!

A receiver like the Collins 75A-x series may not have a lot of features compared to "modern" rigs, but in basic radio performance they were pretty good and could drag in the signals. And a watt of RF doesn't care what technology generates it.

OTOH, the contest exchange was longer in 1958. Nobody had a computer in the shack. Electronic keyers and no-tune rigs were just beginning to appear; for most hams the rig had to be tuned up manually and a bug was the key of choice. Nobody serious used a transceiver to contest.  The power limit was 1000 watts DC input. Some folks had CQ wheels and maybe even a second receiver but that was about it for automation.

Some of our current sections such as NNY and WCF did not exist back then - but Canal Zone was a section!

The big point, however, is that even with a simple BA rig you can make a pile of QSOs, build up your CW skills and have a lot of fun. You won't win but that's not the point; a lot of the folks with big stations don't win either.

I think there should be an Iron Man category in major contests for those using basic stuff.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N4KZ
Member

Posts: 599




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« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2010, 07:15:11 AM »

Cal, I've heard you on during some CW contests. Wow, you're to be commended because you've turned into quite a good CW contester. Keep it up.

I was anti-contest for years. They occupied "my" bands on weekends -- my primary ham radio time. But I've softened up and now enjoy some casual contesting. I don't take it "hard-core" and probably never will. And I've come to enjoy CW contesting more than SSB. It's easier. Not as tiring. And judging from trends in logs submitted for various contests, more ops are thinking like me. CW contesting is just more interesting, etc.

But back to your original question of CW operating in ragchews vs. contests. Well, I actually prefer a third alternative -- using CW to DX. Contesting is fun for a few hours but I get bored with the repetitive nature of it after a few hours. And CW ragchewing can be fun if the other guy has a good fist, has interesting things to say or ask, etc. But DXing via CW is my most favorite. I won't extoll CW's many virtues because they are well known. But CW DXing is just fun and really puts your station at its best competitive advantage in working the new ones and weak ones. I got into a 45-minute CW ragchew recently on 40m. My longest in a while. And I find I enjoy CW ragchewing when I run QRP because I'm just happy somebody heard me and was willing to work me!

73 and good DXing,
Dave, N4KZ
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NK5G
Member

Posts: 102




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« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2010, 12:43:34 PM »

I love CW, but prefer to keep it short. In my opinion CW is not intended to be a conversational mode.
It drives me nuts to work the guy to tries to force a ragchew by asking a question each transmission.
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W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2527




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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2010, 10:24:21 PM »

I don't like beets, vile loathsome odious roots!

If you like em, enjoy eatin em.

73
Bob
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KC2ZA
Member

Posts: 9




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« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2010, 09:24:41 AM »

I like contest CW better, but I was out of radio for some time and my cw skills eroded a little, but after tuning around and listening and doing some contesting it came back. I had to copy a station 2, 3, 4 times before answering their CQ, but it picked my speed up.
I am gettting more comfortable with my CW skills again and probably will do some qrp cw ragchews.
73 and enjoy cw,
Rick
KC2ZA
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