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Author Topic: FD-2019 and slow-speed cw.  (Read 2618 times)
KL7CW
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Posts: 606




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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2019, 11:46:10 PM »

In most contests the very fast CW ops often bunch up near the bottom (extra class) portions of bands, so this may not be your first choice for  slow CW.  Also even the fastest CW ops often get "hungry" for new stations to work in the last hours of many contests, so we often venture around the bands and answer very weak QRP or QRPP stations or very slow CW ops.  After you work say 1000 stations, many at 35 + WPM, new stations are hard to find and folks are even more willing to QRS to 5 WPM and even repeat exchanges for one more QSO.  Field day is an excellent "contest" since many or even most of us treat it as more of a social function than trying to work 150 QSO's per hour.  Many new operators, BBQ grills, fellowship, etc.  As mentioned even with 1 watt and a moderate antenna a hundred or more QSO's are very possible, many up to perhaps 1500 miles, and some further.  However being crystal control is for sure your biggest handicap.  CQ's are usually not very productive, especially if power and antennas are compromised.  Nearly all my QRPP and QRP QSO's are the result of "search and pounce" operation.  Find a CQ of a fairly strong station, answer him on his frequency.  So if you are crystal control this year try and get a VFO for your rig next year.  Now if a person has a very good antenna and say 100 or more watts, and some experience than CQ's can be a very good game plan.  If you answer a station even just a KHz or so away from your TX frequency, the probability of him hearing you is close to zero. "Modern" hams seldom tune around after a CQ.  One more idea which might work, get on the air as soon as the contest starts, since many operators may still be setting up and the bands may not get real crowded for another hour or two.              Good Luck    KL7CW
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N8AUC
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2019, 07:16:27 AM »

Field day is an excellent "contest" since many or even most of us treat it as more of a social function than trying to work 150 QSO's per hour.  Many new operators, BBQ grills, fellowship, etc.
That's why I love Field Day.
Yes it has contest aspects to it.
But all the other parts, the fellowship, the cookouts, the camping out, makes it much more fun than a regular contest.

Nearly all my QRPP and QRP QSO's are the result of "search and pounce" operation. 
Find a CQ of a fairly strong station, answer him on his frequency. 
That's normally how I operate Field Day. Search and pounce.
When you're running reduced power, that's almost how you HAVE to do it.
You just aren't big enough or strong enough to hold a frequency long enough to get any kind of run going.

If you answer a station even just a KHz or so away from your TX frequency, the probability of him hearing you is close to zero.
Indeed. Narrow IF filters are both a blessing, and a curse.
That's not how it used to be.

"Modern" hams seldom tune around after a CQ. 
True statement. Probably better said as "Modern hams using modern gear".
They don't tune around after a CQ, mainly because they've never had to.
Few people use crystal controlled transmitters on HF these days.
Back in the day when crystal control was more common, you HAD to tune around a bit after calling CQ to see if you got a response.
Because the station calling you might not have exactly the same transmit crystal that you do.

And if you don't plop your signal right in the middle of what is probably their very narrow receiver passband, you can pretty much forget about getting a reply.
Again, narrow IF filters are both a blessing and a curse. They reduce nearby QRM nicely. But they also limit your ability to know what is going on around you.


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KX4QP
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Posts: 404




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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2019, 04:01:39 PM »

ARRL Section?  Is that geographic, or does it require a membership?

Tuning around after sending CQ isn't an option with a Cricket; there's not even a trimmer on the board, never mind a wide-range tuning cap to "rubber" the crystal.  That's something I think I can add, but not in four weeks (especially because it's likely to require some troubleshooting after adding things to a well designed circuit).

If I stay out of the 'fast code, high power" extra-only end of the band, then I'm stuck up in the phone section -- 3.579 and 3.985.  I'll keep that in mind, though.  Or maybe I can borrow a crystal in the novice accessible sub-band.

By next year, I'll have my SB-102 running, and if I can build a boost converter or dynamotor supply for it, I might bring it out and jumper it off a car battery, or try running the HP-23 from an inverter.  It's heavy, but with the right power supply it's 100W output -- and frequency agile on 80/40/20/15/10, both CW and SSB.
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N8AUC
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2019, 06:32:55 PM »

ARRL Section?  Is that geographic, or does it require a membership?

Tuning around after sending CQ isn't an option with a Cricket; there's not even a trimmer on the board, never mind a wide-range tuning cap to "rubber" the crystal.  That's something I think I can add, but not in four weeks (especially because it's likely to require some troubleshooting after adding things to a well designed circuit).

If I stay out of the 'fast code, high power" extra-only end of the band, then I'm stuck up in the phone section -- 3.579 and 3.985.  I'll keep that in mind, though.  Or maybe I can borrow a crystal in the novice accessible sub-band.

By next year, I'll have my SB-102 running, and if I can build a boost converter or dynamotor supply for it, I might bring it out and jumper it off a car battery, or try running the HP-23 from an inverter.  It's heavy, but with the right power supply it's 100W output -- and frequency agile on 80/40/20/15/10, both CW and SSB.
It's geographic for the most part.
A full list of ARRL sections is contained in the FD packet.
You can download it for free from the ARRL website.
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AE5GT
Member

Posts: 410




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« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2019, 12:23:37 PM »

ARRL Section?  Is that geographic, or does it require a membership?

Tuning around after sending CQ isn't an option with a Cricket; there's not even a trimmer on the board, never mind a wide-range tuning cap to "rubber" the crystal.  That's something I think I can add, but not in four weeks (especially because it's likely to require some troubleshooting after adding things to a well designed circuit).

If I stay out of the 'fast code, high power" extra-only end of the band, then I'm stuck up in the phone section -- 3.579 and 3.985.  I'll keep that in mind, though.  Or maybe I can borrow a crystal in the novice accessible sub-band.

By next year, I'll have my SB-102 running, and if I can build a boost converter or dynamotor supply for it, I might bring it out and jumper it off a car battery, or try running the HP-23 from an inverter.  It's heavy, but with the right power supply it's 100W output -- and frequency agile on 80/40/20/15/10, both CW and SSB.


If you have never operated FD before I would suggest http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator and find the closest (W4NC ?) , I would contact them if its a club they may or may not require membership to operate FD , most don't and  as a newly licensed you could be worth a LOT of points to them on the GOTA station. They'll have people that can help you with the exchanges and they'll have the right logging software .If you have never done contest exchanges before they can be a bit intimidating , there can be times when they're coming at you 2 or 3 at once and you have to control the flow of your little mini pile up. If you wait till 3 hours till the end to call CQ they're gonna cover you up with replies  .  They may or may not have sign up sheets for time , I know some around here have filled thier time slots already.

Otherwixe , borrow a radio and run 1 D from home .
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N9AOP
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Posts: 1174




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« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2019, 03:17:45 PM »

KX4QP--heavy equipment?  40 years ago you needed some sturdy folks or a fork lift to get those transmitters and receivers to the operating tent which was heavy canvas.  The generators were also heavy things.  As I remember it, FD was either very hot or very wet. 
Art
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VK2ICJ
Member

Posts: 98




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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2019, 03:46:35 PM »



If you have never operated FD before I would suggest http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator and find the closest (W4NC ?) , I would contact them if its a club they may or may not require membership to operate FD , most don't and  as a newly licensed you could be worth a LOT of points to them on the GOTA station. They'll have people that can help you with the exchanges and they'll have the right logging software .If you have never done contest exchanges before they can be a bit intimidating , there can be times when they're coming at you 2 or 3 at once and you have to control the flow of your little mini pile up. If you wait till 3 hours till the end to call CQ they're gonna cover you up with replies  .  They may or may not have sign up sheets for time , I know some around here have filled thier time slots already.

Otherwixe , borrow a radio and run 1 D from home .

I agree and this would be the most fun too!!
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cq cq cq de vk2icj
AE5X
Member

Posts: 1467




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« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2019, 04:25:13 PM »

Don't wait till FD - this weekend is the CQ-WPX contest and, while a lot of the ops are gonna be blazing away, most will slow down and accommodate slower speed ops, especially those with 2x1 callsigns that may be a multipier for them. KM3 is likely to be a sought-after prefix!

Sunday will be more moderate than Saturday.

Here are the rules:
https://www.cqwpx.com/rules.htm
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KX4QP
Member

Posts: 404




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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2019, 06:28:59 PM »

If you have never operated FD before I would suggest http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator and find the closest (W4NC ?) , I would contact them if its a club they may or may not require membership to operate FD , most don't and  as a newly licensed you could be worth a LOT of points to them on the GOTA station. They'll have people that can help you with the exchanges and they'll have the right logging software .If you have never done contest exchanges before they can be a bit intimidating , there can be times when they're coming at you 2 or 3 at once and you have to control the flow of your little mini pile up. If you wait till 3 hours till the end to call CQ they're gonna cover you up with replies  .  They may or may not have sign up sheets for time , I know some around here have filled thier time slots already.

Otherwixe , borrow a radio and run 1 D from home .

What's 1 D?

As it happens, W4NC is the club I drive an hour to attend, first Saturday of every month; I joined in January, when I decided it was time to get my license (after my car note paid off and I had a little money I could afford to spend).  I helped with painting in the club's shack one Saturday in March, the weekend before I took my license exam.  GOTA is "Get On The Air?"  I'll try to remember to ask about that at the next club meeting (2nd Saturday in June, that should be two weeks before FD).  It's their FD gathering I'll be attending, in a park a few blocks from where I used to live before I moved into the biggest signal shadow in North Carolina.

Honestly, "mini pile up" isn't the thing that worries me, it's reading the code.  I'm not that confident, even at 5 wpm (I get pretty good copy with Farnsworth timing on W1AW recordings at 5, but on a random character morse practice app on my phone or tablet I barely break 4 wpm with 15 wpm character speed).  I've never yet managed to copy a QSO live on the air -- and I'm not sure if it's too fast code, or my Hallicrafters S-120 having too wide filter and the signals running over each other, or just getting lost and not being able to spot a break to resynchronize.  Copying on keyboard makes it worse, even though I type above 40 wpm (a lot above, on a good day).

Not sure if you read back on the thread, but I have a (seemingly) working Cricket 80a, and some extra crystals for it.  No tuning or split, but built-in RX/TX offset so I don't lose the signal when someone zero-beats my CQ.  Half wave dipole in hand, just need to either get it up in trees, or hang it from my kite line.  No antenna matcher or SWR meter, but a dipole sized for the band should give reasonably low SWR anyway.

@AE5X The problem with an half wave dipole on 80m is space.  Despite living in the country, there isn't a place close to home where I can fly my kite with 200+ feet of line out without crossing a power line or getting tangled up in trees and getting the antenna up into a tree is going to require making or buying some additional rigs.  I'm not going to have that done by tomorrow, and I'd prefer my first contest experience to be with experienced people I know nearby.  I have no idea who or where KM3 is; I'm in 4-land, with my KX4 prefix.  And complicated rules are not what I need when I'm trying to make my first CW QSOs...
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VK2ICJ
Member

Posts: 98




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« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2019, 07:03:14 PM »

  And complicated rules are not what I need when I'm trying to make my first CW QSOs...

Have you looked at https://www.skccgroup.com/   They go out of their way to help new CW ops  Slow scheds and all sorts of support.
Wish I was closer mate I'd give you a hand setting up and getting rolling.  Maybe another Elmer is out there close to you.

73
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cq cq cq de vk2icj
KX4QP
Member

Posts: 404




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« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2019, 07:24:13 AM »

  And complicated rules are not what I need when I'm trying to make my first CW QSOs...

Have you looked at https://www.skccgroup.com/   They go out of their way to help new CW ops  Slow scheds and all sorts of support.
Wish I was closer mate I'd give you a hand setting up and getting rolling.  Maybe another Elmer is out there close to you.

73

I'm already a member of SKCC as well.  Haven't had any contacts in part because I don't have a good way to even temporarily put up my antenna at home (132 feet is big compared to a home lot -- it would fit, more of less, but I lack support hardware and only one end could go in trees.  If I can find a way to get the antenna up and still be able to get it down easily (to take with for FD, at the least), I may try to set up a sked with someone in SKCC.  Alternately, I hope to get some time this long weekend to explore a bit and see if there's a place I could set up portable on one of the mountains within a few miles of home.
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AE5GT
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Posts: 410




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« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2019, 10:08:50 AM »

A and B classes are field stations ,C mobile , D home mains , E home genset , F Emergency Operations  Centers ..ect

A typical Field day exchange.

me:   CQ AE5GT FD    my cq
 you:  KX4QP               you send your call only
me: KX4QP 1E STX      I reply with your call to let you know the qso is with you. I am one transmitter E class ( genset at home )  my section is South Texas.
you: 1D NC                  You acknowledge my exchange by returning yours , one transmitter D class (mains power , at home ) , you section North Carolina.  if another station is close in freq you can add my call in front.
me : TU AE5GT FD       tu (thank you we're done you can move on to the next guy ) this is ae5gt field day next station ? the CQ or QRZ is implied.

if I reply SEC (section)repeat the section ..NC NC . NR (number)  repeat class 1D 1D , AGN  again  give it to me again repeat the exchange 1D NC when in doubt about anything you can send AGN , If I dont copy your call correctly , send it again  ...me KX4QZ 1E STX ,you  KX4QP KX4QP 1D NC , me KX4QP TU    AE5GT FD or  ...QP TU  you can send either the full call or the corrected part ... again the software may do that automatically it knows when you typed a correction.

All you have to do is listen and copy and push the right F button , t becomes rhythmic, type it in as they send it , most software will put it in the right slot for you , you dont need to think . 

The purpose of the GOTA is to put you on the air to get that first QSO . That includes putting someone there next to you to help you set up, run, and listen to check your exchanges . So even if you can only run 5WPM
someone can be there to help check that you copied correctly.
 

After the first 40 or 50 Qsos you'll be an old hand.  Thats pretty much the format whether you contesting or DXing.CQ , reply Callsign  Callsign exchange , return exchange , TU next guy.


If you want to run QRP 20M or 40M is much better the other guy has a beam.  80 you get wiped out by static crashes if theres a thunderstorm within 1000 miles and most people dont have a beam on 80, 80 is best during the winter months .

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N8AUC
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2019, 11:50:54 AM »

If you have never operated FD before I Otherwixe , borrow a radio and run 1 D from home .

What's 1 D?
The exchange you send for Field Day, is your operating class, followed by your ARRL Section.

The operating class is a number followed by a letter. If you're operating with a club, they'll tell you what class to use.
If you're operating with a club or group, everyone in that club or group sends the same class.
And whatever class you start the contest with, you have to stay with for the duration.

The number is the number of transmitters you or your group have on the air at the same time.
If you're by yourself with one radio, that number is 1.
Our group is probably going to be 7A or 8A, because we'll be setup in a park, using emergency power, with 7 or 8
transmitters on the air at the same time.

The letter denotes what kind of entry you are going to be. Values run from A thru F and have the following meanings:
A - Club/Non-Club portable. If your group is setup in a park someplace, and they're not using commercial power,
     chances are pretty good you're going to be class A.
B - One or two person portable. One or two people, operating low power rigs (5W max), using emergency power.
C - Mobile stations - Stations capable of operating while in motion. Usually mounted in a vehicle, moving or not.
D - Home stations operating on commercial power
E - Home stations operating on emergency power
F - Emergency Operations Centers (EOC).

So if you're 1D, you have one transmitter, at your home location, operating from commercial mains power.

I have no idea who or where KM3 is; I'm in 4-land, with my KX4 prefix.  
KM3 is the call sign prefix for the originator of this thread. His call was KM3K. See top of page 1.


And complicated rules are not what I need when I'm trying to make my first CW QSOs...
It's really not complicated. Probably less complicated than many other contest exchanges.
AE5GT describes a Field Day contact very accurately in the previous posting.


« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 12:05:00 PM by N8AUC » Logged
N8AUC
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2019, 12:03:44 PM »

  And complicated rules are not what I need when I'm trying to make my first CW QSOs...

Have you looked at https://www.skccgroup.com/   They go out of their way to help new CW ops  Slow scheds and all sorts of support.
Wish I was closer mate I'd give you a hand setting up and getting rolling.  Maybe another Elmer is out there close to you.

73

I'm already a member of SKCC as well.  Haven't had any contacts in part because I don't have a good way to even temporarily put up my antenna at home (132 feet is big compared to a home lot -- it would fit, more of less, but I lack support hardware and only one end could go in trees.  If I can find a way to get the antenna up and still be able to get it down easily (to take with for FD, at the least), I may try to set up a sked with someone in SKCC.  Alternately, I hope to get some time this long weekend to explore a bit and see if there's a place I could set up portable on one of the mountains within a few miles of home.

You have 132 feet, with trees at one end?
Perfect!
An end-fed half-wave wire antenna (EFHW) would work perfectly in that setting.
For 40 meters, it's only 66' long.
For 80 meters, it's about as big as your lot. And it doesn't have to be run in a straight line.
As long as it doesn't double back on itself, you're pretty much good to go.
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KX4QP
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Posts: 404




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« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2019, 03:10:52 PM »

@AE5GT It's not clear to me what class I'd be in, even with that.  The only CW transceiver I have at present runs on battery only (unless I build or buy a 9V battery eliminator).  Is that 1E, then, if I stay home?  Vs. A (club portable) if I'm in the park with the club?  Or would it be B, because QRP?  Group size says A, equipment says B.  Since the whole park group has the same code, it would have to be A.

This is starting to sound like a high-pressure contest, more than something intended to help new operators and non-licensed folk (via GOTA) get a better handle on portable operation.  Definitely not a way to make that first QSO easier.  In fact, there's a dilemma here -- low pressure random CQ calls are likely to never get answered (at least until I get crystals in a busier and slower section of the band), but if I call when someone's actually likely to be listening on the frequencies I have crystals for, I'm likely to get buried in a pile up.  And sending with a keyer isn't what I want to do or learn.  I've honestly got no interest in contesting of any kind -- from other hobbies, my experience says contests are how the hobby gets taken over by cut-throat competitors and the beginners get driven out as soon as they see what they've stepped in.  I'd refer anyone who's flown free flight model airplanes to look at the history of "beginner" classes like P-30, P-24, EZB, Embryo, Bostonian, and No-Cal Scale.  Bottom line is, contests are a very bad way to get new people into the hobby or build skill for beginners.

Relative to antenna -- I've already got the center-fed 80m half wave, 66 feet on each leg, give or take a foot or so (hard to measure that length with much precision).  Even if I had a single wire 132 feet long, I don't have any way to match a high impedance end-fed wire (that's 2000 ohm or higher, right?), so I'd likely radiate almost nothing with that antenna, and might cook my final transistor if I try.  Now, the dipole I have needs to be supported at both ends and in the middle, at a minimum, and ideally it'd be more than 33 feet off the ground, right?  I won't be working 40m this FD, because I don't have a 40m radio.  I could probably get a Pixie kit and build it in time, but it's questionable whether they're even legal to transmit without modification (signal purity).
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