A weekend of CW


  If you were on the radio this weekend and are a CW buff then you know some QSO parties were in full swing along with the WAG (worked all Germany) contest were on. Since my blog title has changed to "The world of CW" you may have guessed that I was involved in something by the way of CW this weekend.

I decided to join in on the WAG contest, it's always very well attended, starts Saturday noon my time and ends Sunday noon. The German ops are great at CW and it gives me more practice at running in a CW contest. For the first time, I had no Murphy moments, no RF getting into anything to cause me side issues it sure was a nice change. I will be blogging in the near future as to what I ended up doing to get rid of my what seemed never ending surprise RF issues.  

In the picture above it shows how I use the Icom 7610 in contests.

- I have 2 band scopes up (VFO A and VFO B) at the same time the operating band (top slice) and the is it open yet band (bottom slice) 

- On the left-hand side tabs you will see "BK-IN FULL" or full break-in turned on. This allows me while calling CQ contest to hear the receive for very short times while transmitting. If a station starts to call me I can hear them and stop my transmitting. It takes some time to get used to but is a great tool. 

 - On the band, I am operating (15m in this case VFO A) I have the band edges set to 21.000-21.020 in a contest it can get very busy with signals and this visually spaces them out so when searching and pouncing you can click and tune easy.  

- The bottom slice (VFO B) the band edges are very wide so I can see the full picture of the band to see if it has opened up. 

- On VFO A the 15m band I am calling CQ contest or running as its called. I have the bandwidth set to 400hz. (seen at top BW 400) I do this as some ops come back off frequency and I have no issues hearing them. If I get spotted on a cluster and all hell breaks loose with stations calling me that BW goes to 200hz. if not you just hear a big mess of calls. 

-Some time ago I read a piece about the Icom 7610 contest radio settings. It was stated to use your audio peak filter (APF) set to mid-range, put the noise reduction on (NR), CW filters to either 600, 400 or 200hz and set to sharp not soft and to keep the internal ATU on as they said it can act as a filter. I do all but the last part regarding the ATU. My SWR on all bands is from 1.1 to 1.5. Anyway, I was shocked by just having the APF and NR turned on and how much of a difference it made. At one point in the contest not sure how it happened but the APF and NR were turned off. I was calling CQ contest and stations were coming back to me but they were right at the noise floor and many repeats were needed to make the contact. I then noticed after about 10 very difficult contacts the APF and NF were off. I put them back on and what a joy again. 

Well below is my score and I have to say that before the contest I had sugar plums dancing in my head with a high score but it turned out it was more like roasted chestnuts. Nothing wrong with that and I did have a blast.


Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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