Posts Tagged ‘CW contesting’

IOTA contest

 


 The Islands on the air contest is sponsored by the Radio Society of Great Britain or RSGB for short. This contest is only 24 hours long and hosts some very nice DX from sometimes remote and DXpedition Islands. If memory serves me correctly I found this year to be more work to pull stations out. The QSB at this end was very deep. At one moment England was there at S5 and then gone. I'm not thinking it was just me as many stations I listened to were asking for report repeats. Oh well, it's all part and parcel of the contesting dream. 


I entered the CW-only category at 100 watts and it was the first time using my new Hustler 4BTV vertical antenna. As everyone has told me and it is true the vertical antenna is a bit noisier than my horizontal End Fed BUT I had better results with the Hustler 4BTV. The very small extra noise with the vertical was taken care of with the noise reduction on the Icom 7610. 


For me, this was not a contest where I was running (calling CQ contest) it was 99% search and pounce. The reason for this was Island stations gave you 15 points compared to 2 points for all other contacts. The Island stations for the most part were running calling CQ contest. With this contest I found it harder to move up the band and bang off contacts and the reason for this was island contacts are big points and they are limited in numbers and that equals pile-ups.
Below is the score summary: 


 


Here are some takeaways of mine from the contest: 


- My CW is improving so the twice-daily practice time is helping. 


- Keeping my butt in the chair even during slow times helped my score. 


- Getting my backside out of bed early on the final day of the contest gave me the rewards of contacting     New Zealand, Austria and Hawaii, along with the 15 bonus points for each.


Contesting with a vertical compared to my End Fed antenna:


- Most all the time if I could hear them I could work them. 


- Omni directional was nice compared to End Fed horizontal directional characteristics. 


-Using the Icom 7610 second receiver to its full potential. I was able to listen to another band with the second receiver. I was not able to do this with the End Fed as I needed the tuner for all bands. I found without using the tuner the receive was very poor with the End Fed.

Listen with your eyes closed.

Way back in high school one of my classes was band class, now this was not brass band but strings and wood wind. I was a cello player and very much enjoyed it but when it was time to sign it out to practice at home I had wished I picked the flute....I digress....What does the cello have to do with ham radio? Well back when I was in band class part of our testing was to listen to a recording of an orchestra playing and identify as many individual instruments as we could. Simple with violin, double bass, cello and clarinet. But the Oboe, Bass and E-flat Clarinet, Bassoon, Contrabassoon and then the Viola. Our teacher told us to close our eyes as we listened and it would make things much easier and over time it did. So you ask again what does this have to do with radio? For the past 6 months I have been on a mission to build up my copy speed of Morse code. I really did not like the code and had to learn it and I say "had too" because when I first went for my ham ticket the code was a requirement. I learned the code back then to later forget it once I obtained my ticket. I have come full circle to respecting and admiring the skill of Morse code. I worked very hard to learn the code and it's very true if you don't use it you loose it. I had lost it over time but in my mid 50's I started again to learn it and wanted to master it....have not got there yet but the challenge keeps me sharp. I am focusing on contest Morse code and my next challenge will be a higher speed QSO Morse code. I am at the point now (35-38 wpm contest code) that as my practice contest code programs spill the code at me I find myself typing the letter or number and looking at the screen on the PC to see if it's correct and then listen for the next letter. At 36-38 wpm looking at the letter to confirm is not an option I end up missing letters and not getting the call sign or exchange correct. Now at this speed of code I strongly recommend proper home row touch keyboarding and not hunt and peck the letters and numbers. As mentioned in a past post thank goodness in school I took typing and am able to touch type. As I struggled to hit the 35-38 wpm mark I remembered my music teacher...."close your eyes and listen" I did just that and my rate of copy went from 70% up to the 90's. I don't keep my eyes closed all the time and I feel it's just really helping me to concentrate on the rhythm of the letters and numbers. To close your eyes and listen sure does the trick for me.

Listen with your eyes closed.

 


Way back in high school one of my classes was band class, now this was not brass band but strings and wood wind. I was a cello player and very much enjoyed it but when it was time to sign it out to practice at home I had wished I picked the flute....I digress....What does the cello have to do with ham radio? Well back when I was in band class part of our testing was to listen to a recording of an orchestra playing and identify as many individual instruments as we could. Simple with violin, double bass, cello and clarinet. But the Oboe, Bass and E-flat Clarinet, Bassoon, Contrabassoon and then the Viola. Our teacher told us to close our eyes as we listened and it would make things much easier and over time it did. 

So you ask again what does this have to do with radio? For the past 6 months I have been on a mission to build up my copy speed of Morse code. I really did not like the code and had to learn it and I say "had too" because when I first went for my ham ticket the code was a requirement. I learned the code back then to later forget it once I obtained my ticket. 

I have come full circle to respecting and admiring the skill of Morse code. I worked very hard to learn the code and it's very true if you don't use it you loose it. I had lost it over time but in my mid 50's I started again to learn it and wanted to master it....have not got there yet but the challenge keeps me sharp. 

I am focusing on contest Morse code and my next challenge will be a higher speed QSO Morse code. I am at the point now (35-38 wpm contest code) that as my practice contest code programs spill the code at me I find myself typing the letter or number and looking at the screen on the PC to see if it's correct and then listen for the next letter. At 36-38 wpm looking at the letter to confirm is not an option I end up missing letters and not getting the call sign or exchange correct. 

Now at this speed of code I strongly recommend proper home row touch keyboarding and not hunt and peck the letters and numbers. As mentioned in a past post thank goodness in school I took typing and am able to touch type. As I struggled to hit the 35-38 wpm mark I remembered my music teacher...."close your eyes and listen" I did just that and my rate of copy went from 70% up to the 90's. I don't keep my eyes closed all the time and I feel it's just really helping me to concentrate on the rhythm of the letters and numbers. 

To close your eyes and listen sure does the trick for me.

CQ WPX CW contest….well I started with great hopes!

Intentionally left upside down as this was how things turned out.

 Well here we are it's Monday and as I look back to Friday and the dreams of contest sugar cookies dancing in my head and how things can change! The contest was the CQ WPX CW contest and as of Friday evening I was all ready to give it a decent go. The propagation numbers were not in our favour as the Kp index rolled up to 5 and thus lots of signal QSB.

It was Saturday morning and I was just beginning to call CQ TEST when my dear wife came in and announced "I think I hear water running come and have a listen". Those words are any given day are not what you want to hear. The contest came to a grinding halt and it was taken over by contractors, plumbers and various odds and ends.  I was able to get in and out of the contest but only for very short times. The outcome was a poor showing but a better and upgraded plumbing! 

For the limited time I was in the contest here are some of my take a ways from it:

As said the conditions on Saturday were poor and I found myself calling CQ TEST and as time past with no answer my mind began to wonder. Looking around the shack, looking at the operating desk and icons on the desktop. Then all of a sudden an answer came and I was not at all ready for it. Thus repeats and some frustration. 

I really wanted to work in the contest at improving my run abilities and it was just not happening as I was calling CQ TEST sometime for over 10 minutes with no answer. I then went to search and pounce and did up my score that way. Lesson learned....go to search and pounce when calling CQ TEST is just not happening. 

Murphy did hit me with the plumbing issue as well my own carelessness...for example when I setup my CW macros and tested them before the contest I turned the power out to zero. Well this ham radio guy forgot to turn the power back up to 100 watts and for about 20 minutes I was calling CQ TEST with ZERO output!! To boot the radio have a LARGE meter showing zero out and my LDG tuner has the same. Lesson learned to pay attention and not to wonder. 

Not much else and since this is not a home repair blog I will skip the very expensive plumbing repairs.

Below is the final score. 




CQ WPX CW contest….well I started with great hopes!

Intentionally left upside down as this was how things turned out.

 Well here we are it's Monday and as I look back to Friday and the dreams of contest sugar cookies dancing in my head and how things can change! The contest was the CQ WPX CW contest and as of Friday evening I was all ready to give it a decent go. The propagation numbers were not in our favour as the Kp index rolled up to 5 and thus lots of signal QSB.

It was Saturday morning and I was just beginning to call CQ TEST when my dear wife came in and announced "I think I hear water running come and have a listen". Those words are any given day are not what you want to hear. The contest came to a grinding halt and it was taken over by contractors, plumbers and various odds and ends.  I was able to get in and out of the contest but only for very short times. The outcome was a poor showing but a better and upgraded plumbing! 

For the limited time I was in the contest here are some of my take a ways from it:

As said the conditions on Saturday were poor and I found myself calling CQ TEST and as time past with no answer my mind began to wonder. Looking around the shack, looking at the operating desk and icons on the desktop. Then all of a sudden an answer came and I was not at all ready for it. Thus repeats and some frustration. 

I really wanted to work in the contest at improving my run abilities and it was just not happening as I was calling CQ TEST sometime for over 10 minutes with no answer. I then went to search and pounce and did up my score that way. Lesson learned....go to search and pounce when calling CQ TEST is just not happening. 

Murphy did hit me with the plumbing issue as well my own carelessness...for example when I setup my CW macros and tested them before the contest I turned the power out to zero. Well this ham radio guy forgot to turn the power back up to 100 watts and for about 20 minutes I was calling CQ TEST with ZERO output!! To boot the radio have a LARGE meter showing zero out and my LDG tuner has the same. Lesson learned to pay attention and not to wonder. 

Not much else and since this is not a home repair blog I will skip the very expensive plumbing repairs.

Below is the final score. 




CQ WPX CW contest….well I started with great hopes!

Intentionally left upside down as this was how things turned out.

 Well here we are it's Monday and as I look back to Friday and the dreams of contest sugar cookies dancing in my head and how things can change! The contest was the CQ WPX CW contest and as of Friday evening I was all ready to give it a decent go. The propagation numbers were not in our favour as the Kp index rolled up to 5 and thus lots of signal QSB.

It was Saturday morning and I was just beginning to call CQ TEST when my dear wife came in and announced "I think I hear water running come and have a listen". Those words are any given day are not what you want to hear. The contest came to a grinding halt and it was taken over by contractors, plumbers and various odds and ends.  I was able to get in and out of the contest but only for very short times. The outcome was a poor showing but a better and upgraded plumbing! 

For the limited time I was in the contest here are some of my take a ways from it:

As said the conditions on Saturday were poor and I found myself calling CQ TEST and as time past with no answer my mind began to wonder. Looking around the shack, looking at the operating desk and icons on the desktop. Then all of a sudden an answer came and I was not at all ready for it. Thus repeats and some frustration. 

I really wanted to work in the contest at improving my run abilities and it was just not happening as I was calling CQ TEST sometime for over 10 minutes with no answer. I then went to search and pounce and did up my score that way. Lesson learned....go to search and pounce when calling CQ TEST is just not happening. 

Murphy did hit me with the plumbing issue as well my own carelessness...for example when I setup my CW macros and tested them before the contest I turned the power out to zero. Well this ham radio guy forgot to turn the power back up to 100 watts and for about 20 minutes I was calling CQ TEST with ZERO output!! To boot the radio have a LARGE meter showing zero out and my LDG tuner has the same. Lesson learned to pay attention and not to wonder. 

Not much else and since this is not a home repair blog I will skip the very expensive plumbing repairs.

Below is the final score. 




Some radio time this weekend.

 


This past weekend was the running of the UK/EI DX CW contest and most of the time I have a great receive/transmit into the UK and so I was looking forward to this contest. I have seen sunspot numbers on the increase along with solar flux which is a good and bad thing. Good because the important numbers are rising and poor as this means the sun is active and at times lets loose with solar activity which can bring a rise to the Kp index. 

This weekend during the contest was similar to me using a string and tin can for communications. I did hear some UK stations but no EI stations at all. When I did hear a UK station at one moment they were solid and then in the mud. Generally I made contact with them and then the contest report at both ends was in the mud and needed many repeat backs. 

Well such is the life of a ham radio op they say....and what I add to that is any day on the radio is a good day! I was able to get some CW practice in and overall the time I spent in the contest (about 2 hours) was a nice time spent. 

I made 23 contacts for a score of 833. The picture above is my ADIF  log projected on a map to show contacts for the contest.


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