Posts Tagged ‘CW’

2022 RAC contest in the rearview mirror

The Radio amateurs of Canada (RAC) winter contest has come and gone for 2022. This contest is both CW, AM, FM and SSB. As for me, it was the same old same old just CW. The propagation gods were smiling on this contest and conditions were great. I operated 7 hours on Saturday they were 1-hour sessions with about a 10 min break at each end of hour. I find this works best for me and I set in a lunch and or dinner time as well.


The radio, software and antenna worked great no complaints at all. The system I find works best for me is to start out searching and pouncing contacts. This gets in the log those who are only running in the contest and also it gets my ears warmed up to the code speed. I then move on to running which in this contest I did about 90% of the time. The participation was great and while running my best 1-hour count was 91 QSOs which kept me very busy and the hour flew by.
There were nice openings on all the bands my Hustler 4BTV provided for me 10,15,20 and 40m. The settings I find that work best for me on the Icom 7610 are;
Filter set to 400Hz so I can hear those that call a bit off frequency I find that 250 or less a bit too narrow. Now having said that during the "biggy" contests 250Hz is required due to the close proximity of signals.
I keep my APF (audio Peak Filter) on and set it to wide.
I keep the NR (noise reduction) on and set it to a low range.
I use the CW full break in and it does take some getting used to. As you transmit dits and dahs your rig goes back and forth from receive to transmit. This allows me to hear if anyone is trying to contact me while transmitting. You would be shocked at how many times I hear someone. Also when searching and pouncing as you call a station it allows you to hear if another station is also trying to make contact. In that case, I just stop transmitting as it would be just a mixed mess being sent to the station. Also, it allows you to hear if the running station is contacting someone and then you just stop transmitting as you don't want to QRM.  
Below are the end results of 7 hours on the air I am very pleased with the numbers and I am getting more confident in my contest running abilities. 




ARRL 10m contest is in the books

The areas I worked in the contest

Another contest in the books and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the radio, software and antenna worked great for me. This is the first time for me to enter the ARRL 10 meter contest as in the past 10m was not open. I was shocked at the amount of action on the waterfall and how most of the time 10m is void of signals. It goes to prove that the band should not be overlooked. 


In this contest, I operated CW only, low power (100 watts) and no spotting assistance. I always avoid using spotting assistance as it hinders my goal of improving my CW. I found in the mornings I had a good path into the EU and as that closed down in the early afternoon the U.S. opened up.  By late afternoon South America was open to me. One of the highlight contacts was getting into Hawaii and I was also able to make numerous contacts into South America. 


Once it started to get dark the band for me closed down. In this contest, I did try running (calling CQ contest) but I found I was able to get better numbers with search and pounce. In most contests for me holding a frequency and calling CQ contest would always give me a good return but not in this contest. The 10m propagation for me had deep QSB and one moment a station was calling CQ and all of a sudden gone!

The final score


An afternoon of POTA

We have been having rain a lot out this way and today it was overcast and showers were not forecast. I decided it was time to go out for a walk and get some fresh air. The temperature was plus 2C with a brisk wind. As I was getting back home it started to snow but not enough for any to stay on the ground but the days of that are just around the corner. Once home I poured myself a cup of decaf coffee and headed to the radio room. 


I am not sure why but I thought it would be nice to check the POTA (parks on the air) website and look over the spots. I have done this in the past and was not able to hear any of the park activators. I am very glad I did as the POTA propagation gods were smiling on me. On 20m I tuned in to each mentioned spot on the POTA website and low and behold I was able to hear the park activator. Their signals varied from 229 to 599. I had a great time and it's only a short exchange of information for the contact as they are racking up contacts.
The contacts I made on 20m:
KQ4CW
KD8IE
N1QD
KD3D
KG8CO
K9ABR
One contact on 40m
KC1MXB

Continue the adventure.


 Now that fall is just around the corner and summer vacations, lazy days in the sun and let's not forget the yard work comes to an end it makes more time for radio. Over the summer I have found the bands are a bit more on the quiet side, blog posts slow down and for the most part, we are preoccupied with summer. 


For those of you who are into CW and the key has gathered some dust over the summer break a great way to slide back into the CW groove is to take part in some 1 hour "mini-contests" 


The K1USN SST (Slow Speed Test)

The event runs twice a week    Friday 2000-2100 UTC
                                                  Monday 0000-0100 UTC which is Sunday eve but Monday according to UTC time....always threw me off when I first got into contesting.....anyways...


This 1-hour mini contest max's out at 20 wpm and I have done many of these and sent at 16-18 WPM and had many contacts. If you are rusty and want to pick up the dit dah pace a bit this contest is a great place to be. If you are a veteran op it's a great place to slow the pace down and donate an hour.
The exchange is your call sign, name and your State or Province. The contest program N1MM+ supports this contest also if the call sign you are working on is in N1MM+ database the op's name and State/Provence is auto filled if you want. This way you can start by just having to copy the op's call sign. 


ICWC MST (Medium Speed Contest)

                         Mondays 1300-1400 and 1900-2000 

Tuesdays 0300-0400

In this 1 hour mini contest the CW speed picks up the pace a bit to 20-25 WPM BUT on request will slow down. This contest is also supported by N1MM+ but under the UDC section (user-defined contest) I'm not going into the UDC format here but use the ICWC link above and they provide a link to the N1MM site to set this contest up. The exchange in this one is your call sign, name and QSO number (serial number as it's called)

 CWops CWT

This event runs 4 times a week. Wednesdays 1300-1400 UTC and 1900-2000 UTC
                                                   Thursdays 0300-0400 UTC and 0700-0800 UTC
 

In this 1-hour mini contest, one has to put their seat belt on and realize your hair (if you still have any) will be blowing in the wind with the CW speeds. This contest is looked at as a high-speed mini-contest. The speed starts at 25 wpm and goes up from there. When I say up.... speeds into the 40's wpm....mind-boggling. Anyway, N1MM+ does support this contest. In my humble opinion if you are in the 20ish wpm range give this contest a listen only. Search and pounce just listening to the calls and see what you can pick out. The average speed is mid 20's to mid 30's wpm. The exchange your call, name and CWops member number or if not a member your State or Province.
I do take part in this contest but I am not as yet a member of the CWops so my exchange is NB for New Brunswick. Membership details can be found at the site from the link above. 


So there you have it if you are interested this fall and winter and have some time on your hands give the 1-hour mini tests a go. Here is the way I look at it....I busted my hump learning CW (it was not an option when I went for my ticket) and I just did not want to throw that away. I had done what most did to get my ticket I learned the code just to get past the exam and I planned to forget about it.
I did leave the code and radio alone as I had a young family like most of you did. I then started to have time on my hands and the love for radio was alive again. I listened to CW and to be honest I was a few code letters short of a full load if you know what I mean. Slowly started to pick it up again and have never looked back.
-------------------
                  ------------------
                                    ---------------------
                                                       --------------------
Above is me stepping down off my soapbox....I hope you found some useful information from the above.

 

                                                 

 

 

 

 

Where’s My WAZ Certificate?

Guess what! Today, I received (by postal service) this very nice plaque from CQ, for working and confirming all 40 of the worldwide CQ DX Zones.

CQ WAZ NW7US - Mixed

CQ WAZ NW7US – Mixed – Plaque

Many of you wonder, “where are my paper certificates for my WAZ efforts?

At least one, if not all of the following, are reasons why there has been such a long delay in getting paper certificates for the WAZ CQ program:

  1. Paper certificates (blanks) were not available and backordered (Covid, folks).
  2. There is only ONE person doing the lettering (by hand).
  3. The advent of FT8 and FT4 in the WAZ program has SWAMPED the program. There’s a HUGE backlog.

That said, the new CQ WAZ Manager (N4BAA, JOSE CASTILLO) has made the following statement available:

— quote follows —

Effective September 1, 2022, CQ Magazine will no longer provide the Hand Lettered CQ WAZ paper certificate for free.

CQ WAZ AWARD RECIPIENTS HAVE 4 AWARD OPTIONS:

  1. Accept the standard award offering which is a High-Definition PDF file. This file can be printed in color and framed and is very nice. This award is delivered immediately with award letter, thus, no waiting.
  2. Select the traditional CQ WAZ Hand-Lettered award: the cost is $19.00 and includes shipping worldwide. This award option is managed by CQ Magazine and can take up to 180 days to receive.
  3. Select a Level I plaque: 7” x 9” two-tone engraved wood plaque: cost is $57 US / $100 International and includes shipping. Delivery time is under 30 days for US stations and less than 60 days internationally.
  4. Select a Level II plaque: 9” x 12” Floating Etched Acrylic over Black Wood: cost is $91 US / $135 International. and includes shipping.

Here is a video that the administrator has posted, about this:

Delivery time is roughly 30 days for US stations and less than 60 days internationally depending on the actual address.

The intent of this program is to respond to the ever-increasing demand for more options that are still very personalized as well as very elegant.

Not every ham is able to achieve the requirements for a 5BWAZ or 160 Meter plaque, so he is making this offering to everyone!

All questions or inquiries and plaque orders should be directed to the CQ WAZ Manager via email at [email protected] or postal mail via QRZ.com address.

All plaque data will be taken directly from the information provided in your email. The CQ WAZ manager will not be responsible for errors in data supplied by the recipient other than AWARD type and Award number.

To Place Order: send the information below via email to [email protected] or via postal mail to my QRZ.com address and please double-check spelling etc.

Email Subject line should be: “WAZ PLAQUE ORDER – YOUR CALL

Then, provide the following information:

Call Sign:
Desired Name on Plaque:
WAZ AWARD Type
(example: MIXED, RTTY, 15M CW, EME, etc.)
SERIAL NUMBER on award:
Date on Award:
Award Desired:
– Level 1 plaque – $57 US / $100 International
– Level 2 plaque – $91 US / $135 International

There you have it…

73 de NW7US dit dit

 

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.

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

 
We never share your e-mail address.


Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on AmateurRadio.com!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!


  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor




Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: