Posts Tagged ‘cwops’
Now that I am retired long weekends seem to sneak up on me as when I was working it seemed they never could come fast enough. As with CW contesting they just don't seem to come fast enough but space weather has a way of sneaking up and spoiling the contest....well that is what I used to think anyway. In the past, I would faithfully check out the space weather to get a sniff of upcoming conditions for a weekend contest. If things looked rough I would either skip the contest or dip my toes in it just to see how the ride would go.
Recently I have changed my outlook on the dreaded solar storms. This weekend was the CWops open contest and it is divided into 3 sessions. I took part in the 2nd session only as I had other things on my agenda for the weekend. From 9 am local time to 1 pm is session 2 I jumped in even with a Kp index of 5. I understood it was going to be rough, and I most likely will not beat last year's score but I have decided to use the poor conditions to hone my CW skills.
In the past when calling CQ contest and having a station come back to me who was almost non-existent and fading in and out I struggled. Now I have the opportunity thanks to the poor solar conditions to practice this skill! I had a ton of fish on 40m and 20m just waiting for me to dig them out of the mud and toss and turn with them as we both faded in and out.
That was how I spent my 4 hours in session 2 of the CWops CW open contest. My score was not the greatest but that was not my goal and considering the poor conditions I would have been frustrated. Instead, I used it as a learning session to work weak and fading stations. When I say weak at times their signal was not even moving my S meter and fading as well.
Below is my final score and I ended up operating for 3 of the 4 hours as I started late by 30 minutes and I took some breaks.
This coming weekend is a long weekend for our American friends as well as it is the yearly running of the CQ WW WPX CW contest weekend. If you are into CW contesting this is one of the big ones to get involved in. As for me, I am hoping for a nice rainy weekend as this will keep me in the operating chair longer. Last year I used my EndFed antenna for this contest as I had the Hustler 4BTV but it was not as of yet installed.
Now I am curious to see how I do with the Hustler 4BTV compared to my EndFed antenna. I try to keep my CW contesting pencil sharp by taking part in the weekly 1-hour medium speed contests which max's out at 25 wpm and the CWops weekly CWT's which plain and simply just max's out! I also have daily practice with 2 contest simulation programs G4FON and Morse Runner.
CW is my thing and contesting is my thing, so for me this coming weekend I will be doing my thing.
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 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.
Mondays 1300-1400 and 1900-2000
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)
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.
The band jumps to life on Wednesday at 13:00 UTC for one hour! It's called the CWops CWT mini-contest. As far as CW goes it is a busy 1 hour full of excellent CW operators and the speeds can sometimes get fast. For this very reason at my skill level, I search and pounce contacts. It's a nice way to spend an hour and for more info about the CWops and these mini contests they run check it out at this link.