Tuesday, February 27, 2024

My quest to learn CW (3)

 This is my monthly update about my quest to learn CW. I got to the point that I'm stuck. It took me 35 times at lesson 27 on LCWO to learn that I have to lower my expectations. The speed of 28wpm with effective speed on 8wpm is too much for me. I've lowered the speed to 7wpm effective. I really need more time between the letters. It is not only to understand them but I need to find the right key on the keyboard as well. I'm shure I could write the letters down a lot faster but it is what it is. After I lowered the speed the 36th time I was over 90% which is enough to go on the lesson 28.

Graph from lesson 27. I almost gave up at the end, then at 7wpm effective it took me 1 try.

Writing the letters down is what I did during the ARRL DX CW contest this month. And I was surprised by the amount of stations I could decode. Although sometimes it took me listening a few times before I could complete the call and the state abbreviation. It was fun to do the decoding without the computer. S&P that way is certainly possible. However this is not "instant" decoding like in a QSO or when running. I have the feeling that it will take me a few years before I manage to do that. We will see how things will work out.

In the mean time I rehearse at least 15 minutes every day. Hopefully I can tell I have improved next month.

Monday, February 26, 2024

#60m Wallis & Futuna Isl. worked


For those that don't know where these islands are. It is roughly between Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific. It is french territory. Quite difficult to reach by travel and by radio. There are a few radioamateurs on the islands but I never heard them. Right now there is a Bulgarian DXpedition going on. Worked TX8GC before on 30m for a ATNO. FW8GC was worked on 17m a few days ago. I was up early sunday morning and saw a few very nice DX stations. The problem is that I'm not the only one, so it is difficult to get a QSO. I made it to FW8GC at the end of the morning greyline and just on the edge (-21dB on FT8). It took me some transmissions before I decoded the RR73. Very glad I managed to work this one. Unfortunately something happened with the QSO screenshot and I lost it. So I had to wait for the confirmation in clublog to prove things.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

New update VarAC


VarAC is one of the coolest digimode programs around. It is getting more populair everyday. It is important you keep the software updated as new versions most times do not work with old versions of the software. Latest update is V8.6.2. It requires VARA-HF v4.8.5. Since I had less time for radio today I left it on 10m to monitor. When I returned at the end of the day my first QSO was with J69DS Frans from St.Lucia in the west-indies.