Sunday, February 18, 2024

ARRL DX CW contest exercise

   As a matter of fact fellow blogger VE9KK Mike gave me an idea to practise my CW skills (!). He invited me for this CW contest. An excellent idea.

The plan:

Try to decode as many CW stations with call and exchange as possible on Saturday. Try to make at least 25 contacts headcopy only. Bonus: try to work VE9KK.

I had less time Saturday due to other obligations. So I wrote down some calls I decoded, mostly on 10m. It was an excellent rehearsal for Sunday. Computer was off, I only listened to the radio. I was surprised how many I could decode.

On Sunday I switched on the computer and did run N1MM logger. But did not use any CW decoder. Yes, I did make use of the cluster but that doesn't give any exhange and you have to verify the call yourself. Actually I was just doing S&P and turning the dail. It was really satisfying to find stations that were not spotted yet and decode both call and state. Not always easy because some are using speeds beyond my abilities to decode. But till 30 wpm is not a big problem. Sometimes it took me a minute to figure out a call, but overall it just took a few seconds after hearing the call a few times. I wrote it down on paper including the exchange to be shure I wouldn't make mistakes. I then put it in the log and made the contact. It's not really the fastest way but I'm just starting doing this. If you take a closer look at the papers on the photo you'll see that I made mistakes and correct it afterwards. In the end I made 77 contacts on 7, 14, 21 and 28 MHz. Transmitting was done with the keyer of course, I don't have a key or paddle connected.

It was a pleasure to give K1ZZ some points. He was active in the PACC as well so he was most deserving the points in my opinion ;-)

    Chasing VE9KK was not easy this time. Via RBN I was checking his frequency regularly but unable to hear him on 14 MHz and 28 MHz. Mike finally got to 21 MHz, but still no signal at all. Then I checked my multiband halo.... oh my that was not good, the rain was really having a bad effect on it. SWR was sky high. So I tried to tune the inverted-L, got it down to 1,8:1. Mike's signal was starting to get in now, very weak though. This was going to be hard! When I was finally hearing a reasonable signal I was just trying a few times and luckely able to get into the log. Tnx Mike.

This was a great CW exercise. It really gives me the feeling that I make progress. 


VE9KK said...

Good morning Bas, its great to read your excitement and enthusiasm. It is a nice feeling when you see your hard work paying off. Live action is one of the best ways to learn and cement the code in your mind. It was great contacting you. You were about an An S1 but very readable. Later in the contest I had EA4BAS contact me. At first I was not sure if I at first head copied wrong or not. I do remember this happening in the past with the same call.
Have a great week.

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hello Mike, tnx for the comment. It was really nice to do some CW workout :-). Yes, EA4BAS is easily mistaken for me as well in phone contest. Although the difference between . and .--. is large. I would make the same mistake. Had a lot of problems to decode AA9A in this contest. The A is not the problem but it seems the difference between 9 ----. and 1 .---- was hard for me. Great to work you again, tnx QSO. 73, Bas