Monthly Archives: September 2013

2013 Washington State Salmon Run report

Worked the Salmon Run for about 5 hours Saturday evening (7-midnight local time). Quite a bit of CW activity on 40 and 80m from the K7SEL radio shack in Pullman, Washington (Whitman County). Notched about 100 contacts split pretty evenlu between 40 and 80m. Even worked W7DX for extra points!

I worked the contest with John, N7KRW, who concentrated on fone across 20, 40 and 80m. This was his first contest and he did well, notching 100 contacts himself over two days.

Tracked all contacts on paper, so now we need to get it all into the computer and converted to Cabrillo for submission.

Thanks for a great contest WWDX club!


2013 FOC QSO Party

I participated in the 2013 First class Operators Club QSO Party on September 14. FOC is a UK-based club and its annual QSO party is small scale and very enjoyable.

I worked my first Scotland station: GM0GAV РGavin. I was running about 5w to my bent dipole up about 25 feet around the roofline of my QTH here in Moscow, Idaho. Conditions were unusually favorable on 15m during the day, although I worked GM0GAV on 20m. 

The 24-hour event is relatively informal as participants are not required to submit formals logs, just indicate how many FOC members were worked. I ended with 17 FOC contacts and 5 non-FOC contacts, mostly on 15m. I also worked one on 40m right near the end of the QSO party, as 40m (at least out here in the Pacific Northwest) was dead most of the day to my antenna. Notched the rest of my QSOs on 20m, but band condx around Idaho on 15 were much more active for me.

I’m not currently an FOC member, but I’ve gotten my QSO speed up to over 25 wpm now. Just need to gather a few recommendations from FOC members to join the group.

Looking forward to next year’s QSO party.

The challenges of high-speed CW sending

Now that I am working to increase my CW copying speed to up around 30-35 wpm, I have also begun practicing sending at those speeds. I’m finding that high-speed sending is more challenging than I expected. Carefully adjusting my Bencher BY-1 iambic paddle is key to being able to sustain both speed and quality. I used to think that keeping the contacts extremely close together would enable faster sending, but, I now realize that adjusting the contacts farther apart allows for more relaxed sending because the sending hand can be more relaxed. Less tension on the key contacts setting equates to less hand tension. When sending more than a few characters (e.g. in a contest) it’s important to maintain relaxed muscles in the hand.

At any rate, now my daily code practice includes listening sessions running from 35 to 30 then to 25 wpm for 7 minutes at each level. After that, I practice for about 5-10 minutes sending at about 30 wpm.