Fast CW and QSO rates?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N7TAT, Feb 21, 2021.

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  1. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't. Single Operator, low power UNASSISTED. No cluster, no spots, no chat, no skimmer. Nothing but a boy and his radio.

    There's nothing wrong with using spotting assistance, skimmers, etc. Those folks are in a different category from UNASSISTED. It's all good.
    N2SR and WA1GXC like this.
  2. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe. But usually not.

    The question is whether they're not getting replies because they're going too fast, or because there's a lull in activity. Note too that at least some of them are doing SO2R, SO2V, and/or are part of multi-multi setups.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    N2SR likes this.
  3. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are some fundamental difference between the big gun stations who run (call CQ) and the little pistol stations who S&P (answer CQs).

    Particularly in DX contests, but also in domestic contests like SS and FD, stations who run successfully tend to have bigger signals (more power, better antennas, better locations) than those who S&P. What this means in the real world is that while a station calling CQ may be S4 at my end, I may only be S1 at his end - if that. Worse, the station calling CQ only has the Q itself as a way to get the answering station's info, while the answering station may listen to the CQing station for a while to verify the call and exchange if there is any doubt. And on top of all that, the running station may be trying to dig a particular answering station out of a pile of QRM that the answering station does not hear.

    Having done both, I can say that both running and S&P require serious skills to get a good rate. (What's a "good rate"? Depends on the contest and who you talk to.) Some of the skills are the same, but many of the skills are different, and it's a mistake IMHO to judge the one by the skills of the other.

    Personally, I am amazed at how so many of the run station ops were able to pull my signal out of the mud, crud and QRM to get a QSO. Thanks to all of them!

    And then there are those who do SO2V and SO2R - running and S&P simultaneously. That's OPERATING....

    73 de Jim, N2EY

    "Oh. That's how."
    W4NNF and N2SR like this.
  4. KD7MW

    KD7MW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Heavy QRN can render 30+ wpm CW ridiculously ineffective. Sure, a couple of “big guns” with kilowatts and beams aimed at each other may be able to hear each other well, but not necessarily the case for rest of us. For example, I worked SP3SS, but it took hearing several IDs before I was even half-confident of his call. The combination of machine-gun static and the machine-gun dits made it almost impossible to hear how many dits there were in each character.

    I don’t particularly like contests, and how they effectively dominate the non-WARC bands almost every weekend. But they can be useful for working new countries. And as W7UUU pointed out, for honing one’s CW skills. Another way is CW traffic handling. Back in 1983-4, I got to know some old timers who told me if I stuck with them for a few months, they could practically guarantee I’d pass the 20 wpm Extra code test. They were right.
    W4NNF and KC1NY like this.
  5. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Different contesters have different philosophies on speed.

    Some run at high rates during the entirety of the contest; others run at VERY high rates early on and reduce it to high rates later on; still others run at high rates and then back it off to moderate speeds later on. I'm more in that latter camp. This past weekend, my band partner started off at about 38 words per minute. We ran that rate for a good 6 or 7 hours. We did back it down to the mid to low 30s after that and there were times when we were CQing in the 29 to 31 range.

    A lot of discussion goes into the reasoning why.

    Some prefer very high rates because it DOES tend to discourage very slow operators. The reason for this is primarily related to "fear". On bands like 40 and 20 and 15, if you encounter a very slow station that calls you, you run the risk of losing that frequency because while the slow station is transmitting for an extended period of time, a station who is in his skip zone may think the frequency is empty and will start to CQ on it - leading to a frequency fight.

    Some theorize that the frenzy of activity on a frequency implies a rare station who is overseas (D4, ZF) and the high speed tends to make you stop and listen.

    Others go fast because they are operating two frequencies on two bands simultaneously (SO2R) and SO2R typically requires speed to make both contacts work "just right". If an operator is part of a multi-op team, speed is needed to interleave QSOs between a "run" operator and a S&P operator.
    W4NNF, N2SR and N2EY like this.
  6. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another advantage of high speed is that when deep QSB, the signal fades out so quickly that you may not have time to receive the entire callsign at low speed.
    W4LJ and NB3R like this.
  7. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd say this past weekend's contest was a pretty big one. But you would have had zero problems having a nice ragchew or whatever at the upper end of the CW segments. But, yeah, love 'em or hate 'em, CW contests can improve or tune up your skills for darned sure. :)
  8. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I learned CW when I was 10, and by the time I was 12 I could do 40 wpm . . .

    But I personally think that several stations use absurdly fast speeds in Contests !

    I don't agree that they would have more QSOs, as I hear stations they are working asking them to keep repeating the info, as they can't copy it. If they sent it at a reasonable speed in the first place, they wouldn't have to do all the repeats.

    Even their automated CQ calls are often so fast that many people spend ages just trying to copy their Callsign . . . so there are 10 wasted CQ calls befrore someone can answer . . . again that is wasted time !

    I also think it's very rude if you are sending very fast and someone calls you much slower . . . I always make a point of slowing down to that station's speed . . . it's just good manners !

    Roger G3YRO
    WA1GXC, W9FL and WG7X like this.
  9. K8BZ

    K8BZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    With whom did you have 40 wpm QSOs with when you were 12?

    Can you provide a link to some of your contests results that support your position on the subject?
    KP4SX and N2EY like this.
  10. K8BZ

    K8BZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    And far too many trust the callsign that was spotted as being accurate. That is sometimes not the case. Occasionally a very common callsign is incorrectly spotted as a very rare callsign, resulting in a huge pile up, which in turn results in callers logging a contact as a busted call. And to make matter worse, some of those stations re-spot the incorrect call. I see it in just about every major international DX contest. Callsign prefixes containing H, 5, B, 6, V and 4 seem to be the most commonly miss-spotted calls for obvious reasons.

    Spots on the cluster are definitely used. That's easy to see when N1MM shows that you have been spotted and the number of calls you receive suddenly, predictably increases. For a non-exotic callsign like mine, it only lasts for 5 or 10 QSO's on average. In this past weekends contest I was only spotted 9 times.

    But for a rare/exotic multiplier such as 9G5FI, DX summit shows more spots than I care to count. That station was probably continuously spotted throughout the entire time it was in operation. The pile up is probably a combination of contesters who saw the spot and jumped on it, S&P Unassisted ops who found the pile up and joined in, and non-contesters who saw the spot and needed it for DXCC or some other award. Operators of stations such as this need to employ good pile up management techniques to make it even worthwhile for them to Run on a frequency; much more so than a station like mine. If not, it would be easy to understand how they would just give up in exasperation and run S&P only. And we should ALL want these stations to spend some of their contest operation in Run mode. Otherwise those who only work S&P will never have an opportunity to work them.

    I have described some of the techniques for contest pileup management in other posts, and it seems to stir up controversy. So I won't repeat it here.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 4:35 PM
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