Is It Acceptable or a Way to Send a Short Transmission For Verification?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KN4ICU, Feb 18, 2018.

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  1. VE7JBX

    VE7JBX Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might want to check out AA9PW's website - in the cw practice section, very bottom, there's a QSO generator. You can set speed and Farnsworth timing to what you 'get' (or 20% over if you want to challenge yourself) and it will generate nice 'standard type' QSOs. That's helpful because as others have said here, when you fall off the rails, you'll hear the beginning of a phrase or section you expect and be able to resume copying. Seiuchy (sp?) is a site / standalone script thing you can web access or do offline via e.g. your phone, it also has a full QSO generator with other options (e.g. simulate sending problems with descriptive titles like 'straight key horror').

    I blame / credit AA9PW for the format and content of my usual CW exchanges to new contacts - I liked the order and content in those examples and got in the habit of emulating it. (On a weaker or not yet known RST situation, I usually BK after name/QTH/RST to find how other station is copying, then carry on with the rest of the stuff)

    All of that goes out the window for me when it's not my first QSO with someone - QSO usually more freeform then since we already know each other's QTH etc.
    KN4ICU likes this.
  2. KN4ICU

    KN4ICU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well I got it up 12 more feet, first going up 5 feet from the box, then up in a 45 degree angle all the way (it was the best I could do.... It took me 3 hours...So many trees close together and fishing line kept getting stuck in trees....Wrong branches, etc....It was such a pain. But my neighboor was fine with me letting on his deck next door as long as I needed to get it done. It's not sending out much better it seems. Still hitting only Canada, Wisconsin, though now it hits Ohio. I am hearing pretty loud and clear though. If I am going by the 40 meter filter on the ham beacon correctly (if more than one person wasn't on the frequency), I Was picking up CW from the Czec Republic. If I can hear them, would they be able to hear me?
  3. KN4ICU

    KN4ICU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Got the antenna up about 12 feet higher (it was the best I could do). Tonight was a little better. The farthest I was picked up was Calgary, AB (Canada), 2,346 miles from here. Other than that, I was picked up in WI, OH, TX, MA and NC. Does that skimmer 2,346 miles away give a glimmer of hope with this?
  4. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Quite possibly. Propagation is a tricky beast and sometimes you can hear folks that can't hear you even at similar transmit powers and of course you could be hearing a station running a kilowatt or more even if you're running QRP so you never can tell but yes it's a good sign that your antenna system works.
    N8AFT likes this.
  5. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    These results are VERY typical with today's prop.
    Proof is going to be in its' use.
    Quit foolin around already and let's get a QSO goin!
    QRV here 7118 kHz.

    Learn Morse
    Do CW
    K7TRF likes this.
  6. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good advice above, at some point just start answering CQs or sending a few of your own and see what happens. Propagation changes day by day and even minute by minute sometimes so one day you may not hear anything or be heard by any skimmer receivers. A bit later you might have a QSO with someone across the country or halfway around the world. Sure the better you overall system the more likely the latter will happen but the randomness of HF propagation is part of what keeps it fun. If it were as reliable as a cell phone call it would get boring fast. So get on the air and see what happens.

    That said, in addition to the Reverse Beacon Network that you've used, there's the original International Beacon Network: this is just the opposite. Automatic beacons transmit their callsigns on specific frequencies in the CW subbands on a known and constantly repeating time schedule. You can tune your receiver the beacon frequency on each of the HF ham bands in turn to see what you're hearing and what you're not. They send CW at 22 wpm which can be a bit much for newer hams or in tough band conditions but they transmit on a specific time schedule so with an accurate clock or once you decode one of the known call signs you can figure out which stations you're hearing.

    They also do something clever at the end of each transmission where they change from the 100 watt transmission of their call sign and one long dash to dashes at 10 watts, 1 watt and 100 milliwatts to finish each transmission. So you might get solid copy at 100 watts but then it falls into the noise as the beacon cuts back on transmit power. But if you are hearing a station at only 1 watt or at the final 100 mW dash then you're getting a very good copy on the beacon station.

    All these ways to test your station or to test real time propagation from your location are fun and interesting but from what you've posted you have a station that fundamentally works so take the leap one of these days and start trying to work folks. Don't worry, most CW ops are very patient and want new hams to succeed so it's ok to ask for repeat info or ask them to QRS (slow down their code) or to take few times to send things clearly. You'll get better with time but you'll accelerate the learning curve by actually using code.

    Good luck,

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