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[3830] ARRL SS CW N5XU Multi-Op

To: <3830@contesting.com>
Subject: [3830] ARRL SS CW N5XU Multi-Op
From: wm5r@arrl.net (wm5r@arrl.net)
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 14:59:57 -0500 (EST)
                     ARRL Sweepstakes, CW
Call: N5XU
Operator(s): W5JLP, AA5BT, KM5TY, WM5R
Station: N5XU

Class: Multi-Op
Operating Time (hrs): 24

 Band     QSOs
  160:      0
   80:     18
   40:    105
   20:    135
   15:    363
   10:     33
Total:    654 x     79  =  103,332

Club: Central Texas DX and Contest Club (CTDXCC)


University of Texas Amateur Radio Club N5XU


   Kenwood TS-850SAT                                                            

   Heathkit SB-220                                                              

   Force-12 C-4 @ 100', rotatable                                               

   80 meter dipole @ 100', fixed N/S                                            

   Optimus PRO-50MX headset                                                     

   TR LOG 6.59                                                                  


This is a significantly better result for us than I had anticipated before      

the contest.  We do not have any crack CW contest operators active in the       

club anymore.  Last year, I operated much of the contest going just 15WPM       

or so high up in the bands, working every QRP station on the continent,         

and struggling the entire time.  This year, the bulk of our operating was       

done by Johanna W5JLP, who was operating comfortably at 20WPM by the end of     

the contest.  Johanna made at least 500 of our QSOs.                            


We began thinking about a sweep early Sunday, as Derek AA5BT had done           

a few hours of search and pounce Saturday night (about the only time we         

weren't CQing) and had gotten all but nine or ten of the sections worked.       

Idaho and Alberta took a disconcertingly long time to work, but by the          

early afternoon, we were down to three sections needed: SC, VT, and MAR.        

As it turns out, we worked at least two SC stations, and I was able to get      

through to a VE9 on 15 who was just incredibly weak here, but we never          

did find a Vermont station.  I'm sure none were CQing at all on Sunday,         

and I guess we just weren't attractive enough for one of them to call us.       


As someone whose CW skills are still substantially below those of the           

average CW contester, it continues to be very frustrating to be called          

by stations averaging 25-30% faster than my sending speed. Another big          

frustration was really poor CW signals.  I noticed a lot more stations          

with a "Farnsworth-like" approach to CW, where the signal might have been       

at 22WPM, but the spacing was at like 32WPM.  To my ears, this is not           

helpful.  In fact, it made copying really difficult, especially with the        

weaker signals.  Every single time, when someone slowed down to my speed
and had a good keying waveform and normal weighting and spacing, the QSO        

happened without a hitch.  Unfortunately, most of the time I had to ask for     
fills, which just slowed both of us down.                                       


One prominent 0-land contester answered my 15WPM CQ at 30WPM.  I figured        

out his call after hearing it three times, and sent him my exchange at          

15WPM.  He then proceeded to send me his exchange at 30WPM.  I asked him        

_three times_ to "QRS AGN," and each time he sent it at exactly the same        

speed, so I had to give up and call CQ again.  This was the worst behavior      

I experienced all weekend, but at least 2/3 of the stations that called         

me did so at speeds 25-30% faster than I was sending, and required              

time-wasting fills.  Although I resorted to it rarely, _only one_ of the        

stations that called me and I asked to QRS actually did so.

It was good to hear a few other college and university clubs on the air,        

especially those that are avoiding the hated "school radio club" category.      

I imagine we'll hear many more on for phone, and it will be interesting to      

see if the trend of fewer and fewer college and university clubs being          

active in the Sweepstakes (in any category) since the creation of the           

school radio club category continues.

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