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Re: [CQ-Contest] First Stew Perry! Squee!

To: "'Neil Martinsen-Burrell'" <neilmartinsenburrell@gmail.com>, "'CQ Contest'" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] First Stew Perry! Squee!
From: "Stephen Bloom" <sbloom@acsalaska.net>
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2016 08:06:26 -0800
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Wow ..I'm envious (in a good way!).  Top Band is so much fun!

John (K4BAI) is absolutely right about the slow speed running.  160M cw
contests tend to feature slower speeds by nature ...because of QSB and noise
levels ..but even in the big ones ...I've been starting to find some time to
go in the high end of the band ...go to 20wpm or so and see what happens
..It takes a couple of minutes ..but it's now to the point where I *always*
end up working some new ...usually unfamiliar callsigns, many on straight
keys.  Most of us here have been doing QRQ for years ...but most of us also
started with a Licensing system with Code Tests ...Novice bands, busy NTS
Traffic Nets etc ..(not looking to refight those battles btw, just that ..to
keep cw contesting viable over the long haul ..we need alternatives).  What
I'm finding out is ...a couple of groups (CWops and SKCC come to mind ..but
no doubt there are others) ..have been training a bunch of ops ..but they
can only take them so far ..usually the low 20s (btw I highly endorse both
groups), then these guys just have to hit the scrum.   I think most of us
run somewhere between 28-38 wpm ...leaving a gap for the newer guys.  I'm
not saying to break high rate runs to do this ...but ...I encourage anyone
..big gun, little pistol, or Trump yuuuuuge signal to give this a shot.
Those 18wpm guys are the future.  Oh and Wes WL7F ..don't say a word :)

Steve KL7SB

-----Original Message-----
From: CQ-Contest [mailto:cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com] On Behalf Of
Neil Martinsen-Burrell
Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2016 9:31 AM
To: CQ Contest <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: [CQ-Contest] First Stew Perry! Squee!

[Excuse the sleep-deprived crowings of a wet-behind-the-ears peanut whistle.
You august big guns can probably skip this one.]

After adding some wire extensions to my 80m two radial, inverted-L to turn
it into a 160m two radial, inverted-L during yesterday's stupendous weather
here in Iowa, I jumped on the Spring Stew Perry for the first time at around
0400Z. I am fairly new to CW and even newer to CW contesting.

I programmed the memories on my K2/100 with my call and exchange (no rig
interface here) and started working my way down the band from 1.850. I
called to everyone I could hear and worked them all (except N6KR who was
loud but didn't hear me). I found that I could mostly decipher even the fast
exchanges by pre-listening before I called.

I almost turned in for the night, figuring that my compromise antenna and
lack of dedicated receiving antennas meant that I had done all I could. But
then I remembered something that John K4BAI had said in a kind email after
one of the slow speed CWTs. He told me that I shouldn't be afraid to run at
my own slow speed (usually 18wpm these days). So, I headed way up the band
to 1.840 and programmed a memory for "CQ N0FN SP" and started calling.

The recent discussion of running for small stations made me realize that
calling with no response for 10 minutes wasn't unreasonable, so I committed
to that even if no one answered. Looking at the contacts already in the log,
I also saw that I had spent ten minutes without a contact just trying to
decipher a weird pile up with my weak CW skills.

Then I had the most fun I've ever had on the radio! I worked 39 stations in
the next hour, my personal best one hour total ever. Since I was the one
calling CQ and since band conditions on 160 are so inconsistent, I didn't
feel bad at all sending "?" if I only copied the first two characters in a
call sign (which is very common for me). Then, because I was in control of
the QSO, it was easy to ask for repeats on the returned exchange. Hurray for
an exchange that is more interesting than 594 yet still easy to send with a

Everyone was extremely patient and polite, slowing down to my slow speed,
patiently repeating, dealing with my poor sending as the night went on, and
calling with great manners. I got to work some of my idols from the ham
email lists: John K4BAI, Jim K9YC, Zac W1VT, Nick WA5BDU, and many others
I'll come to know eventually.

I went to bed with 101 in the log in 4 hours of operating, and got 6 more
this morning when the cat was kind enough to wake me up at 1200Z before the
baby woke up. Needless to say, this is my best ever total in a CW contest.

Much thanks is due to CWOps for their great CW Academy with Bill K5LN
teaching, Mike KM9R who gave me a sweetheart deal on the K2 so I could keep
improving, Jim K9YC for his work on when to choose low, elevated verticals
instead of low dipoles, John K4BAI for his suggestion to try running even if
my code speed is slow, N6TR for a contest logger that is simple enough for
me and lightweight enough for my secondhand Linux box, and everyone else who
made last night such fun.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and thanks for playing this
great game!

-Neil N0FN
Decorah, Iowa EN43
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