[CQ-Contest] CW speed - send vs. copy

Dan Levin djl at andlev.com
Mon Nov 16 22:18:42 EST 1998

Ok, I admit it.  I can't copy code very fast.  Maybe 15 wpm, on a good day,
if I know the format of the exchange.

But I got on for SS CW to help the club, and now I can imagine getting on in
a very casual way for other CW contests - just to give out a Q to the

For SS, I could hang out in the slow speed portion of 15 meters (well, on
Saturday I could), and call CQ at 15 wpm.  Worked great - very few folks
called me faster than I could copy.

But S&P was another matter.  How to deal with folks running along at 25+ wpm
when I am a slow-poke?

Now, I am not stupid.  I wasn't trying to call folks with a pile-up - I was
almost always the only person calling.   Most of my S&P was Sunday, when
everyone's rate was lousy anyway.  Most ops, to their credit, did an
excellent job of replying at a reasonable speed - they CQ at 25+, I drop my
call at 15, they send me the exchange at 15.

So far, so good.

Now what do I do?  Do I send my exchange at 15, or at 25?  That is the

Seems to me that I should probably send it as fast as I think they can copy
(using a computer to do the sending, so the fist is good) - saves the
running station time.  But it is a small hassle for me (to change speed back
and forth), and if I need to actually send by hand (for a fill, say) it will
be slow (I can't send fast by hand) and if I ask them to repeat something, I
want them to understand clearly that I need the reply in slow motion.

Here is a chance for you serious CW types to train me - eventually I will
get my speed up, but in the meantime how should I behave?


            Dan Levin, N6BZA

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