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

Tom Hammond n0ss at socket.net
Tue Nov 17 09:06:36 EST 1998

Hi Dan:

>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.

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

Here's what I did (for years) while I was building my CW proficiency...

  1) Find someone you want to S&P, regardless of his speed
  2) If he's my speed, work him!  If he going too fast, then
     sit on his freq, picking up each 'piece' of his exchange,
     one exchange at a time, if necessary, until you have all
     the 'non-changing' info already written down.
  3) By this time, you should have also managed to get the leading
     digits of his serial number as well.  So continue to copy
     the last (incrementing) digit with each QSO.
  4) Set your (keyer) speed to whatever speed you think he'll want
     answer and dump in your call.
  5) If he acknowledges you and sends his exchange, all you need to
     do is to copy his serial number, and then send your exchange 
     back to him.
  6) If you miss the serial number, you can ask for a repeat, OR
     you can stay on freq long enough to copy his NEXT serial number
     and subtract one from it to obtain yours.    

While this doesn't make for efficient rates, it DOES allow you to
work stations you'd not be able to work otherwise, and it also forces
you work a bit harder at copying higher speeds... and you what?  All
of a sudden, you'll find yourself copying faster than you othrwise

73 - Tom Hammond   N0SS

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