[CQ-Contest] CW Speeds in a contest

Tom HammondNØSS n0ss at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 31 10:30:40 EST 2001

Frank, W8HO, wrote:
>My questions are: What do u consider appropriate rates for CW sending?  Are
>there different standards for rag chewing and contesting?  Are you sure
>that ur contesting rate is appropriate to get the most bang for ur run-time
>frequency?  Do u listen to those who ask for u to QRS, or simply ignore
>them and continue at ur usual run rate if their request is not sent at very
>close to ur usual send rate, waiting for the faster QSO?

Since I'm just a Popgun when compared to the Big Guns, I'm sure I'm doing 
it all wrong, but...

I tend to adjust my sending speed to the size of the calling pileup, or to 
the station I'm calling when in S&P.

If I'm running, and it appears that I have a decent bunch of callers who 
have no problem copying 30+ WPM, I'll run 32/35+ WPM until things start to 
slow down. HOWEVER, REGARDLESS of what CW speed _I_ am running them at, if 
a station calls me at a speed quite a bit less than my current speed, I 
ALWAYS try to QRS down to his speed. If I fail to do that, it's MY FAULT, 
not his for not being able to send at 'my' speed.

When I'm doing S&P, I always try to match the speed of the station I'm 
calling. My assumption is that, if he's calling at 40 WPM, then he can COPY 
40 WPM as well. If he can't copy 40 WPM, then he should NOT be calling at 
that speed.

When I'm CQing, and Q's are scarce, as they certainly can sometimes be from 
the Midwest, I'll QRS to 26-29 WPM (or less), and I'll QRS even more if I 
get responses at a slower speed.

Yes, I know, it's not the most 'productive' way to operate, and I'll never 
be one of the Big Boys, but that's OK with me... I still remember when I 
was first learning to operate QRQ, especially in contests... there were 
times where I'd have to sit on a guy's frequency, copying each tiny piece 
of this exchange, one word at a transmission, until I got it all, before 
I'd call him. But, it taught me to copy better/faster, and that we the 
benefit of it all. Back then, I really DID appreciate those who were 
courteous enough to QRS for me... it enhanced my enjoyment of the contest, 
and I seriously doubt that the other op's rate suffered (significantly) 
from his efforts on my behalf.

I agree that there's a treasure trove of newbies out there, many of whom 
WILL be ripe for the contest picking, and that we all SHOULD be more aware 
of their presence when we are operating... these are going to be OUR 
SUCCESSORS someday... we need to be cultivating them NOW.

Stepping down from my soapbox now.

Happy New Year folks!

73 - Tom Hammond   N0SS

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