[CQ-Contest] Don't we need to change the sprint protocol?

David A. Pruett k8cc at comcast.net
Sat Sep 18 12:34:54 EDT 2004

I agree with John that full QSK makes it possible to detect a quick 
acknowledgement of a Sprint exchange.  However, I did the senior design 
project for my BsEE in college on QSK systems and learned that doing it 
correctly at legal-limit levels is not always straightforward.  I've known 
all too many people who have toasted PIN diodes at the 1500W level.  Also 
"mixing and matching" allegedly "QSK capable" transceivers and amplifiers 
from different manufacturers is no assurance of proper operation.  I wonder 
how many cases of key clicks we hear on the air are the result of 
improperly operating QSK systems in full power stations?

At K8CC I have the next best thing - T/R control using my logging program 
which drops out with the trailing edge of the last CW element.  I'm not 
claiming this is as good as QSK, but it should be good enough to ALWAYS 
hear a legitimately sent confirmation of an exchange.

I've been using this system for the past five years and have come to the 
conclusion that certain people either don't send an acknowledgement 
(they're off finding their next QSO) or send it before I've finished sending.

Sending an acknowledgement in such a way that the receiving station is in a 
position to hear it IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SENDING (i.e., the 
acknowledging) STATION.  As the one looking for the acknowledgement, I'll 
do my part by getting the T/R delay near zero.

In the past, if the conditions were such that I was confident that other 
station got my exchange (clear channel, strong signal, etc.), I'll have to 
confess that I left the QSO in my log.  But that's not right, so in the 
future if I get no acknowledgement, and I ask again with no response, the 
QSO goes into the bit bucket.  My conscience is clear, my NIL risk is zero 
and the other guy is in trouble when I send in my log.

Having said all this, I've never had problems getting acknowledgements from 
the really good CW Sprinters like N6TR, N5TJ, the late W4AN and 
others.  The really good guys know how to do it right.


At 02:17 PM 9/17/04 -0400, John Laney wrote:
>Hello all:
>One very helpful thing to avoid the confusion as to acknowledging Sprint 
>QSOs would be if everyone possible used full QSK.  I know a number of very 
>good contest operators who do not like to use QSK, but they are losing out 
>on the opportunity to hear that station who sends a quick R or dit-dit at 
>the end of their Exchange, as well as the one who doubles with them or who 
>was actually calling someone else and calls again while they are transmitting.
>I know it may be a distraction with SO2R and that may be a trade-off that 
>you make for SO2R, but I highly recommend that every CW contester use full 
>QSK whenever possible.  My doubtful Sprint exchanges or acknowledgements 
>have been significantly reduced since I got an Alpha 78 full QSK amplifier.
>John, K4BAI.
>CQ-Contest mailing list
>CQ-Contest at contesting.com

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