[CQ-Contest] CW Accuracy

Barry w2up at mindspring.com
Mon Sep 11 21:35:56 EDT 2006

There's no question age is a factor.  I've been doing some RUFZ 
practicing lately and I find progress VERY slow.  As a matter of fact, I 
think I've only improved back to the level I was at when I was a teenager.

While I enjoy running RUFZ, it's not ideal for improving contest skills, 
as you're really not copying calls in real time - you have as long as 
you want to enter the call. 

Try Morserunner.  It's an excellent contest simulation with pileups, 
exchanges to copy, and time pressure.  As you become more proficient, 
increase the speed a little bit at a time.

Barry, W2UP

W4ZW said:

After reviewing a few of my past log UBN reports, I decided to find out
where I was busting calls.  So I started working out with RUFZ-XP and made
several interesting discoveries.  The first culprit is my typing ability, or
lack there of.  I never learned touch typing and have adopted the hunt and
peck method until I feel fairly comfortable, but limited by speed. 

I switched to computer logging completely about 15 years ago, although I
wrote programs to do computer logging on DEC, WANG,  and DG minicomputers a
jillion years ago for FD and SS.  I'd never noticed a large error rate until
studying my UBN's.  I have enough hearing loss in my left ear at certain
frequencies such that often sounds seem "muddled" and I do miss calls when
doing SO2R and have returned to basic SO1R because of it.  But I wanted to
see exactly where I was making the errors and I discovered several
interesting things.

My typing errors were the first and most obvious culprit when I simply hit
the wrong key. But I also discovered that I almost always get the call right
if it's a "standard" call, that is a 1x3 or 2x3 or shorter because I have it
in my head cache at speeds up to about 50wpm.    But if it's a XX7/anything
I have a momentary mental blink and miss the complete call.  Also sometimes
have a mental blink and a degree of error with the Call/QRP.  And last, at
speeds over 40wpm I mix the "S" and "H", and that from a guy who was K4HHG
for 40 years.  Also found certain "mental stops" with repeated characters
and certain  letters like "T", e.g. copy "UTU" as "VTU" or just "TU".  

When I stir this all around with my poor typing, I can see how my UBN is
higher than I want.  I also think some of this has to do with aging, because
I remember how clearly I could grab calls in my head when I was younger
(especially in my teens when my head cache was really BIG)  and putting them
down with a pencil.  I tried using a pencil with RUFZ and discovered that my
accuracy did improve, but not enough to give up the wonderful advantage of
computer logging.

Anyone else notice this aging by-product?

Jon Hamlet,  W4ZW
Casey Key Island, Florida
"A little piece of paradise in the Gulf of Mexico"


Barry Kutner, W2UP             
Newtown, PA                     

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list