[CQ-Contest] Maybe..........

Dick Dievendorff dieven at comcast.net
Thu May 27 21:29:19 PDT 2010

Maybe not.

I recall visiting the Samuel F. B. Morse house in Poughkeepsie, and saw
(perhaps a replica of) Mr. Morse's telegraph machine.  

Morse's telegraph receiver drew inked marks on a strip of moving paper, the
first CW "code reader".  The operator had to know (or be able to look up)
the dot and dash encoding of each character, but that activity didn't have
to occur at any particular speed.

Only later was it discovered that humans could listen to the clicking of the
telegraph sounder as a substitute for reading the paper strip.

I would argue that Samuel F. B. Morse's invention shows that code readers
aren't "new technology" at all.  Decoding Morse characters from their sound
is the newer technology. 

Few debate the propriety of semiautomatic and automatic keying equipment (CW
encoders).  As a contest participant that has to listen to some really
"creative" bug adjustments, I'm glad most of us do!

Why is it such a big leap to a CW decoder?  If you have the skills and
inclination to decode CW in your head with other CW signals in the audio
passband, good for you, you'll be more efficient at decoding than today's
electronic code readers.

I can't reliably manually encode CW as fast as I can decode bursts. But when
I send faster by turning a knob, I'm still operating CW, thank you very
much.  So is my colleague at the other end with his CW decoder.

What we call CW is the transmitted signal encoding, not the means of
generating or deciphering it. If it's a straight key, bug, electronic keyer,
or a code practice tape machine, it's CW. If someone decodes it in their
head or with a machine, it's still CW.

If you choose to operate without a CW decoder, or with only a straight key,
or only on alternate Saturday mornings, or with only one radio, or enter
contests with less than the full arsenal of the permitted technology, you
should feel free to do so.  

Most contest organizers seek ways to draw more participants, not look for
reasons to push people away.

I really enjoy CW. I almost always use an electronic CW encoder.  The CW
encoder I use, and the logging computer, and the comfortable chair, and the
other equipment I have around me all "assist" me in improving my contesting

I want your CW QSO! Use a CW decoder if you wish. I'm glad you'll be on the
radio this weekend. If you hear (or read) me calling CQ, I'd like you to
call me.

I'm still working to improve my CW decoding skills. Pulling one complete
call accurately out of a group of callers and keeping the rate up is
something that I'm trying to improve, in every contest. When you're in that
"zone" and the rate is high... It just feels great!  But my contesting
sophistication had to evolve to be able to get to this point, and I remain
in awe of the skills of many of my colleagues. And I'll keep trying to


Dick, K6KR


-----Original Message-----
From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Tony Rogozinski
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:34 PM
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Maybe..........

this gives rise to another category of "unassisted" - those who can really
send and receive the Morse
Code.  Is a SO Unassisted entry really "unassisted" if the operator is using
a machine to send and/or
receive? In my humble and old school opinion it is not.   I have used
computers for logging but I have
NEVER made a complete QSO with a computer in a contest.  Oh well just my
humble opinion - life and technology
go on but that won't change the way I operate - win or lose.  

Contesting for nearly 53 years 

If you want to have a CW QSO, it's a good idea to
learn CW.  Otherwise, while it's still possible to
have a "QSO" with a CW operator, you can't do it
in CW.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rick Lindquist, WW3DE" <ww3de at comcast.net>

> We don't impose restrictions or recategorize ops who
> use software to SEND CW exchanges; why should using
> software to decode it be any different?

Understanding (what was said or what was sent) is the
key to communicating with another person.  When I hear
CW, I may not know whether the other person is sending
it by hand or by software.  All that matters is that
I can decode what is sent.  If I can can do it myself,
in real time, then, for me, it's a CW QSO.  The fact
that I "know" CW (can decode it), implies that it's
probable that I can also encode/send it.  Even if
I can't, it doesn't matter to other operators.  It's
a CW QSO when they decode it themselves.  Otherwise,
for them, it's a data QSO.

Anyone who can't decode CW in real time may call it
what they like, but they can't call it a CW QSO.

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