[CQ-Contest] To cut or not to cut?

Doug Smith dougw9wi at gmail.com
Thu May 31 06:33:24 PDT 2012

Pete Smith N4ZR wrote:
> There's nothing like a CW serial number contest to get you re-thinking 
> about the use of cut numbers.
> For situations where first-time intelligibility is important, I think 
> use of cut numbers probably costs more time than it saves.  Here's why:

Agreed fully.

Obviously I copy fairly well, both letters & numbers :)

They say the key to getting past the 12wpm hump is learning to copy letters as a single sound -- to hear ..- and immediately think "U", not "dot dot 
dash, OK, that's U".  I think the key to getting to higher speeds, much past 30wpm, is learning to copy more common *words* as a single sound.  To 
hear -.-- --- ..- and think "you", not "Y O U".

Indeed, others have suggested in this forum this is the reason for keeping the 599 signal report in contest exchanges.  Your brain *expects* to hear 
"5NN", which prepares it for the important QTH or serial number that will follow.

And in the WPX, after hearing "5NN" you are in fact expecting a number.  Your brain is prepared to copy a digit.

It's not expecting to hear "A".

I know that happened several times for me in the WPX.  Instead of sending a number, the guy would send "A5T" or something like that.  And it would 
indeed throw me for a moment.  Didn't need any fills, but the stations who operated that way would have had to wait an extra half-second for me to 
acknowledge their exchange.

I use N1MM Logger.  I'm fully aware I can just type in the letters, and the program will automatically convert them to the appropriate digits.  But my 
brain is expecting numbers.  It's simply not ready to hear anything else, you might as well send -.---.  .-.--  ---.


Doug Smith W9WI
Pleasant View, TN  EM66

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