[CQ-Contest] Key Clicks

Mats Strandberg sm6lrr at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 00:59:50 EDT 2020


Thank you for sharing your views on this really important matter. The key
clicking problem has not at all disappeared with older FT1K’s being less
common. Yes, I take the opportunity to mention Yaesu as one of the
problems. The reason is that I like those radios a lot, and found it really
strange that such a big company can not fix the issue for decades. The FT
1000 problem is known for decades and there has even appeared an efficient
modification to those radios, making the clicking problem much less
evident, or even making it disappear. The FT1KD I used for many years, and
I never noticed any problems. However, I personally listened to several
FTDX 5000 from Europe, that produced very bad key klicks (several kHz on
both sides with S6-S9 klicks).

The problem is definitely not with only Yaesus. Bad setting of the TX delay
(too low or even too high) can create bad quality on ANY modern radio. So
you are right, to some extent, this is a setting issue and a problem that
new radios are set too low as default. Again, producers of radios should
set default to appropriate levels to start with.

The problem is not only a reason of annoyance. Clicking creates huge
competitive advantages for the clicker... Try to be 0.5 kHz away from a
back key clicking station. The station that clicks ensures that no stations
will even stay close, and subsequently he or she will have a golden
highway, with excellent opportunity to easily copy the weakest stations.
This in a WPX or any other contest, results in a clear difference compared
to others that need to struggle with key clickers.

In Europe, this problem was truly horrendous this past WPX on 20 meters,
where I spent 31 hours the past weekend.

I hope the WPX Contest Committee uses all available modern technology and
carefully look for bad signals. There are plenty of people that right away
should get a red card and receive a not very honorable DQ for their
performance. Don’t use yellow cards for this clear rule offense. This is a
red violation, without any doubts.

In addition to the clicking, it is very obvious that some of the worst
violators in Europe (and also elsewhere) are also power abusers. By DQ them
for clicking, the CC also removes unfair competition caused by power

There are several absolute top scorers in certain HP categories in this
years edition of WPX. One look on the SDR for the contest sponsor, and
issue is solved.

73 de RM2D, Mats

On Thu, 4 Jun 2020 at 22:15, Jim McCook <w6ya at cox.net> wrote:

> This subject has been hounded in the past, but I think the problem is
> getting much worse.During WPX when conditions were good the entire 20m
> band was loaded with clicks.No, my NB was not on!Many stations louder
> than the clickers had NO clicks.Nearly every vacant frequency on my K3
> (rare) was filled with key clicks!It’s annoying to try copying a 4 digit
> number from a weak station with QSB when the clicks coming from way out
> of my passband, often 2-3 KHz away, are making it impossible.
> This is also a problem with daily, routine operating.  Severe key clicks
> are common.  No, my NB was not on.
> I wrote down 40 calls of obvious clickers and looked them all up after
> the contest to see what radios they were using.14 ID'd their radios.
> The result was interesting. Most were new radios.It became obvious that
> some radio brands do NOT routinely generate clicks.  Obviously there
> could be a problem with hot switching, but it's doubtful that would be a
> problem for an aware contester.
> Many of those new radios have adjustable CW rise time.The manufacturer’s
> default setting with many of them is 4ms or lower!This means this radio
> is highly likely to be a key click generator!That setting should be at
> least 6ms and preferable 8ms to avoid clicks.My suggestion is to use
> Email to make friendly, non aggressive contact and explain the problem,
> offering help to ID and test after a fix is utilized.Sometimes there is
> a mod that can be installed to stop the clicks.People should be made
> aware of that when necessary.73, Jim W6YA
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