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MyCrowFones- Infiltrating the Continuous Wave

MyCrowFone – Infiltrating the Continuous Wave – SSB Myth Busters Chapter 4 (a call to arms for PVRC Phone operators to stretch their wings for 2007 ARRL CW Sweeps)

Tempus Fugit! Okay. Last year at this time, I went on at length at how the CW operators should not rest on their laurels, but should take the plunge and try to find their MyCrowFones for the second half of ARRL Sweepstakes.

But this year, it is a more difficult task – convincing the Foney operator that he too can earn additional points by modulating the Continuous Wave in the first half of the ARRL Sweepstakes. Yes, I know the mere suggestion will have the elite CW ops cringing, but I am living proof that even mere lids such as myself can in fact substantially bolster their overall Sweepstakes score by infiltrating the CW portion of ARRL Sweepstakes.

?gads? I imagine you thinking, ?urely this W4KAZ lid is daft??

No, I am not daft(much). And please – don’t call me ?hirley?

First of all, it should be stressed from the onset that whistling into the MyCrowFone is not the proper method for modulating the Continuous Wave. You WILL be noticed, but the elite CW ops will likely shun you at best. At worst they may drive over to your house and knock on the door. Who knows what might happen next. So avoid the controversy and please restrict yourself to the methods accepted by the CW ops. More on this below.

Further, a minimum amount of CW proficiency is probably required. There’s really no getting around it. But if you are able to copy 15wpm, or were able to pass the 20wpm extra test, you HAVE the ability. It is merely a matter of choosing to put in the effort. Lets examine the challenge.

It is true that Conventional Wisdom(what-another CW?) holds that one should put a huge effort into the first hours of the contest. This is not necessarily a good idea for the MyCrowFone operator trying to squeeze extra points from the Continuous Wave crowd. The CW crowd will be following this strategy, and you will hear the bands in the early hours populated by many 40wpm CW machine guns. If your skill is up to it, please ?have at it! But if you are struggling with the Continuous Wave, it is often better to bide your time. Soon enough, the diminishing returns will have the machine guns altering their strategy out of sheer boredom. They will develop a willingness to admit that they can copy Continuous Wave at speeds lower than their standard fare. By Sunday, many will even have fallen asleep in their chair due to lack of activity. Help them stay awake. It is hard for them to go back to sleep after hearing your QLF response to their plaintive CQ’s.

There are two very practical approaches to infiltrating the Continuous Wave. If you are really struggling, it pays to S&P the slower stations operating in the upper areas of the band. As the contest progresses, odds are you will find stations there that you CAN copy, with a little effort. Alternatively, if your skills are up to it YOU can set up shop and run stations. Contrary to Conventional Wisdom(the other CW again), it is NOT REQUIRED by ARRL SS rules that the Continuous Wave be sent at speeds over 30wpm. Your run rates will be less productive, but you will find there are indeed QSOs to be made at 20wpm. Remember ?there are probably other MyCrowFone users out there just like us, seeking to infiltrate the Continuous Wave.

Methods of infiltration are varied. If you are skillful enough, you can use nothing but your paddles. But if you are that skilled – you are really a CW op who has embraced the dark side! Don’t tell anybody about your MyCrowFone habit.

Many, if not most, of the CW ops are modulating their Continuous Wave with their computer, despite the fact that they are probably skillful enough to operate the contest with paddles, pencil and paper. You should make use of the automated tools too. This saves you the personal stress of sending QLF or keying by shorting two wires on your tongue, or some other equally improbable method. Remember, you want the other guy to be able to copy your exchange! Odds are, the computer sends cleaner code than the infiltrating MyCrowFone op will be able to manage with his paddles. Make it easy for the run op to copy. Remember, the rules don’t stipulate that your CW must be sent with any particular device, so take advantage of the tools available. Program the function keys, and have at it.

Whatever you do-don’t answer at speeds faster than you can reasonably eke out! You want to be able to have a fighting chance of giving the right answer when asked for fills. It is inevitable someone is going to need a fill somewhere, and you don’t want to tip off the CW op that you are an infiltrator.

This last bit is sure to raise the hackles, but use whatever helps you to copy the CW too. If your six year old daughter can copy 50wpm, have her help you. If you have a program that can actually decode the continuous wave better than you can, use it as an aid. The contest scoring robot doesn’t care, even if you will be ridiculed unmercifully by your CW peers. I’ve always depended solely upon the gray matter in my head and I have an embarrassingly high error rate to prove it. But I got a lot of valid points too.

So don’t be ?addle shy? plan to infiltrate the Continuous Wave for CW Sweeps.

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