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CW Observations


#1

Hi all,

After doing a few CW activations now, where nearly all of my QSOs there are with stations in Europe or North America, I have noticed several things.

  • It is better if calling stations send their call sign twice. I know a few people have requested elsewhere that the call sign should be sent once, but there often is QSB and this can take out one or two characters of the call sign - I simply can’t hear it. When the call sign is sent twice, I have a better chance of putting it together.

Sometimes QSB is really bad - I can have 5 characters of a 6 character call, ask for a resend, get to the critical character and QSB takes it out again! Such is life.

  • Also, working eager chasers really will work so much better if stations that cannot hear me do not call. It really does waste everybody’s time if I respond to a station calling, but they can’t hear me. It takes some time to work out that they are just calling into the air, calling simply because they hear activity, or because of a SOTA spot - it really is essential to be able to hear the DX station before calling. Also, what tends to be the case is that this station might have a really strong signal which takes out everyone else - 500Hz filters are still fairly broad in these situations!

I don’t want to get on the soapbox too much, but this might really help to get those VK/Euro sessions working smoother. Time is of the essence up on summit with my little QRP signal and the band can close at any time. Also, for anyone who has been in these pileups - do you think it might be best to start on 15m and then go to 20m - also 30m can work, I got a QSO there yesterday.

73 de Wayne VK3WAM


#2

Hi Wayne,

For me, it is better if stations send their callsign just once. If I need a repeat of anything I can ask for it. But a station sending its callsign twice can often cause QRM with another contact that is just starting.

I agree on the second point. Blind calling is pointless, as activators are unlikely to be using rotatable Yagis on HF from summits! There’s no accounting for QSB of course…

Tom M1EYP


#3

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Wayne
I agree with Tom here.
If you hear M0TU* then send M0TU? - you will notice most chasers then standby and allow the called station to send the call again.
If everybody sends their call twice there is little chance of hearing anything.

In fact, if you always send M0TU? on all your activations I will come back if I hear you hi hi

Having said all that, I have been guilty of sending my own call twice when chasing…Doh!

Regards
Dave
M0TU*


#4

In reply to VK3WAM:

Hi Wayne,

Starting on 15m, trying to work EU (on the mike anyway) may be a non-starter at the moment.

The band conditions on anything above 20m have been utterly dreadful for weeks. Working with my kite antenna from G/SP-013, yesterday and with over 100 feet of wire in the air, I failed to work a single station above 20m. Stateside chasers, appear to be an extinct species :frowning:

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#5

In reply to 2E0YYY:

As I’m someone who can corrupt any thread and lead it astray easily I have to take my hat off to you for inserting a random comment about SSB, 15m and oddball antennas into a thread about CW operating style. :slight_smile:

I will take the bait though… Have you put the antena design (radiator, earthing etc) into a modelling program and seen what radiation pattern is? Saying you’re unable to work a particular location using a random 2lambda wire at random azimuth, random elevation and unknown efficiency doesn’t convey any useful information about propagation conditions. For all anyone knows you may have had such an impedance at the feed your tuner was barely capable of matching and all your RF power was lost as warmth in that rather than radiating. Likewise all the RF leaving the wire may have been going straight up into the sky in an NVIS manner again resulting in no contacts.

Until you have analysed the design and seen what it says you may be, as Virgil said in The Aeneid, “sine cognitionem sunt verberando a mortuis equum”.

:slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF


#6

In reply to MM0FMF:

Andy

Maybe Mike is like a musician who can’t read music…

Whilst you are the most knowledgeable and technical of chaps, Mike’s log book seems to be pretty full of DX.

As long as he is having fun, isn’t doing any harm or standing on my expensive kit (modelled by someone who knows what they’re doing) - who cares?

Sorry, I took the bait…now where did I park my dead horse?

Dave :slight_smile:


#7

In reply to 2E0YYY:

I would say it is a combination of midsummer doldrums and the fact that during its transit sunspot 1514 has been producing about five M-class flares a day and even achieved an X-class flare on Friday. To add to the fun we got an outburst of aurora last night when the IMF tilted south. When there has been any propagation recently the QSB has been pretty severe - which probably explains Wayne’s point about stations calling him and then not going back to him: I was listening to Tom on Hutton Roof yesterday and he was slowly going between S5 and inaudible!

73

Brian G8ADD


#8

In reply to VK3WAM:

Hi Wayne,

Thanks for the qso on Sunday morning. There was quite a bit of QSB on the freq, but was able to read about 70% of your transmission. This time i’d bought along a lightweight tent just in case it rained, this made for comortable operating whilst waiting for you to be qrv on 20m. Thanks again .

73

Robert
G0PEB


#9

In reply to G0PEB:
Hi Robert,

You still have a monopoly on DX s2s into VK, so your efforts are paying off. It was a nice touch for my activation on Mt Tassie.

You may have additional opportunities, Allen VK3HRA tells me that he is learning morse and is almost ready to try it on the air.

73 de Wayne VK3WAM


#10

In reply to VK3WAM:

Wayne

I’ll look out for him.

I’m also new to CW, even though I passed the morse exam over 20yrs ago. In the short time since my first all out CW activation in March 2012 … I haven’t looked back. It’s added a new dimension to my SOTA experience. Might try using a homebrew cw transceiver next time.

73

Robert
G0PEB


#11

In reply to VK3WAM:

You still have a monopoly on DX s2s into VK

It could be related to Robert possibly being the most Southerly chaser in the UK with his location on The Isle Of Wight. Those of us who live further North than Moscow often cannot hear a fraction of what is reported by stations in the South of the UK.

Or perhaps he gets up early enought to be QRV when you are on the air :slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF


#12

In reply to MM0FMF:

RBN has a nice (beta) tool to check your activator station perfomance. In my case I could find from there the 15 m CQs without any actual QSOs. Thus my setup is working fine. It allows you to compare to the other activations that took place at the same time.

http://www.reversebeacon.net/analysis/

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#13

In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi Andy,
You are correct on both assumptions! Robert uses a vertical on a cliff adjacent to a lot of salt water, which gives him an excellent low angle take off to VK. Low RX noise levels help as well, one of the benefits of /P operating. I listened for Wayne yesterday morning, just heard him at one point but too weak to work. I even tried a new portable antenna consisting of a pair of top fed 14MHz verticals,( half-square) erected in my garden, looking long path, to no avail. I need to move house to the sea side. Yes, Getting out of bed early helps!
73,
Frank


#14

In reply to 2E0YYY:

The band conditions on anything above 20m have been utterly dreadful
for weeks.

I agree that the bands have been terrible the last week or two. But FWIW, I still seem to get better results on 17M than 20M ~1500Z into EU (5W and full size 1/4L and 2 elev radials on each band). Somewhat surprising because I’d expect the average chaser to have a better 20M antenna at home than 17M antenna, and thus hear me better on 20M. So thumbs up to 17M as a long distance SOTA band.

73,
Barry N1EU


#15

In reply to N1EU:

Since working you from Arthur’s Seat on 1st June, my only other Stateside contact has been Rich N4EX, some four weeks ago. Seems to be a case of feast or famine when it comes to DX on SOTA activations :frowning:

The WARC bands don’t see too much activity on SOTA activations here in the UK. No doubt, I’ll be seeking refuge there, once the constant “CQ contest” cries are heard in the not too distant future.

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#16

In reply to N1EU:
Perhaps I will then give some focus to 17m on my CW activations, and then move to 20m.

73 de Wayne VK3WAM