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Into the fire... 1st time on 7.032CW


#1

Deep Purple’s “Into The Fire” is possibly my favourite DP track and is the perfect description for my 1st foray onto 7.032cw!

I’d driven for 1hr30 from Kinlochbervie to the foot of Ben Hope, lugged a bag of radios up a relentless behemoth of hill, been stunned by the views and had a paltry 5 contacts on 60m. 5 contacts! I’d driven 345miles in total for 5 contacts, pah! Phil GM4OBK/p had reported the LF bands were all a bit broken but I knew there was more to be had if I tried harder. I tried 40m SSB but got nowhere other than disrupting Robin’s sked on 7.118, sorry Robin.

That’s when I remembered what Roy G4SSH told me. He said “Andy, just go and call on CW, people wont care if your sending is ropey or if you make silly mistakes, they wont care if you ask them to QRS or repeat. They just want the points.” So I did. I tuned to 7.032 (and a bit) set the keyer to 11wpm and started calling CQ SOTA. What was the worst that could happen? I wouldn’t understand what was being sent and I could just skulk off and pretend the QSB got me :wink:

So first out of the bag was OK1KT who went nice and slow for me. Then frequency exploded, funny noises, alternating tones, general deliberate QRM and some other calls. My morse receiving is still terrible, if I miss a character it takes me 4 or 5 to get in sync. However, my prefix (MM0) is very distinctive on the key, so I can recognise that even when sent very, very fast. So I could hear many stations blasting out my call at 20wpm+. But it was the guys in OK1 who understood, if he sends slow, reply slow. So that got me another two OKs in the log followed by HB9AGH. I had to ask for a QRS and HB9AGH obliged nicely, though it took me a while to realise it was HB9 and not SB9 which I though was some special Polish prefix! Last in on the key was G4EPO.

Many thanks to all those who sent nice and slow for me. To everyone else, here’s a hint, if I’m sending at 11wpm don’t call me at 20wpm or faster. The guys who QRS’d got to work NS-020 and the speed demons didn’t. Sorry, you’ll have to wait till I can RX faster.

Let’s see, last week I qualified my 1st summit on 23cms. This week I qualified my 1st summit on CW. Now to get the 3cms gear sorted along with my morse.

Full report on NS-063/NS-020 to follow later.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsTblmIAfwA to see DP play the song. My hair was like Ian Gillan’s once. But most of it fell out and the rest went grey. :frowning:

Andy
MM0FMF


#2

In reply to MM0FMF:

To everyone
else, here’s a hint, if I’m sending at 11wpm don’t call me at 20wpm or
faster. The guys who QRS’d got to work NS-020 and the speed demons
didn’t.

Sounds perfect to me Andy. Well done!

73

Richard
G3CWI


#3

In reply to MM0FMF:
Superb Andy well done… it will all get easier now:-)

Sorry I wasn’t around to work you.

73 Marc G0AZS


#4

Thanks for the 60m QSO Andy - well done with the CW, it will get better.
I hadn’t used CW for over 25 years until last year when I found SOTA and was encouraged by Tom M1EYP to give it a go - and now, although there’s a lot of room for improvement, I can have reasonable CW QSO’s

Keep at it

73 and good luck
Graham G3OHC


#5

In reply to MM0FMF:

Well done Andy, keep it up & you can only get better :slight_smile:

73,

Mark G0VOF


#6

In reply to MM0FMF:

Congratulations on an excellent first attempt Andy. As a CW activator YOU are the person in charge. Send PSE QRS just once, then ignore the ones who do not understand that common curtesy demands that a CW chaser should always to reply at a speed no faster than the activator. It sounds as though you played this one just right.

I saw you spotted, but the skip on 40m was too long to hear your signals in North Yorkshire.

You have now experienced what was probably the very worst conditions – an activation on 40m during a weekend or public holiday. For a more relaxed activation I would suggest 3558 or 10118 KHz.

Good Luck

Roy G4SSH


#7

In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi Andy,

I enjoyed reading about Ben Hope; a favourite. More especially the style of report and the points made about QRS. You were very brave to go on 7.032 so well done in making some QSOs there. The tuning of modern rigs is too accurate for its own good these days and sometimes a CQ is answered by so many, it all runs together to make a long continuous note of a single pitch. If it was remotely like that and you still managed to sort some calls out, that is indeed commendable.

The real experts in a pileup are the ones who call you slightly off frequency, a nice bit slower than the rest, or leave it until the very last second. Roy was spot on when he advised you but it still took courage to try it. Hope you try it again. The ops who went down to ‘walking speed’ got themselves a ‘rary’. They (and you) should be pretty pleased with themselves.

I assume you went up from the SSW (NC 4620 4763) and sat staring at Loyal & maybe even Orkney from the shelter on the edge. Envy! I will look forward to your report which I will read on my return from Wales.

Great to meet you again the other day,
73, John.


#8

In reply to G4YSS:

Hope you try it again.

Oh yes! Having now worked 6 random CW QSOs (5 on Ben Hope on 40m, 1 on Ben Stack on 60m) I don’t intend to stop. The biggest problem I’ve got (apart from getting flustered and losing the thread) is the fear of mucking things up and I’m sure that keeps lots of people from trying. But as I said, what on earth did I have to loose when I had so much to gain. If you are going to enter a world of pain can you think of anywhere more fantastic to try from than the summit on Ben Hope on a day when you could see from Cape Wrath around to Hoy in Orkney?

I’m still somewhat amazed that I just did it. I put it down to sensory overload being up in IO78 and being light-headed after the relentless grind that is the walk up from the SW. I’ve considered having a go on 7.032 for sometime now but always chickened out. Hey, it wasn’t too frightening! Of course, I’ll try again next weekend and instead of just a few people answering my calls slowly every SOTA chaser in W. Europe is going to call at a speed I can read. Could be QSB problems :wink:

I think I’ll have to buy Roy a beer next time I see him for giving me the bottle to have a go.

Andy
MM0FMF


#9

In reply to MM0FMF:

Andy

You will find that those CW skills are essential for 10G too. Unruly pile-ups are less likely though.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#10

In reply to MM0FMF:

Well done Andy!

I think I’m in a similar position to you. I tried a call on 14.058 yesterday from Rombald’s Moor NP-028. I was using my Rock Mite 20 with a straight key. After about 3 CQ calls, a Y06 came back to me (I recognised my own call coming back), but his CW wasn’t very well spaced and his tone was very raspy. I replied with Y06? a couple of times, but he gave up calling me. Unfortunately I then had to pack up because the XYL was coming to pick me up. At least I know my Rock Mite works!

I got a straight key (miniature Watson) to use with my other homemade rig for 80m, but I could do with a paddle key really for the FT817 and RockMite.

I have had 4 CW QSO’s so far in my career, and I have found that people generally are very welcoming to a newcomer.

I’m off to price up a palm paddle now!

73, Colin


#11

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy, and well done.

I am trying to learn cw at the moment and have been for some time but work and new child…mmmm, they’re just me making excuses really! :wink: I think I am apprehensive about actually going on air but hearing your pleasant experiences has served to convince me that I really should just give it a go.

Many thanks and good luck to you for many more cw activations.

Kind regards

John
M0EAV


#12

In reply to MM0FMF:

Congratulations Andy on your first CW activation. I am in much the same position as yourself having recently started dabbling in CW on both VHF and
HF.

I know just what you mean about the signals running together - with FM you get used to the loudest signal blocking all the others but on CW they all seem to merge together. And ops will insist on sending too fast, probably in their excitement, I suspect.

I also know what you mean about trying to keep ones own sending speed down to try to deter others from sending back to you too fast. Having trained myself using the G4FON program to recognise characters at 20wpm with an effective overall speed of 15wpm, 12 wpm hand keyed morse can be a little hard to copy - particularly as I suspect trying to send at such low speeds upsets the more experienced operators timing - it certainly upsets my sending.

Working a mini pile up on a summit is a world away from doing the odd QSO in the shack but strangely not as difficult as I’d imagined and certainly even more of a buzz. I’m even starting to relax during CW QSOs!

The nice thing I find is that the short overs and conversational style typical of SOTA QSOs mean that you do not have to concentrate for so long unlike stereotypically formatted QSOs on 80m in which you have to spend what seems like ages copying down details of the other guy’s setup, weather etc.

I look forward to our first CW S2S

73 TU ES HPE CPI U SN

Rick


#13

In reply to MM0FMF:
I can echo the sentiments expressed about the use of CW.
Yesterday Christine and I went up Eildon Mid Hill, and having set up a bit earlier than our alert we went on the air using SSB. Calling on 80, 60 and 40 produced no responses what-so-ever; propagation was just not there in our favour. I then went on CW and called CQ somewhere near 7032.
One CQ was all that was needed to get a mini pile-up going!
My apologies to those who didn’t get through; my fingers were frozen and operating an iambic keyer with gloves on just isn’t my strong point! I know I confused a few people because of the few extra dots or dashes due to trying to operate with frozen fingers. Thanks to everyone for their patience!
73 de Ken


#14

Well done Andy. 40m CW has got me out of trouble so many times on shielded Welsh summits where nothing else has worked. I’ve sometimes used CW to complete QSOs on 60m when the propagations none too good. I have the extra narrow (300Hz) CW filter in my '817 which really helps limit the chaos on 7032 and I’d recommend highly. Look forward to working you on CW soon !


#15

In reply to GW8OGI:

Well I did have an 817 CW filter in my hands few weeks back. But I sold it along with some other gear, all part of a plan to sell on unused items in the shack and spend the money on a TS790E (with 23cms of course). Never mind.

Thanks for the messages of support. It looks like there are a few of us starting to dabble with CW. It’s about time for me really, I’ve been licensed for 20 years this July! It’s spiced up SOTA a lot. Activations had become a bit of a sausage machine recently, i.e. add meat and skins, turn handle and out come sausgages. Likewise it was setup antenna, work people on 60m SSB, tick hill off list. Now there’s a new challenge with CW and a chance to try 30m aswell.

The only thing I haven’t got is a photo of the grin on my mush after working OK1KT for my 1st 40m CW SOTA contact. It had a few Cheshire cats worried! :wink:

Andy
MM0FMF


#16

In reply to MM0FMF:

I know what you mean about the Cheshire cat grin Andy, I had the very same feeling yesterday morning :wink:

I’m in a similar position to others here, in that I had let my already limited CW skills lapse, & although I have always understood & spoken of its benefits to others, I have only used it on rare occasions in the 15 or so years I have been licensed. Most of my CW QSO’s were on 10m just after the last sunspot maximum & coupled with a couple of years break from radio due to work commitments, keeping my CW skills alive took a back seat.

Having only become more active again radio-wise during last summer I found my CW skills had dropped considerably, to the point where I couldn’t even remember what certain letters were! Having originally learnt the alphabet in one night back when I was G7RRG I soon picked it up again.

The CW QSO’s I have had since then have mainly been during VHF contests so there is not so much QRM to confuse things & the speeds used are generally much lower than during HF contests, which can get silly at times!

Anyway, back to yesterday morning :wink:

I had seen the alert for GC0OOO/P on GW/NW-001 earlier, & being up early I was randomly checking the frequencies given as it was the first alerted activation that day & a very nice summit too :wink:

After returning from the Kitchen with a cup of coffee I saw that John had been spotted on 1.832MHz CW so I tuned up my 80m loop & took a listen.

I think I caught the tail end of a previous QSO & recognised John (G4YSS) then calling CQ SOTA at a nice steady 20 words per minute. I think that call went un-answered so he called again, & having set my keyer to 20wpm I took the plunge & followed his call with DE G0VOF K. It was so nice to hear my callsign coming back & after exchanging reports we wished each other 73 & John carried on calling CQ SOTA.

It was at about this point that I also had a grin approaching that of a Cheshire cat :slight_smile:

Not only because I had worked the summit of Snowdon on top band, but that I’d also had a CW QSO!

John was due to work on 80m CW & 80m SSB later so I followed his progress & had another CW QSO with him on 80m, & later on SSB, during which it was much easier to have a “conversational” style of QSO than I would have been able to do with CW. I missed John’s HF activation of GW/NW-008 but we did manage a very nice un-hurried QSO on 2m FM later.

I suppose only time will tell, but I am now looking at spots & no longer ignoring the ones for CW, in fact earlier today I saw one, & had a very enjoyable contact on 6m CW with Tom M1EYP/P on G/LD-049 :slight_smile:

I think the idea of a European CW “practice” net as posted by Rick M0RCP is a good one, & I will add my comments to that thread shortly.

To any of you reading this, that may not have used their key in years but still have that bit of Morse stuck in the back of your brain, dig out your key & give it a go.

You really have nothing to lose, & lots to gain :slight_smile:

Andy, I’m glad you are going to stick with it. 7.032MHz is a very busy & hectic frequency at times, I had a listen earlier on, but all I heard were contest stations, but as you have already worked on there anything else should be much easier. HI!

73,

Mark G0VOF