Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Summits | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

About CW speed and more ...

KN is only to be used when you actually do have a qso going, if not use K

BTU is frequently used and has been for years in CW when in a proper QSO, when chatting using the mode - i.e. It is not usually sent in quickie SOTA / Rubber stamp / Contest type contacts.

73 Phil

3 Likes

I figure that’s the key. If friendly conversation’s the end, folk aren’t going to worry about everything being as brief and precise as possible. Folk who’re after the fastest possible QSO rate, however, can get frustrated when their QSOs take a fraction of a second longer than absolutely necessay. There’s probably also a side-branch of “sticklers for strict protocol” (who’ll get upset by the slightest deviation from their own version of The One True Way). That’s life, I guess…

3 Likes

Don’t want to be a purist but I for one will not call someone ending his/her transmission with KN, if he/she uses K then it is an invitation to everyone.
Using BTU or BK keeps everyone on edge :slight_smile:

It’s about having fun, remember. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I have seen BTU used in RTTY and AMTOR conversations and, some time ago, on teleprinter/telex messaging exchanges (non radio). I think BTU may have been a standard in specific services. For this reason some operators regard it as standard but to others it is a mystery. It may depend on which operating manuals you read when learning CW operations and the people you made QSOs with.

Re KN, I understand it as a way of asking a specific station to go ahead and all others to stand by. It is meaningless after calling CQ which is a general call. Using it to limit callers to those whose callsigns match a template, like DL9? KN is a neat idea but I have not found that to work. [edit: consistently]

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

It works about 80% of the time for me.

2 Likes

And when the people who call the activator out of turn, either because they cannot hear him/her due to weak sigs, QSB or QRM etc or they do not understand what is going on due to inexperience, then KNNNN can be an effective way to stop them. They might just copy that and get the message that they ought to standby and wait their turn. I imagine if some are using CW readers, (not sure how many do on SOTA) they would not understand what they hear on the activators frequency with any coherence and that could lead to calling at the wrong time, so KNNNN might stand out as well as /P /P /P for stations wanting an S2S QSO…

73 Phil

4 Likes

I guess my point was that while the partial callsign technique does prevent some of the pileup from answering, it doesn’t prevent all, due I think to a misunderstanding of what a partial callsign means. But I’m splitting hairs, I know…

In my experience this works quite well… In a big pile up I have already thought about calling up a sequence by numbers… in ssb it works quite well.
But I have started to ask for prefixes sometimes.

73 Armin

2 Likes

I often use it and it works fine most of the times.
When several chasers call at the same time, it’s difficult to get a full callsing and I often go with whatever I’ve managed to pick up. For instance:
ON4? UR 599 BK
Then ON4VT comes to me with his full callsign and report.
Then I repeat his full callsign to let him know I’ve got it correctly:
ON4VT QSL 73 TU
The QSO is finished and the pileup comes back again.
This is very efficient and no repeats or more overs than normal are needed.
73,

Guru

5 Likes

Hi Eric, I’m agree with you, I can receive 25 wpm. but I prefer sending about 19 or 20 wpm, but if someone calls me in QRS I try to repeat several times or reduced my speed, however sometimes some OM have called me in QRQ, even knowing that I’m operating at 20 wpm. and one of my craze is that never using earphones, because I love to hear the sound around me, which sometimes makes reception difficult for me, especially when there is a pilup.
72. EC7ZT. Manu.

1 Like

As a new Ham and CW op. I quickly realized that the way I was learning made it difficult to copy stations coming back to me. I took the advice to learn the code at a character speed of 20-25 wpm to prevent counting. I did this with farnsworth spacing to give some time to think/write. It worked great and I flew through LCWO.

When I got on the air, I quickly realized that hardly anyone sends with farnsworth and I had backed myself into a corner. I really could only copy at an effective speed of 10-15 wpm but I couldnt copy the code at that slow of a character speeds. I would set my MTR to 15 wpm, stations would come back at 15 wpm but because I learned the sound of the characters at a much faster 20-25 wpm speed, everything sounded different. Setting my rig at 20 wpm meant that stations would come back at an effective 20 wpm which because I learned via farnsworth, I couldnt keep up with. Sometimes a station would pick up on what was happening (after I messed up their call a few times) and would send with farnsworth spacing and I would copy 100%.

It was a weird place to be in for awhile. I’ve since worked to reduce the spacing and slow down the characters a bit and can now copy decently well at 15-17 wpm. The process is the fun part!

What I find harder than stations coming back a bit faster than me is stations using a straight key and sloppy sending. It is almost impossible for me to copy. Especially callsigns because they have usually picked up bad habits. Often they send their call sign in a “cute” way with inconsistent character and spacing lengths.

2 Likes

I think you mean stations wrongly using a straight key.
A straight key used correctly is just as perfectly readable as any electronic keyer.
73,

Guru

5 Likes

Of course which is why I said, “straight key and sloppy sending.” I’ve heard some brilliant straight keying on the air.

1 Like

Giles, you are right. There are some really sloppy senders out there, straight key or bug or keyer. It’s interesting, I have put a few CW copying programs on the computer to see if they can really read code.
I can copy many stations in my head that the computer can not read
either very well or at all. Changes in the dash and dot spacing, etc. really get the computer messed up! The computer will copy code like W1AW bulletins or code practice if the signal is strong, but not so good on regular QSOing stations.
We just had a QSO and your CW is fine.
73,John, K6YK

2 Likes

Yes, it’s a joy to listen to. I used to be very good 25 years ago when I passed my Morse test [the examiner even said so]. I put it down to learning by listening to machine-generated Morse [on cassette tapes - remember them?]. But after nearly two decades of using only iambic paddles has meant that I’m having to re-train to get the timing good again on the straight key.

That’s cos we each have the best thinking machine this side of the galaxy.

My brain can tolerate a diversity of CW fists and – after a few overs - don’t even notice the unique sound of cooties and one-valve [one-tube] Tx chirping.

The one thing I cope with poorly – whether sent with a straight key or paddles – is characters and words run together in a long stream. Doesn’t help my attempts at head copying.

2 Likes

So much this…
This is where I am right now, 9 months into my CW journey. I do not want to count!!!

73 Gary

RR and agree…
For myself I am only 16-20 CPM when I am activating - its convinient for me.
For chasing most 20-30 watts (from sailing ship with bad ant).
and - if I reply with YO ? means only stations with YO in the call etc…
Thanks all them they understand this !

After a bit listen to an activator its easy to recognize when he is ready for read a new call.
I make this often with 73 …
Its only important that you do this always in same way.

we should be patient and kindly together - on the world is others enough.
GL 73 Erich

2 Likes

The main thing is to do lots of listening. Hearing other sota qsos as they happen you can identify the main events, signal reports, GL, 73, SK etc. When it’s not your QSO, you can relax about whether you copy everything. Do it enough, and eventually you are copying everything.

Generally when operating sota I record the callsign and the reports in/out, the logging tablet does everything else. I have tried logging with the left hand while sending with the right and can do one letter at a time by stabbing at the tablet screen, it sometimes messes with the part of the brain controlling the sending, but the less I think about it, the easier it is. if that makes sense…

2 Likes