Let me get this out of the way…I appreciate everyone who chased me today. Today wasn’t a total waste just because my first attempt at a SOTA Activation using morse was a disaster. I still got a point today which means 998 to go before MG.
That said the Morse code attempt AAR here everyone is going to get some dispersion including myself but we will get to that.
-The Midstate Trail is actually really well marked and maintained. I didn’t really start to feel the altitude changes until I had a half mile to go
-The Black Diamond Pro Shock Trail Trekking Poles worked amazing. Going uphill was effortless once you get into a rhythm. Thanks guys for suggesting these!
-The Summit is relatively comfortable to sit on and the wind gusts weren’t too bad. The view is great.
-The Chameleon Emcomm III Portable was a relatively quick setup in the slope configuration (Tie the end to the top of the SOTABEAMS Travel Mast, tie Mast to trees at 2 points and then connect antenna)
-It was great to work some legendary Chasers again: W0MNA, and his XYL aka W0ERI, and WA2USA
-People despite totally not wearing masks (It’s the law now here in Massachusetts) or exhibiting any form of social distancing were at least polite
-I was dressed appropriately for the summit (Bayern Munich “Mein Heim Mein Frein” T Shirt with Bavarian Mountains on it, Eddie Bauer Insulated Guide Pants and Winter Coat; plus my Pelagic facemask with surgical masks underneath while wearing my KC1MIJ cap and Cabela’s All Terrain Shoes). I was roasting on the way down but that’s an easier fix than being freezing.
-Asked one person on CW to send me a dot and they actually did it before disappearing
-Could send full sentences and was more comfortable sending a CQ
-It took about 70 minutes in order to get to the summit due to parts of the Midstate trail not being well marker resulting in some detours
-Seriously? No social distancing or at least a mask? The last one is literally no effort at all
-Some of the chasers were shouting over people still in QSO. Not nice that whole contester crap but it seems like there is a ton of people not operating under the operator ethics guidelines or just plain courtesy lately.
-Lots of QRM on the bands today. 20M SSB had a lot of wind and static. 20M CW and 40M sounded underwater on my Yaesu FT-891 and my Heil BM17DIC headset
THE MORSE ATTEMPT
I am currently in the CWAcademy Beginner class and just finished my fourth week. I was cramming to learn the rest of the morse I would need. In the end, it didn’t matter.
MORSE AAR (AFTER ACTION REVIEW):
I didn’t get a single QSO and not one person actually slowed down to the exaggerated spacing despite sending QRS constantly on air and in alerts. I even spelt the word S–L--O–W and even Slower than Slow using my morse but it was in one ear and out of the other. I seemed to attract people who apparently can only send at machine gun staccato. It was I’m sure frustrating to both of us but I went out of my way to show how slow I was. I practically hit them over the head with it.
But it seemed their attitude was “This is my speed and deal with it.” News flash: When you are sending me a continuous strings of dots and an occasional dash…I have no idea what you are sending. I’m sure they got frustrated because I was so slow (Aren’t Chasers supposed to operate at the speed of the Activator? I don’t mean to pull rank but wtf?) and why isn’t he getting it. But I made every contingency to make this an easy chase. I posted in the Facebook group explaining this was my first CW Activation and I needed to have morse sent super slow. I put it in my alert and every spot. I begged people to send not at like 700 words per second. No avail.
As for why I had to ask someone to send me a dot, I couldn’t tell due to all of the QRM on my side whether they were sending a dash or not. Yes, it was that bad but not that person’s fault btw.
I was on 14.090 and 7.010 MHz for the curious.
- Find the places on the bands where slow beginner CW Operators can send code and not be expected to send high speed telegraphy
- Need to be more adamant that people send me super slow CW. I didn’t push back hard enough until it was too late
- Get much better at copying high speed morse since it may be that no one will want to slow down
- Find out why my antenna and radio sound like I’m underwater at times.
- Pack less food and drinks. I had a trail mix and a red bull leftover
- Get into better shape so that the altitude changes don’t affect my asthma as much.