SM2CEW: "HSMS CW is so much fun"Date: Thu, 4 Sep 1997 21:17:02 +0200 (MET DST) To: "Shelby Ennis, W8WN"
From: Peter Sundberg, SM2CEW Hi Shelby! Thank's for your informative letter and I'm glad the discussion is is held up and that some "pioneering" is done over there with HSCW. It appears that some operators key their rigs (at slower speeds) through the regular key jack, while others key an audio tone that is fed into the mike jack. So here's the first question - If I make a sked with someone, say, on 144.100 and he is keying by using the key jack, he would probably set his transmitter on 144.100. But if I then make a sked with another station on 144.100 who is keying an audio tone at 2000 Hz, would he likely set his rig on 144.100, would he offset it about 2 kHz, or what? This may be an obvious thing for you fellows, but it has caused confusion here. MS is treated as ordinary cw, hence the frequency given is for a sked is the frequency one would tune for an ordinary cw qso. Therefore the guy's keying via a tone adjust their frequency so that they show up on the right frequency, in your example they would offset 2 kHz to be right. I use ordinary keing here, I have modified the IC211E to tx 1200 lpm with good shape cw. The European system is able to send a couple of letters and request a repeat of something that has been missed. Is this used much? How well does it work? I have used this a lot, it works well when there are experienced operators at the other end, many qso's have been completed because I have been able to get the other guy to send what I needed to get, or I have been advised to do so. I think however that it is not used very much during the showers as reflections are so good then. Watching the list of stations worked during non-shower periods is quite amazing to us. What are the most common schedule times, etc? 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or what? What periods are most usually used - 1 minute, 2.5 minutes, or something else? Shedules are normally 60 minutes, 2.5 minute periods. HSCW really make it possible to complete qso's any time any day if the distance is within reason. What about CQ frequencies? How many "standard" CQ frequencies are there? Or do different stations put out information that they will call CQ on a particular frequency, or what? Is much operation done on 5 kHz spacing, or is it spread over various frequencies? CQ is always centered around 144.100, when acitvity is low the fq is 144.100 + or - 1 and the whole qso is completed on the CQ frequency. This does not work if activity is high, then the CQ F or whatever is used to QSY for the qso. Are there stations on calling HS CW CQs most mornings? Evenings? Calling CQ on 144.100 in the weekends most always results in a reply, best times are in the morning, activity seems to be highest then. It was pretty amazing when I was testing my amp into a small antenna on an afternoon in mid July, I called CQ for 2.5 minutes, never listened, the next day two people in central Europe came on 20 and told me they had replied to my CQ on 144.100 the day before !!! They were wondering why I didn't reply! I couldn't believe it... It appears that 1000 lpm to 2500 lpm are the most common. Are higher speeds used much for skeds? Higher speeds are used for skeds as more people move away from tape recorders to decode the cw. Random is mostly between 1000-1500 lpm as there still are a LOT of people using taperecorders, including myself. The DTR or a computer with a sound board is not at all every mans property, especially in the eastern parts of Eu. We have stayed with the old "S" (burst length) system over here, while you are using a 2-number length and strength system. Some over here think we should exchange grid squares instead, since some contests already require them. Has there been any discussion over there on this? I have heard no discussion about changing our system. We're sure that different people have very different opinions on many of these things. There is probably no absolutely "best" way; but some methods are probably better than others. Any suggestions or comments you and others could make for us would be appreciated. I think that the HSCW is indeed the way to go to really enjoy MS. People say that they are wasting time listening to a 20 second burst on cw in a 2.5 minute period, this is true, but most reflections we get are 0.3 - 1.5 seconds long, a few of these and you have a qso! This makes it possible to qso every day any time if the distance is not too long and the equipment is fair. We only have a few showers and these showers favor a particular direction only a short time, it is not easy to make qso's then, expecting 10 second bursts to make a complete qso. In a good shower I turn to SSB and 15 second breaks or less, of course. But difficult ones, HSCW for sure! Establish a CQ frequency, even make qso's there if activity is low, promote people to listen to this frequency as much as possible. If you call CQ and then qsy to another frequency for the qso people that are listening will have big trouble hearing what is going on and the activity frequency will go dead again for long periods. All the qsy stuff can be dealth with later when acitivty is very high, now we want to make noise! Expeditions that run HSCW are attracting a LOT of interest, try to find a rare square and run HSCW only from there. Problem is that too much equipment is needed if you use the computer to generate/decode cw. Modified small taperecorders are excellent for portable use if cw speed is around 1000 lpm. I have made many expeditions using my memory keyer, a tape recorder, 100W and a single 7 el beam from my car. The interest in working the squares has been very high and no one cares if there is no shower or they get a sked in the middle of the afternoon, it works anyway in most cases. I also find that I can decode far better on really weak bursts with my taperecorder than with the 9a4gl or other software. This was also mentioned by F6DRO once after he got the DTR and started to use it on HSCW. The computer decoding is not giving as good audio quality as a taperecorder can give when the speed is slowed down. I used the 9a4gl for a while during the Perseids, then went back to my taperecorder and used that through the rest of the shower. Old fashioned, yes maybe, but I wanted to be sure I was doing my very best.... Hi! Made some excellent 2200 km qso's this year. That's it for now Shelby, let's stay in touch for future exchange of thoughts and hints on this very interesting subject. HSCW MS is so much fun, I have made many thousands of qso's and to me it is a little like fishing, sometime you catch a big one, sometimes there are only small fish in the lake and sometimes the lake is empty. Ping! Peter/SM2CEW Thanks & 73, Shelby, W8WN
Comments: Rein, W6/PA0ZN