Sunday, November 29, 2015

My CQ WW CW contest overview.

The QRP setup
I had a great part time effort in the CQ WW CW contest, I was not concerned with score or putting in a major amount to time in the contest chair. The key goals in this contest was to see how my CW reading by ear was doing and when on the rig to stay with it for the time I committed too. The reading code by  ear was fine up to speeds in around 25 BUT with some stations they were flying at around 35-40 wpm and that is just to fast. My code reader MRP4066 handled the high speed code no problem this software is not free but I found it to be the best! I entered the contest as single op, QRP single band (15m) and I met the requirements as a "classic" operator  I added this overlay to my submission. My total QSO count was 33 a score of 3,128 points and 10 zones. At my QTH I did not hear the usual amount of European stations I have in the past. My operating time was during the day from late morning to until late afternoon. During the late morning I head mainly Caribbean, African and some European stations but not many. As the afternoon approached more South and Central American stations came it as Europe faded.
I did have some "Murphy" moments such as…….I was not able to get my MFJ mag loop to tune at all at the start of the contest. Very quickly I found it was a very loose PL-259 connected on the rear of the loop's control box. Then for some reason N1MM+ set my CQ zone as 5 and not 4 and I did not click into this until about 10 contacts into the contest. Finally on the K3 there is a "test" setting and I use it to check macros without transmitting. Then old age had me forget to turn off the test mode, this found me thinking I was calling stations but was transmitting 0 watts….. Now that's QRP!!
Since I am operating QRP and using small MFJ loop antenna on the balcony my operating style was as follows
- I Use my VFO B to save a strong DX station that at the time has a huge pileup going. This stops me from wasting time trying to break the pile. Better to come back when the crazy pileup is gone. This worked great when I came across a Senegal station.
- Even when a station is at an S2 level but is just calling and listening my 5 watts can and did many times make it through for a contact.
- I don't use a spotting network as I found most of these stations have a huge pileup but I do have an Elecraft P3.  Using some hardware and software my P3 is seen on a 19 inch monitor and I am able to point and click on signals. My K3 then moves to that signal this allows me to see the activity on the band and Search and pounce these stations.
- When possible stay with a band such as 15m were my MFJ loop does not need to be retuned at all across the whole CW portion.
- Stick with my 250hz Inrad 8 pole CW filter so I can get between tight signals and only hear the op I want to contact.
In my post I am going to go into detail about my software I am now using and finding to be great for contesting and general QSO's It's now time to grab some eats and relax.


  1. Hello Mike, doing single band only QRP I think is the best. You can concentrate on one band that way. I prefer that as well. You have a great score with only 33 QSOs! Did some QRP work as well on 40m. Discovered this morning I was still on 2,5W. 73, Bas

    1. Good evening bas, I found 15m to be a great band for the time I wanted to be on the air. Sure I could had tried 20m but it was very busy and really I was netting some good contacts on 15m. I bet that was an eye opener when you found out you we putting out only 2.5 watts…..but then again Bert would had been proud of you for dropping the power.
      Have a great week

  2. Hi Mike, I think a contest is good for testing the QRP capabilities. I am no contester myself. To busy on the band. But when the opposite side want a point, he will listen good. Sometimes a give a point so now and then in the contest. And yes Bas does have a very, very good antenna. I can't compete with him ;-) 73 Paul PC4T

    1. Good morning Paul, very nice to hear from you and I don't really compete in the contests just do it for fun.
      Have a great week.