Sunday, November 22, 2015

DX seems to operate in the fast lane

DX for new CW operators

How to copy those high speed ops?

EA8TL's Hexbeam in the Canary Islands
As a relatively new CW operator my copy skills are still relatively weak, especially at higher speeds.  DX stations seem to send their calls at 25wpm or faster so I often can't copy them without listening to them over and over and usually there are so many other stations working them that it gets confusing.

Well this morning I wasn't having much success getting an answer to my calls on 40m, and 20m seemed dead.  So I popped up to 17m and there was a good signal coming in that no one else was answering.  I listened over and over and finally copied EA8T (op name Jorge) located in the Canary islands off the coast of Africa.  I replied to him and worked him at my relatively slow 18wpm sending speed.  I wasn't very graceful in my response and he got my call wrong on the first go 'round but resent it correctly after that.  The entire time no-one else answered him even though there was plenty of activity elsewhere on 17m.  Are the Canary Islands considered blasé as far as DX?

Anyway I was happy to get the response.  I know (or surmise) that my 80m Windom has some fairly pronounced gain nodes in different directions on the higher bands but I didn't know which directions they pointed.  I guess one of the nodes points toward Africa (yaaay!)
Path from N4PBQ to EA8TL in the Canary Islands
My copy speed is slowly increasing as I've been operating CW for about 3 months now, but I wonder if there are DX stations on some segments of the band plan for slower speed operations.  I spent about 20 minutes sending my call at 18wpm down to 12wpm on the QRP segment of 17m (18.096 MHz) but no one answered.  I know I was getting out given the previous contact.
Do DX operators just not want to bother with newbies such as myself?  I wonder.  I'd appreciate suggestions in the comments section.
That's all for now

So lower your power and raise your expectations

Richard N4PBQ


  1. Not to resurrect a 5 year old blog post... But I have been wondering the same thing!

    1. Yep, my homebrew 80m Windom continues to be useful for higher bands, but it's certainly directional on those bands. If I make it to retirement age I hope to finally get a beam up in the air to get some variety to my DX.