Megan (jehoshabeath) wrote,

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CW Contest Practice

This is my new favorite thing :)

It's a program that simulates a CW contest! Details are

The program let's you simulate running a frequency. See the buttons in the lower left? Those are the function buttons - they send the code that your keyer or computer would send over the air.

1 CQ: your call for any station to come in
2 #: Sends your signal report and number
3 TU: Thank-you!
4 my callsign
5 his/her callsign
6 B4: we already contacted each other before!
7 ?: sends a question mark. Say again?

I learned today that if you actually know what you are doing, all you need from that list is the F1 key. When the station answers your CQ and you type in his call sign in the textbox and hit enter, it will send his call and the signal report. If you only recorded part of his call, he will finish or correct it for you. So a contact might go like this:

hit 'F1' and the program sends: CQ KB3RGW Test
I hear a calling station! AA3B
I type in AA3B and hit 'enter' and the program sends: AA3B 599 027
AA3B responds: 599 001
The program has filled in the 599 since that's a standard value, and then I enter 001 and hit 'enter'. The program sends: TU

TU cues AA3B that he can log the contact and also cues waiting stations that they may now call me and it starts again! The log records all the information. The red NR means I logged it wrong. Oops. K0VM, I knew it was 3, but my finger hit 2...

The program keeps track of the score, time, pace, and number of people trying to call you at a given time. I didn't realize that there would be pile ups, so when I got one, I nearly fell off my chair laughing in surprise. By the time they finally hushed, I had recovered and was looking for an appropriate response among the function keys... But suddenly all of the stations started calling me again at the same time. Guys, guys, hold up! Where's the pause button?! Ah! It was a blast :P

You can also change band conditions and add interference to simulate the real experience. The stations that call in have all sorts of call signs and varying signal strength and speeds. Some are super slow and some are really quick. Some ask you to repeat things. Others leave the frequency if you take too long to get their info. Hey, come back! Be patient with a new ham, will ya?

It is very realistic. I sometimes forget that it isn't real... This is definitely the most fun I have had practicing my code :) I may be slow at it now, but just give me a few more weeks! By then, I'll be ready for some S&P (search and pounce) on the air!

I offer my thanks to Alex VE3NEA for Morse Runner. It's an amazing work of programming!
Tags: cw, pictures, technology

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