Thursday, October 20, 2011


N4RLD, Rick
Thursday morning I had the pleasure of working N4RLD, Rick, in GA, during my semi-regular morning radio operation.  He was in QSO with another fella who's call I forget on 40m going at a good 30+ wpm.  Over the past 6 months or so, I have been on a quest to increase my code speed to what I consider "mastery" levels with the ultimate goal at 40 wpm.  My morning sessions, while often foggy and filled with mistakes, have helped a lot in achieving the progress I have made so far.  I am fairly comfortable at 30 wpm with short simple exchanges, but when we go into the ragchew mode, it gets a bit more hairy.  I need more practice. 

This is where I get kind of stuck.  I operate QRP.  Most low power ops do not do high speed CW.  I don't know why but that is the way it is.  I would say the average QRP CW speed is about 20 wpm.  Nothing wrong with that, but that is not going to help me get to 40.  Don't get me wrong, I love working other QRP ops and always send at the speed needed to make the contact.  So my dilemma is finding other like minded ops to practice with.  I probably call CQ about 100 times in a day, just look me up on the reverse beacon network.  I'm on the radio a lot.  But for some reason, when I go into the Extra class portion of the band, set the memory keyer to call CQ at 30wpm, nobody comes back.  I suspect it is the low power sticking me here.

The following is mearly a hypothoses and may not be rooted in any truth:

QRQ guys use high power (see above).  QRQ guys are used to listening to other high power QRQ stations.  The end result: a weak QRQ station is too hard to copy so they don't try. 

So what do we do about this?  Turn up the power?  I'd rather not.  QRP is something I am very proud of (maybe too much!)  but maybe that is the answer.  I don't know.  Can QRP and QRQ not co-exist?  Hopefully some folks will have some suggestions and can add some comments.  Anybody? 

73 W0EA


  1. I agree with you Tom. For weak signals, copyability increases at moderate and slow speeds. I think that as a result, QRP'ers who work mainly other QRP'ers tend to hear only QRS signals, so don't feel the need to increase their speed.

    I'm comfortable at 17wpm and can do short bursts at higher speeds, but not for long. I applaud your efforts to improve your speed.

    One thing that I think is really great about CW is that nearly always, when you hear a station running several hundred watts or more and/or with first-rate antennas, they are also skilled ops. That correlation doesn't seem to exist to anywhere near the same degree on sideband.

    Personally, I want my CW operation to be as good as possible, and that definition can certainly include high power if my amateur career takes me in that direction. I would most definitely consider it if I were you Tom.


  2. Tom,

    As Dave said, QRP signals are always weak and vunerable to QRN at reception side. The dots could be buried in the static noise, as you know. That is the reason why QRP operators do QRS, I guess. The same case occurs on the lower bands Dxing even with QRO because of the higher level of QRN.

    Anyway, in CW communication, reception ability is much more important than transmission. You may train reception ability with listening the others' QSOs in QRQ. We used to just listen the great CW operators chatting in QRQ in our beginner days. It is not so exciting. But it is the best way to learn QRQ. When you get acquainted with them later, you could be quite close to them like old friends. You may not be very happy to be advised this way but I recommend you to stay being a SWL. It will help you to be more proficient with QRQ and CW communication itself.

    When the condition is good, you may ask QRO guys to go QRQ. But remember it is always tough for those big guns to copy QRP signals. I am sure QRP operation requires very sophisticated sense in QSO. You should consider how your signal is heard by the other guy and operate in most efficient and copiable way.

    See you on the air. I may go QRQ anytime!

    Shin Onisawa


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