As I noted in yesterday's post this past weekend was the July running of the Week End Sprint held by the Straight Key Century Club I was looking forward to this event because lately It seems my code copying skills have reached the highest level since I became a CW operator nearly two years ago. I'm sure the craziness of Field Day a couple of weeks ago had something to do with it. I have also been making a conscious effort to practice head copy. This means translating the dots and dashes of Morse Code in your mind without writing the characters down on paper. I still have a long way to go but I have started to notice the ability developing. I have my code practice software set at 30 wpm and while doing office work during the day I routinely hear three or more hours of random text or simulated QSOs (radio contacts) playing in the background. This speed is too fast to keep up with pencil and paper so I am more or less forced to decipher the code on the fly. The best way I can think to describe this process is like those red LED sign boxes that show the text flowing from the right to the left before disappearing. I hear the code characters and assemble them on my mental chalkboard. Sometimes half way through a word I am pretty sure of what the whole word is and the last few characters provide the confirmation. I still use paper when engaged in actual radio contacts while running around 17 to 20 wpm but now I can look away to adjust a setting on the rig or open my logbook and continue to follow the message without totally falling off the wagon. Becoming proficient with Morse Code has been quite an adventure and now I am starting to reap the rewards of my efforts. The old adage "You get out what you put into it" really rings true with the Code.
Going into this sprint with enthusiasm and a positive mindset I posted my highest QSO count of any sprint since I started contesting last year.
Total QSOs: 35
States/ Provinces/ Countries worked: MA, NC, FL, MO, MD, IL, NJ, WI, NY, AL, NV, VA, KY, PA, OH, MI, AZ, GA and Ontario Canada.
There may be some scores not yet posted but as of tonight my ranking stands at 15th out of 57 operators in the greater than 5w to 100watt category. So needless to say I am feeling pretty happy with myself.
In other news...
Something that doesn't happen too often at KD8JHJ: I have added a new DX country to my list. On Friday evening I was relaxing and watching some PSK-31 on the 30 meter band. I noticed a strange looking call sign (SV1BDO/3) calling CQ. Nobody answered so I threw my call out and to my surprise established contact with Sotiris, SV1BDO/3 located near Athens, Greece about 5,300 miles away. I actually had to crack open the world atlas to see exactly where Greece was. Not rare dx by any means but a new one in my log so all in all a great weekend in amateur radio at KD8JHJ.