Monday, October 17, 2011

Feld Hell Sprint -- Oct 15, 2011 -- A.R.S. W8MDE

I had fun this weekend participating in the Feld Hell Sprint on amateur radio.  Feld Hell or Hellschreiber as it was originally known is my favorite digital mode.  I love the primitive appearance of the type as it scrolls out on the monitor and the peculiar sound of the incoming signals.  I wrote a post about the history of this fascinating mode and it's inventor here.

Actual screen captures would have looked better on the blog but it was easier to just snap quick pictures with the point and shoot as I made contacts during the sprint.  I thought this would make a good illustration of how the Feld Hell Sprint works.  The contest exchange is simple and quick.  Operators transmit a signal report, club member number, State/Country and grid locator.  The goal is to make the most contacts in a 2 hour period.

Randy, K7AGE produced a great video on YouTube explaining Hellschreiber and shows the mode in action. Link here.  Randy's videos inspired me to get into the digital modes on high frequency amateur radio.  I highly recommend checking them out.

K3QIA -  Berwick, PA

K3TXT - Edgewater, MD

W8MDE calling CQ and getting a bite

A nice 5 watt signal from K4RCH/QRP in Culpeper, VA

N8EWX - Hilliard, OH

KJ8O - Troy, MI

N9YDZ/ Mobile in Missouri not quite 599 but perfectly readable.

KD8GNC - Columbus, OH

Post Sprint QSO between KJ8O and KD8GNC 
Solid copy - TG9AHM Guatemala City

I received excellent copy from Emmanuel, TG9AHM in Guatemala on 15 meters but try as I might I could not reach him.


  1. I must say I cannot interpret that output!

  2. recumbent conspiracy theoristOctober 19, 2011 at 7:11 AM

    Hi Ben, Yes it may look like secret code to the uninitiated. I'll do my best to explain it a little better.

    In ham radio we use alot of abbreviations. This practice has began back in the wire telegraph days when data was entered into the system one character at a time. Obviously the shorter the message the better. For example:

    K = "Go ahead"
    BK or BTU = "Back to you" or "over"
    TNX or TU = "Thanks" "thank you"
    GL = "Good luck"
    73 = "Best Regards"
    DE = "This is" or from
    ES = "and"

    Some common "Q-Codes" often seen. The Q-Codes also originated from the telegraph era and later adopted by radio operators.

    QTH My location is
    QTH? What is your Location?
    QRP Low power -generally means 5 watts output.
    QSL I copy your message
    QSL? Did you copy my message?
    CQ "calling any station"

    Just like modern day text messaging we shorten words like "your" to "ur". After use the lingo becomes second nature and we know what the other guy is saying.

  3. recumbent conspiracy theoristOctober 19, 2011 at 7:26 AM

    The RST 599 is a signal report. R = Readability on a scale of 1 to 5 to express how well you can copy the incoming signal.

    S = Signal Strength 1 to 9 scale.

    T = Tone. Tone is also a carry over from the early days of radio when a transmitter was tube driven and the signal quality could deviate large amounts. Today we just add a 9 to the end out of tradition.

    The funny thing with RST in contesting is that operators just send 599 regardless of how the incoming signal sounds at their end. While making random contacts on the air we do try to accurately evaluate the other's signal and pass that info back to the other station.