Saturday, October 24, 2009

QRP Sprints and code speed

The big topic of discussion on the QRP reflectors today seems to be about code speed during CW contests. Some are speed demons and some are slower. The two groups seem to be diametrically opposed.

The speed demons don't want to slow down for the slower ops; and the slower ops seem to resent the ability of the higher speed ops.

Which leads to the interesting topic of sending QRS during a contest. In all the QRP Sprints and other CW contests that I have participated in, I cannot for the life of me, ever recall being asked to QRS. It is my natural tendency; and it is almost a reflex type of action to slow down to match any operator who might call me during a contest. For example, if I'm in a QRP-ARCI Sprint, sitting on a frequency calling "CQ QRP de W2LJ" at 20+ WPM; and someone comes back to me at 15 WPM, sure enough, I'll slow down to 15 WPM.

It just occurred to me though ..... since I have not been asked to QRS, am I in reality doing them a disservice? Is this someone's attempt to get used to working a higher speed station? Am I thwarting someone's attempt to improve their CW skills and abilities?

Hmmmmm ..... food for thought.

73 de Larry W2LJ


  1. I don't ask contest stations to QRS. If I hear someone sending so fast I just can't copy them at all, I won't bother to call them. Otherwise I may listen while they make a couple of contacts until I get their call and hear what exchanges they are giving out before I call them. But I'm working S&P.

    I think the issue with fast sending is when people reply to a CQ faster than the station is sending. It is an obstacle to contest groups putting keen but new CW operators on the key and letting them participate, because then you're expected to copy who is calling after one call.

    Some keen competitors seem to think that the split seconds saved by sending faster and even speeding up "5NN" to machine gun rate gains vital points. I just wonder. How many points are lost through mis-copies, or contacts lost completely, that would have been made if they had been sending a bit slower?

  2. Hello Larry, I try to adept to the opposite station. Too fast (more than 25 wpm) I can't take all. Too slow (14 wpm or slower) is also difficult because I am used to 20-23 wpm. When I really want a DX station with high speed I use my computerized keyer. Hi. 73, Paul PC4T