May 5th – 2019 – 7QP QSO Party

Yesterday was the 7QP QSO party and it was a great time (no time like the present) to get my feet wet with contesting in CW mode.

I spent the day off and on (it was a Saturday so I had my fair share of chores to do) at the radio listening to the exchanges on CW and operating in “hunt and pounce” mode. I was using my Yaesu FTDX-3000D, SDRPlay2 running SDRuno on my Windows 10 system along with CWDecoder software and my MFJ-564B Iambic paddle.

The benefit of doing hunt and pounce was that it didn’t really matter that the other operator was sending CW way faster than I could practically decode in a rag chew. All I had to do was listen in advance and take my time to decode their call sign and their exchange (in this contest the exchange was either their state’s abbreviation, or if they were in a 7 state, it would be their state and county abbreviation. And since these abbreviations are in my N3FJP contest log I could figure it out even if they were trucking along fast at 27+wpm. I did have the CW decoder running but I tried to only look at the decode to validate or double check what I was hearing.

For hunt and pounce it really is nice to have an SDR running to bounce around and find where you are going to pounce. I’m really happy with my setup of the FTDX-3000D IF connection fed to the SDRPlay2 and SDRuno running. It really is a great way to “interact” with the band. I highly recommend it.

Not quite ready for calling CQ during a contest since my decode skills just aren’t there yet, but for hunt and pounce, I feel like I can now hold my own.

The MFJ paddle has a nice heavy base so it stays put even when I am heavy handed 😉