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How do I contact W1AW/4 on CW and RTTY?

Nov 22nd 2014, 16:16


Joined: Aug 2nd 2010, 03:37
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I've just rebuilt my station and interfaced the Kenwood to the computer via HRD software. Up until now, I've been a casual HF user, doing mostly SSB and 10M FM contacts & ragchewing. Now though, I would like to explore the digital modes, learn contesting, and be a bit more active. Unfortunately there is a bit of a learning curve, especially when it comes to CW and RTTY.

I've searched online for some answers, but though I can find massive amounts of technical operation about CW / RTTY / AFSK, etc. there is not much information about how to communicate once you DO get the hardware sorted out.

Specifically, my two immediate problems is how to communicate on CW and RTTY. My case in point is how to log a successful QSO with W1AW/4 on both CW and RTTY.

I head this on the radio today:

Though I tried to answer, I got no response. I assume it is because the W1AW/4 station is listening on a different frequency, but I cannot seem to discover which one it is; whether it's 500 Hz, 1Khz, or something else, I just can't find it. I saw W1AW transmitting some responses, that listed other station callsigns, followed by a series of 5NN, FL and other characters, but I don't know what these mean. Is there some sort of primer that I can use that discusses operations protocols for conducting successful CW QSOs ?

I ran into the same exact issue when trying to QSO via RTTY: The W1AW/4 station was transmitting, but whenever I returned my call, I got no response. Am I supposed to run a split frequency on my tranceiver, with a different receive / transmit frequency pairing? What is the standard split?

I'm pretty sure my rig is working, as just a few Khz up, I successfully conducted a QSO with a station in Romania. At least, I think I did, anyway. Their response was something on the order of:
NE8K 59 NNY 73 , and that was it. Are CW contacts always this brief? What sort of essential information am I supposed to relay when conducting a CW contact?

Any help would be appreciated.

Nov 24th 2014, 19:19


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Many of the W1AW/p stations use a 1 kHz split on CW and RTTY. This is only approximate--if there are a lot of stations calling it is common for operators to tune around a little and respond to frequency a little up or down from that. A few operators use a wide filter and go back to anyone they can pull out of the pile. If the pileup is large the operator may specify a different frequency split or a range of frequencies.

Often, it helps to listen a bit and tune in the stations he is answering. A highly skilled operator can copy multiple signals at once. There are also programs that can copy multiple signals.

Zack W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer

Zack W1VT

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