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K8BZ

Joined: Sat, Apr 4th 1998, 00:00 Roles: N/A Moderates: N/A

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ARRL paper records to LOTW 0007102160H80 on 28/4/15
I received my current callsign in 1977 and kept a good paper log until about 2005 when I began computer logging and submitting to LoTW. I then used my spare time while waiting for a needed DX spot to enter all my previous QSO's over the previous 30 years from the paper logs into LoTW. At this time I have over 46,000 QSO's in LoTW resulting in nearly 19,000 confirmations.

It took about a year in my spare time to enter them all but it was worth the trouble. Besides the obvious benefit of getting confirmations that you may not have otherwise received there are many other good reasons for entering them all; such as:

1. Every now and then confirmations are received for very old QSO's when others have entered their old records also.

2. If something happens and your computer and backup electronic log crashes and the logs are lost, you can download your log from LoTW and import it into a new log. It's an excellent off site back up of your valuable log records. You won't get all the extra data you might enter in your electronic log, but you will get the most important info, call, date, time, band and mode, to restore a lost log.

3. Even though you may have received all the confirmations you may desire you will still he helping your fellow hams get the electronic confirmations that they want and need.

4. It will give you incentive to keep a complete and accurate log. I was very disappointed when the FCC eliminated most of the logging requirements. Keeping a complete and accurate log is not given the high priority it deserves. Far too many hams keep little or no log what so ever. I don't know what they would do if they received a QSL request from someone who needs their QSL for WAS, County Hunter awards, particular band and mode or whatever. If they just return a QSL copying the information on the card they received it cheapens the award programs for everyone. If you can't confirm that you made the contact you shouldn't return the QSL. Keep the awards and the operating achievements meaningful. Keep a complete and accurate log and use LoTW!
SOFTWARE KA0SMD on 4/9/14
Hello Guy:

I checked QRZ.com and see that you are a real Novice licensee. Congratulations on putting the time and effort into learning CW. By learning and using CW you have unlocked the door to an entire universe of ham radio possibilities that are beyond the capabilities of the codeless hams of today.

When it comes to copying CW with a software application the first description that comes to mind is that they are "all equally poor". Almost all CW you will find on the air is actually sent by hand. I include CW sent with a keyer using paddles as well as CW sent via a keyboard if the sender is not typing well ahead of the buffer. The reason CW software programs don't do well receiving CW is that they are very intolerant of minor timing inconsistencies with hand sent CW.

A CW software application trying to copy the oft heard phrase "BEST 73" sent by hand with minor timing flaws within the characters might correctly copy "DEIET ZE ST"

That being said, now I will say that I have tried various software application for copying CW and found most can only be rated fair to poor. The best I have found is using the CW mode in a Multi-mode Kantronics TNC and displaying the decoded CW in the terminal program of your choice. I have a Kam+ that I have had for a good 18 years or more and it actually does a pretty respectable job copying CW.

Just about any of the CW programs cnd send CW well.

Now I will say that the very best computer for copying CW is the one between your ears. It has built in error correction for timing issues, and has a lightning fast search engine that access an enormous data base of terms and phrases and make corrections on the fly. The grey matter computer gets faster and more efficient with use but does take some time to program. And in my humble opinion trying to find a short cut around investing the required time only takes more time.

If you are a touch typist who can type with all your fingers without looking at the keyboard, I encourage you to start practicing copying code by typing the characters. Open notepad or a similar application and practice typing slow CW by typing the characters. But keep your eyes on the display as you type and not the keyboard. Your brain will over time convert the sound directly into the required finger movement to type the correct key. At the same time you will be seeing and reading what you are receiving and can anticipate what the next word will be and can verify it as its being received. Your maximum code speed capability will more than double if you can learn to copy CW by typing. You can even close your eyes and concentrate on the sound and finger movements while typing and not have any idea what you copied until you are done and can go back and read it. It's good practice. The slow speed code practice audio files on the ARRL web site are an excellent tool for practicing this technique.

Well, I got way off topic, which is what I usually do when it comes to the topic of CW. Good luck and stick with it. It's worth the effort.

73, Steve/k8bz

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