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The frantic telegrapherIntroducing the XCW WW Challenge...

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XCW WW Challenge



The eXtreme CW World-Wide Challenge

28-29th October 2006


The objective of this event is to promote contacts between radio operators interested in improving their morse code skills when sending and receiving messages under difficult operating conditions.

Judging by the comments received, this new event continues to test the skill and patience of all those who take part!  The good news is that, unlike last year, there were no reports of would-be entrants going QRT when confronted by so many SSB intruders. 

I am pleased to report that I received 16 XCW logs this year - up from 7 logs received for the 2005 event.   I suppose a doubling of the number of entrants may not mean very much when you're starting from such a small base - but it does indicate a growing interest in this event which precipitated almost 200 QSOs on 40m CW that may not have otherwise taken place.

I am grateful to all those who helped to spread the word about XCW 2006.  I would like to make special mention of Alec YL3DX who worked very hard to translate the XCW details into the Russian language and make them available to the QRZ.RU team. 


This event is not about numbers of QSOs; multipliers; or run-rates.  It's about the people; their own particular operating conditions; and what they achieved.   I was pleased that so many of the entrants were keen to describe and to share their experiences.  Once again, all entrants submitted a list of the stations worked—even though this was not an entry requirement in either the 2005 or 2006 events.  

Some of the photographs in this report have been presented as 'thumbnails': just click on the thumbnails to view the full-size picture (then use your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page).

As was the case last year, I leave it to the participants to provide the commentary.  So let's hear what these outstanding CW operators made of XCW 2006. . .

Comments from Eddi, DK3UZ
"I h
ad hoped for a quieter band what with many countries now enjoying secondary allocations above 7100kHz, but QRM was as high as ever." 

Eddi was using an interesting line-up, comprising:
Transmitter: Drake 2-NT  (VFO-BU-DR-PA) with Hallicrafters HA-5 VFO, 5 watts output
Receiver: Drake 2-B
Keys: Hallicrafters HA-1 with Vibrokeyer paddle, Junker M.T.
Antenna: 80m Guywire Pyramid, fed via open-wire line and matched using a remotely controlled true symmetric coupler.

Eddi kindly provided a checklog in XCW 2005, and it is very nice to see Eddi in this report for XCW 2006!  And here is a picture of Eddi's fine Drake equipment and morse keys.



Comments from Martin, DL1GBZ
"Thank you very much for organising the XCW Contest.  As last year I took part from my holiday QTH in the Black Forest.  All observed patterns were similar to last year.  Since then 7100-7200 have been released as ham band in many European countries.  I suppose, however, this did by no means reduce the pressure on the CW sub-band.  Once more, during daytime the SSB contesters came down to 7030 while overnight they 'took over' the entire band leaving a small band of a few kHz to CW operators.  Very few participants made themselves known as XCW participants.  Likewise, I did call CQ (omitting XCW) as usual in order not to miss those who didn't know about the XCW event (which seem to be the bulk of my contacts).  QRM levels varied and were even partially caused by self-appointed 'police stations' trying to interrupt sub-band abusers.  Such attempts were useless, of course.

Let's wait and see whether the CQWW contest committee will disqualify some of the notorious sub-band abusers.  I really hope they do.  Otherwise their quest for fair play in the rules (CQWW contest) would have been defeated by an elbow spirit where anything is a allowed to get a few points more.  It seems the good ole' days are over when the not-yet-sub-band abusers just filled their logs with QSOs they never had without having to fear a Cabrillo checker detecting piles of "unique calls".

I do not believe that a renowned organization of excellence like CQ can have an interest to foster sub band abuse in such a drastic form, i.e. for hours and hours and several tens of kHz away from the bands. I am sure they would like to enforce fair play if they only knew what happened. Isn't it the task of the CW community to knock at their door?"


Comments from Gerald, G3MCK
"In the XCW event I used my old HRO, a classic CO/PA (6AG7/807) running about 25W input and a low inverted V dipole.  Most contacts were made with my ex-RAF Type D key but I also used my Marconi 365EZ key.   The rig is a classic ARRL design of the 1950s which I made specially for the event.  The station is very similar to that used by G3VA et al when he was with MI6 communications in WW2.  I bought a number of FT243 7025 Kc/s crystals and shifted them up and down to give me a lot of frequencies at the top end of the band.  During the day on Saturday I operated mostly on 7033 Kc/s as I was running modest power to try and give a barrier against the SSB lot.  However in the evening I has to admit defeat and move down somewhat.

Sunday saw no activity as I went to a fine rally in South Yorkshire, helped out on the VMARS stand and attended a good lecture on H2S."


Comments from John, G3NCN
"I tried 5 watts, but felt it inadequate to cope with the awful QRM.  A true trial of operating hardship.  I worked with a straight key all the time in early morning and mid evening for a total of nearly 7 hours in 4 shifts.  I loved straight keying but was glad to get back to the paddles again!

73 de John G3NCN."  And John has kindly supplied the following photographs (click the picture to enlarge).



Comments from Dave, G3YMC
"Just a little dabble while doing other things and giving away a few QSOs. Only 3 of the stations worked were actually taking part in the contest but there was quite a lot of CW activity from DL land and elsewhere and an OK contest (I think) on Sunday morning."

Dave was running 5 watts from an Elecraft K2 to a long wire antenna.


Comments from Tom, K3TW
"QRM from SSB stations was heavy at times, but I did manage a few QSOs.  Many thanks for a fun event, and I'll see you again next year."  


Comments from Serge, RA3XCW
"Dear friends!
It was a big pleasure to participate in "own" contest  - HI.   Of course RA3XCW is not special call  :-)  it only means Russia (RA) - Kaluga region (3X) - carrier wave (CW).

Unfortunately SSB stations decided to work these days in CW parts of bands. 

So I remember these days and restore them in my mind.  We (Russian) usually say:
'We are not afraid of troubles, we let troubles be afraid of us.'
And this is true accordingly to The eXtreme CW World-Wide Challenge and especially while working QRP.


The pictures show my equipment: hand key (it belongs to me since 1968); power supply unit rebuilt from PC AT computer PSU; and FT-920 (fragment which shows my RF power setting).
I hope next time there will be more participants and better conditions.
73! Serge RA3XCW"

Comments from Natali, RV3ADL
Hello Steve
My rig:   Yaesu FT-817      Power: 5 w      Antennas: Delta Loop and Inverted V
Good luck
My 73 !!
Natali, RV3ADL


Comments from Vlad, RV9CQ/A
When I received these pictures from Vlad, I had originally misread the thermometer in the pictures as -40 degrees C. But Vlad corrected me to say that the inside and outside temperature was actually just above 10 degrees C.   Of course that is still very cold, and certainly counts as eXtreme CW operating conditions!



Comments from Larry, UA4LS
Larry submitted a perfect hand written log and describes his use of a straight key and paper log for this event.  Larry was very active and I was pleased to make two QSOs with him.  Larry also had QSOs with XCW operators Dave G3YMC; RW3AI; Serge RA3XCW; Alec YL3DX;


Comments from Alec, YL3DX
"This year XCW WW party I have 49 QSO (48 points because I had two QSOs with GW4ALG).  Two extreme operating conditions were the same as last year:
1.  lots of CQ calls without any answer;
2.  heavy QRM from SSB stations in CW part of band.

The third extreme condition happened when, on Saturday,  I decided to go to my village house not far from Riga (10 km) . . .
3.  There was a big storm on Friday-Sunday with the wind speed in peaks up to 28m/sec. So when I came to village, I found that my vertical R-7000+ (with mast about 23m) looks like huge fishing rod when you try to pull in a big fish from the water (see foto). The upper guy-wire was broken and it took about 2 hours to repair the vertical to its normal position. 


I was ready to start operation when I realised that I now had a fourth extreme condition. . .
4.  I had forgotten my reading-writing eye-glasses at home in Riga, so it was very uncomfortably for me to keep paper log.  

Now some remarks about XCW party.  My second QSO was with radio station with very nice "special" XCW call: RA3XCW ! My congratulations to Serge from Obninsk! 

My longest QSO was with G3NCN when I tried to receive the control number 46950W from John.  It took about 10 minutes because of SSB QRM.  With two guys I had QSOs in last year party also: G3YMC and G3NCN.   I think that there were not enough information about XCW party.   It is necessary to ask to put the next year rules to the most popular sites with contest information as SM3CER, DARC Contest-Kalendar and etc.  In my opinion the XCW WW Challenge has the right to live."



I have enjoyed reading the above comments, and I very much hope that you have too. 

Let us congratulate all those who took part.  Where appropriate, certificates have been awarded to recognise the determination and fine operating skills of those who contributed to XCW 2006.

Thank you to all who took part—especially to those who submitted pictures and/or other details of their XCW operation. 


SECTION: Single Operator, QRP (listed in callsign order)

Callsign  QSOs Score Notes
DK3UZ 11 11 Certificate awarded
G3YMC 5 3 Certificate awarded
RA3XCW 5 5 Certificate awarded
RV3ADL 1 1 Certificate awarded
RW3AI 4 4 Certificate awarded

SECTION: Single Operator, Low Power (listed in callsign order)

Callsign  QSOs Score Notes
DL1GBZ 47 47 Certificate awarded
DL2NBY 1 1 Certificate awarded
EW2EG 1 1 Certificate awarded
G3MCK 19 19 Certificate awarded
G3NCN 4 4 Certificate awarded
OH7QR 1 1 Certificate awarded
RV3MR 3 3 Certificate awarded
RV9CQ/A 10 10 Certificate awarded
UA4LS 15 14 Certificate awarded
YL3DX 49 48 Certificate awarded

Checklog received: GW4ALG.


SECTION: Single Operator, High Power

Callsign  QSOs Score Notes
K3TW 6 6 Certificate awarded



I enjoyed organising the XCW events in 2005 and 2006, but I have now decided to dismantle my amateur radio station and go QRT.    If anyone would like to organise and manage the XCW event in 2007, I would be grateful if they could contact me as soon as possible. 


Steve Rawlings, GW4ALG
Organiser, XCW World-Wide Challenge, 2005/2006