I'm still alive :-)

Thanks to my CW companiera Italiana for bringing me back to training.
I dedicate the above attempt to my CW friend Helga, a great CW lover and HST aficionada.
She will soon score like this as well (and kick some ass) because she's a real CW Contessa smokin' the pileups in the weekends :-))
Go Helga, go !!!!!

Abrazzo grande meine Helga from sunshiny SV xoxo
(it's Friday tomorrow !  Time to practice agn roundouts and flares here :-))

Summer update for springtime, CW-wise :-)

Scored decently good, considering that I wasn't into HST training mode. Was doing only CW Freak runs every second day, as well as many incomplete MR WPX runs (incomplete because it has been quite hard to have a whole hour uninterrupted).

The cup above is from the Germany Telegraphy Cup, which was held on 20th April. Detailed results can be found here. Very happy for my MR score, which came almost effortlessly. It seems that I can finally get at official competitions similar scores like those at home, when relaxed.

For my MR performance, I have a real debt to a Balkano brother, who's a MR wizard. Of course, when it comes to real RF, he's no different; he's smashing the pileups, working them with a precise clock-like steady tempo. Heartfelt thank you Balkano bro, also from here, in public.

being stubborn makes good CW scores

I hadn't done anything special, my all-around score was up, as usual.
But someone else, made a new score :-)) 
It took me at least one hour, with many incomplete attempts and that was it.
Okay, I didn't score as good, but damn, I'm getting close ! :-P

Current month's results are here and in the unlikely case scenario you don't already have CW Freak in your PC, click here.
Thank you !

New CW Freak !!

Was very happy to find out today that a brand new version of CW Freak is out !

Click here to download it: http://www.ji0vwl.com/cw_freak_net_e.html

It implements a brand new interesting competition (monthly, yearly, all-time) as well as better, more flexible training modes with quite a few variables and it's operational under Windows 7 & 8.
Something else that I really, really liked is that Freak has built-in progress graphs something that is also feasible with rufzXP but on an external website (dxwatch.com) by uploading .csv files.

I still find rufzXP's sound better though (but this is all about personal tastes I guess), however I really enjoy CW Freak's monthly competition, something that rufzXP doesn't have.

This might be a nice trigger to get somehow back to my CW training which I lately left behind, due to other nice things I'm busy with when time permits; I discovered ice-skating and I also got back into sketching (thinking of a new CW sketch lately..) Sometimes I bake too, to load up with carbs :-))

Some Valentine's day romance...!

let me contribute to the aesthetics of the day, with 3 pics from my hiking/radio photo-albums :-)) ...

..with romantically involved couples:

..with deeply involved couples:

..with couple three's (SV7DLF squeezed by SV7DLM and me):

..with some objects of affection and love (front to back: the current belarussian HST key, two Begali HST models and a historical HST key from Belarus with which Larysa Barysenka EU7KT made lots of records !):

..and with one of the most famous (and passionate) kisses in sports, the one that the Czech javelin thrower Dana Zátopková blew to her husband -the "Czech Locomotive"- Emil Zátopek after he finished and won the marathon in 1952 Olympics - making a total of three gold medals during those Olympic Games:

Before closing, some wild love: The "Fatal Attraction" chess game, played a century ago by Edward Lasker, with a deadly trap and an impressive, forced end.

Okay enuff with romances, now get back to your CW training !!

(what ?  The pictures are not 3 ?! You counted them ?  :-)))

Freakin' fun !!!

.. with my new callsign, DM8YL. A rare case, that I managed to be ahead of my CW-companiera, Helga IN3FHE. Most of the times she's beating me for a small or bigger margin and this keeps me fit, trying to reach her score. If I do, a kind soul in northern Italy, does the same. It's never boring with Helga !!
But since it happens once in a zillion for a CW-machine to shoot-off three callsigns in a row (at the end, at those fast-shot calls with the most points !) that you are already aware of (and it's more half-copying-half-guessing rather than real-copying) I am sure that from the next month on, I will be struggling to overtake Helga, without success, as usual :-D  Abrazzo grande Helga !!!

The next HST event I plan to join is the "big one" at Bulgaria (no website launched yet as far as I'm concerned), which will take place in September, and if time permits also the Balkan by the end of May, I can now relax enjoying non-HST favorites, like CW-Freak and Morse Runner, WPX mode.

Besides the non-HST favorites, I also had the chance to get on the air, after a long time; I hope this will happen more often from now on.

Enjoyed almost for the very first time the topband during EUCW 160m. I liked it. I really hope that this will happen more often from now on, provided that someone doesn't apply epoxy-glue on his hips and occupy the 160m seat, wearing his pilot headset, pretending he doesn't hear me (yes, I am referring to you, you know who you are ! :)

I also enjoyed reading N6TR's "TopBand Disease" article. I can name at least one person who suffers from that disease. (yes, I am still referring to you !!)

During April will be back home. I already planned to return here:
(Skolio, the 2nd highest summit in SV. part of the Olympus massif peaking at 2911m ASL. Zoom in to see two specimens of the fauna of the mountain :-) Picture shot many Moons ago, must have been August 2008. After descending the mountain, heading directly to the beach to cool-down the sore feet)

, meet the biggest quadruped coaxer on Earth, Laika:
(the one who operates CW with the Kent straight key)

 , meet the wildest dog alive, Sputnik:
(here posing with the face #3, the so-called "nobody loves me". You think he should be on antidepressants ?  He'll still be depressed, or at least, this is how he naturally looks like. It's getting better when he hears someone calling "WHO WANTS A TREAAAT ??!!")

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depends hw one sees it, spring at SV is a candy for the eyes&soul :-)), due to the above trip back home,  I won't be able to attend to the Europe's Cup in Serbia (a warm-up HST comp, few months before the IARU comp) nor join DTP (the germans' competition) :-((

Now I need to calibrate my MR WPX skills. After such a long-time of no training at WPX mode, everything feels so hard, so QRMy, so annoying. Ugggggh !!!! :-))))

My 1st (serious) Pileup Runner attempt..

Was better from what I expected. While I thought that I'd find troublesome to change my QSX frequency by using the mouse, it wasn't that hard, since the callers are coming back QRS, so there's plenty of time for my fingers to leave the keyboard and grab the mouse..

Thus, the one and only thing I didn't like -unless I got it wrong- was that the only way to change the QSX freq is by using the mouse. Unfortunately the PgUp/PgDn buttons are practically useless, since their frequency step is 4kHz which is a HUGE step (and agn: maybe it's ME that I'm doing something wrong.. I'm still trying to figure out this program)

Besides mumbling for not being able to solely use my keyboard, Alex has definitely done a terrific job: what I heard in those 5' is an excellent simulation of the reality.

Something else I found really useful is the SNR option. While Fabian had experimentally implemented such training tool at his excellent site www.lcwo.net it's still not developed. So if someone is into the mood of torturing & training his ears with CW whispering, Pileup Runner can do the job.

You can also record your attempts just with a click and there are also adif logs generated for every single attempt. Here's the log of my 5' attempt with 18 QSOs with the passband of my receiver set at 500Hz:

File generated 2012-09-30 23:55:31 UTC


Was fun and definitely very, very realistic !  Alex seems to be always coming up with great ideas which he generously offers to the ham community. Needless to say that Morse Runner (along with rufzXP) is the program which has literally shaped my CW skills.

Can't wait to see the competition mode implemented in a future version and have the chance to add something new in my training regimen !

Freak !!

And damn proud of it !!

Finally managed to beat (think for the very first time) even for a tiny margin, my beloved competitor and CW buddy Helga IN3FHE :-)
It's one of the life's mysteries, but that score came in almost effortlessly, while I was trying to fight my boredom in the buffet-train-wagon (and greek trains are not famous for being quiet and peaceful).
I didn't manage to repeat it after I came home -who knows how my brain was wired at that certain moment on the train- but we certainly have a loooong month ahead, me and Helga (for the monthly CW Freak ranking) chasing each other :-)

Have you tried CW Freak yet ?  It's very similar to rufzXP with 3 competition lists (monthly, 20 QSOs, 50 QSOs). Audio is a bit tricky, I never managed to reach my topspeed, like I have done with rufzXP and another difference is that there is no repetition of the callsign: you heard it and that's it !  So you'd better be focused !

These days are rolling good. I also made a new rufzXP record by a tiny margin (only for 21 points !) but the important thing is that I touched again my topscores and not only that; I am often touching the 70WPM speed range. My CW happiness was complete by scoring a pretty 3633 sum at MR HST :-)

Now I will try to get acquainted with Pileup Runner. The only thing I can't get used with regarding this software is the keys. It seems that I need to acquire a visual contact with the code and the waterfall which I really don't like -it's a totally new skill I need to develop- since even when I am on the radio working split, I simply turn the dial and stop wherever my ears and only my ears are tuned and feel happy. But anyway, I will definitely try it and upload my findings here :-)

Keep practicing !  Di dit !

PILEUP RUNNER 1.1 beta !!!! Brand new toy by Alex VE3NEA !!!


PileUp simulator for sharping CW DXpeditioning skills !!!
Just downloaded it and trying to figure out how it works, >>vy excited<< !!!  :-)))

65p per QSO at MR HST

Something else I do after finishing a MR session, is to calculate the points average per QSO.
Yesterday, I knew that the above attempt would give me a big number and it was; 65 points per contact (while the usual average is anything between 59-61 points) !
Too bad this was only a goodnight session, right before hitting the bed around 0300 local and my focus/reflexes, wasn't at its best shape :-)

P.S: During August I literally stopped practicing. It took me a month to get back to my shape and now I feel I perform better than before. It's the very first time that I feel no guilts for having ceized practicing.

Time flies.. :-)

Small is beautiful !!

This is exactly what describes the smaller expeditions I've been to. They're fun !  Needless to say that my HST training helped me heaps for my CW operation; it felt smooth and relaxed. I really enjoyed it !  Actually this was the first expedition that I seriously operated CW instead of sideband. I think I made only a handful of SSB QSOs while relieving Col MM0NDX to go to the toilet (the big one, outside !! :-P)
I also made a new friend, Al VE1AL. A kind soul from Cape Breton. We visited the Subway together, enjoyed excellent gourmet meals, consumed few thousands calories while attacking without mercy the dessert menus, went shopping (yepp, I do that from time to time !), watched a baseball game (didn't catch the ball though), and broke many stones at the beach while looking for fossils inside (was unlucky, found none).

St. Paul is gorgeous. I expected it to be a rock at the Atlantic Ocean. Little I knew since it had such a rich vegetation which was actually the reason that none of us had the opportunity to hike. The branches of the trees were so tangled together that were forming a natural wall. I think I managed to crawl 50m into the forest and this walk lasted about 30' because of the tree branches' architecture. This is my only complaint. That I didn't have the opportunity to hike. Since the island is volcanic, there exciting stones everywhere around to explore.
My view from my tent towards "Atlantic Cove" with my stinky sneakers ontop (ναι Γιάννη, είναι τα παπούτσια που είχαμε αγοράσει μαζί, ακόμα υπάρχουν, αλλά είναι σε τρισελεεινή κατάσταση !):

I think I'd even go to hell with the same team. Everything rolled so smooth and was fun. Nevertheless, below you can enjoy a memory from a conflict between the two sunshine team-members, Gorka EA2TA and Christian EA3NT :-)))  Note the governor's house in the background as well as how the coast looks like. Yepp, the boys had to lift EVERYTHING (and the generators !!) using ropes.

CW-talking, although I was operating the code every single day (regular, not HST) when I came back home and tried to come back to my original HST training, my performance was signicantly lower, since for 2 consecutive weeks I didn't touch neither rufzXP, nor MR. Please stick with your training and don't do the same mistake I did; keep in touch with CW every day, even for very few minutes. Consistency is the key. While 1 or 2-day pauses are great and sometimes help loads, 2 weeks is a huge gap. Now I am slowly crawling back to my regular scores, however I really regret that I left my training and now I have to go through this..

ANYWAY !!  Enuff whining !!  Thank you gentlemen and YLs for calling !  Now let's get back to our morse code practicing routines !!  Di dit !!

3752 :-))) MR HST

A brave experiment by utilizing various speeds (35-50WPM) ended up in a new record. I start to feel that I will eventually touch 4k some day :-)))  So, 60 QSOs within 10', yeeeey !!!
Lately (since June 25th) I devoted the time & energy I wanted into MR and it paid off with a big progress within a small timeframe.

Who needs propagation anyway when QRQ is available with such a cool tool ?  :-))
Keep QRQing

A new friend I met & a new MR record

The fauna of the house I was lucky and pleased to be hosted at, during my exams:


And an awesome new personal record at Morse Runner HST mode :-)))
However I know that it won't be easy to score such during an official competition; I have a long way ahead and the very first obstacle I need to overcome is to QSY to a standard keyboard. Practicing solely at my little netbook has had my my fingers fully adapted at smaller spaces. Switching to a standard keyboard (which is the way it is during official HST competitions) will be hard...

I've sprinkled 5-minute explosive runs (just like those at Deutsche Telegraphie Pokal, the German HST Championship) to my regular 10min+ runs, while I also experiment with higher/lower speeds instead of keeping the speed levels the same. Think it helps, triggers the ears, brain and fingers by giving different stimuli.

Keep practicing, di dit !  :-)

2nd GTC Cup Rules. Dates: 6-7 Oct 2012

The 2nd Greek Telegraphy Cup rules are now out.

You may view them at SV5DKL's blog who is also the contest manager


And a glimpse from the 1st GTC Cup:

Nick, SV1CEI/QRP (manual TX wizard) and Cliff SV1JG. Thanks to Giannis SV1BJY for the happy pic :-)
Hope to catch up with you next year.

Why bother to write 1000 words ? Let the pics talk..

Lately I was feeling sort of heat exhausted.. too warm, even after midnight..And I was not the only one (see below). So indulging into nightly CW training sessions was literally cool.

..so I decided to play some Morse Runner WPX - hadn't touched the WPX mode for quite some time, only HST mode. After all, I knew that a new record at Morse Runner WPX was about to pop up.
Despite the fact that I worked on it the past days, that bloody new score just didn't want to come in:

But yesterday night it eventually did with a wonderful aftertaste, at the 33rd place of the "Hi-Scores" rankings :-)))  On this link the log with all QSOs, copied from MR. In contrary to previous attempts, in this case, I had only one QSO really lost -I still find 7's & 8's sort of troublesome to distinguish..

So far, so good. I had a seriously great time at DTP (Deutsche Telegraphie Pokal). Results auf Deutsch here.
Feeling very lucky that I have the honour to call many great people as well as devoted CW-aficionados I met there, radiofriends of mine. Erbenhausen gentlemen, please accept my sincere thanks.

Fabian scored a max of 162946 points with 745cpm at rufzXP, but...

I asked him just a couple of hours after he competed at rufz, to make a rufz attempt at my netbook. His unofficial run at my netbook was 196907 points at 814cpm. Respect Fab !  :-)

And the "Pokal" I got. Deep inside me, I like it and this worries me a little: I'm thinking that with so much wallpaper (awards, certificates, 99% of the times without asking it) I've received ever since I became a ham, if I will eventually become an award-fetishist. For the moment, I still keep all that wallpaper in a folder that never sees the sunlight.
At the above picture please notice a new finding I was introduced to while at DL, Naschi, that I ate straight out of the jar. Despite having tried to moderate my carb intake, I still get Naschi cravings and absolutely have to submit. The same that happens with Nutella.

Muchos 73 and keep practicing CW !