This past weekend was the ARRL DX CW contest. I have been attending the CWOps’ CW Academy and have been steadily progressing in CW skill and speed. One of the tools used in the class is RufzXP which provides practice copying calls at high speed. Another tool, MorseRunner, similarly provides contest-like practice. After using both of these tools and doing the work in CW Academy, I felt confident enough to take part in the contest. I went in knowing that there is no chance of making a high score, so instead, my goal was to work as many DX stations as I could and work toward my CW DXCC. An additional benefit was the chance to hone my head copy skills, decoding stations running at high speed under real-world band conditions.
I have a modest station, so I didn’t try to bust pileups. I spun around the dial looking for stations that were calling CQ and which I could copy. Overall I did OK for my first CW contest. I made 84 QSOs (1 dupe) for a score of 12,054 (246 QSO Points x 46 mults). Going into the contest I wasn’t worried about the score, hence the title of this post. I spent the most time on 40m, and worked a number of stations on 40, 20 and 15. I had a couple of “oops” moments, due to my not being familiar with N1MM and being “green” to CW contesting. When these happened, I remembered that this amateur radio, so not to sweat it. Sure I may have inconvenienced the “big guns” by slowing down their QSO/Hr., but that’s their problem. All in all, I came away with more confidence and motivation to keep progressing in CW skill and contesting. That is a win.