I was not able to take part to WAE DX CW contest this weekend since I was chilling out on holidays in a wonderful and sunny place. I had internet and the computer with me for other purposes and I happened to check around the bands in a few “slow” moments while my girlfriend was busy with other duties before and after heading out to the seaside or heading to town for some tourist activities.
I connected to the well-known Twente University online SDR (a really nice one to listen around in the HF spectrum for both broadcasting, utility as well as hamradio signals). I’m rather new to SDRs and seeing the whole CW subband on the screen is always a thrill, especially in CW or when there are a number of signals active on the band. During WAE CW 40 20 and 15 were quite busy, also due to the rather good propagation.
It is nice to see so many signals and especially on CW (or digital modes) where all the traces are thin and closely spaced. Unfortunately what I saw was not exactly a perfect thing (perfect thing doesn’t exist but still…you can get close).
Lots of signals seems pretty wide and my head started thinking. Its not long ago since CQWW introduced the “clean signals policy” into its rules with the aim to limit the bad and distorted audios and signals during the competition. It is not that the bad signals are always wanted, let’s be clear, but still it gives a lot of issues to the nearby contesters that are splattered and disturbed by the wide and non-regulated nearby signals. A perfect “guide” is the one that you can find on the cqww.com website at the following link.
With a quick visual scan of the bands I could isolate some sort of wide CW signals that were for sure being an issue for the nearby competitors. I will not disclose callsigns for sake of “privacy” and because I do not like to name names but I definitely hope that someone reading this (I know I have less than the 25 readers of Manzoni) will double check its gear to make sure he is both compliant with the rules and a gentleman on the air.
At times when you have a noisy neighbour you might get noisy too…and you don’t notice yourself till someone makes you notices that.
As I said no callsign named (but I have my sort of black book with the calls well written). I spent quite some time listening to these signals during the weekend at different times and I have to admit most (but not all) were Europeans. It is a real pity contest organizers do not look for such stations and ask for clarifications. I am not saying they are all doing it on purpose but I think contesting is a really technical part of our hobby and if you are able to build your own contest station, maybe even a multi op multi transmitter station, the engineering skills to try to reduce such a problem are at your hands and, if someone tells you “Your audio is distorted/Your signal is too wide” you should definitely backtrack the problem trying to solve it (or at least, do your best). Did you see/heard anything similar? want to share your opinion? let me know more about that in the comments, I will try to get back to all of you.
Thanks for reading till here.