Setting up Mixw2 for the RSGB 80m CW contests and some general CW software advice

This is a guide for those who do not send CW by hand or decode CW by ‘brain’. It is targeted at getting you going on the monthly 80m Club Contests run by the RSGB but the basic principles will apply to other CW contests. This guide assumes you are using Mixw2 version 3.2 or better (but not version 4).M0ICR

Details/rules etc for the RSGB 80m Club Championship Contest is here:
3.5MHz Club Championship Contests (rsgbcc.org)
Dates for 2021 can be found here:
2021 calendar (rsgbcc.org)

Setting up Mixw2 for CW using a modulated SSB signal

  1. Make sure you are in menu Layout 2:

2. Tick CW from the Mode Tab:

3. Many operators will use letters as shortcuts for certain numbers, personally I only do this for 0 (to letter T) but that’s a personal choice. I don’t select 9 as N because whilst I prefer to send 5NN for signal report (which I will hardcode in the macros) I don’t like a 9 in a serial number to appear as an N. You can set the default transmit WPM here for contests also (but you can adjust that later using another breakout windows as I will explain later). I tend to use 25wpm as my default (this is the maximum I have any change of decoding by ear!). For this basic set up there is no need to adjust any of the other settings.


CW Settings

4. Setting up the hardware connection between your PC and your radio (in my case an Icom 7300 on COM Port 5 at 38400 bps).


5. Basic Macros.
These are the basic Macros I use:

Sending CQ plus my callsign twice
Grab the call of the station I am decoding and load it into the log buffer, I could of course alternatively type the call into the QSO entry line of the logging bar or double left-click on the callsign being received in the decode window
Replying to a station calling CQ with my callsign *once*. I normally have this macro clear the TX window first (less clutter!). You can of course add as many <MYCALL> iterations as you like. In fact, I usually have <MYCALL> in here twice … YMMV!
Send a contest exchange. In this contest it just RST and Serial number so this macro will just send the other guys callsign, RST and S/N twice – tinker as you wish. Technically I should send <RSTS> rather than 5NN but what contest QSOs are not 5NN (or 599 for that matter!)

Continued ….

Ending a QSO with a Thanks a 73 and then straight into my call followed by another CQ … ready for the next caller. This Macro also saves the QSO into the log automatically, but you’d rather do that manually just remove the <SAVEQSO> script.
It’s not unusual to be asked for a repeat (especially with my low power signals!). This macro will resend the details if you have already saved it to the log.

Finally, a couple of other tips for using Mixw2 in contests:

Make sure you are in Contest Mode
When setting up the contest make sure you have covered the correct start and end time otherwise the QSOs will not show up in your log view (they are there, you just wont see them)

6. Setting your TX speed.

When you select the CW mode Mixw2 will automatically bring up a little CW window, you can adjust your CW transmit speed here:

Faster/Slower !

If you want to set your TX speed to the speed you are decoding your current QSO station you can see that at the bottom right of the main Mixw2 window here:

73, de Carl M0ICR


Afterthought

I also find it helpful to have CWGet running as a second means of decoding:
https://www.dxsoft.com/en/products/cwget/

I’ve also found MRP40 very good (although it does cost 50 Euro after a trial):
http://www.polar-electric.com/Morse/MRP40-EN/

and finally

CW Skimmer is great for seeing decodes from all CW signals being received in your passband, again it’s not free but I think it’s worth every penny!
http://www.dxatlas.com/cwskimmer/

or, when you have a serious pile-up!

If you are keen to see how far your CW signals are being decoded it also fun to use the Reverse Beacon Network (a bit like PSK Reporter but for CW)
http://www.reversebeacon.net/

If you want to practice your traditional CW skills, ie. sending and receiving without a PC I can recommend Morse Runner, a CW Contest Simulator:
http://www.dxatlas.com/morserunner/

If you want to get the feel for handling pile-ups it also worth looking up Pileup Runner (from the same DXAtlas.com stables as CW Skimmer and Morse Runner):
http://www.dxatlas.com/PileupRunner/

If you are keen to learn CW I can highly recommend the Koch method software from Ray G4FON, his lecture from the 2018 RSGB convention is worth watching: http://www.g4fon.net/CW%20Trainer2.php

Ray’s contest trainer is also worth a look and a robust alternative to Morse Runner mentioned above:
https://www.g4fon.net/Contest_Trainer_V3.php



One thought on “Setting up Mixw2 for the RSGB 80m CW contests and some general CW software advice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *