The WPX CW contest was on over the weekend. I had no intention of participating as my slow speed and deaf ear would probably not have been welcome on the bands. However out of curiosity I had a listen and it was utter madness – even with my narrow filter I didn’t stand a chance of decoding anything with just my ears. However I installed CW Skimmer on the laptop and noticed something straight away – all the morse was machine generated. I suppose who in their right mind would take part in a 48 hour contest doing things by hand. So I decided that if everyone else was doing it why shouldn’t I? My Icom IC-746 has 4 keyer memories. I set up 2 of them – 1 to send my callsign and the other to send the report & serial. At least the radio has a serial counter with automatic increment. No need to exchange pleasantries in a contest! So I managed to work 45 countries. Yes it was necessary to know the code – occasionally I needed to glance at the waterfall to see if my callsign was coming back to me correctly- CW Skimmer is very good but not foolproof. It looks like I might fork out the $75 when the trial period is up. Anyway I did manage another ATNO – 9M8K (East Malaysia) so the efforts were worthwhile. Now to practice my dits and dahs a bit more!!