CW Pong is a game that can be played by two operators looking to improve their Morse rag-chew copy. Essentially it’s a back-and-forth exchange with each operator scored for accurate copy and it can be played in any language. Here’s how it works:
- One operator challenges another to the CW Pong match and the challenge is accepted by arranging a sked for a mutually convenient date/time/frequency/WPM speed.
- The operators establish contact using standard CW operating procedures.
- Once the QSO is under way and greetings and reports have been exchanged, either op signals the start of the game by sending GO? Now the exchanges get more rapid…
- The first op simply sends ‘R’ followed by a random dictionary word followed by a BK (break).
- The second op sends ‘R’ and confirmation of the word, followed by another random dictionary word followed by BK.
- The exchanges continue, each op confirming the word sent by the other before sending a word of their own.
- Each op scores the other; a correct word scores 1 point, an incorrect word scores 0.
- A retry may be requested by sending ‘?’ but this will cost the op a 1 point penalty! Requesting a retry is the last resort when it is not possible to make even an educated guess.
- Watch your spacing! The point scoring is just for fun but it’s no fun for the other op if they are losing points because of your poor sending. If you do make an error during sending, follow the normal practice of a few slow dits and then re-send the word from the start. The other op gets a second chance at the word, that’s your penalty for bad sending. ;o)
- The game may be ended by either op sending TNX and scores are exchanged.
A typical CW Pong QSO might look like this:
G7XYZ: M0ABC M0ABC DE G7XYZ G7XYZ KN
M0ABC: G7XYZ DE M0ABC KN
G7XYZ: M0ABC DE G7XYZ GE JOHN UR RST 599 HW? BK
M0ABC: G7XYZ DE M0ABC GE JANE TNX FB RPT UR RST 599 GO? BK
G7XYZ: R PLUMBER BK
M0ABC: R PLUMBER TABLE BK <– G7XYZ scores M0ABC 1 point
G7XYZ: R TABLE CURTAINS BK <– M0ABC scores G7XYZ 1 point
M0ABC: ? <– G7XYZ deletes 1 point from M0ABC
G7XYZ: R CURTAINS BK
M0ABC: R CONTAINS KEYBOARD BK <– WRONG! No point for M0ABC
G7XYZ: R KEYBOARD BUTTON BK <– M0ABC scores G7XYZ 1 point
M0ABC: TNX JANE UR SCORE 2 2 AR G7XYZ DE M0ABC KN <– back to standard QSO
G7XYZ: M0ABC DE G7XYZ FB JOHN UR SCORE 0 0 = TNX ES 73 AR M0ABC DE G7XYZ SK
M0ABC: G7XYZ DE M0ABC TNX JANE CUAGN 73 SK TU
Keep it going for as long as you wish. The idea is to keep a rapid fire of exchanges to keep both ops alert, sending and receiving. Don’t forget to send your callsigns at appropriate intervals if required by your licence conditions. This drops in front of the word exchange as usual so as to not break the flow of the game, like this:
M0ABC: G7XYZ DE M0ABC R DISTRIBUTOR MAGAZINE BK
G7XYZ: M0ABC DE G7XYZ R MAGAZINE MISSISSIPPI BK
It is recommended that you stick to dictionary words, partly because it gives you both a good chance of copying even if you miss a letter or two (just like a real rag-chew) but if you send random letters then you’ve got to remember what you sent so you can score the other op. Letters and numbers are even worse – accidentally send the callsign of an active DXpedition and you can imagine the pile-up that will ensue. Game over.
And if both ops are scoring maximum points, it’s time to turn up the WPM and play again!
We would love to hear from LIDS who have played this game. Tweet us at @lids_cw and tell us how you did, and also if you have any ways in which the game can be improved.
GL es 73