Contest Trainer

So you have used my Morse trainer, or some other method, to learn the code and now it is time to do some Contesting!

Well here is a tool to get you started!

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What does it do?

Using the same basic software modules as my Koch Method trainer, this software throws you into the thick of an imaginary contest. Callsigns are sent to you through the PC sound card and you are expected to copy them down, then take the report and finally, log the QSO.

A running list of the logged QSO's is maintained in the top half of the screen, including any errors that you have made. At the top of the screen there is an indication of the QSO rate.

In the bottom segment of the screen, you enter the callsign and report for the station calling you. A simple, one line, context sensitive help is provided to help you through the process.

The callsigns used used in the QSO's are those of genuine contesters derived from the master database files, and not just ficticious callsigns generated by the software. Where applicable, the zones and IOTA references are derived from Country files, rather than being randomly generated, to add as much realism as possible to the contest simulation.

A number of different contests are currently supported and I intend to expand the list of supported contests from user requests.

The cooks tour

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On the first setup screen, you are able to enter the callsign of the station you will be operating and the speed at which you want your CW to be sent.

The second setup screen is far more interesting! Here you set up all the parameters for the contest.

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The Pitch setting allows you to specify you prefered operating pitch and the Bandwidth simulates the bandwith of the CW filter on your rig. Stations will call you within the bandwidth of your filter, so with the settings shown, you will be sending at 650 Hz and stations will be heard calling from 550Hz to 775Hz. Each station calling you will randomly chosen a pitch between these two limits.

The Initial speed setting determines the average speed at which you will be called by other stations. The Maximum speed setting determines the highest speed you will be called at. Again, each station calling you will choose a code speed within these limits.

The Contest Style will determine the details which are exchanged for each QSO, in the WPX example shown, this is just callsign and serial number.

The Stations setting determines the maximum number of stations that will call you in response to a CQ call. This can be set as high as eight stations and again the number varies from one to the maximum number on each QSO.

Finally, you can include effects and variable signal strengths in the stations that call you. The effects include buzz and chirp in a similar style my Koch Trainer.

Once you have completed the configuration, click on the Run button and follow the context sensitive help. I have chosen to emulate the CT keystrokes with this version, but user pressure could convince me to offer a selection of contest software emulations in future releases.


Unlike my Morse trainer, this software is shareware, with a registration fee of UKú25 or US$40. The main differences between the shareware and registered version is that in the shareware version the training lesson is restricted to 20 QSO's, you cannot set your station callsign or the contest type and the configuration settings are not remembered each time the software is closed down.

Registering the software is easy, once I have received your payment, I will email you a registration file which you then load into the software to complete the registration!

Once the software is registered, you are guaranteed free updates for life. The only exception to this that I will pass on the costs of any third party licenses that I may one day decide to use in the software - although frankly this is extremely unlikely.

You can send me a cheque or money order to register the software, or I accept PayPal. Please be sure to include your Callsign and email address when you register the software.

Buy in UK Pounds


Buy in US Dollars


System Requirements

The software has been extensively tested on Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional. Since it is based on my Koch Method trainer, I do not anticipate problems with other versions of Windows, but download a copy and try it out - if you have any problems, drop me an email and I will do my best to assist.

I would recommend at least a 500MHz processor and 256MBytes of RAM and if you want to hear the stations, you will need a sound card!

Downloading the software

The latest version is always available for download here. Once you have registered the software, you do not have to enter the registation details each time you download an update.

The download is a ZIP file. Open the downloaded file with WinZip and simply double click on Setup.EXE to install the software. If you have any problems, try extracting the Zip into a temporary folder and run Setup.EXE from there.


30 December 2003 Version 1.8.0 - New release which corrects the operation of the F5 (His Call) button.

31 December 2003 Version 1.9.0 - New release which adds F3 and Enter functionality.

03 January 2004 Version 1.10.0 - Change to the callsign checking code.

05 February 2004 Version 2.0.1 - Contest! Trainer goes generic - User definable keystokes have been added.

14 February 2004 Version 2.1.2 - QRM Generator added to provide a more realistic HF environment!

19 June 2004 Version 2.3.0 - added ARRL Field Day as a contest and changed the evaluation to 20 QSO's.

Click here to download Contest! Trainer