This weekend I entered the Feld Hell Sprint. This is a full 24 hour contest using the Hellschrieber mode. The Feld Hell Club explains the mode with these words —

Hellschreiber, or Hell, is a method of sending and receiving text using facsimile technology.  It is unique in that the characters are not decoded, but “painted” or printed on a screen.  There are several modes of Hellschreiber, the most popular being a single-tone version call Feld-Hell, an on-off keyed system with 122.5 dots/second, or about a 35 WPM text rate.  FH has a narrow bandwidth of about 75 Hz.

It is a slow-moving mode invented in 1929 by Rudolph Hell and used by the German military for field communication. It’s kinda fun to slow way down from the usual CW or RTTY contests. Most of the QSO’s have just a bit of a rag chew feeling to them. Plus, you need to read the symbols that print off the screen, shown below, and key them into your logbook.

Feld Hell Screen

I had worked a few Feld Hell QSO’s a couple of months ago, but this was the first serious entry into a sprint. This week I looked at a number of software packages including Fldigi, MixW, and DM780, which is part of Ham Radio Deluxe. I ended up using DM780 as it could record the frequency of my K3 directly into the logbook and the display had so many options.

At the end of the 24 hours (I worked about 10 hours) I had managed to snag 50 QSO’s including 24 states, 3 Canadian provinces, and one Canadian territory (Nunavut). I heard a German station on 10 meters but just couldn’t read his full call sign to make the QSO.

It was a fun contest and I’ll get on again. I enjoy the mode and the relaxed pace.



What do you think?