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It is not an infrequent occurrence in the field of human endeavour that a means becomes an end in itself. So for example today people no longer need bows, arrows and javelins to gain a livelihood but throwing javelins or shooting from bows are respectable sporting disciplines.

So it is with amateur radio. In normal operation, telegraphy is a means for conversation but in addition to this, because radio amateurs always like to boast about which one of them can do it fastest and best, it is an independent competitive discipline. This discipline is today known throughout the world as and in the OK region we use the name "sportovni telegrafie" - sporting telegraphy.

Telegraphy competitions have a worldwide tradition that is almost as long as ham radio itself. The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) arranges world and regional championships for them, i.e. a European championship as well as the world championship.

Telegraphy is a worthy part of amateur radio life in the OK region and we have always succeeded in gaining a most respectable place in the IARU championships. Telegraphy has been popular on home ground too and domestic competitions have been attended by several hundred radio amateurs.

This has also been the case because even under the old regime we succeeded in carrying it on as a sport strictly for radio amateurs, aimed at promoting CW operation on the bands. We succeeded in resisting the strong pressure of Svazarm at that time to "enrich" it with various "defensive" attributes, e.g. air-gun shooting or throwing grenades. So it was, quite a few good CW operators, whose signs are well-known on the bands, also took part in telegraph competitions.

Telegraphists from the Czech lands recently made a very visible return to the world scene when they took part in the with the participation of 15 countries and a total of 73 competitors.

The Championships involved six categories: juniors up to the age of 20, adults, and seniors for those over the age of 40, each of these being divided into men's and women's categories.

Competitions comprise three disciplines:

  • a) reception of texts made up of letters, numbers and mixed text and punctuation,
  • b) transmission of the same texts and
  • c) the discipline of "practising", involving the reception of RUFZ and PED programmes. This discipline also shows how HST links in with operation on the bands.

hesitated to enter for the competition because the last few years had seen a decline in HST in this country. A three-member team set out for the championships comprising OK2BFN, OK1CW and OK1DF, and also accompanied by OK1AO as the Czech Radio Club delegate. It was thanks to the initiative of Vlada, OK1CW, that a definite decision was made to take part in the competition. We did not manage to enter the women's category because out of our well-tested female representatives, Marta Farbiakova, OK1DMF, was ill and Jirina Vysuckova, OK2PRJ, could not be contacted.

The most difficult discipline for the team was the third, as two of our competitors did not know it at all, so the achievement of Tomas Mikeska, OK2BFN, in winning the silver medal in practising was all the greater!

Tomas also took second place in keying and fourth place in reception. These results brought him an overall second placing in the seniors' category, where the only one to beat him was the legendary Stas Zelenov, UA3VBW. Ing. Vladimir Sladek, OK1CW, took sixth place in keying and together with Frantisek Pubal, OK1DF, took up the middle of the field of contestants, in the adults' category which was the most crowded.

Although the OK team only competed in two categories, it took seventh place in the team event. Behind us came Yugoslavia and Korea, who took part in all categories and six other countries. If we could have entered the women's category we would surely have taken overall fifth position at least.

The winners of the team event were the Byelorussians, who had two competitors in each of the six categories, and their enormous cortege indicated that for international representation there is still enough money to be found in Byelorussia for preparation, participation and equipment. All categories were also entered by the Russians (2nd place), Roumanians (3rd place) and Hungarians (4th place). In front of us there were also the Bulgarians (5th place) and the Macedonians (6th place), who entered four categories.

Many thanks go to who supported our participation with a significant sponsorship contribution.
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