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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?

Erik Jacobsen (KB9BNY) on November 1, 2004
View comments about this article!

My name is Erik Jacobsen.I received my novice ticket in October, 1988.I quickly upgraded to technician and have been there ever since.Even though I have spent most of my time on 2m and 70cm, I love working CW.I recently borrowed a FT-897 from a friend and fired it up on 40m CW.I programmed he radioís keyer to call CQ, tuned up the antenna and gave it a whirl.I just spent 0300 and 0345 calling CQ between 7140 and 7150 and I did not receive an answer.I even varied my approach and sent CQ by hand and rotated my portable W3FF buddy pole.

I know that my peers with the tech plus quickly upgraded to General after the restructuring and most have migrated off a very busy piece of shared spectrum.Nonetheless, in years past this never stopped me from QUICKLY making a contact.There was always someone who was willing to share the joy of CW with a slower op.Now, it seems as if the CW ops could not be bothered with 7 WPM CW.

This is a very disturbing trend. While it always has been that the phone operators were clique-ish and were not very interested in contacting kb9 in Illinois, while the CW ops always were more accommodating and accepting of anyone who was brave enough to call CQ.Of course, another equally disturbing trend is the lack of new operators who are elmered and encouraged to learn and use CW.I would like to echo the comments of a friend who has since passed away:

Amateur radio has always been a part of my life, and CW has always been a core part of that involvement. I've spent many years teaching Novice classes and CW speed improvement classes. Even today, with interest in CW on the wane, I still sport a baseball cap which reads, "Pound Brass or Pound Sand - Support 'Know-Code' licensing". On the positive side, I always try to interest newcomers to the art and beauty of conducting a CW QSO, especially during field day.

Lets get more people into the novice segments of the bands and lets be there to answer their CQs.

73 de Erik kb9bny

erik@thejacobsenfamily.org

Member Comments:
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What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by AB0SI on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Erik:

You might ave better luck down around 7.118. That is the "oficial" Novice calling frequency. Good luck and if hear a bad fist down there it is likley to be me.

Paul AB0SI
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by AB0XE on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with last ,go down to lower end of novice band
on forty , but stay off freq in 5 increments (7.105 etc) in evening or you will lose your contact when the big foreign AM stations roll in .
73 steve
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by AC9TS on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Erik,

As others have said, try the lower end rather then the upper. I have heard and worked alot of stations between 7.105 MHz and 7.115 MHz or so.

The novice/QRP calling freq is 7.110 MHz. Throw some CQs out there and see what happens. I've had hit or miss luck there depending on conditions and time of day/evening. As Steve, AB0XE, mentioned, broadcasters can cause havok in the evenings. Late afternoons are usually clear.

I try and get on a few times a week depending on household obligations. I'll be listening for ya! It'll be a stones throw because I'm in Bartlett, IL.

Tom - AC9TS

 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N9BOR on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The Robert F. Heytow Memorial Radio Club (K9YA) operates Code Practice Nets on 7.137 MHz once a week. Everyone is welcome to join in.

Additional information is available at www.k9ya.org.
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N4VNV on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I'm on one of these frequencies almost every morning: 7.104, 7.107.5, 7.112.5 & 7.117.5. My average speed is about 10 wpm, but be glad to slow down if needed.
K4SFC Larry
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by W5RJ on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I can understand your frustrations. I go down to 40m a lot and listen but have heard not anyone calling in the novice portion of the band. I cut my teeth on 40 cw and 15 cw. I go to 15 novice portion but usually hear data since psk is hot they have taken over a lot of the 15 novice portion. which is fine, "if it ain't busy use it." I can make a schedule with you if you like. I will slow down or speed up which ever is comfortable for you. I use my keyboard more and more now since arthritis is taking over my fingers but I'll be glad to meet you. I'm retired and can usually make skeds pretty good. w5rj@arrl.net will get me an email if you are online. CBA if you are not online. 73 Roy
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by NJ0E on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
hi erik,

i can sympathize with your post. many others have
made many excellent suggestions here.

i'll offer a few that occured to me.

there is a rockmite offered by small wonder labs
that works on 7121/7122 kHz, so you might try
there. see:
http://smallwonderlabs.com/Rockmite.htm

wilderness radio offers a novice/tech+ version
of their simple superheterodyne transceiver kit
that covers 7105-7115 khz. so that range might
be good to try, too.
http://www.fix.net/~jparker/wilderness/sst.htm

i've had pretty fair luck at times around 7148
khz on saturday mornings.

i don't have experience with them, but from what
i've been told by others, the loaded whips like
the buddipole aren't the most effective hf
antennas out there on the lower hf bands like
40 meters.

i'd suggest a visit to the hardware store and
put yourself up a dipole or loop if possible,
or an end fed wire at least a quarter wave long.
be sure to put out several radials if it's a
quarter wave long (or an odd multiple of a quarter
wavelength), or maybe one radial if it's an end
fed half wave (or any even number of quarter
wavelengths). you'll need a wide tuning range
on a tuner to match an end fed half wave; few
of the builtin tuners will match them. the mfj
versatuners and emtech tuners have wide tuning
ranges. in my opinion, a basic tuner and a
spool of wire is a better antenna investment
than the loaded whips; particularly on 80
and 40 meters. on bands like 17 or 15 meters,
the loaded whips can work surprizingly well
(when those bands are open).

there is a wealth of worthwhile antenna ideas
at: http://cebik.com

hope this helps! and have fun with cw!

73
scott nj0e
dit dit
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N8UZE on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Check out the FISTS website for their calling frequencies within the Novice subbands. You can usually find contacts there.

However you will indeed find that most of the Tech+ have upgraded to General since the changes in April 2000. There is also a change in how people approach getting their licenses. Today very few test for code until they are ready to test for General.

 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N8UZE on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Check out the FISTS website for their calling frequencies within the Novice subbands. You can usually find contacts there.

However you will indeed find that most of the Tech+ have upgraded to General since the changes in April 2000. There is also a change in how people approach getting their licenses. Today very few test for code until they are ready to test for General.

 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K0ZN on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

Hi, Erik,

First... thanks for the reminder... I will admit I tend to get on and forget about the Novice bands. Thanks for taking the time to point this out. If CW is to continue, certainly the people who enjoy it have an obligation to help the newcomers or else it will disappear.

You received some good suggestions on frequency selection; QSY down per the suggestions.

40 Meters can be a very tough band at times due to both QRN and QRM. It is EXTREMELY important to have the best antenna you can put up. Any full size antenna is going to radiate more signal than a small one. That is just the law of Physics. If there is any possible way you can improve your antenna, do so. It will help a LOT. I would strongly suggest you pick up a copy of the ARRL Antenna Book and put in a little "book time". Antenna fundamentals are NOT complicated and the returns for knowledge in this area are highly rewarded in terms of better signal, more contacts and more fun.

As we head towards the bottom of the sunspot cycle, the time of day that you operate and the frequencies you choose become more important; be aware of that too.

Again, thanks for the reminder... I WILL start listening & calling in the Novice band.

73, K0ZN



 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by WB2WIK on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I do spend some time almost every week playing in the "Novice subbands" on CW and have always enjoyed contacting newcomers. I agree with the others about spending time down lower in the Novice subband...up around 7140 there's tons of QRM where I am almost any time I could operate. Down just above 7100 is a saner neighborhood.

If possible, try a full-sized 1/2-wave dipole, too. The Buddipole is very cute and I've used one myself a few times, but it's not very effective on 40: It's much better on 20-17-15-12-10-6 meters, and the higher you go, the better it works. On 40, seems to me I found it about four or five "S" units "down" in performance from a regular wire dipole. That's a lot of difference. If I had to "give away" 5 "S" units of signal for my 40 meter contacts, I wouldn't hear about 75% of the contacts I make.

73 & keep up the good work!

Steve WB2WIK/6





 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KU4UV on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I just recently got my first true HF rig, a used Icom 730. I have been an Extra class operator for almost 3 years now, but just never got around to getting a nice station together since I live in an apartment. I finally got around this year to putting up some dipoles for 20 and 40 meters and getting into CW operating. I don't have the best antennas in the world, but I usually am able to snag a contact every time I call CQ on 20 or 40, provided the bands aren't full of QRM. My dipole for 40 is only about 20 feet off the ground, up in the attic of my apartment, so it is marginal at best, but it's better than nothing. I usually try 40 meters between about 5 P.M. and 10 P.M. Eastern time. My code spped is probably around 10 WPM, but I am working on improving it. I would check to meake sure I have a good antenna system and everything is working properly. Like someone else mentioned, try between 7.100-7.150. I usuall hang aroung between 7.040-7.090 on 40. Sometimes I may have to call CQ for 15 to 20 minutes, but I almost always get a reply, even with my lousy antenna. Good luck, just be patience and keep calling (or answering), someone is bound to come back to you. Good luck!

Mike KU4UV
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KU4UV on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry for poor spelling.

KU4UV
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K0IMJ on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hello Erik,
Your post is a reminder to all of us who love CW, to help out others of like mind. I know a lot has been said about the HIGH-SPEED CW ops who just simply won't talk to a slower op. I personally have not seen that in my nearly 50 years of ham radio. I don't know where I would have been without hundreds of faster operators who slowed down for me at the time I needed it most. I want to assure you that most of us will slow down for you and I personally will look for you on the lower end of the novice band. Oh, work on the ant we need to hear you. 73, and don't give up your love for CW.

Gary K0IMJ www.heathkits.com
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by W0FM on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I also appreciate the "nudge" in your post. Seems that it's been years since I've popped into the Novice portion of 40M for a few contacts. I used to do it all the time and really enjoyed working the new recruits. It's relaxing and reminiscent of simpler times.

After reading your post, I vow to return to the Novice sub band and resurrect the thrill of the early days of my ham career (I had one crystal for 40M and one for 15M in 1962).

Thanks for the post. See you there!

73, Terry WōFM
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N9GYY on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
HEY Bunny,

It has been a long time since I have talked to you.

Right after you got your license and were operating on a borrowed HT on the 147.225 repeater.

Glad to hear you are still out there AND operating CW, GOOD for you, most new Hams never "cut their teeth" and catch the CW bug. THANK YOU.

ALL of my HF is mobile these days so I am STUCK on phone, but I am getting a station installed at home and will be on CW again soon. I will look for you.

Hopefully you remember me, we talked quite a bit and I always got on some of those other folks who teased you for being a "newbie". I think I talked you through making a 2M ground plane antenna from an SO-239 and some coat hangers too, if my memory serves me.

I live in Texas now, have for several years. I am good on QRZ, including my e-mail address if you want to contact me.

AND Use the Novice segment of the bands, cause I am afraid they will not be there much longer, although hopefully to make room for new (digital) modes and NOT more voice. We'll SEE ! GREAT to hear you are still out there and going strong on the founding mode of Ham Radio CW !

David - N9GYY - Fort Worth, Texas
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K6BBC on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
CW is dying Ė LIVE WITH IT.

K6BBC
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by W6TH on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!


I hang out at 7109.55. Also hear a lot of activity just below. I am available for any sked. You may not have trouble with my cw as I do copy over 5 wpm so will be good practice to increase your receiving speed.

I understand the Brits will have the frequency extended from 7000 to 7200 so should work out great for dx as well and bring more attention to the novice band. Also the clearing of broadcasting. Don't forget: Should it be cw I will be there.

Steve WB2WIK/6 How about a cw sked for you and I? Any time any place.

.:

 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N0AH on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Study grayline propagation and look for DX. Nothing wold thrill a JA op more than fresh meat on 40M. GL 73 Paul N0AH
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K4JF on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"CW is dying Ė LIVE WITH IT.
K6BBC"

Hardly!! For proof, look at all the posts and suggestions here. The most efficient mode will not die, even if/when it is no longer a licensing requirement.
 
bigger signal  
by KZ1X on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Erik, some others have tiptoed around the subject, but I am known as a blunt speaker so I will say it directly: maybe nobody heard you.

I like the Buddipole, too (except for the price). But not on 40. Turning it around won't help because it has no directivity, even if it was up at 60'.

Try *anything* else, an end-fed half-wave, a Zepp, a vertical, a sloper dipole, even a random wire or tuned rain gutter ... whatever you can muster.

The simplest radio connected to a good antenna is like a sunny day, filled with possibilities. But even a $10k Icom 7800 won't be heard if you use a poor radiator.
 
RE: bigger signal  
by WB2WIK on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W6TH, would be happy to sked with you on CW. The best band for us would likely be 40m or 80m during daylight hours, as we're too close for the higher bands and also too close once 40 & 80 open up at night. My highest angle antenna on those bands is an inverted vee at 50 feet, it does okay on close-in stuff usually.

Since I'm at work during daylight hours M-F, we'd have to try this on a weekend. Since the clock change this weekend, I'll be coming home from the office after dark, and the lower bands will already be "going long." The closest stuff I can usually work on 40m after dark is the Bay Area, about 350 miles from here.

And CW is hardly dead nor dying! To escape the CQWW Phone contest this weekend (I wasn't in it, nor pretending to be), I worked CW for the brief operating time I had and it was very crowded -- difficult to find a clear spot among the contest evacuees who evidently were doing the same thing as I was. There was even a lot of CW activity on 12 meters!

WB2WIK/6

 
RE: bigger signal  
by KX8N on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"CW is dying Ė LIVE WITH IT.

K6BBC"

Crud, my 706 must be broken, because it's picking up all kinds of CW signals on ALL bands that are propagating well.

KZ1X mentioned tuning up a rain gutter - I used to have to do this at the apartment I used to live at. I had a heavy wire running from the tuner to a ground rod, and another wire running from the tuner up to the gutter, connected only with an alligator clip. I worked alot of DX with that setup on SSB, so I imagine you could do even better with CW.

Of course, the solar cycle was peaking around then, but still, it WILL work, and it WILL give you contacts.
 
RE: bigger signal  
by W0FM on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KX8N,

He would have you believe that the CW you are hearing is being emitted by your "touch lamp"!

:o)
 
RE: bigger signal  
by KT8K on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks, Erik, for the nice reminder. I hear signals in the 40m novice band almost every time I tune across it, and will answer a CQ if I hear one (and at the same speed as the sender, so don't CQ faster than you can copy!). Hope to catch you there.

I agree with others on the buddipole - great for portable use on the higher HF bands but guaranteed to fall short on the lower ones. Hang some wire and enjoy the improved results.

CW lives. Have people stopped sailing just because power boats abound? No! In fact, I would bet that people are spending more money and time on sailing than ever before. And why??? Because sailing, like CW, is fun. That's all anyone needs to know. This is not a technology competition. It's just what works and is enjoyable, pure and simple. People will continue to operate CW indefinitely, for all good reasons. CW forever!

73 & good rx to all de kt8k - Tim
 
RE: bigger signal  
by N6PEH on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I think that since the licensing requirement has been reduced to 5 wpm to get on HF as a General or Extra, those sub-bands don't get as much use. Before the No-Code Tech erra, everybody had at least the novice privledges and those sub-bands were hopping.

I would upgrade to general ASAP.

Good luck and have fun!
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KB2HSH on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KZ1X:

I have to agree! The antenna makes the radio. My loop proves that theory.

As far as CW operation for the slower speed (Novices, if you will)...I always check the "Novice" portion of 80 for sloppy and slow CQs. Years ago, someone gave me MY 1st QSO...and I've been honored with being someone else's TWICE. You can almost hear the terror is their shaky fist.

Try it sometimes, guys. Undo the keyer, the Vibroplex, or the keyboard, wire up that old straight-key...and try it. You might actually have fun.


My $.02

John
KB2HSH
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by NJ0E on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Try it sometimes, guys. Undo the keyer, the
> Vibroplex, or the keyboard, wire up that old
> straight-key...and try it. You might actually
> have fun.

i do, and you're right. it is fun.

73
scott nj0e
dit dit
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N9OHW on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Erik,

I have similar thoughts on this topic. I was licensed in high school in Deerfield, IL in 1991 (close to where you live) as a 5 WPM novice. I was on 40-15M CW for a year solid working on my CW and loving it. It took me a year to work up to 13 WPM and I got my General and enjoyed HF SSB for 6 months. Then I got out of it for about 10 years and have just returned to the hobby.

Upon returning, my first thought was to go back to the novice CW sub-bands and work up my CW again. I was amazed when I heard nothing but broadcasters and that 24/7 CW practice station out of LA. When I was active in 1991-3, the novice sub-bands were always hopping, and a lot of the activity was amateur extras coming down to help out the novices.

I had a lot of respect for the pros who came down to QRS speeds and were willing to chat with a novice. You can still find that, but it's mixed up within the general CW sub-bands.

I do call CQ just above 7100 every once in a while to see if anyone is listening, but I usually fall back to 7030-7050.

I have gotten back to about 15 WPM head copy, but I always QRS to a slower speed CQ or a slower speed reply to my CQ.

I disagree with the notion that CW is dying. There will always be a loyal bunch who will keep CW alive and well. I really like CW's elegance and robustness. I do research in signal processing, and this might be why I have come to like CW so much. It has all the components of an efficient digital transmission system: source coding, channel coding, variable baudrate to match the channel conditions, automatic retry modes...

I'm still struggling to be able to copy more than 15 WPM in my head, but it's a fun challenge to try to get there.

Keep up the good work and I'll listen to 7100-7150 for your CQ.

73, Mike N9OHW/6
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K9MI on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Be sure and check how "dead" the CW bands are this weekend between 2100 UTC Saturday and 0300 Sunday.

 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K0EWS on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Agree with K9MI. Sweeps is my favorite contest of the year. Anyway, needless to say, I'll be making very good use of my 250 Hz filter this weekend.
As for the novice bands, I suggest 80 meter novice bands. I have heard a bit of activity around 3700 KHz; probably as much as the lower portion and now with us being back on standard time, and darkness being earlier, coupled with lower sunspots, 80 might just be a good place to hang out to make some novice band qsos. 73 and get on the air!
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by WA3LGG on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
what happened to the cw novice bands ? the fcc just started a new entry level non-licensed class called the "bpl class"...this class will be permitted to operate from 80 meters thru 6 meters, but are restricted to qrp levels and can only use long wire antennas....VERY LONG WIRE ANTENNAS...
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N0TONE on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Erik,

Thank you for the timely reminder. I have long been a proponent of what is now known as the "OCPD" club - One Contact Per Day. I do not permit myself to get on the internet until I have made one contact on HF. For me, my
"haunt" is 7.030 MHz, and I have always been willing to look for the slow speed CW ops.

But - as you have reminded us, there are some licensees who are not permitted that frequency.

I hereby propose that 7.103 become THE frequency to look for those licensees who are not permitted to operate lower. Why? Most of the general class and higher ops who use CW will have their antennas optimized for 7.010 to 7.040, where most of the action is. We'll have less tuner-adjusting to do at 7.103 than higher in the band. Also, it's more likely that we'll absent-mindedly tune up to 7.103 than higher. The old novice bands are sadly empty - the activity pretty much halts right above the segment where the digital ops reside.

I will also echo what others have said. Try a different antenna. I have experimented a lot with shortened antennas. I have a rule of thumb on them. If they are half of the "normal" length, they can work reasonably well without going through a lot of work. Below that size, and you're going to have to be very careful with using high-Q loading coils or using end-loading or large-area linear loading. In your operation on 40 meters, that means the antenna should be at least 30 feet long - about half the size of a full-sized dipole. It's highly unlikely that the Buddipole, which emphasizes light weight, is very efficient at only 16 feet long.

You can build your own highly efficient shortened antenna for a single band very easily. Start with a half wave of wire, cut in half and feed the middle. Now, twist and bend the wire until it fits into a 30 foot length. Don't let the sides opposite the feed end up parallel to each other - a jumbled mess on either side is OK, but a jumbled mess where the two sides are the same jumble is not. You can drill holes in four hunks of PVC and create a zig-zag shape. Keep the overall length longer than 30 feet and it'll be efficient...and you can trim the ends for resonance where you're going to operate.

The problem with using an inefficient antennas is that if your signal is weak, then the hams who might respond to you think that propagation is not very good - and they'd be concerned that your signal will fade out on them shortly after you make contact. So, it is in your best interest to generate as strong a signal as you can.

But I stress my first point - thanks for the reminder. Tonight, when I'm muddling around in my shop, I shall turn the rig on 7.103, with the widest possible filter dialed in, and keep that on in the background as I work on projects. If I hear a CQ, I'll reply.

AM
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by W6TH on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!


WB2WIK/6

Ok Steve, great, pick a time and frequency and I will be there listening for you. Anytime and frequency is ok with me. Your choice.

W6th

.:
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by W5EEX on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The statement about CW dying is the most ridiculous one I've heard here in a while.....his receiver must
be inoperable in the CW band segments. I work mostly CW and rarely find that there is not someone around to talk to. If anything, I would believe there may be a RESURGENCE of CW activity....not sure why, but it
makes me happy. Keep up the CW activity....hope to see you on the bands.
73
 
CW dying?  
by W3DCG on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
11/01/04 00:30 UTC
CW dying? Man, a few moments ago, 7.0385 - 7.0415 exploded into the most CW I've heard packed into such a tiny space- tons of stations there, some kind of QRP something contest.

CW dying? Even with recent CW droppage requirements all over the world, pick any big CW contest weekend and tune into the CW bands.

You'll see, it's anything but dying.

I agree with the RESURGENCE.
Kill it all you want,
CW will rise like the Phoenix from the smoldering ash.

Someone on a post months ago said, the way it should be marketed, is the way it really is, an anachronistic hobbyist past-time, in an age of internet/wireless high tech, a mode that has become truly obsolete, where people do it just because they can, for the challenge, because it is different, and in the case of QRP, because it works so well.

Like sail boating, in an age where jet travel is at an all time high, despite recent catastrophic events.

Here now, when internal combustion/jet power plants make sailing most obsolete, sailing- has arguably become more personally valued then any other form of transportation.

Having the freedom to sail, and then doing it, is surely a dream that most will never attain. But, we can do CW with minimal cost, especially given the booming QRP/wilderness/adventure radio phenomena.

Of course sailing on a boat, with only the sound of the wind billowing in the wind, waves breaking against the bow, under fair skies on a moonlit night, with the sounds of CW faintly emanating from the cabin, now there's romance. Add your favorite companion, animal and human, your favorite glass of wine...

(SGC coupler to the base of the aluminum mast, all the time in the world, floating on the ultimate ground plane- whoa. Could it possibly get any better?)

73.
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KA4KOE on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"Try it sometimes, guys. Undo the keyer, the
Vibroplex, or the keyboard, wire up that old
straight-key...and try it. You might actually
have fun."

Nah, its just easier to push sideways on the dah lever of the bug for the dits and dahs.

Not a lot of room in here.
 
RE: CW dying?  
by K0EWS on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<CW dying? Man, a few moments ago, 7.0385 - 7.0415 exploded into the most CW I've heard packed into such a tiny space- tons of stations there, some kind of QRP something contest.>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That would be the Spartan Sprint; a really fun little 2 hour sprint done the first Monday of each month. I used to be pretty regular with it, but have gotten busy. Anyway, it's a fur little QRP contest. Turn your rig down to 5 watts next time and join the fun!
 
RE: CW dying?  
by X-WB1AUW on November 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Used to be, one stayed in the Novice sub-bands until you passed 13WPM; then you passed the General, and hung around 7.025 and up.

I believe General is still 7.025 and up?
Might it be easier to pass General than to have people move back into the Novice sub-bands?

Bob
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by N8XMS on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I had not even thought about it until this posting. I used to spend a lot of time on the 40 meter Novice subband but since going all QRP the little rigs that I use do not tune that high in the band. I'll try to dust off the old rig from time to time and give some of you a call.
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by W1AWB on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
A very nice post, Erik. I just listened around the 40 meter novice band and didn't hear a lot except carriers from foreign broadcasters and other QRM. I then went to the 80 meter novice band and heard several signals and managed to have a very nice QSO
with someone who has been licensed sice 1980 but is
only just now getting into CW. I'll try to visit the novice bands regularly and hope others will too. At any rate, if there's any way you can get up some sort of antenna for 80 meters, you might have better luck. I started back on the road to CW proficiency 2 1/2 years ago at a pretty shaky 7 wpm and got a lot of help along the way. Every once in a while someone was in a hurry or rude but that was unusual.
For the most part people were very helpful and friendly. PLEASE stick with it. We need all the new ops we can get. 73
Andy W1AWB
 
RE: CW dying?  
by AH6GI on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I heard the activity last night too, Nov 1 about 8:00 PM EST. What was that? Dozens of close packed CW stations on the bottom of 40.

I was working on my Signal/One, comparing it to my IC-720A and didn't have time to listen in.

de ah6gi/4
 
RE: CW dying?  
by NJ0E on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
AH6GI:

> I heard the activity last night too, Nov 1 about
> 8:00 PM EST. What was that? Dozens of close
> packed CW stations on the bottom of 40.

that was the 'spartan sprint'; a fun, monthly contest
sponsored by the 'adventure radio society', a group
of qrp enthusiasts who enjoy building qrp/cw rigs and
taking them on camping/hiking/backpacking/canoeing/
bicycling trips.

you make as many contacts as you can in the 2 hour
contest, then divide it by the weight of your
transceiver+key+power supply. the idea is to
encourage members to build lightweight and
effective "trail friendly radios".

i made 15 contacts; my equipment weighed 1.56 lbs
(small wonder labs sw+, tick3 keyer, whiterook mk44
iambic paddles); for 9.62 contacts per pound.
so i made ~9.62 contacts/lb; probably a middle-
of-the road showing in the events' "skinny
category".

for details on the event, see:

http://arsqrp.com/ars/pages/spartan_sprints/ss_rules_new.html

details on arsqrp are at:
http://arsqrp.com/

it's fun; join us!

scott nj0e
arsqrp #1426
 
RE: CW dying?  
by NJ0E on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
AH6GI:

> I heard the activity last night too, Nov 1 about
> 8:00 PM EST. What was that? Dozens of close
> packed CW stations on the bottom of 40.

that was the 'spartan sprint'; a fun, monthly contest
sponsored by the 'adventure radio society', a group
of qrp enthusiasts who enjoy building qrp/cw rigs and
taking them on camping/hiking/backpacking/canoeing/
bicycling trips.

you make as many contacts as you can in the 2 hour
contest, then divide it by the weight of your
transceiver+key+power supply. the idea is to
encourage members to build lightweight and
effective "trail friendly radios".

i made 15 contacts; my equipment weighed 1.56 lbs
(small wonder labs sw+, tick3 keyer, whiterook mk44
iambic paddles); for 9.62 contacts per pound.
so i made ~9.62 contacts/lb; probably a middle-
of-the road showing in the events' "skinny
category".

for details on the event, see:

http://arsqrp.com/ars/pages/spartan_sprints/ss_rules_new.html

details on arsqrp are at:
http://arsqrp.com/

it's fun; join us!

scott nj0e
arsqrp #1426
 
RE: CW dying?  
by K6BBC on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
You guys! I still work CW. Most of the hams I work are in their 70s and 80s. Come on. In thirty years CW will be the new AM - a quaint novelty.

K6BBC
 
RE: CW dying?  
by NJ0E on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> You guys! I still work CW. Most of the hams I work
> are in their 70s and 80s. Come on. In thirty years
> CW will be the new AM - a quaint novelty.

check out http://arsqrp.com/

look at the pictures.

i don't think most of these guys are in their 70's
and 80's. and operating lightweight, trail-friendly
equipment, you won't find very many tubes or B+
batteries in the rigs.

that said, i enjoy most all the contacts i make
with amateurs of all ages, and with all types of
equipment, whether restored "boat anchor/big
iron" or qrp "trail friendly radios". and well
over 95% of them are on cw.

my experience is that there is *far*, *far* more
interest & variety in the gear used by cw ops
than there is by ssb ops. almost all ssb operators
today use icom, kenwood, or yaesu. booorrrriing.

on cw, you encounter everything from pixie 2's,
bc 610's, tiny tornadoes, hw 16's, arc 5's,
dx 20's, rockmites, tcs 12's, tuna tin 2's, sardine
senders, at sprints, elecrafts, oak hill ohr100's,
and ten tecs. and, yes, the icoms, kenwoods, &
yaesus.

most of the equipment variety on 'phone is the am
crowd that you seem to be dissing.


73
scott nj0e
 
RE: CW dying?  
by WB9JTK on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In 32 years on the air I have never heard a discouraging word on CW. I operate probably 99% CW I do get into the novice band about once per month. If no one is transmitting, then there is nothing to here. But I do occasionally get contacts up there. 7.105 to 7.118 work best for me. And MOST of my time on the air is CW mobile !

On CW I have never heard groups fighting over whether the holocaust ever happened.

On CW I have never heard splatter from an ill-adjusted rig.

You can put 15 CW QSO's in the space that one SSB signal takes.

I have worked 8,000 miles with 2.9 W CW. Can't do that with SSB


I PROMISE that if I ever go on a DXpedition I will spend some time in the novice CW band.

 
RE: CW dying?  
by AH6GI on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
geesh, according to the rules, I'm at a big disadvantage. I only have boatanchors here. My vintage CW rig is an SX-100 with a DX-60. What's that? 60 pounds, 70 pounds of station?

It sure was amazing to listen to. I was tuning around with the CX7A and there must have been 30-40 stations all going at once.

Not pounding in but quite copyable, S-7 or so near Washington DC using 50 feet of speaker cord hanging out the window.

de ah6gi/4
 
RE: CW dying?  
by WA4DOU on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I too thought the novice bands were pretty well vacant since the license was done away with and we were told that cw was passe among the newcomers. I'll make it a point to visit the novice bands and seek out qso's in the future. CW remains our most efficient mode. It goes the distance and has terrific staying power. K6BBC wishes it were dying. He might as well be shoveling sand against the tide.
 
RE: CW dying?  
by WY7I on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
SHEESH.
It seems like every forum turns into a debate over CW. Give it a rest!

 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K5TEN on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Erik!

No, I'm not going to get into the "CW is dying" debate. It's a big hobby, and folks can operate any mode that floats their boat. (Or boat-anchor, as the case may be.) ;)

Back to your original post, and there have been many positive contributions to your question, and I'll add mine.

I cut my HF teeth on the Novice portion of 40. As a novice with a modest station, I was able to contact stations (from all license classes) from all over. That's the reason why many ops, just like many who have posted here, still frequent that slice of the band.

While the issuance of Novice licenses is no more, there are still old novices and techs that hang out there, looking for contacts. I remember, after a few years away from the hobby, setting the station back up with a 40M loop up 65'. Where's the first place I called CQ? On 7.113 CW. I was trolling for Novices and Techs looking for code experience. At four words per minute, an Extra class on the second call promptly answered me.

After a few more appearances back on the band, it was evident to me that many of those returning my calls were Generals or higher, who were there for the same purpose I was, to help out folks looking to improve their CW. The "helping hands" are out there.

The other posts recommending antenna ideas, as well as frequencies and times of activity are great ideas, and good advice. Give them a try, and see what happens.

Many (myself included) still frequent the "old" Novice segments on the other bands as well, so give those a shot when the band is open in your area. If 10M is open, I'll be near 28.010 or 28.110. See you there.

Good luck!

K5TEN
Bruce
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by WA2JJH on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Be glad to do 7WPM with you. I jump down to 15M to see if it opened up.

Why do you not name some times, Days, and frequencys you work. I am sure plenty would do the same.

I want slow practice so I can learn to copy in my head. I write down the copy. This habit will limit ones max code speed to 25WPM.

It wil be a challedge for me to put together sentences in my head.

Those that copy in the mind, get up to 45 WPM.
I know many of my 20WPM friends would like to slow down.

Set up some skeds

73 MIKE
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by AA4LR on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

I was originally licensed as a Novice in late 1975, and actually got on the air in mid-1976.

Back then, the Novice bands were filled with activity. Stations could be heard on 80 and 40m every afternoon and evening, practically filling the band.

Things have changed a lot since then. Today, it is rare to hear CW contacts in the Novice bands. Heck, it is rare to hear CW contacts on 80m late on weekday evenings!

Your best bet for making CW contacts is to upgrade to General and try lower in the bands. Just because your CW is slow doesn't mean you have to stick with the Novice frequencies. (I used to know guys who would do 50+ wpm in the Novice bands -- it wasn't just for slowpokes)

If the FCC will ever act on Novice refarming, then we'll return to the conditions that existed before incentive licensing -- where Novices (and Tech plus licensees) will have access to (most of) the CW bands, not a separate subband.

Despite the decline in Novice CW activity, there is still a lot of interest in CW. QRP enthusiasts, Contestors and DXers all see value in the mode -- and there's a bunch of folks who enjoy CW for its own sake.

Another problem (and this just isn't on CW), is that people just don't call CQ like they used to any more. I'm encouraged that you at least tried.



 
RE: Novice Bands  
by W5HTW on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I hear stations regularly around 7143 to 7148, and I make quite a few contacts there, though lately I have not been on the air much at all. Getting ready, though, to get active again, after doing a lot of work around the ranch that needed doing before winter arrives in force.

It is quite enjoyable to go up to the Novice bands and have a contact or two. I can recall, as others have mentioned here, my own Novice days, and it was always a pleasure to have a more experienced ham come down and chat with me a bit, at my 5 WPM. I haven't been in the Novice bands now for about three months, but that will change in about another week. I'll listen low, too, at the 7110-7118 region. Maybe I'll hook up the straight key, instead of using the paddle as a sideswiper.

I have had the opportunity now and then to be someone's 'first contact.' It's a real thrill, so I'll be looking for that.

Of concern, though, is the ARRL's proposed refarming of the Novice bands. That seems to be a couple of years away, if it happens at all, but if it does, it will make changes in how we all operate. Meanwhile, I hope to be back on there in a week.

73
ed
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by WD9FUM on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Take Heart Erik, CW is not dying and a lot of us are still having fun with it. I tend to stay away from the Novice portion of 40 because of the QRM from the BC's. I'd say that 99% of the CW ops will be more than happy to QRS for you (Remember folks, we were all newcomers to the world's greatest hobby at one time ourselves). There are times I operate CW all night long. I put the headphones on and rattle the key and never disturb the wife and kids! Drop me a line if you'd like to sked.
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K0RGR on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
This is one of the reasons we have been hoping the FCC ( a Division of U.S. Corp.) would actually do something beneficial for Amateur Radio that they actually proposed to do a long time ago, but haven't done yet, and refarm the Novice bands, so those with Novice band priveleges can come and play in the 'big pond' with the rest of us. It's not that we are ignoring you guys - I do listen up there on occasion - but I really don't find much activity in the old Novice bands, so I don't spend much time. And anybody who has passed a code test should be able to avoid the foreign broadcast stations on 40 at night, too.
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KC2GOW on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I enjoy a nice slow paced QSO on 30/40meters at night. I hang around 7.040-7.050 and 10.108-10.113...If you hear this slow young man...answer...i slow down to 1wpm if need be.
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by WA0ACF on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Erik,

I'm glad to see that you received a lot of positive replies and suggestions. Your article even inspired me to check out the 40m Novice band tonight and I had a very enjoyable QSO with a W4 who was calling CQ.

I like the idea of trying to make "One Contact a Day", or even one a week depending on other committments. Here's another idea for all of us - try sending a CQ or two if you don't hear anyone. It takes some CQ's to start a contact. Thanks for the inspiration Erik,

73, Jerry
 
Why technician  
by N0TONE on November 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I was re-considering this. While I still support doing slow CW for those who need it, and I still go into the "novice" bands...I gotta ask this.

Why does anybody remain a novice or tech plus? The code test is 5wpm. Novices and tech-pluses already passed this test. The theory for general is duck soup, and you don't need to improve your CW in order to upgrade.

Here's my new proposal - if you have access to HF at all, even if "just" the novice CW bands, then you have passed the last CW test you'll ever need to take. Spent an evening reading the written exam book and go upgrade, then you'll find all the activity you can handle at 7.040 where the FISTS crowd LOVES to QSO at 5-8wpm.

Now, if I'm in error about some of this, I'm open to being corrected. But, as I see it, it's just too easy to upgrade, since the written exams are so easy nowadays.

AM
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K6DSW on November 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I believe that many existing holders of Novice and Technician licenses are not very aware of the changes in FCC amateur licensing requirements for General class. Novices have passed a 5 wpm code test, which is the only code test now (since April 2000) required for any class of licence. So, if a Novice passes the technician test they add access to all VHF and higher bands. If they pass the General written test (no more 13 wpm) they get a General Class.

Technician Class licencees who have held their licenses since before February 1987 have already passed all requirements for a General class license. If they send proof of when they were licensed to the FCC, they will be upgraded to General.

Don
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by NJ0E on November 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Your best bet for making CW contacts is to
> upgrade to General and try lower in the bands.
> Just because your CW is slow doesn't mean you
> have to stick with the Novice frequencies. (I
> used to know guys who would do 50+ wpm in the
> Novice bands -- it wasn't just for slowpokes)

i have a weekly schedule with another extra
class amateur at 7108 khz. he is a recent
extra and is working on pushing his code speed
up from 6-8 wpm.

the old novice segments are a terrific portion
of our bands for just this type of activity.

i'd encourage anyone who recently passed element
1, of any license class, to spend some time
in the old novice segments.

similarly, i was inactive for about 18-20 years,
and when i became active again (a couple years
ago), i operated in the old novice segments
pretty much exclusively for several weeks. i
had no trouble making contacts, though i did
sometimes have to be persistent about pushing
out cq's. i used a full length half wave dipole
on 40m (and 15m), which i'm sure helped alot.

this is a good purpose for these band segments.
i opposed the arrl's proposed 'novice refarming'
for this reason. i endorsed allowing 'phone from
3725-3750 khz, as they proposed, but opposed
allowing 'phone from 7125-7150 khz. the 3725-3750
khz segment is indeed underutilized, and i can't
recall hearing any cw used there since the
novice/tech+ band was shifted down 25 khz (except
once. i made a cw contact with an old 3725 khz
crystal).


73
scott nj0e
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KF4VGX on November 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Sure was nice reading,enjoyed the post where hams offered to help a ham out.
CW will always be a part of amateur radio.

Thats the way amateur radio should be :).

KF4VGX
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KC8VWM on November 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Here.. Here..! I Second KF4VGX's opinion!

 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KB3IFK on November 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
AT AGE 58 NEW TO THE HOBBY, ELE 1 & 2 JUNE 12, 2002, ELE 3 NOV 2002, WITH LIMITED BAND SPECTRUM I RALEY FOUND ANYONE TO WORK CW WITH. SO IN ESSENCE GET YOUR ELE 3 THEORY AND HAVE SOME FUN. I RARELY FOUND THAT IF I SENT A QRS THE OP WOULD NOT COMPLY.
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by W2CZ on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
What a wonderful post and super bunch of replies. I have only been in the hobby for 5 years and frankly I learned enough CW to get an upgrade. About two years ago I really took an interest in CW and since despite a busy schedule at work have been trying to improve my CW. I mainly have used a computer program to practice copy and not engaged in real QSO's since I did not think there were too many who could tolerate my poor CW. Well enough of that after reading all these post I will make a real effort to get on and make a few contacts and hopefully improve!
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by WA6BFH on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Let me take a whack at this -- with an answer that I think may be more in the spirit that you reflect in your question. I will assume -- always a dangerous thing -- that you already tried at least some of the practical suggestions offered.

Let me tell you a story. Not too long ago I visited a friend with a K6 license, a K6 by 2, that he has held since the close of the war. Uh, thats WW2. He sat down at his Bug, and tuned the frequency down near the bottom of 40 Meters. I expected him to start with a series of CQ, CQ, CQ, CQ de K6 ...... you get the idea, thats the way I did it, when I was WN6BFH. He just tapped the key once .... one dit. A W7 came back to him, and for the next several minutes they carried on at about 35 WPM.

After he told this Ham 73, he and I talked about the general nature of the bands, and the new class of license, known as the No-code Extra. He told me that more and more, he found that he would have to, in good operator practice, QRS slower and slower for many Extra class licensee's. He told me that often he had to go well below 5 words per minute.

I don't doubt his word. I have never really enjoyed iCW myself, though I can still operate at a comfortable 16 WPM. Beyond that my sending gets pretty sad on a straight key. Friends have pushed me up to about 21 WPM but, it frays my nerves!

Anyway, I'm not too worried about our relative traditions and practice with CW. It is a good skill, and I'm glad that many do enjoy and continue it. I'm worried about the nature of our theory exams, and the idea that folks can pick up a license at a weekend class at a Ham convention. The theory that these many new Ham's retain or practice is ZERO! They can't operate CW either.

Afterall, as FCC just made very plain in their recent comment on BPL interference, WE are JUST A HOBBY! Maybe we ought to be mindful of that?
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K3XI on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
We have a lot of excellent replies to Eric's request!
I would like to encourage EVERYONE to operate more in
the novice bands. Being a cw operator for many years,
I also see the decrease in activity, at the place where we need it most for the new hams. This is for the new hams out there who are hesitating to hit that key. Don't let it scare you, we are there for you to help you along. Don't be concerned about how you sound!!
We "ALL" were at that place one time. If you send at half a word a minute that is fine, this is why we have this part of the band. And some of us old timers, let us not forget our tradition to the newcomers. Just a reminder as we all tend to forget.

De: K3XI Fists 4010
 
So why not just upgrade and get more CW practice?  
by N0TONE on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Still not sure why he doesn't upgrade - just take element 3, it's only paperwork.

In the week this topic has been on eham, I've listened carefully in the novice 40 meter band. All of the CW I've heard has been in the 5 to 12 wpm range. None of it has been slower than the slowest I hear at lower frequencies. There's plenty of slow CW on the FISTS and QRP parts of the band. There's no reason to restrict slow CW to 7100-7150.

I guess my point is that if an operator wants more CW practice, then he can simply pass the Element 3 upgrade to General, and then have access to almost all the CW frequencies there are and have a lot more opportunities to get the practice.

AM
 
Great opportunity coming - Straight Key Night  
by N0TONE on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
This has been a favorite activity of mine for decades. Dust off the straight key and go at it. Every year, I encounter several recent licensees, none of whom HAVE to increase their CW skills, but all of whom CHOOSE to. Very nice people. On SKN, they really do concentrate on the novice parts of the bands. And nobody's in a rush, the emphasis for SKN is having at least one good long, involved QSO, you don't get points for making lots of short ones.

73 and hope to see you all on SKN!

AM
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KC8VWM on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
De: K3XI Fists 4010

"I would like to encourage EVERYONE to operate more in the novice bands. Being a cw operator for many years, I also see the decrease in activity, at the place where we need it most for the new hams."


I tend to agree with your thought. However, what I always found interesting is with the fact that "new hams" don't have any access to any HF novice bands anyways.

Suggestion:

They should really consider allowing a small sliver of "CW only" spectrum say, limited to 100 watts for current licensed Tech's on some part of the old Novice CW bands, on a limited band basis on HF (say 20/40/80m)

Allow current tech's "CW only" operating privedges with limited power restriction and zero voice privledges would be allowed anywhere on HF. This sliver would be for CW only.

I am almost certain you will suddenly see a surge of No code Tech's pounding brass in order to utilize CW on these HF bands.

If they don't use it, nothing would be lost. If they do, CW would start to florish on HF.

Win Win situation...

It might also be a bit of an interesting challenge for no code techs to become better operators don't you think?

dit dit

DE Charles KC8VWM
 
RE: Great opportunity coming - Straight Key Night  
by N6PEH on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
There are very few operators in the Novice Bands, because there are very few Novices left. Before the restructuring, there were a lot of people on these bands beacause it was the only place they could operate without having to pass the 13 WPM test. That has all changed now. There are no people there now for this reason, and, it's a very noisy place to operate.
 
RE: Great opportunity coming - Straight Key Night  
by N6PEH on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
There are very few operators in the Novice Bands, because there are very few Novices left. Before the restructuring, there were a lot of people on these bands beacause it was the only place they could operate without having to pass the 13 WPM test. That has all changed now. There are no people there now for this reason, and, it's a very noisy place to operate.
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by VE7TIT on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I thought I'd work the 40-meter novice band to get my CW skills back after 10+ years off the air. I have been disappointed to find that part of the bad almost deserted. The novice section was always my favorite because the people there seemed less serious about ham radio and willing to chat.

I'm still listening on 7.1 to 7.12, and even sending an occasional CQ. After reading the suggestions, I'm going to put up a better antenna this weekend.

See you on the 40 M CW Novice band!
 
Giving some HF CW privileges to techs  
by N0TONE on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KC8VWM said:

"They should really consider allowing a small sliver of "CW only" spectrum say, limited to 100 watts for current licensed Tech's on some part of the old Novice CW bands, on a limited band basis on HF (say 20/40/80m)"

Charles, novices never had anything on 20 meters.

I would propose the following:

3.675-3.725 MHz (CW only)
7.100-7.1250 MHz (CW only)
21.100-21.200 MHz (CW only)
28.100-28.300 MHz (CW, digital)
28.300-28.325 MHz (CW, SSB)

I would propose a power limit of 200 watts for any class of license operating herein. The reason for 200 is that most of today's so-called 100 watt rigs, when the knobs are turned all the way to the right, just like the dealer delivered it, will deliver a bit over 100W and I want the ops to be reasonably able to follow the law.

The reason for the frequencies: Except for my 10 meter proposal, they are exactly what novices have access to today. We've just opened them up to the no-code techs who have no access at all.

The reason for only 25kHz on 10 meter SSB is so that they can at least get a taste of SSB..and incentive to upgrade if they really want to get stuck using a microphone.

OK, my cents are old, and not many left, but you get two of them right there.

AM
 
RE: Giving some HF CW privileges to techs  
by KC8VWM on November 4, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
NOTONE,

I have to agree with your train of thought about band utilization.

I think CW only access for current no code techs on certain portions of HF bands would sure help liven things up a little.

I was later thinking about the 100 watt limitation I proposed and you basically took the words right out of my mouth. Most would probobly run 100 watts, but that additional "buffer" is probobly neccesary to ensure everyone is compliant.

My line of thinking was to basically keep the current licence classes as they are. Once a Tech becomes proficent with CW on Novice HF bands, they would be able to transition themselves after a written test to the phone portion of the bands.

This way, no one is "giving" away HF bands per se, you are still earning your privledges and making CW contacts along the way.

Secondly, this would spark additional CW activity and interest in the old Novice portion of the bands.

This kind of proposal might help keep all current license classes happy and would prevent the "dumbing down" aspect so many HF amateurs are concerned about today.

The last benefit would of course relate to the idea that it would help to provide an added boost to CW activity - keeping CW alive and well.

Thanks for listening.

73 DE Charles KC8VWM
 
We are out there, please keep trying.  
by K1USC on November 5, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you for the post Erik. This discussion has been helpful to a new Ham such as myself (Since 8/04). I just passed my CW just last month (Iím Tech Plus now!) & I am excited about getting my feet wet in the HF bands.

I am QRPíing 5 to 10 Watts with a 703 & an Iron Horse Whip Antenna up about 20 feet. I donít have the most powerful set-up just yet but, one thing at a time. It is starting to be clear for me that the best upgrade to my shack would be a good antenna system. When I raised the Antenna from 10 feet to its present height, that made a good difference. Iím also being told by some smart fellers to set up a dipole in the back. That will be my next project.

I do plan on earning my General but I donít feel rushed at the moment since I am starting to have success in the Novice portion of the bands. I figure it is a good place to start. Every CW contact Iíve made (not a whole lot just yet) on the Novice portion of the bands has been from Advanced/Amateur Extraís out there & they have been kind enough to slow down for me to about 5-7wpm. The contacts have come from up in Washington down to Arizona so far (Iím in Southern California).

When there is a lot of static & noise in 40 meters, Iíve had some luck hopping up to the 80M Novice bands. Searching around, luck & persistence pays off once & awhile. The Antenna setup though, is a definite factor in helping me to make the contact.

Iíve seen the saying, ďOne Contact a DayĒ. Thatís a good start & Iíll keep on going from there. Hope to run into you in the Novice bands.

Tony, K1USC
 
RE: We are out there, please keep trying.  
by NJ0E on November 5, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> When there is a lot of static & noise in 40
> meters, Iíve had some luck hopping up to the
> 80M Novice bands. Searching around, luck &
> persistence pays off once & awhile. The Antenna
> setup though, is a definite factor in helping
> me to make the contact.

you're absolutely right; 80 meters is a better band
in the winter than in the summer, and these days
it's getting better and better each week.

it doesn't suffer from the shortwave broadcast qrm
like 40 meters does. the disadvantage of 80, of
course, is that it requires a larger antenna.

did you know that in the 1930's; 80 meters was
the most popular ham band? kind of like 2 meters
is today. hard to believe!

73 es have fun!
scott nj0e
 
What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by KC4FLT on November 5, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
A couple weeks back I made my first CW QSO in ten years, I'm a lot slower than I was back in the 90's.

I tuned instinctively to the 40M novice portion to make a CQ..... K4UFS was very nice to return my super slow pace, and very tolerant of my poor fist. I was thankful for the reply and I'm quite sure he knows I'm new to CW (again). Thanks Rick, had you been nasty, or impatient, I probably would have been discouraged. Instead I felt the rush of my first contact all over again - lucky enough to get name city and call - nevermind the signal report. I'm hoping to work SS this weekend and maybe I'll even copy without repeats.


As for the great OPs that come down to the beginners level to encourage and teach, thanks! We can't do it without you. FB!
KC4FLT
 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by EXWA2SWA on November 15, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
OK, here's my situation:
A newly-generated General after over 30 years away from my old-style "5wpm + General written" Tech. I chased my fair share of dits & dahs during my military service (ended 1970) & so my code speed was once pretty swift. Not so no mo', but I will regain it.

While waiting for radio stuff to arrive, I've been listening to the lower end of 40, and have heard everything from no-weight-on-the-Bug speed merchants to 5wpm (or less) ops. (The SS weekend was fun to hear!) And the 5-10wpm folks are having just as much fun as the supersonic big guns.

As many have noted above, if newcomers don't feel comfortable in CW, they won't use it. And if we expect to see another generation of CW ops, we're gonna have to provide the foundation for it.

I dang near cried when the Coast Guard announced it would no longer monitor the old CW distress freq's. Good CW is an art form worth preserving.

73,
Jim
KE5CXX (ex-WA2SWA)







 
RE: What Happened to the CW Novice Bands?  
by K3XF on October 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
CWs demise is over stated. CW is no more in its death throes than any other mode. Admittedly, because of relatively recent rule changes the percentage of daily CW users as a portion of the total ham population is probably declining vs daily use of other modes. Yes, one can point out that during activities the use of CW increases. This is true of all modes and really doesn't prove anything.
The illustration of the 40M band and CQ that started his thread should be a clue . . . an equivalent CQ in the SSB area would very likely have produced a QSO in short order if you can find a clear spot to do so.

As for the neglected CQ . . . The sage advice to tune lower in the (novice) band will work. I'll tune the novice band a bit more when searching for a QSO and look forward to finding you on the bands.

73,
Art
 
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