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Author Topic: Attitudes against CW over the years  (Read 6380 times)
WX7G
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Posts: 5977




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« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2010, 02:26:27 PM »

Although it has been nearly 11 years since the last commerical American CW station signed off, amateur radio continues to use this mode.

In these years of low solar activity daily worldwide amateur radio communication is possible thanks to CW.

Len K6LHA if you want to listen to wall-to-wall CW action tune into the CQ WW 160 meter CW DX contest next weekend. The band will be solid from 1800 - 1900 kHz. This is as close to old time, just post-spark, amateur radio there is.

I'll be the guy with the little signal running 500 watts to an 18' top loaded vertical. See you OBs on top band.
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WX7G
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« Reply #61 on: January 24, 2010, 02:58:22 PM »

Len K6LHA, please don't feel bad or inferior because you have been unable to learn the code.

For some folks it comes very, very hard if at all. I know you say you could learn CW if you wanted, but I suspect you are one of those persons who are unable to learn CW no matter what. People are born with widely varying potential CW ability.    

I once taught the entire alphabet to a 7 year old girl in one short session. Another person I taught CW learned it in three sessions. He is a ham but does not operate CW. One dedicated older fellow I knew worked extremely hard to learn CW and gain the skill required to handle CW traffic. He was not a natural CW man. He spent a couple hours a day for a year to attain this level. By the way CW traffic nets meet daily on 80 and 40 meters and pass traffic.

And Me? At age 12 it took me a month of daily practice to get to 5 WPM and pass the novice test. I'm at the lower end of natural CW ability.  

Most folks I have taught CW require a dozen half hour sessions. In two short weeks they were ready for the Novice test. Test anxiety always shaved off 1 or 2 WPM. To get around that I would tell them they were taking a practice test when I was actually administering the real novice code test.

I favor the Farnsworth method of learning code. I think I'll go copy some code right now. I find it relaxing and a pleasure to copy CW both in my head and on a 'mill' (my PC). 73 OM.
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NI0C
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« Reply #62 on: January 24, 2010, 03:04:40 PM »

David, if I hear you next weekend, I'll give you a call.  I rarely call CQ during the DX contests, as I prefer S & P mode, chasing new ones.  

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N2EY
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Posts: 3877




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« Reply #63 on: January 24, 2010, 06:10:21 PM »

WX7G writes: "Although it has been nearly 11 years since the last commerical American CW station signed off,"

Not exactly.

KSM continues on the air, today, in 2010.

http://www.radiomarine.org/index.html

WX7G: "amateur radio continues to use this mode."

Yes, we do. And in great numbers. In 2008, for example, the number of CW logs submitted for the CQ WW DX 'test exceeded the number of 'phone logs.  

In the 2008 ARRL 160 meter contest, 1280 entries were received. The station with the highest QSO total contacted 1832 different stations in the 42 hour contest period. All on 160, all on CW.
 
WX7G: "wall-to-wall CW action tune into the CQ WW 160 meter CW DX contest next weekend. The band will be solid from 1800 - 1900 kHz. This is as close to old time, just post-spark, amateur radio there is."

Well, maybe. At least on a recurring basis. Some might put up the Bruce Kelley AWA contest for that one.

My personal favorite happened back in 1996. It went like this:

In late 1921, the ARRL sent Paul Godley to the UK with a state-of-the-art modern superheterodyne receiver, to see if he could hear American amateurs on 200 meters.

He wound up on Ardrossan moor in Scotland, listening with a Beverage antenna for US and Canadian hams transmitting on schedule.

The professionals of that time said there was no way a 1000 watt 200 meter signal could cover such a distance; the wavelength was too short and the power too low. Yet Godley clearly heard and identified at least 30 US and Canadian amateurs, some spark, some CW. His results were witnessed by the British operator who held the license for the receiver. It was 20 years almost to the day after Marconi first heard the "S" from Poldhu.

The best performing station of that Transatlantic Test was 1BCG, in Greenwich, CT. The transmitter itself was designed by none other then Major E.H. Armstrong, and it used four 204As.

In 1996, for the 75th anniversary of that Test, a group of hams built a replica transmitter using four 204As and put it on the air from a location very near the original transmitter site. This time, however, they set up for two-way communication, and worked many amateurs. Of course they couldn't use the original 200 meter wave, so the were on 160 meters with the call W1BCG.

Back then I was living in the house on RadioTelegraph Hill, and had no 160 meter capability. My antennas were an inverted V for 40 and 80 and a quarter-wave vertical for 20. My homebrew rigs did not cover 160 at all.

But I did have a BC-342N, and just for fun listened for W1BCG. And on the first night...THERE HE WAS!

There was no mistaking the odd note of the replica rig; it was clearly something from another age. I determined that I would get a QSO - but how?

In the round-tuit pile was a Johnson Viking 2 and VFO. Some parts replacements got it running well enough to brilliantly light a 100 watt bulb on 160. But what to do for an antenna?

I tried various forms of loading coils for the ends of the inverted V but with no luck. The mismatch was so bad that even the wide-range pi-net of the Viking couldn't get serious RF aloft. Night after night brought no results.

Then it occurred to me to do what the Ancient Ones had done: work the feedline against ground as a "T" antenna. I tied the coax center conductor and shield together, grounded the rig to the water pipe, and tried to load it up. The dern thing took RF!

There was no TR switch; the receiver was on the 20 meter vertical and the transmitter was on the T. One had to remember to turn down the RF gain before closing the key....

I tried calling W1BCG but the pack of better-equipped stations got there first. With only a night or two before they closed up the commemorative station, it didn't look good.

But with all the listening, I noticed the patterns of how W1BCG operated. They'd ask NA stations to standby for a time while they tried to work Europeans, and after about a half-hour of that they'd go back to working North Americans again.

So I set up on frequency while they were working Europeans and waited. When they announced that they were now listening for W/VE stations, I was right there, and worked 'em before the rest of the pack realized what was going on. Got the card to prove it, too. 13 December 1996, 0108Z

The Viking was fixed up to full operation and sold. The BC-342N I still have. I moved away from RadioTelegraph Hill in 1999; the mast that held the inverted V is still there on the roof. Maybe someday another ham will buy the place...

WX7G: "I'll be the guy with the little signal running 500 watts to an 18' top loaded vertical. See you OBs on top band."

Good luck and TALLY HO!

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K6LHA
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #64 on: January 24, 2010, 08:15:57 PM »

WX7G posted on 24 Jan 2010:

"Len K6LHA, please don't feel bad or inferior because you have been unable to learn the code."

Well David WX7G, try to get your act together. Try as hard as you can to fathom the FACT that not everyone WANTS to learn code. Amazing but true!
................
David WX7G: "For some folks it comes very, very hard if at all. I know you say you could learn CW if you wanted, but I suspect you are one of those persons who are unable to learn CW no matter what."

Hello? What did I say in my previous message...and just now?
................
David WX7G: "People are born with widely varying potential CW ability."

...and some develop Attention Deficit Disorder at age 55 to 56. I suspect you are one of those.    
................
David WX7G: "I once taught the entire alphabet to a 7 year old girl in one short session." Another person I taught CW learned it in three sessions. He is a ham but does not operate CW. One dedicated older fellow I knew worked extremely hard to learn CW and gain the skill required to handle CW traffic. He was not a natural CW man. He spent a couple hours a day for a year to attain this level."

What is that intended to PROVE? That you know three other people?  As of midnight on 23 Jan 10 were 716,458 total individual licensees with 683,089 still in their 10-year license term.

No, it is an attempt to SHAME someone who admits he is not interested in OOK CW modes today and yesterday. NOT a good inducement to SHAME someone, is it?
.................
David WX7G: "By the way CW traffic nets meet daily on 80 and 40 meters and pass traffic."

Oh, my, the NTS! :-) [other remarks on that elided :-)]
.................
David WX7G: "And Me? At age 12 it took me a month of daily practice to get to 5 WPM and pass the novice test. I'm at the lower end of natural CW ability."

There hasn't been a Novice class license granted since the middle of the year 2000. Okay, so you took 44 years (?) to earn your Novice class license? Well, I give you credit for much persistence...  
.................
David WX7G: "Most folks I have taught CW require a dozen half hour sessions. In two short weeks they were ready for the Novice test. Test anxiety always shaved off 1 or 2 WPM. To get around that I would tell them they were taking a practice test when I was actually administering the real novice code test."

Wasn't that dishonest? Which VEC are you in? I won't have to renew until 8 Jan 2020. <shrug>
..................
David WX7G: "I favor the Farnsworth method of learning code. I think I'll go copy some code right now. I find it relaxing and a pleasure to copy CW both in my head and on a 'mill' (my PC)."

By all means do what you want. I'm not stopping you. It might be nice to have someone to TALK to besides listening to code on "the bands" so much. Normal social intercourse makes for a more balanced person. But, everyone to their own preferrences. <shrug>

37.5 K6LHA
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K6LHA
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #65 on: January 24, 2010, 08:21:41 PM »

N2EY posted on January 24, 2010:

"And as you say, they're mostly on the internet."

...so is Jim, N2EY, MANY places... :-)

18.75 K6LHA
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NI0C
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« Reply #66 on: January 25, 2010, 03:46:36 AM »

Why does "someone who admits he is not interested in OOK CW modes today and yesterday" continue to post in the CW Forum?

Attention deficit disorder, perhaps?  Lack of normal social intercourse?
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WX7G
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« Reply #67 on: January 25, 2010, 06:16:07 AM »

NI0C I too work S&P (exclusively).

N2EY, thanks for the fascinating CW info. I understand that KPH fires up once year on 500 kHz. My only regret in life is that I never did a stint as a maritime CW op.

I have a Commericial 2nd Class Radiotelegraph Certificate but never found a good lull in life to take off to sea for a year. Before CW was dropped in 1999 for maritime use and GMDSS replaced it I got a GMDSS operator license and a GMDSS maintainer license. Never used those. I received a 1st Class Radio Telephone license in 1980 and got my novice in 1969.

I have worked a dozen maritime CW ops. Half of them on ships working 160 meters on their time off and the other half on 40 meter CW. Even off shift these fellows were drawn to CW. When I was 14 I visited a maritime op on a ship in port and marveled at the radio shack.

K6LHA, too bad you don't work CW and I don't work fone - we'll never be able to QSO. 73 OM.
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WX7G
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« Reply #68 on: January 25, 2010, 07:56:26 AM »

Len K6LHA, I know that under that curmudgeonly exterior beats the heart of a 12 year old boy who yearns to know code.

You no longer have to fib everytime your no-code status gets you down and you quietly whisper to yourself "I know I don't know code, but doggonit I'm as good as they are!"

Since Saturday - using the time spent here conversing with your fellow OTs - you could have learned the letters E, T, I, and M on Saturday, A, N, O, and S on Sunday, and U, D, H, and B today. Why, by this Friday you could to make your first CW QSO!

That would certainly be a fine day - one of the best of your good long life -  and you would join the proud ranks of amateur radio operators who know the CW, the first being Guglielmo Marconi.
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K6LHA
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« Reply #69 on: January 25, 2010, 01:43:01 PM »

WX7G posted on 25 Jan 10:

"Len K6LHA, I know that under that curmudgeonly exterior beats the heart of a 12 year old boy who yearns to know code."

Nonsense. I did not get interested in radio until age 14...in 1946.
............
WX7G: "You no longer have to fib everytime your no-code status gets you down and you quietly whisper to yourself "I know I don't know code, but doggonit I'm as good as they are!""

On NON-OOK-CW subjects I am also incompetent? I take that as a definite personal attack. But there is no stopping you on your personal (wrong) opinions, so I will leave.
............
WX7G: "Since Saturday - using the time spent here conversing with your fellow OTs - you could have learned the letters E, T, I, and M on Saturday, A, N, O, and S on Sunday, and U, D, H, and B today. Why, by this Friday you could to make your first CW QSO!"

In USA amateur radio I did that "first OOK CW QSO" over a year ago.
...........
WX7G: "That would certainly be a fine day - one of the best of your good long life -  and you would join the proud ranks of amateur radio operators who know the CW, the first being Guglielmo Marconi."

Just to set the record straight, the "best of my life" was in reconnecting with my high school sweetheart and getting married to her. The second "best in my life" was in becoming a US Army Signalman in the early 1950s, serving my country. There were several other "bests" which have priority over anything such as achieving my amateur radio license (after already having achieved three other radio licenses). I've had a long life so far with as many tragedies as there have been good times.

Your use of "know the CW" is linguistically incorrect. "CW" is an acronym of Continuous Wave. As practiced, that is technically On-Off Keyed CW or abbreviated "OOK CW." Guglielmo Marconi was NOT an
"amateur radio operator" but rather an Entrepreneur, a sort of business control-freak who attempted monopolization of all 'radio' patents internationally. He almost succeeded. His efforts were very definitely professional.

In 1895 when Marconi did his first organized experiments with RF there was no such 'radio' regulation in Italian law separating professional and amateur, much less regulating any 'radio.' In 1896 when both Marconi and academic Aleksandr Popov made separate public demonstrations of 'radio' as a communications medium in their respective countries there still weren't any Italian or Russian law to distinguish professional versus amateur. In the USA no federal laws were established until 16 years after the 1896 demonstrations. Marconi was an Entrepreneur with a lot of money in his family. Marconi is indirectly responsible for the creation of the RCA Corporation, my employer from 1968 through 1975; RCA Corporation was originally a private patent organization (as "Radio Corporation of America") to stop the monopolistic practices of Marconi. That is long-published history.
................
Now, Please stop the nonsense of imagining "how I think" or "what I 'should' do" since you show no skills for that. Amateur radio is a HOBBY, nothing more.

K6LHA
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N2EY
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« Reply #70 on: January 25, 2010, 02:20:41 PM »

WX7G writes: "I understand that KPH fires up once year on 500 kHz."

On HF, too. KSM is on the air at least weekly, handling commercial CW traffic.

Not much, of course, but they're still on the air.

WX7G: "My only regret in life is that I never did a stint as a maritime CW op.

I have a Commericial 2nd Class Radiotelegraph Certificate but never found a good lull in life to take off to sea for a year."

Yup. I got a Second 'Phone in the summer after graduating high school, but let it lapse. No real need for it, commercial licensing of operators is almost gone...

Of course anybody can "use" Morse Code nowadays by means of a computer to send and receive - and no real skill in it. But that's similar to when people say they flew from Point A to Point B when what they mean is that they rode in an airplane piloted by somebody else.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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DJ1YFK
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« Reply #71 on: January 25, 2010, 05:05:05 PM »

Funny! Or is it sad?

Years after Morse code was removed from most amateur radio license exams world wide, some people still have to fight out the old "Code vs. No-code" debate.

Life is too short for that!

Some people love the code, others don't. Very simple.

Take it easy.

73,
Fabian DJ1YFK
http://fkurz.net/
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WX7G
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« Reply #72 on: January 25, 2010, 05:47:29 PM »

N2EY, I will listen for KSM Maritime CW this saturday.

http://www.radiomarine.org/ksm-proj.html

Marconi was quoted as saying he was a radio amateur. The first ham.

Just as the reduction-in-technical rigor debate is here to stay so is the reduction-in-CW rigor debate.

Technical rigor debate:
There are those who say that newer (like <40 years) hams are not up to the standards of old hams who had to pass longer written tests and had to draw schematics. A rough estimate is that the new Extra test is half as rigorous as the old Extra test.

CW rigor debate:
There are those who say that newer hams not having to show CW proficiency are missing half the requirements (and half the fun).

So can one say that a new ham is 1/4 of what an old ham is?
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AB9NZ
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« Reply #73 on: January 25, 2010, 06:04:45 PM »

Yep, the new uber-speed kids of ham radio aren't crapping their pants about some test they took. When they're not working the world at speeds that can approach 100 wpm, they're writing FREE programs, so others can "Learn CW Online", or perhaps writing a volume that shares their love of Morse, and then posting it for FREE download to all. Very cool.
de Tom AB9NZ, Mount Prospect, Il.
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WX7G
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« Reply #74 on: January 25, 2010, 08:08:17 PM »

Can one say that a new ham is 1/4 of what an old ham was?

It might be that the minimum knowledge required to obtain a license now is 1/4 of what it once was. However, a particular 'new' ham can possess technical knowledge sufficient to pass an old time amateur extra exam. He can also learn CW such that he could pass an old time (1 minute solid copy out of 5 minutes and a sending test) CW test. So, a 'new' ham could be the equal of an old time ham.

What knowledge is really needed to be a ham in the year 2010? CW skills are not needed. The ability to draw a MOPA schematic is not needed. A knowledge of RF safety, regulations, and some basic RF knowledge enables a ham to get on the air effectively. This appears to be covered in the present day ham tests.

So why compare the ham of yesterday to the ham of today? Times have changed and ham radio has changed.

The CW folks can do their thing - and be thankful that we still have CW subbands - while the fone and digital folks do their thing.
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