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Author Topic: 1st CW QSO  (Read 8218 times)
KF7DS
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Posts: 192




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« on: September 26, 2011, 05:05:49 PM »

This weekend I finally got the nerve up to have my first CW QSO in about 40 years. I finally got my station set up and worked a few phone contacts during the Hawaii QSO party last month, but have been focused on relearning sending with a Bug again, let alone transcribing what I hear.

I CQ'd on 20 and 40 quite a bit on Sat. and Sunday, but with no reply. I could not even see myself on the Reverse Beacon Network, but it seems that RBN was not seeing many Hams on the West Coast, and most spots were in the mid-west, East Coast and Europe (is this typical?).

I was wondering if something had gone awry with my setup and whether anyone could hear me. I then focused on the QRS portions of the band on 40 in the mid-evening last night, and heard some good 10wpm code calling CQ. I was close to giving up but decided to answer and found success.

I made contact with a kind soul who was lurking in this portion of the band, helping those like myself get their first CW QSO. I was very appreciative to say the least. My transcription and sending seemed pretty good, but I was so nervous I forgot process and protocol, failing to end to end the QSO as well as I could. Oh well, will do so next time.

Trying to get back the control with the Bug which I had many years ago is quite a bit of work...easier to go faster than slower. I also purchased a HamGadgets Keyer and a single lever paddle to practice with - easier than the Bug but I sure like my Bug (Vibroplex Original).

Now it is time to get my speed up. Can't wait.

What a thrill.

Best,
Don Singer
KF7QZB

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N2EY
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Posts: 3926




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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2011, 05:30:33 PM »

WOO_HOO!

Congrats and keep at it!

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K8AXW
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Posts: 4002




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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2011, 09:03:22 PM »

Don: Most hams will always remember their first CW QSO with mixed feelings.  The good because you finally made the 1st contact and bad because something invariably goes wrong.  You will probably "Monday morning quarterback" that contact for many months, if not years.

I'll never forget my first CW contact.  It was about 55 years ago and I was using a Heathkit AT-1 transmitter.  The AT-1 used cathode keying, which means the key is in the final amplifier cathode circuit, which carries a pretty good current.  I was all excited and sweating profusely  There was several in the shack watching me which made things worse.

I finally heard a station in Sweden call CQ and I went back to him.  The contact started great for the first 30 seconds and then it all went to hell. My sweaty fingers slipped off the J-38 handkey knob and I got across the cathode circuit and received a shock that rattled my teeth and my hand felt like someone had smashed it with a mallet!  I continued to work the key and even though I knew what I was trying to send my  numb hand was doing it's own thing.  After a repeat request from the Swedish station and with my reply being as bad as what I had just sent he went away.  I always believed that he thought I was drunk! I never finished the contact.

The good news is the second contact went slightly better!  Enjoy OM!
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K3STX
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Posts: 1081




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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 06:11:44 AM »

Congratulations, what fun!!

Don't worry about RBN not posting you; I think it must be pretty close to perfect code to de-code it, and with a bug... ... ... Don't think my CQs with a bug have even been detected by RBN!

Not sure if you know about this or not, but you can get devices to allow your bugs to send SLOWER without adding tons of weights on the pendulum. Vibroplex sells one (a Bug Tamer) and there is the cheaper Extend-a-dot http://www.extendadot.com/

Have fun, keep that bug alive!!!

paul
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KF7DS
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Posts: 192




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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 09:26:56 PM »

Congratulations, what fun!!

Don't worry about RBN not posting you; I think it must be pretty close to perfect code to de-code it, and with a bug... ... ... Don't think my CQs with a bug have even been detected by RBN!

Not sure if you know about this or not, but you can get devices to allow your bugs to send SLOWER without adding tons of weights on the pendulum. Vibroplex sells one (a Bug Tamer) and there is the cheaper Extend-a-dot http://www.extendadot.com/

Thanks for the info on RBN:)

Been practicing a lot with the Bug. And, I did add the Bug Tamer, which helps.....but, it is still a Bug. I find my Vibrokeyer easier but I grew up with the Bug when i was a teen and still love its clickety-clackiness.

Don




Have fun, keep that bug alive!!!

paul
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WW8A
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2011, 05:40:06 PM »

Great Job Don,

In July 1970 I passed my novice exam. After 7 weeks wait (this is a while ago) The ticket came in the mail.

Understand, the first part of the test was cw, then a 2 week wait for the written test then 5 weeks wait for the ticket. My Heath HW-16 and 15m dipole at the ready,

However once I passed the cw test I left my Ameco code record (33 1/3 lp) on the shelf.

Sept 3 my Ticket in hand I fired up the rig called cq at about 7-8 wpm. WN6DDG In Los Almos Ca. came right back...at 7-8 wpm. QRS QRS QRS QRS de WN8HYR K.

Fine gentleman that he was he slowed right down to 3-4 wpm and we had a great hour long ragchew.

Just the thing a new ham and teenager needed.

40+ years later I call myself a Know code Extra. and can run a ragchew @ 40+ wpm. Yet still love to haunt the QRS section on the 40m band.

 Again, Congrats Don,   Welcome Back to the "real"  Ham Radio. Hi Hi

73 bcnu on the air

WAYNE WEST WW8A

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N4OI
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Posts: 214




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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2011, 06:44:00 AM »

"It was the best of times and the worst of times."

Congratulations and welcome!  Truly, CW is the purest art form in the great hobby of amateur radio!  Well done.   Grin

73 es GOD BLESS U ES URS de Ken N4OI 
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AB2T
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Posts: 246




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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2011, 12:07:14 PM »

This weekend I finally got the nerve up to have my first CW QSO in about 40 years. I finally got my station set up and worked a few phone contacts during the Hawaii QSO party last month, but have been focused on relearning sending with a Bug again, let alone transcribing what I hear.

Congrats, Don!  Keep going!  I think you're really brave for starting out with a bug!  The bug is a very difficult instrument to master, or so I've heard from those who use them.  Keep at it and I'm sure you'll develop a great fist.

If I hear you I'll be sure to contact you. I will use paddles though.

73, Jordan
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AB2T
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Posts: 246




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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2011, 12:09:47 PM »

Sept 3 my Ticket in hand I fired up the rig called cq at about 7-8 wpm. WN6DDG In Los Almos Ca. came right back...at 7-8 wpm. QRS QRS QRS QRS de WN8HYR K.

Fine gentleman that he was he slowed right down to 3-4 wpm and we had a great hour long ragchew.

Just the thing a new ham and teenager needed.

Nice story Wayne.  Your story shows why it's a good idea to have a straight key on hand to send <5 wpm contacts.  It's not easy to send at this speed with paddles, a bug, or another faster code sending device.

73, Jordan
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N4OI
Member

Posts: 214




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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2011, 05:16:11 AM »

AB2T wrote: "...Your story shows why it's a good idea to have a straight key on hand to send <5 wpm contacts.  It's not easy to send at this speed with paddles, a bug, or another faster code sending device."

Agree! I also have a Begali Spark straight key in parallel with my Begali Signature paddles.  I bought the Spark because I had never used a straight key before and since there were whole organizations being built around them....   Well, it quickly became an interesting paperweight because my straight key fist stinks and it seemed like so much work compared to sending with a paddles and nice iambic keyer, why even practice straight key?

But just yesterday I used the Spark when someone asked me to QRS.  So much easier to just turn off the "keyer" button and move my hand to the Spark than to try and slow down on the paddles!  And the OM on the other end was very appreciative since he was just getting back on the air on CW straight key and was about the same speed as me on the Spark.

Oh, one GREAT benefit to this approach: I SO APPRECIATED going back to my iambic paddles when that long, slow straight key QSO was over!   

(No flames from the SKCC crowd, please -- I am a member too and will fight for your "rats" to pound whatever form of brass you choose...)

73 de Ken - N4OI
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WA4FNG
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Posts: 162




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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2011, 09:38:11 AM »

Don -- Congrats on your cw qso. Don't worry about "process and protocol" as many have been in your shoes. It all happens with practice. Don't give up, you're going to have loads of fun!
73, Milt
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KF7DS
Member

Posts: 192




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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2011, 01:39:04 PM »

Nah, not giving up....love the challenge of even just making a contact.

Been working with the Bug and it is sounding better and easier. Have played around with a keyer (not on air) and was amazed how much easier it is to use with a single lever paddle set up as a Bug. Have yet to use it on air though.

Don
KF7QZB
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BG8VZ
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 12:51:18 AM »

You will remember the 1st CW QSO.Everyone will have his 1st CW operation .Congratulations !I am a new hand still can't copy CW signal .You will find that CW is very funny .The more you use CW the more proficient .Sometimes you need to try more time untill some reply .
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VK2FAK
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Posts: 87




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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2011, 02:58:33 PM »

HI all..

If you find it hard to find a contact to get the practice try joining  SKCC then look at the sked page...people coming and going all the time on there...

http://www.obriensweb.com/sked/index.php?board=skcc

John
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AB7KT
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Posts: 155




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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2011, 08:18:11 AM »

The SKCC is also a bug friendly group.
And, there are people like me who would love to work other guys trying to master the bug. Like you, I practice off the air, but I am not good at it and don't use it on the air very much. If you go to the SKCC Sked Page mentioned previously, you can post that you are learning the bug and are looking for someone who wants to help by working you on the air.

I worked a guy a couple nights ago on 3.550 (a SKCC calling freq.). He encouraged me to use my bug and we had a very nice, long QSO. I guess I can send code with a bug good enough for someone to copy what I am sending, but to me it doesn't sound like good code. But, when I find someone who understands that I am learning and is willing to put up with it, I am delighted to use it. It's kind of a dilema: you need to make contacts to learn and improve, but you are so bad you hesitate to do it.

FWIW: I have no problem at all being spotted on the RBN using a bug to call CQ. Which I occasionally do although if someone answers me, I usually chicken out and switch to a straight key or a keyer because I don't want the other op to have to suffer through listening to my bug sending.
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I thought you said this was a weak signal mode ? I HAVE a weak signal and he still didn't hear me.

FWIW: My callsign is AB8KT
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