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Author Topic: Why CW is my favorite mode of operation  (Read 1914 times)

Posts: 349

« on: December 27, 2004, 01:37:20 PM »

Hi!  I have a station setup in my apartment with a ButterNut/Bencher HF6V six band vertical and 160 meter resonator on the roof, thanks to a kind landlord.  My rig is an Icom IC-706mkiiG and I have the matching Icom AT-180 fully automatic antenna tuner (needed for the HF6V)  I have the CushCraft radial set with one radial per band 40 meters through 10 meters, no radials on 80 meters or 160 meters.  I can get out best on 30 meters and 40 meters, but it is a compromise.  There is an "S7" noise level from something nearby (leaky power line?)  I would stand a snowball's chance in hell if I was to attempt SSB, both because SSB is not as effective as CW watt per watt, and because SSB comes out of the neighbours' amplified speakers and telephones (at least it does if I use a linear)

Frankly, I enjoy CW, rarely if ever write anything down but copy it all in my head.  I use a Vibroplex "Gold" Original Bug to send CW and a Heil Proset IV headset to listen to the Morse Code.  Interestingly enough, the Heil Proset IV allows me to adjust the phasing between the two earphones, one of the two settings allows me to pick up incredibly weak signals buried in the noise.

As for the future, I intend to improve my CW skills, am a member of FISTS #11117, and hope to install a set of stub-tuned Radials (ButterNut/Bencher Kit STR-II) which will give me four radials active at once 40-10 meters. I am hoping that maybe the additional radials will stop an "RF-in-the-Shack" problem on 15 meters, so as I will be able to operate 15 meters and be a good tenant at the same time.

I usually hang out on 7040 kilohertz, and leave the IC-706 tuned to 7040 kilohertz as I do the chores.  See you there, and maybe we'll exchange QSL cards.

Posts: 105

« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 05:27:48 PM »

I believe that the CW mode makes its operators somewhat elite.  I admire someone that can do a difficult task with ease.  CW is difficult, but fun!  I guess the fun part about it is when you discover that you can do it with relative ease.  But there's always a challenge with somebody just a little faster than you are.

Posts: 5

« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2004, 10:27:54 AM »

so what times of day/night are you on 7.040?Huh


Posts: 349

« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2004, 11:31:07 AM »

I monitor 7040 kilohertz all day and night.  My bed is close to the Icom IC-706 so I can answer a CQ even if I am in bed.  Of course if I am asleep in bed, I won't answer.  If I am at the computer when you call me, it will take one to two minutes for me to get from the computer to the radio, as I am disabled and have to use a walker.

I make occasional forays on to 10109 kilohertz, but do not hang out on 30 meters, prefering 7040 kilohertz.

Posts: 7

« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2004, 06:36:45 PM »


No my friend ... being an effective CW opr does not
make that person elite...just and effective CW opr.

It takes dedication, practice, desire, just like being
a good carpenter, boat builder, some would say that
its "just a hobby" true, some people like carpentry,
boatbuilding as a hobby...and strive to be the best
they can be...


Posts: 1490

« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2005, 06:19:56 AM »

Definitely put radials on that vertical - it may well fix your 15m problem, but will improve performance on every band.  Regular hookup wire will do - no fancy kit needed, really.  Thin wire will be virtually invisible, and can be lain on the roof or tied out to whatever is available.  You will be pleased with the difference.

Also, I have had a number of verticals and never needed ANY tuner except to go from 75m to 80m (didn't use 160, but it would need a tuner, too).  Make sure your vertical is properly tuned.  I, too, will look for you on the bands.

Good reception & 73 de kt8k - Tim

Posts: 349

« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2005, 04:47:49 PM »

Much as I like CW, I find that I can copy it effortlessly in my head at 30+ WPM but have trouble sending good code faster than 15 WPM with my Vibroplex "Bug".  I understand that most people have trouble in that they can send code faster than they can receive.  I have never heard about someone being able to receive code much faster than he can send it (properly)?!

Posts: 2005


« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2005, 10:16:32 AM »

CW is one of my favorite modes for the following reason:

I used to enjoy it along with RTTY several years ago, but then came along all of these new-fangled sound card modes. Even in the olden days, there were macros for use with RTTY, but now with PSK, MFSK there seems to be a movement towards having an entire QSO take place just by clicking macros with almost no live typing on the other end. I want to have a conversation with another ham operator, not just his computer. I knew there was a problem when I had a "QSO" with some guy and when he sent his "brag file", the first thing on the list was his computer with all of the gorey details of the amount of memory, size of the hard drive, which build version of XP Pro he was running, brand of sound card, speed of the CD writer and so forth and the radio and antenna was the LAST thing on the list.

This used to be a radio hobby that uses computers but for many, this has become a computer hobby that uses radios! I guess I really shouldn't complain since we need to show the FCC that there is still activity on the hams bands so they don't auction them off to the highest bidder!

After this alleged QSO, I decided to limber up my thumb and forefinger and exercise those two plastic triangles again. The thing that is absent from almost every CW contact is this abuse of computer macros. I enjoy CW because this is where you can really have a conversation with another human being, not their computer!

de Scott NØIU


Posts: 158

« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2005, 09:59:21 AM »

" I understand that most people have trouble in that they can send code faster than they can receive. I have never heard about someone being able to receive code much faster than he can send it (properly)?!"

That makes two of us. My "understanding" speed is much better than my sending speed. It might have something to do with hearing "whole sounds" rather than keying the elements. Additionally, I "understand" much faster than I can put pen to paper, a continuing frustration.

"No my friend ... being an effective CW opr does not
make that person elite...just and effective CW opr."

That's an admirable goal, and one I've set for myself: to be an effective CW operator,with a fist others like to copy.


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