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Author Topic: My first experiene on the air, on CW!  (Read 2205 times)

Posts: 23

« on: October 20, 2005, 02:36:31 PM »


I would like to share my first attempts of having QSO in CW. After posting messages back and forth with Mr. Katz (WB2WIK/6), he gave me good advise on erecting an antenna in my little condo lot.

Since I don't have a big lot, I made a helically wound vertical antenna, wound on 1/2" PVC pipe, 5.5 feet long, with six wire on the top as capacitance hat, and a 2' telescopic antenna at the top. The antenna is ground mounted (half foot from ground), with six counterpoise wires. I run RG-58 to the LDG Z-11Pro in the garage and then to the FT-100D running 20W. Well, the tuner can tune from 10m to 40m fine (don't have any idea the efficiency, though). I also use a homebrew paddle made from copper pipe holder (U shape), flatten out.

I have been practicing using G4FON, with 20 WPM character spaced out at 10 WPM, and I felt ready to try.

Now, this was the scary part. Getting on the air!

I tuned in on 40m band, and heard AD7AF calling CQ, it's still too fast for me, but what the heck! I must get my feet wet, or I would just dream on! I expected the worst, that he would have just QSYed and calling CQ somewhere else!

However, Mr. Lemke was a very nice guy! I called him, with only 20W. Surprisingly, he was able to read me and also reduced his transmission speed!

I was really excited,nervous, and panic, too! I could not read all of his transmission, but we could exchange RST, he gave me 579, and I gave him 599. During my tranmission, I made many mistakes, which forced me to pause and send 'eeeeee'. I told him that this was the first CQ QSO for me, he told me that I was OK, and he could copy my transmission.

WOW! I couldn't believe myself! My first QSO in CW. At the end of the QSO I asked him to send me a QSL card. And, Mr. Lemke was really nice to send the QSL the same day! I got it within a few days. And Boy! It's a beautiful QSL card ever for me! I need to find a frame for it, and show it off!

I was also amazed that the antenna worked!

I would like to thank Mr. Katz and Mr. Lemke for their assistance and patience!

I believe, CW will never die, if we have patience elmers helping and encouraging beginners like me!

Now, what I need to do, is getting on the air more often to improve my CW skill, and as I monitored the bands, it's kind of hard finding CQ calls on slow speed. I don't want to answer high speed CQ (20 wpm and up) with my choppy fist. I am affraid to offend them.

I would appreciate if some of you would like to be 'code buddies', and schedule a QSO with me. I can be reached at my email address johaneslian at

That's all! I am still nervous and excited now...


Posts: 138

« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2005, 09:11:54 PM »

First of all, let me say good job. I have a long way to go to get to where you are already.

Next, rather than feeling concerned about having a hard hand at sending, go ahead and start responding to CQs at just a little over the rate you are comfortable at. This does several things, first of all it gives you the challenge to do better each time. It keeps you thinking about how you can improve your sending as well as your copying. It also gives you that great feeling when you get a good report from the ham you are working, which is a lot of the feedback you need to keep at it and keep challenging yourself.

When I say I have a long way to go, I mean it. I still keep stumbling over A/N as part of learning the code. Yes, di dah and da dit are giving me problems. It is something that I will get past, but I do need to find the dedicated time to do that. First I have to take care of career requirements though, so one step at a time.

Good to read of your first CW experience on the air. Keep up the good work, and have fun. It sounds like it was fun to get the good reports. The 7 may be from a radiation polarization difference between your equipment (which sounds like it is sending a vertically polarized signal) and your distant party who is probably set up with a horizontally polarized setup. Though I could be wrong. Keep experimenting here as well.

I know how it goes with having problems with a small area as part of your condo. I live in an appartment, I figure I won't have a lot of luck getting a good beam on a tower any time soon, unless I set up a remote platform which could get expensive as well. I do have a club I can work at once I get my General, so we shall see how that goes.

Again, Good Job!

-Rusty - kc0vcu

Posts: 550


« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2005, 06:15:08 AM »


Everyone is nervous for the first few QSOs. It's a
natural reaction to something new and unfamiliar.

Don't be too bashful to reply if they are sending
a little bit faster than you can copy. At first, it
will seem as if there is no one at a speed you are
comfortable with, but that will change as you gain

I'll listen for you on 40m.


Posts: 491

« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2005, 09:38:52 AM »

Good job Johanes - if you would like to practice your sending off the air, try the CWGet program and send to your computer.  You can set your radio keyer speed to your comfortable speed, then using your paddles send and the computer will copy it.

This allows you to practice your character and word spacing.  Have fun,

73 de Ken H>

Posts: 1524

« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2005, 03:40:20 PM »

Look up the FISTS calling frequencies.  Then call CQ.  You will usually get an answer and they will be happy to work you at any speed you are comfortable with.

Posts: 691

« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2005, 06:33:42 PM »

Hi, and welcome to CW...!!

You've already done the hardest part, had the first QSO, so don't worry about it from here on out.  There are some hard nuts out there, but most CW ops will be glad to slow down to your speed, and can wait out the mistakes.  We ALL started with the first QSO....

I would like to suggest you print out this thread, and post it some where (or store it...) in your shack.  That way, in 20 years or so, you'll have no problem remembering what it was like when you get to work another "newbie" on his first few shots at CW.

Take care, have fun, and again....welcome aboard!

73, Jim/k7unz

Posts: 204

« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2005, 03:23:56 PM »

Congrats on making your first CW QSO!  I think it's something that almost all of us can relate to & remember.  Although mine was quite a longtime ago, I can still remember the thrill of it & how nervous I was during the QSO.  And of course, all the mistakes I made!  What you experienced, you will always remember with happy thoughts years & years from now!  And someday maybe, you'll be the Elmer to someone who will be just starting out too!

73's & congrats again,
Steve K2FW

Posts: 57


« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2005, 05:40:42 AM »

GREAT recounting of the first nervous QSO!!! Brings back memories of the first time getting ON THE AIR where everyone can hear you...very scary...but irresistible fun!

Posts: 0

« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2005, 02:04:44 PM »

Good JoB! I remember my first CW qso's I was 15 and was Mic Shy. Hank in North Bergin New Jersey KA2JWB in 1987. Over the next several months I naturally got better at CW using my old straight key, then I moved to a Vibroplex. All the hams I talked to back then we're great, they gave me advice and would even qsl with lengthy letters with advice and encouragement. Anyways keep up the good work, I have been inactive for the past 15 yrs and I can still copy code, Im getting back in by trying out VHF/UHF where WB2WIK/6 has also been good to me and has taken time to give me advice. I still listen to code on my SW radio, will be getting an HF after awhile and looking forward to many CW qso's! Keep up the Great work!!!


Posts: 49

« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2005, 05:04:18 PM »

Congratulations!  I was just about to write a bit about my first CW contact, which was last Friday, when I saw your post.  I also had a successful experience, despite my nerves.  I have to say that I do not get nearly the charge out of SSB as I do CW.  I love the challenge of it.  Again, congratulations.  73
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