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Author Topic: How to get more CW ops into traffic handling?  (Read 7768 times)

Posts: 13

« on: August 21, 2007, 12:28:50 PM »

Let me start by saying I love CW, and QRP, and I'm interested in using both of these for traffic handling.

Our state (Oklahoma) currently does not have a CW traffic net. I'd like to sponsor a CW traffic handling net for the state of Oklahoma. I attempted to do this in the past, and got the 'okay' from the ARRL state officials, but very little assistance from them, or anyone else (except for two other CW enthusiasts that live 2 miles from me - a short hop for 80m).

Now, I know that there are some very active hams in Oklahoma - and that many of them use CW. I've contacted many of them as I make everyday contacts on CW/QRP.

How do I find new CW ops to join?

What steps can I, or should I, take to try to spark their interest in a statewide traffic net?

Thanks for your advice...

Daniel AA0NI
Oklahoma City

Posts: 4283


« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2007, 03:41:39 PM »

JMHO but....

How do I find new CW ops to join?

What steps can I, or should I, take to try to spark their interest in a statewide traffic net?

You won't and you ain't.  There's easier methods of handling normal message traffic.......text messaging, email, cell phone, etc.

Now for Emergency traffic join your local ARES or RACES group.  Sri, dead mode (normal traffic handling).

Posts: 5688

« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2007, 05:13:19 PM »

QRP traffic handling?  


I suppose that if you could establish comms at higher power and then make the decision as to whether to go QRP or not, but think about what you are doing to the ham on the other end here.  

Lowbands, I often turn on the amp for serious traffic handling.  


Posts: 5688

« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2007, 05:14:25 PM »

And yes, I was thinking emergency traffic with my comment.  


Posts: 550


« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2007, 08:25:06 AM »

Actually, there is a CW net in Oklahoma; the
Oklahoma Training Net (OTN). But since it meets
at about 5:15-5:30pm, that effectively rules
out participation from people with jobs. I've
checked into it myself, but only on weekends.

I disagree with what some others said about traffic
handling being dead. We have a CW traffic net
program with alot of vitality in Texas.

I do agree with what others said about using
QRP during traffic handling. Sometimes it works,
but sometimes not. Especially on 80m, sometimes
running a little more power is required. Often
10-15 watts is enough, but sometimes you'll
need 50 watts or more. The Net Control Station
in particular should have a commanding signal.
And it goes without saying that alot depends
on your antenna.

One thing that helps keep net members connected
is a monthly newsletter. I've been Net Manager
of the 'Texas Slow Net' since December, and I
prepare a very brief newsletter that is attached
to the 'TEXan', the newletter of the 'Texas CW
Net'. These are available as pdf's at:

It helps also to have a web site for your net,
that includes helpful information about
participatng in CW traffic nets and information
about when and where your net meets. If
someone does a Google Search for 'Oklahoma
CW Net', will it find your site? (Hint: the
way to get your web site referenced by search
engines is to solicit other sites to add links
to your site).

I prepared a simple web site for the 'Texas
Slow Net', which is at:

and the search engines seem to be finding it
pretty well. (When you have a site, let me know
and I will be happy to add a link to it on the
TSN site).

Make sure also that your net is listed correctly
in the ARRL Net Directory, and the CW Net
directory maintained by the FISTs CW organization

Finally, be diligent about sending in a monthly
net report to your Section Traffic Manager, so
that he or she is aware of your net's activity.
The form for doing this is FSD-125 available at:

Hope this helps!
Texas Slow Net Manager

Posts: 13

« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2007, 03:08:24 PM »

Thanks for all of the suggestions.

It looks like if I want to get serious about it, I'll have to look into getting the K2 amp and 100W tuner options (I prefer using a tuner with ladder line to non-resonant antennas).

For now, I'll have to settle with 10-15W with the K2/QRP.

I'll also look into the webpage idea. I've had a chance to visit both your nets (TEX and TSN) and your webpage in the past, and if a thriving net depends on a good webpage/newsletter, I think I can make that happen.

I'm well acquainted with Arley and Pat (WB5NKC/NKD) with their OTN and ARTS nets. Unfortunately, I can't dependably get home in time to help with, or benefit from OTN. I was calling the OKN (Oklahoma CW Traffic Net) for a few months last fall/winter with their help, but very little interest resulted - and I'm afraid part of the problem may be a result of ...

1 - poor participation in traffic nets in general in Oklahoma

2 - even less interest in CW (although I can probably find quite a few very able bodied CW ops in Oklahoma ... they just aren't interested in traffic handling)

3 - not forwarding our net reports to the state traffic manager

I have my radio back on the air (after a nearby lightning strike took it offline last winter), and there's a new makeshift 80 ft doublet up around 20 ft. As time allows, I'm going to try to wrap that around into a 200 ft loop (just have to get more masts).

Thanks again for your help,

Posts: 181


« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007, 05:44:43 PM »

>>>>"There's easier methods of handling normal message traffic.......text messaging, email, cell phone, etc."<<<<<

All of which went down during Katrina!

I believe the original author has a good idea with this.  QRP may be necessary if using only battery or whatever power is available and CW will get though the best with QRP and doesn’t require a computer or other interface.

Posts: 13

« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2007, 11:21:19 AM »

AD6WL - Thanks for the reply.

I think you truly understand the original intent of my message in terms of QRP and CW.

I try to operate at 5-10W output most of the time, and my antennas are normally NVIS/portable in design (i.e. I could take my current antenna and wood mast down and move it if needed). I figure that this is about the most efficient set up I could have in terms of power consumption and signal effectiveness. My goal is to have a field day ready station ... because we never know when our gear is going to be pressed into service (isn't that why the Amateur Radio SERVICE exists?).

For Reasons why QRP and CW?

- Accuracy

With the exception of QRM/QRN/QSB, there's no need to ask how it was spelled.

- Speed

You usually aren't sending any faster than the operator on the other end can write or type. This is 'faster' than an excited voice operater quickly rattling off a message that he will end up repeating again.

- Bandwidth

In the same amount of bandwidth that a SSB voice net consumes, you could easily contain 5-6 CW traffic channels. This increases the flow of traffic by moving it off the net frequency.

- Power conservation

It's been well established that a 5-10W CW signal is a near equivalent to a 100W SSB signal in terms of coverage. When you are going in to a Katrina like environment to operate for 24-48 hours, how much gear do you really want to bring with you? I've determined that I can power my K2 during Field Day with a simple 12 Ah GelCell car starter (assuming I operated for 24 hours straight). If I wanted to do the same with a 100W rig ... I might as well pack a couple golf cart deep cycle batteries.


Unless you speak very slowly and use VOX, you're not very likely going to hear another station try to interrupt you for a 'fill', or to break into a net with priority traffic.

- Sensitive content

No - we're not talking codes and encryption, but traffic passed thru a CW channel is less likely to be intercepted by a non-ham (referring to non-techno-computer types).

- Disciplined and Organized format

Anyone who's had some experience with a CW net realizes that there is usually structure in terms of checking in, waiting your turn to move off frequency to pass traffic, returning to net frequency, and waiting until you are dismissed. This might be the 'hardest part' after learning the morse code that non-traffic handlers might need some experience getting used to ... which is what I'm trying to determine by my original e-mail.

In terms of today's wireless, cellphone, internet, email society, I CAN understand KB9CRY's comment because in non-emergency 'every day' situations, there's very little "demand" for CW traffic handlers (we aren't exactly discussing this topic over the air ... are we?). However, when things like Katrina come up - a little preparation (i.e. every day practice and preparation) could really increase our effectiveness at serving the general public.

I just want to know how I can entice and encourage CW loving hams to take a little time each week to check in and participate in a traffic net, knowing that they will feel like they can be an asset the next time we have an ice storm, hurricane, or other region wide disaster.

Posts: 550


« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2007, 02:23:48 PM »

After I posted earlier, I thought of a couple other
things I wanted to mention.

To keep net participants coming back, you need to
have both traffic and outlets. If everyone checks
in 'QRU' all the time, everyone will lose interest.

One way to obtain outlets (and hopefully acquire
traffic) is to have liaisons with other nets.

The most important liaison for a CW net in Oklahoma
would be to the Region 5 nets. The usual RN5 OK guy
is W5CU, Sam. So you need to recruit Sam to
participate in OKN if you possibly can. The Region
5/Early net meets at 7:30 pm, so you'll need to
meet sometime before that. Region 5/Late is at
9:30 pm, so if you have a late session, it should
be later than that.

Liaison to the main ssb traffic net, the Sooner
Traffic Net, could also help.

Sources of quality traffic can be problematic at
times. It helps alot if you have some net members
that participate in Digital NTS (NTSD), a pactor

NTSD does a good job of routing traffic from
Section to Section, but it lacks detailed Section-
level coverage. This is where nets like yours
could come in. TEX and TSN are lucky to have
several members that participate both in the
section CW net and in NTSD. This provides some
traffic volume, which helps to keep folks

Some information on NTSD is at:

At a "lower tech" level, I originate some traffic
for the W5 QSL Bureau. Folks who have DX cards on
file, but no SASE's, often appreciate a radiogram
letting them know to send in envelopes (or
additional postage, if they have envelopes but
insufficient postage). A couple of the W5 QSL
sorters have sent me lists of such calls.

Hope this helps!

Posts: 13

« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2007, 10:45:35 AM »

How is this for my first stab at a webpage for the net?


Posts: 550


« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2007, 06:22:56 AM »

That looks awesome, Dan!

Just one comment; you used the same graphic I did
of the hand on a straight key. That graphic is
courtesy of the 'Florida Educational Technology
Clearinghouse'. The 'condition of use' for their
images is that if you use any of their graphics
on your website, you must include a link on your
website to their website.

If you hold your mouse over the hand key image
on the TSN web site, you'll see that the image
is a link I have added to the FETC website.

Pls read the 'Terms of Use' carefully at:

Maybe you have such a link on your site and I
didn't notice it.

Looks great, though, and I'll add a link to your
OKN site on the TSN site over the holidays.

And GOOD LUCK with getting OKN up and running.
I'll check in myself when I can.

Vy 73

Posts: 13

« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2007, 06:51:58 AM »

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the caution about the image. No - I didn't know it was a restricted image. I can try to find an alternative, or make a note of it on the web page. I'd like to find a nice simple key image.

I'm trying to call the net for at least five minutes. I'm not always there on time, and there may be some evenings I'm not there at all - but that's the way it's going to have to be until I can stir up some interest and have others help carry the load.

I am going to need some help in terms of forms to fill out and who to file them with, and when to file them by if I am going to be responsible for OKN. I didn't follow up with the proper paper work, and that may be why the OK ARRL Officials never really took notice when we tried this last year.

I think my next project will be to produce a flyer/brochure that can be e-mailed and distributed to various clubs and ARES groups.

I've also made a couple local (1-2 miles) CW contacts with extra class - experienced hams recently on 40m, and I hope to be able to meet with each of them some time and get some ideas - and find out if they have any suggestions on how to encourage participation.

I know that there are CW ops in Oklahoma - it's just finding those who might be interested in learning how to handle traffic and getting them involved.

Thanks for your help in all of this.

One quick question - when I hear you on TEX, are you usually 5W, 15W, or 100W?

Daniel (

Posts: 757

« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2007, 11:25:33 AM »

Talk to you Section Traffic Manager.  There used to be an NTS Cycle 4 CW net in your section, years back, so if you're going to try to revive it, that's the first person to talk to.

You'll need his cooperation, and that of the other traffic nets.  Fortunately, most STM's are very much in favor of getting more traffic and traffic handlers QRV!

Just make sure that they will have or can get traffic to feed to you.  

One evening a few months back, I got a call at home from an amateur I never heard of with a piece of traffic.  Turned out that he lives in Eastern PA (I'm in WPA) about 300 miles away... so why is he delivering traffic to me instead of feeding it back into the National Traffic System?  His reasons:
(a)  He has unlimited minutes so it doesn't cost him anything
(b)  He didn't know that there were an WPA nets as he was told that there weren't any!
(c)  He likes delivering messages

Turns out this guy was intercepting a lot of WPA traffic because he liked delivering it... meanwhile the WPA nets are starving for traffic.  

Not to pick on him... and his intentions were good, certainly (although he never asked about a reply message -- he told me he likes to deliver traffic, not originate it) but reasoning like this defeats the whole purpose of using NTS to train people on how to handle traffic and how to pass traffic on the air should the need ever arise.

73, ron w3wn
(WPA STM under K3SMB)
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