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Author Topic: Getting back in to CW, but how?  (Read 686 times)
W7ET
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Posts: 11




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« on: November 24, 2007, 07:42:47 PM »

I'm trying to get back on the HF bands after 25+ yrs. away. I would really like to make a concerted effort this time around to become more at ease with CW.

I have not used the code since my Novice days in 1979 and then only on a few occassions. After passing the code test for my General license it was bye bye CW!

I have always told myself if I get back into HF I'd really try to master CW this time around, mainly because I think working DX with CW will be easier from my city lot than with phone! I might be dreaming on that so don't wake me!

I could rely on the Novice bands way back when to find slow (sloppy!!) code but where and how should I approach this now?

I'm open for suggestions!

Bill, W7ET
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W7AIT
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Posts: 487




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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2007, 03:12:21 AM »

Try 7025 - 7125.  Its open 24/7 someplace and you usually can get a qso.  Ask for qrs.  But don't go slavishly slow, prepare a bit before trying, do off the air practice sending and receiving first then try the actual qso.  7025 - 7040 is best........
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AD5X
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Posts: 1425




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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2007, 05:36:22 AM »

40 and 30 meters most of the time.  When it is open, 20 meters is very good from 14.05-14.06 MHz (a lot of FISTS folks there).  Most of us will slow down to whatever speed you are comfortable with.  Do practice sending some, though.  I tend to pass up QSOs if the code is really sloppy, whereas I'll almost always answer a CQ no matter what the speed is if the code is reasonably copyable.

Phil - AD5X
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KC2MJT
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2007, 07:09:18 AM »

I agree 40 and 30 are good choices.  You'll still find many neophytes around 7.117 - a good place to get your feet wet.  Otherwise, 7.050 to 7.060 is frequented by many that will slow down to almost any speed for you.

Have fun.
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2007, 10:56:35 AM »

Join FISTS (they have a website).  They have calling frequencies and really try to help new people.  They also have a code buddy program.

Use some software like the free G4FON (downloadable from the internet) to refresh your code a bit.

Once you get all the characters down at 15wpm, try contesting.  It's a little stressful when your code skills are shakey but by the end of the contest, you will notice improvement if you stick with it.
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W5ESE
Member

Posts: 550


WWW

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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2007, 11:29:28 AM »

Participate in a slow speed CW traffic handling net.

You'll meet other CW enthusiasts who live in your
region, and the regular practice will help alot.

In Oregon, it looks like your best bet is the
'West Coast Slow Speed Net'. Meets daily at
7:00 pm local time on 3540 KHz.

See the entry in the ARRL Net Directory at:

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nets/client/netdetail.html?mfind=1845

and they have a web page at:

http://www.west-coast-net.info

73
Scott
W5ESE
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WB9QEL
Member

Posts: 39




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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2007, 12:22:21 PM »

I agree with N8UZE, join the FISTS club.  They have alot to offer.  Nice people and alot of good info for those who have been into CW for years and those who are new or have been away from it for awhile.  

SKCC is devoted to Straight Key folks, might want to check it out also.

Slow sloppy CW is still around, and you will hear it on the bands.  

I like working those folks, maybe they can learn a little from me, and when I hear someone who is sending way better than ME, I like to work THEM so I can learn something.  Works both ways, just depends on how you look at it.  Whatever you do HAVE FUN!!

Good Luck OM.

Best 73
W9ZXT  

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AB8ZX
Member

Posts: 42




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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2007, 07:32:34 PM »

I would get the schedule for W1AW code practice and start listening to the belletins. I think there is still a 5 wpm bulletin.
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AB8XA
Member

Posts: 30




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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2007, 03:51:28 AM »

For code practice, it's hard to beat the free G4FON software.  You can get it here:

http://www.g4fon.net/CW%20Trainer.htm

The W1AW transmissions Jason mentions are also good.  Here's the schedule:

http://www.arrl.org/w1aw.html

You can also download current and archived previous ones as MP3 files here:

http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/morse.html
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N5XM
Member

Posts: 242




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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2007, 10:19:18 AM »

Very happy to hear you want to get back into CW.  All of the ideas mentioned are great.  Don't worry about your speed right now, it will increase.  Practice sending off the air, even tape what you send and listen to it to see where you need to improve.  Get a text book or an Editorial page and practice sending from them.  It's all about developing an easy facility where there is seamless transfer from letters to words to sentences.  Write down practice QSO's and send them.  There are all kinds of ways to go, and good luck!
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W6OWH
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2007, 10:35:36 PM »

Glad you are getting back into the fun of CW. Here is a free program that will help you copy station calls. It will automatically slow down or speed up as you get faster. It is a fun way to practice.
Just google this name and search the site for a free download:
rufzxp
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VA7CPC
Member

Posts: 2354




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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2007, 09:35:47 AM »

I also use "RufzXP" for listening practice.  

It's the only code-practice software that has kept me interested.  Beating my "previous best score" is good motivation.  

The software uses a simple algorithm:

If you get a callsign right, it sends the next one faster;

if you get a callsign wrong, it sends the next one slower.

So it's always sending _right at the limit_ of what you can copy.

This is a poor way to _learn_ Morse, but a reasonable way to _speed up_ Morse.

     Charles
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