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Author Topic: A few notes to new CW ops  (Read 1200 times)
KE7ORS
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Posts: 73




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« on: December 06, 2007, 10:20:22 AM »

Last night I had my first cw qso(?) with KE7CET on 3540khz at 1115 PM local PST. First note: Even if your (my) send speed may be adequate for a qso your (my) copy speed may not be. I was only able to copy about every third word. KE7CET was a real gentleman for trying to conduct a qso with me and I would like to thank him. Second note: Have a clock with zulu time on it nearby. I really helps for logging purposes. Lesson learned: Practice, practice, practice! I am going to be listening to G4FON a lot more in the days to follow. I do not want to make a fool of myself on my next qso. I am very glad that my first qso was with a gentleman and not something less. Try not to torture the other party with your first qso. I will continue with cw even though my first qso was a mess. Probably conducted qso at less than 5wpm.  Thanks again to KE7CET.

73
Tracy
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KB9BVN
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Posts: 116




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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 10:36:58 AM »

Tracy

Welcome to ham radio and CW! I have only been a CW op since 1998, and I'm certainly not the fastest fist on the frequency but I do have a lot of fun.

You make some excellent points in your post.  It's a good idea to NOT call CQ faster than you can copy.  I know if aggravates some ops to hear that but frankly if the both of you can't send and receive with reasonable copy, does a QSO really even take place?

I don't mind working a slower op, heck, I am a slower op.

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W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 11:37:54 AM »

<< Second note: Have a clock with zulu time on it nearby.>>

Good advice for ALL operators, regardless of the mode. Time stamps for all amateur communications should be in ZULU, or UTC, if you prefer the politically correct designation.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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WQ3T
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2007, 01:57:53 PM »

I log QSOs with UTC time. When I get QSL cards, I file them by the date on the card. Problem is, sometimes the other op uses their local time. Their local time might have a different date than the UTC time in my log. If, during a future QSO, I need to look up their card, I might have trouble finding it in my file because of the different date. I guess this problem could still happen with everyone using UTC time because some guys log the start of the QSO time, others log the end of the QSO time, and still others log the middle of the QSO time. My software logs the UTC date at the start of the QSO. I write the UTC time of the middle of the QSO incase the other ops clock is off a few minutes. If the UTC date changes mid-qso, I use the QSO start date and time 2359 UTC. Guess this could be a whole other thread. Maybe trivial, but I just wanted to share my thoughts. Tracy send me an e-mail (always include your callsign) if you want to work me on 40 meters. My key and bug are both set to 20WPM, but I can do other speeds, usually slower, with a straight key. I make slower speed folks suffer by copying my poor straight key fist. I can copy all but the worst fists. It's annoying when guys use a straight key to send their callsign differently every time. I always try to think of the situation though. One guy is a WWII vet in a wheelchair using a straight key. I copy him fine, till he gets tired and drops the key. I wait to see if he comes back, but he doesn't. Probably can't reach it. Wish I could go pick it up for him. Then I think about all the CW he worked, and how long I'll be able to send CW. I digress...
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2007, 06:08:56 PM »

Tracy,

I'm fairly new as well.  KB9BVN has already mentioned it but I'll echo his comment:  I think  you'll find that you won't be doing anyone any favors by sending faster than you can copy.  Ops want you to send at the speed at which you can copy.  Most people can't send *good* code faster than they can copy anyway.

73,
Marc
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W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2007, 07:37:18 PM »

I was always taught to log the START of the QSO and do it in ZULU (UTC). I never care what the ending time is.

Actually, as long as the time is within a few minutes of what I have logged, that's good enough for me.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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N0NS
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Posts: 45




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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2007, 09:16:46 PM »

Tracy,

Welcome to ham radio and CW!  I have been licensed for about 15 years but last month I got back on the air after about 10 years of being inactive.  Getting back on humbled me and made me feel like I was completely new to CW again.  In fact, my second QSO was with a special events station.  I really wanted to work him for the QSL card and his speed was way above my copy rate.  

The exchange went something like this:

DE N0NS

N0NS DE ABC TU RST 599 PSE QSL VIA ...Huh?? Huh Huh?? Huh  ? ? ? Huh? Huh ?  Huh  N0NS DE ABC KN

So I replied...

DE N0NS UR RST 599 BT BT BT HOW DOES MY RADIO SOUND?  ABC DE N0NS KN

After that, the op knew I was "new" and slowed down considerably.  He said my radio sounded fine and that was the end of it.  I was happy because I logged him and he was happy because he logged me!

Right after the QSO I felt like there were probably a bunch of operators that were mad because I drug the QSO out from the standard 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes.  But shortly thereafter I resolved to not care because I had to get my feet wet in order to get better.  Now a month later and 22 contacts logged, I feel like my code speed has tripled!

So the moral of my post is that you have to get on the air to get better and don't worry about screwing up too bad!  You will miss a *LOT* of characters before you really get it down but there will also be a *LOT* of times when you loose copy because of QRN or QRM.  Don't worry about it.  Life goes on and you can chat with the guy on another day.  

BTW, if you ever want to chat with me in Iowa, I only have 40M CW going right now.  Send me an e-mail and we can try to set up something I usually get on the air sometime after 0200Z.

Hope to hear you on the air!  Joe P. N0NS
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N6IKX
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2007, 12:48:00 AM »

Congratulations on your first QSO Bro. Welcome to HAM radio. For anyone that cares we really are brothers (twins). Have fun with it..

73,

Terry
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N6IKX
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2007, 03:36:40 AM »

Tracy,

My first response to your post was done while I was at work, so it had to be short. Recognizing bravery, and the willingness to bleed in public, I felt compelled to relate my own disastrous attempt at contesting during the recent CQ DX CW contest.

Following the advice of many well qualified CW operators, I just jumped in. I was also very fortunate to make a contest exchange with a consumate pro, and a real gentleman, VE7SV. He was sending his call well in excess of 20 WPM. After at least a dozen calls, I was finally able to pick apart his call, and write it down. I tuned a little off freq, and sent my call at about 8 WPM. He came back to me! In my shock and delight, I totally forgot I had a pen in my fingers, and I was trying to respond. With complete disregard for others he SLOWED down for me. I was so excited I was ditting, and dahing for all I was worth, with pen intwined in my fingers. I completely made a mess of it, but he stayed with me and didn't ask for any repeats. We completed the exchange, and I felt completely validated as a "CW man."

So Tracy, stick with it, and send KE7CET a card and thank him for being your first QSO. He'll appreciate it.  I know I am going to send a card, and a great big THANK YOU to VE7SV. Thank you, Dale.

73,

Terry
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W4BQF
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2007, 05:16:35 AM »

Tracy,

Congrats on that first QSO! No need to tell you to remember it, because you always will remember it! I still recall my first 'scary' QSO in 1952.

Please don't worry about 'torturing' anyone with your operating ability at this stage, just remember that we all had to go through exactly what your going through now. Above all, keep in mind that ham radio is just a hobby, meant to be enjoyed and to have fun with. The world is not going to stop rotating if you miss a dot, or a word, or if you have to ask someone to QRS for you. Just keep 'sweating' for a couple more weeks and you will begin to enjoy your hobby.

As for the time thing, who cares? It's most polite, if your exchanging QSL cards outside of the USA, to use UTC, simply because it's most universially used by hams. Unfortunately it's something that probably will never be standardized, world-wide.

Keep pounding the brass and above all remember to have FUN with your hobby!

73,

Tom - W4BQF
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W5ESE
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2007, 08:05:50 AM »

> Lesson learned: Practice, practice, practice!
> I am going to be listening to G4FON a lot more
> in the days to follow. I do not want to make a
> fool of myself on my next qso. I am very glad >
> that my first qso was with a gentleman and not
> something less. Try not to torture the other
> party with your first qso.

Tracy,

Don't worry about it.

While G4FON is a wonderful tool, you should also
"strike while the iron is hot" and keep trying
to have CW QSO's.

Your second QSO may also be very challenging. And
the third. But each one will get a little better.
And you'll find yourself having more fun than
fiddling with training software.

The ARRL 10 meter contest is this weekend. Why
not push out some CQ's on CW and see what you
get? Try high in the CW part of the band.

CW contacts with Novices and Techs are worth
more points.

The rules are at:

http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2007/10-meters.html

There's plenty of room on 10m, so QRM is usually
not an issue.

73
Scott
W5ESE
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KE7ORS
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2007, 08:56:10 AM »

Thanks for all the input and advice. I will put it to good use. To WQ3T and N0NS I will get an email to guys shortly and see if we can set up some kind of sked for a qso..Terry, same. Maybe you will be able to work me from Hawaii if the prop gods smile. I guess if folks don't mind being tortured I will get back on the air tonight after work. Thanks again for all of the great input.

73
Tracy
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2007, 09:12:42 AM »

> I guess if folks don't mind being tortured I will
> get back on the air tonight after work.

Good show.

If you're interested in the 10 meter contest, QST
suggested Novices and Techs on CW call CQ at and
above 28090 KHz.

The 10 meter contest starts at 4 PM PST tonight
(Friday evening), which is 0000Z Saturday.

Have fun!
73
Scott
W5ESE
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KE7ORS
Member

Posts: 73




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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2007, 09:26:11 AM »

Thanks for the info Scott.  I am going to jump in. All of the encouragement is a real confidence builder.  I hope to work all or at least some of the guys that have been so helpful.

I sure wish I had gone to code school when I had the opportunity instead of opting out when I was at Radioman "A" school.  Oh well, better late than never.

73
Tracy
KE7ORS  
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W5RKL
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Posts: 893




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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2007, 04:52:50 AM »

Welcome back to Amateur Radio.

First and foremost, speed isn't the most important
thing in CW.

You are absolutely correct when you say, "Practice,
Practice, Practice." Proficiency in CW, whether it
be sending or receiving, doesn't occur without it.

It is considered good operating practice to ask
the other station to slow down if you can not copy
at his/her sending speed. If the person refuses then
my suggestion is to say 73's and move on.

My standard practice is to "listen" to the speed
of the other station. If it's slower than my speed,
I slow down. It's simply the right thing to do!

73's
Mike
W5RKL
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