> My question is why? My license hasn't even shown
> up on ULS yet, so this may be a stupid question.
> What can I do with code that I can't do with
> voice, beyond the "neat" factor?
That's an excellent question.
It's alot of work to learn CW, so I don't blame
you a bit for posing it.
o CW is significantly more effective on a signal-
to-noise ratio basis than using voice transmission.
In fact, you would need to run between 10 and 20
times more power running SSB to have comparable
communications quality to CW.
o It's significantly easier to build equipment for
CW than for the voice modes. So you can build
simple projects, learn as you go, and use the
products on the air. Some extremely cool projects
will be forever useless for you if you don't
A few of many examples:http://www.elecraft.com/KX1/KX1.htmhttp://kd1jv.qrpradio.com/ATS3B/ats3b.HTMhttp://smallwonderlabs.com/Rockmite.htmhttp://www.fix.net/~jparker/wilderness/nc40a.htm
o About 37-40% of HF activity takes place on
CW (judging by recent Field Day results; the
most popular on-the-air operating event in
north america). All that activity will be
a "closed book" to you if you don't know
o There is a "subculture" of CW within ham
radio that you will just never "get" if you
never learn the mode. Knowing CW is a
tradition going back to the earliest days of
amateur radio, which began around 1908.
o You will have an opportunity to chat with
retired military and railroad telegraphers
(yes, there are still many around).
o Many amateurs enjoy collecting old keys,
bugs, and old radios. Almost any old radio
can be used via morse code (except spark
gap transmitters, which are illegal to use
on the air).
o There is a level of camaraderie among those who
know and use CW that I think you will find is
rarely equalled elsewhere in the hobby.
o It's a joy to communicate effectively using
a skill that you have carefully cultivated. To
get the full effect of this, you should seek out
an experienced Morse operator and watch them
operate. ARRL Field Day would be a good
opportunity to do this.
Hope this helps. I'm sure others will offer
reasons of their own.