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Author Topic: Why use CW?  (Read 4339 times)

Posts: 196

« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2008, 10:04:16 AM »

Lindy writes: "The best part is that the CW portion of any band is rather LID proof."

I'm more inclined toward calling it "LID resistant" - less likely, but still in the realm of possibility, like a wrinkle-rsistant shirt or water-resistant case for your HT ...

But why use CW? It's fun, it's effective, it's "multi-lingual" and it's fun!  

Jim N5VT

Posts: 209

« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2008, 11:57:00 AM »

I thought of something else to add. CW is the only digital mode that can be understood by humans directly. It also is the only digital mode that works QSK full break-in. This feature allows the person sending code to listen for the QRM LIDs on the same frequency, wait for the QRM to go away, then commence with the rest of the transmission. QSK is one reason I've been using my modern ICOM rig instead of my old TS-520S. Nothing is worse than either hearing the beep after you're done transmitting, or someone keying up on your CQ loop but they stop at the time you listen, causing the CQ to sound like a keydown on the other end, but the sender of the CQ doesn't find out until the QRMer's timing goes off. Has anyone else had this problem? QSK CW can be very nice.

Posts: 21764

« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2008, 06:47:41 PM »

>RE: Why use CW?  Reply  
by WQ3T on March 14, 2008  Mail this to a friend!  
I thought of something else to add. CW is the only digital mode<

::It's really not a digital mode but the rest is well understood and I sure agree.  It's so nice to have a "secret" code to share with friends.  I learned code in 8th grade at the age of 13, when I got my Novice ticket and my friend David WN2WND (at the time) was my classmate.  We would pass secret messages back and forth in class by blinking our eyes to send code.  Frankly, it would have been an easy way to cheat on tests! To learn code and ramp up our speed, we would walk to school, and then back home from school, conversing only in "code" by just mouthing it: Didahdidit dadadah dadadah dadidah    didah dah   dah  didididit didah dah   dadididit dididah dididit was "Look at that bus."  We could "mouth send" at probably about 20 words a minute, and nobody else around had a clue what we were "saying."

Very cool to have a secret code when you're 13.


Posts: 60

« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2008, 06:57:39 PM »

It's fun
It connects with the past
It smells of old libraries, and even if it emanates from solid state you can smell the ionization and hear the spark as you key down and feel the chill of the cold north Atlantic.

Posts: 60

« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2008, 07:00:11 PM »

and you can do it with two rocks.

Posts: 176

« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2008, 07:42:20 PM »

I will add one thing. If you work during the day and have a modest station, many times CW is the only mode availible to you! When you are limited to 40m and 75/80m and you have a small 100 watt radio and a low dipole or a noisy vertical you really will not get much done. 75/80m is full of static crashes and really requires 400 watts minimum to have a half decent qso. 40m is covered with short wave broadcasters rendering almost the entire band useless, except for the cw portions of the bands.

Posts: 2129

« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2008, 03:34:33 PM »

The other evening I was listening to couple of Canadian stations on 80m cw who were using old WW2 equipment. One station was using a WS19 Set (you can google it). This wireless set only puts out a few watts yet I was able to copy these stations from 1000 miles away. These radios also run AM but there was no way that I could copy a few watts of AM from Canada on that particular night.

Invest some time on cw and it will repay you many times over. I am starting to really enjoy the art of cw these days.


Posts: 8911


« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2008, 06:58:31 PM »

N0NS says :

"I love it and being relatively young (31) I hope there are still people to talk to on CW when I am 60 "

Joe, we'll make a sked.  

WB2WIK says:

"We would pass secret messages back and forth in class by blinking our eyes to send code."

I didn't know anyone else in school who knew code, but a ham buddy about my age in another school did, and they tried tapping unflattering messages about the teacher back and forth with pencils one day.  They got called up after class because the teacher was a ham too ;-)




Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.

Posts: 53


« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2008, 07:22:02 PM »

Confessions of a No-Code Extra...

Oh yes. Had been an Advanced Class for decades. Passed the code in the FCC office (remember that?). But had no real interest in CW. Happily got DXCC phone, rtty, qrp, 20M and etc. on a dipole. Operated from TF and R4 ... Fun, fun, fun, but...

Got bored.

Until I realized that half of the frequency bands are uniquely CW. And much of the recent DXpeditions are on CW. And the QSOs have some structure. And they're efficient. And quick, and reasonably understandable. And others seem to like this stuff!

So, I bought a used Vibroplex key and a Timewave DSP filter on eBay. Practiced some CW offline. Listened a lot. Finally had the gumption to get on. To transmit.

Was I scared! Oh my! I'm an Extra Class and was just as nervous as that first SSB QSO. Somebody came back! I don't know what I sent, my hand was shaking so. And the receiver had the patience to nicely decode my gibberish and compliment my new skill. HI!

Well, I'm hooked.

I never realized this strange new world. And I've had some amazing contacts that clearly aren't possible with SSB. That isolated VK QSO right in the middle of a frantic US CW contest! That very weak VQ9, alone, happily calling CQ. No pile ups. No noise.  

QRM? Crank down the filter. Gone! Carriers? Hit the noise button. Gone. Too weak? Hit the AGC. Loud and clear.

And power doesn't seem to matter much... 100 watts or 5.

And antennas don't seem to mater much.

Good ears, some patience, and a strong sense of adventure. The night skies seem to light up with life on the CW portions of the bands...long after the SSB are gone.

I love this hobby again!

Tnx es 73. Dit Dit.
John, Annapolis, MD

Posts: 209

« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2008, 06:08:26 AM »

Thought of even more.
About CW being digital: the debate has gone back es forth since RTTY was invented. CW is the only digital mode Techs and Novices can use below ten meters. You can use full power on a tube rig or amp without blowing up your finals. This is also where a moderate speed is good. I have popped fuses after QRS because it just cant take that slow key down. According to Wikipedia, "Morse code is transmitted using just two states (on and off) so it was an early form of a digital code."

Posts: 68

« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2008, 01:16:57 PM »

Well, here's my personal #1 reason for using CW:

* I can't stand to hear people using incorrect phonetics on SSB :-)

PSK31 offers a lot of the same advantages as CW in the areas of signal-to-noise, bandwidth efficiency, and ability to do better DX with less power.  I suggest you give it a try as well.  However, CW has a larger audience, and is easier to build equipment for (such as the 2lb radio someone else mentioned).

Posts: 122

« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2008, 10:02:01 AM »

I like CW better than SSB because I have a hard time understanding the SSB operator most of the time.

My hearing is not what it used to be, and the SSB signal of a lot of ops I hear is usually weak or over powered and fraught with QRN, QSB...etc.  Then you get the guys that slur their words, speak too quickly, and are way too fast on the mic.

Not all SSB ops are like that...but on CW I have a much easier time copying the words they are sending.

I have never heard a racial slur on CW, unlike SSB.


Posts: 1

« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2008, 02:03:41 AM »

can you build a simple transmitter
out of junk parts in a week end
and work somebody on the other side of the world
if you are very very good at homebrewing

if you are just a regular op

but you can on
have simple home made cw transmitters
that have fewer than 50 parts
all mounted on a wood board
total transmitter cost less than 25 dollars

that i have worked the other side of the world with

nothing but nothing is as simple as cw


Posts: 492

« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2008, 07:04:39 PM »

" nothing but nothing is as simple as cw "

True enough and the performance and efficiency is still first rate. I have many cw dx contacts that simply couldn't have been made at the time and under the circumstances with ssb.

Posts: 179

« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2008, 09:56:43 PM »

Once upon a time (and maybe true yet today), there were more DX stations using CW because that was the simplest and least expensive way for them to get on the air.  Extending Mac's point, if a handful of junk parts was all they had (or all they could afford), then by golly, it had to be a CW station or nothing. There were many DX countries that were only dimly represented on the air, and most of that activity was on CW.  During those years, the logical conclusion was, your best (if not only) chance to work 'em was with CW.

I don't know if all the above still holds true, but the average station in the US (peanut whistle to 100 watts) still has a better chance to work DX on CW, simply because it does "get through" better than SSB.  
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