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Author Topic: CW, where've you been all my life?  (Read 433 times)
K8DJW
Member

Posts: 32




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« on: June 01, 2008, 08:39:24 AM »

Hello all,

First post in this forum... I thought I would just take a minute to share my excitement and renewed interest in the hobby.

Got my license back in 1989 when I was in high school. My friend showed me how he could call his house from his IC-2AT HH and I was immediately hooked. I got my novice and was loaned a 220 tcvr. Didn't do anything with it. A few years later got the tech, went through several HTs... while I thought they were cool gadgets, I just never could get myself to engage in conversations on the 2m repeaters. I pushed ham radio to the side, although the technology and the study material for upgrades was always very interesting to me. Over the next several years I would spend time studying on and off for the General, leaned how to copy 13wpm, went through a couple new HTs... but never really held my interest.

Fast forward to 2006. I started getting interested in at least listening to HF so I ebayed a Kenwood R2K. When I received it I couldn't immediately get it to work and made a snap decision to go to R&L and buy a Yaesu FT840 - the rig I had my eye on for YEARS. Bought it, didn't do anything with it. Sat in the box for almost two years.

Now it's 2008, my friend and I were talking radio stuff and both got suddenly interested to get back into the hobby full force. I upgraded to General, bought a Bencher key, strung up a dipole, and I'm making CW contacts. C freaking W! I was never that interested in it past getting my novice - until a few years ago before the requirement disappeared, I learned to copy at 13. But now after getting a key and relearning it and actually sending it, I get as giddy making a CW contact as I did when I was 18 bringing up the autopatch. I've only had 4 QSOs but 2 of them were last night, one was my first foreign - VE3 - and my second was my new distance record and first 20m - Eager, AZ.

Anyway, there's really no point to this except that I wanted to share a little background and let you all know that I am SO excited to not only be back on the air, but also diving head first into hands-down the best operating mode. I am trying as hard as I can to improve my copy speed... it KILLS me to hear a blasting CQ that I can't answer cause I am too humble to send a QRS. But I'll get there!


Dave
Cinci, OH

K8DJW

73
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W5ESE
Member

Posts: 550


WWW

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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2008, 12:14:13 PM »

Congratulations, Dave, on finding your way to CW.

Don't be bashful about asking someone to 'QRS' for you.
Any CW op worth his salt will be happy to.

73
Scott
W5ESE


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N4KZ
Member

Posts: 593




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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2008, 04:05:24 PM »

That's great, Dave. Congrats on your renewed interest in ham radio and your newfound CW interest, in particular. You'll find it's hard to beat CW when it comes to working DX.

73 and good luck,
Dave, N4KZ
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KQ6UP
Member

Posts: 136




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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2008, 06:29:33 PM »

I have a very similar story.  I first got my license when I was 14, and I HATED learning code.  However, I did use it quite a bit since these were my only privileges as a novice in 1987.  About 9 years later I got back into when in college, and have been fairly active ever since.  Last April, a friend was over at the house an asked to see me make a CW contact.  I did, and it really bit me.  Now, I am up to 20wpm comfortably, and looking forward to pounding brass all night at field day.

Chris KQ6UP
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20542




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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2008, 08:12:50 AM »

Dave, no problem sending QRS, almost everybody will honor the request.  (Don't send it during contests or to DXpeditions, but other than that...)

Make five CW contacts a day, 7 days a week: In six months you'll be easily sending and copying at 25-30 wpm, solidly, and you'll wonder why you ever thought it might be difficult.

WB2WIK/6
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KQ6UP
Member

Posts: 136




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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2008, 08:36:23 AM »

This is a good suggestion.  However, in the current state of the solar cycle, I find it rather difficult to make that many QSO's let alone the time it takes to do so per day.  I think 1/day per average is a little more reasonable.  It took me about a year to get to a solid 20wpm.  I can do contest exchanges much faster.

Chris KQ6UP
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K8DJW
Member

Posts: 32




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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 08:41:39 AM »

Thanks for all the encouraging replies!

I am starting to read things about a "10wpm barrier" and thing that I might be a 'victim' of it. I find myself repeating the dits and dahs in my head on some of the characters, mainly Q, Y, X, Z... and sometimes some others. At 10wpm+, there really isn't time to do this anymore.

Should I sort-of start 'from scratch' and rather than practice with all the letters, maybe use something like G4FON and work on getting my speed up with the easier letters first and then add the hard ones as I progress?

Or should I continue as I'm going now (on air QSOs at 7-10wpm and practice at 10+ with generated code) hoping that my brain will just start doing more of the work without me 'thinking' about it?

One more question Smiley What is good protocol for QRSing? if I answer a CQ should I just throw a "QRS?" on there after my callsign? (of course followed by MNY THX Smiley)

Thanks again!!!

73, Dave
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20542




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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2008, 09:56:14 AM »

Re how to say "QRS..."

If you want a station you're answering to send more slowly, answer him at the speed you're comfortable with (copying).  Most get the hint and make the adjustment right then, based on that.  I certainly do.

Re making 5 QSOs per day, this is really easy and takes very little time.  As a Novice going 5 wpm when I was in eighth grade, I'd come home from school every day, make my five contacts on 40CW, and then go do homework.  Each contact took ten mins, so the whole deal was less than an hour a day.  I'm glad I did, because not only did I earn WAS this way in about six weeks, but I also built my speed up to 20 wpm in that much time as well.

I can make 5 contacts per evening on 20CW, all in about ten minutes if I wish, by just calling CQ DX and having very brief contacts with the DX who call.  Lately, the band's been open to VK-ZL and the rest of the South Pacific until well past 9:00 PM local time.

It's all good experience, even if the contacts are brief.

Give it a shot!

WB2WIK/6

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N8CPA
Member

Posts: 87




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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2008, 05:38:24 AM »

K8DJW, if you have not done so yet, join SKCC.   It was founded on Jan 2, 2006.  And there are already more than 4000 members internationally.  

The idea is a full time, year round, emulation of Straight Key Night--no keyers, but bugs are considered okay.  Members still use keyers and keyboards for QSO's with non-members, but for SKCC honors and awards, the QSO's must be made using either a straight key or bug.

And the best part about the club is there are no dues!
You can find out everything at SKCCgroup.com

73,
Steve SKCC #8
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