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Author Topic: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?  (Read 37787 times)

Posts: 523

« on: August 16, 2013, 02:20:06 AM »

I bought a Sierra Wilderness rig a few years ago off Ebay.  Great little rig, but I've still not got on the air with it.  One reason was because I was working away from my home base.  The other reason is because my CW speed is somewhat slower than a very slow snail.

I've read recent posts about the best way/learning technique to increase my CW speed.  In my mind, the best (and most enjoyable) way would be to get on the air, send QRS many times, and then work those stations who slow down to my snail's pace.

What's your opinion?  Get on the air at a snail's pace, or wait until my CW speed reaches double figures?


Posts: 2034

« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2013, 03:44:11 AM »

  YES, as mentioned many times before just get on the air even if it's only one LETTER per minute, plenty of hams out there just learning and as slow as you and many more willing to match your speed. Most of us started out slooowwwww and nervous.

Posts: 109

« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2013, 04:28:35 AM »

Yes, get on the air....

Posts: 1255

« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2013, 05:01:50 AM »

5wpm CW on the AIR is the equivalent of  20 wpm off the air.

If you want to become a master at CW, 1 daily CW QSO is much more effective than endless hours sitting on a computer or some other off air CW learning aids.

What throws most new operators is non familiarity with common QSO abbreviations and prosigns.  These can throw  your mind and rattle your nerves. Once you are familiar and can recognize  common CW QSO conversation and practice, you can more effectively concentrate on technique and speed.

You also need to break your  reluctance to have your first on air QSO. Having your 5 first on the air QSO's will give you a lot of confidence. I know  a lot  operators who would just listened to CW for 1 year before they had the guts to make a QSO. I suggest you get on the air make your first QSO ASAP.  CW ragchew operators are very considerate and will turn a blind eye to your mistakes and be nice about it.  Just stay  away from the  5NN types on the low end of 20 meters. Tune to the top end of the CW bands where you hear some of the rag chew straight key types. These operators have more patience and dont have the 5nn 73 mentality.

SO  get your fist dirty, even with a straight key!

Good luck

Posts: 5441

« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2013, 07:18:47 AM »

Simon:  An intelligent man can make excuses and procrastinate until he dies!

The way it works is like this:  You get on the air at YOUR speed and either call someone or call CQ.  Only one of two things will happen.  Someone will drop down to your speed and work you or NADA, ZIP...nothing!  If by some chance you get someone who is too fast, ask him to PSE QRS. 

With that only two things can happen:  He does and you have your QSO.  He doesn't and the QSO fails.  No big deal.  It might be a big deal if this LID was the only ham in the world but he isn't.

Stop with the excuses and go for it.  Or as Larry the Cable Guy says, "Git 'er done!"  I love that expression.  This is the American way.  Git 'er done!

Posts: 550


« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2013, 09:54:51 AM »

Try out the section of 40 meters between 7100-7125 KHz.

Posts: 542

« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2013, 01:24:13 PM »


Hey, I'm in the process of re-learning code. I passed my code test then wanted nothing to do with it, so I forgot most that I learned. When I'm ready to get on the air with it, I'll probably be going at a snail's pace too, but so will others. Listen around a little bit - there are others who are going slow right now. And if you are slower, they'd probably enjoy slowing down even more.

The main thing is, it doesn't hurt to try. Nobody's going to sit an laugh at you for being slow. Even if they did, hey man, at least you're on the air trying to work it!


Posts: 158

« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2013, 02:02:10 PM »

Yup,   Slowing down for the new and not so new comers is part of the hobby.

You will gain a lot just by getting used to the standard exchange of info then add in a few details.

As mentioned, the high end of 40m in the summer and 80 meters in the winter are good starting points.

See you on the band.

Posts: 390

« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2013, 02:30:39 PM »

I'm not quite sure what bits of band are available to you out in HS0, but it might be worth trying to find out if there are any locally defined QRS centres of activity, and concentrating on operating there. QRP centres of activity might also worth trying.

Posts: 4

« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2013, 08:09:07 PM »

I started very slow and as soon as I was holding QSOs my speed picked up.  I am no speed demon but my CW has improved quite a bit by being on the air.  Go for it.  If people don't slow down to reply to you after you tell them PSE QRS, then just spin the dial to another frequency and call CQ CQ agn.  You will find 99% of the operators who will match your speed.  Besides no one knows you since you will never see the people you hold QSOs with unless you become friends and meet at HAM Fests, etc. 

I find the following freq is great for new folks including me: 7.055.  From about 7.049 to 7.060 I have held many QSOs on 40 meters.  People sending only 1 Watt up to 100 Watts.  Have not made any DX contacts yet but sure met a lot of nice people on the air in the US.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Cheesy

Posts: 1074

« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2013, 02:08:15 PM »

Hello Simon,as others have stated I would reccomend getting on the air,as that`s the best practice. Not sure what the band limits are in your country,but your best bet is the higher ends of the cw bands. If you can operate just above 7100,that`s a good part of the band. In the U.S. 50 khz up from most bands is good for slower speed cw. 17 meters would be a good band to hear you if propagation is good. 15m if conditions permit would be good too,though lately it`s been poor. It would help if we knew what bands you can operate from Thailand.

Posts: 256

« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2013, 07:42:27 AM »

If I am whizzing along at 30 wpm and you answered my CQ at 5 wpm I would switch to my straight key and respond at the speed you answered my CQ. We have all started out slow. My opinion, amateurs that work mostly CW are glad to see other amateurs who are really interested in CW. Although I have nothing against SSB, CW is my greatest interest. Get on and you will be amazed how fast your speed will build. No one is going to be critical because you start out slow.

Posts: 1

« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 09:19:20 AM »

You bet!  That is the BEST way to learn and improve!   Grin
I remember the sweaty palms and butterfies that I had every time
I called CQ! Its normal!  Another good idea is to listen to W1AW and
get the qualifying runs done. That will help boost your confidence at each
documented level.

Posts: 117

« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2013, 10:07:18 AM »

Yep, get on the air!  But, I know where you're coming from.

In addition to getting on the air I downloaded CWGet to my laptop, ran a microphone over to my keyer speaker, hooked up my straight key (which I prefer), and I use CWGet to give me feedback on how my Morse code skill is or is not progressing.

You gotta do some on the air sending before using CWGet will really make sense.  Once you become attuned to how you should be sending you'll notice there are a LOT of hams sending mediocre to bad code but as long as you can understand it it's good enough so have fun.  Don't be intimidated by your lack of skill because that's something you can fix.  Join the crowd!

Posts: 11


« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2013, 01:09:30 PM »

Of course you should get on the air! Firstly it will give you experience and ramps up your CW proficiency, secondly we need more populated bands. So just go for it!
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