eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: K6TT on December 01, 2009, 12:58:32 AM

Title: First CW QSO
Post by: K6TT on December 01, 2009, 12:58:32 AM
I've been in amateur radio since 1998, but tonight I feel like I become a real amateur radio operator. I made my first Q on 40m. I was extremely shaky but I give the credit to the fine and overly patient operator who answered my CQ. He slowed down and repeated things, made this first CW contact one I will never forget. I am totally thrilled right now and ready to work some more. I cannot wait to better my skills and join the ranks of other CW ops working the world.


Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: KE7WAV on December 01, 2009, 06:55:33 AM
Congrats on the first CW QSO! It is a thrill, but don't let the thrill fade too far before you get back on the air and have another one.  I hope to hear you soon.  Feel free to contact me to setup a slow sked sometime.  Or check out the sked page at click on SKCC or FISTS and setup a sked with a great op that way.


Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: K6TT on December 01, 2009, 07:28:39 AM
Thanks for the advice. I'm planning on making more as well as checking into a couple of slow-speed nets. I am also continuing to work on the comprehension and speed. I will definitely try the online sked service, great idea. Thx!

Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: KE4ILG on December 01, 2009, 09:13:46 AM
Congrats and welcome aboard.  Don't stop now, every cw QSO you make your skills will improve. In the beginning your skills will improve in leaps and bounds.  In fact with as little as one or two QSO's a day will make a huge difference in just a few months.  

My biggest advise for a new cw op is to work to make the spacing between characters correct and consistent.
Sending well spaced cw makes it easy to copy and no matter how slowly you may be sending people will want to talk with you.  Some ops try to go faster by sending with no space between characters.  This type of sending is the most difficult to understand.  

You sound like you are on the right track so have fun and hope to cu on the bands sn, 73 Mike.

Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: K6LO on December 01, 2009, 11:06:08 AM
Congratulations, and welcome to the "Knights Templar" of ham radio. The secret self-hazing kit is enroute to your callbook address.  ;) CW is an awful lot of fun isn't it?

73 - Luke

Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: WB2WIK on December 01, 2009, 01:57:58 PM

CW is just about the only "cool" thing left in amateur radio.  

At least that's what school kids tell me if I go to talk to them about it.  Digital stuff is a big ho-hum to them, so is voice operation.  They already do both of those all the time without a license.

But code!  Now, that's cool.  Something very few people in the world understand -- makes it desirable.  Almost every 10 year-old I meet shows interest in ham radio only if I talk about working code.  Everything else has them looking around the room for the escape hatch.

Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: K5END on December 01, 2009, 06:38:13 PM

You are now in the "in" crowd.

I started doing Code/CW a little over a year ago, and your QSO sounds almost EXACTLY like mine was.

Hope to work you sometime.

Set up a sked if you need to work one of the most overworked parts of the Southwest U.S. (Harris County, Texas)


Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: K1MMI on December 14, 2009, 01:44:39 PM
When I got my novice license it was only good for one year and it was not renewable. You had a year to build up your CW speed to 13 wpm to get a chance to make contacts on HF voice - so there was a lot of incentive to make daily contacts on CW. Plus transmitters were crystal controlled so we had to tune around to discover a station was answering our CQ.

I also operated on 2 meter AM but quite often it would take 30 to 60 minutes of CQs to get a reply.
Being crystal controlled you had to tune from 144 to 148 mhz looking for a station answering your CQ.

At 5-9 words per minute a QSO would consist of RST, city, state, name and several repeats of your home address to make sure you had it correct so that as a final courtesy to a QSO you could send a QSL card.
(There was no QRZ website and it took 4-6 months for a new novice call to appear in the callbook.)
There was a special joy in receiving the QSL and it was like a 2nd hobby. It was fun just to make a contact with a new friend via the airwaves.

At 10+ WPM CW became a lot of fun because a QSO was a conversation. Once I hit 10 WPM, I used some code records and with two weeks of practice I was copying at 20 WPM. Once you hit a certain point your CW speed can increase in a hurry.

When I got my General I spent 3 years, mostly on AM, but it was fun to go to the novice section of the 80, 40 or 15 meter bands and work a new novice at very slow speeds. There was a joy in welcoming a new novice to our special Ham Radio Hobby.

After 3 years of AM I found I liked CW a lot better and have operated 95% of the time on CW for decades.

These days there is no novice band with most stations sending at slow CW speeds so you must send a CQ at a slow CW speed and hope someone will answer and send at a speed you can copy.

Congratulations on making your first CW contact. Once your speed gets to 10+ WPM the fun begins and it may open the door to many decades of CW fun.

If it were not for the novice requirement to operate CW I think I would have given up on the Ham Radio Hobby decades ago.

Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: K6TT on December 14, 2009, 10:31:51 PM
Thanks for all the support... Well, I haven't worked DXCC on CW yet but have made half a dozen q's since I first posted. So far so good. I can see how addicting this can be, a completely different experience from phone and data. I think I'm going to settle into working cw exclusively for a while and see how my skills progress.

I do see a major difference from when I was just studying on the computer to putting the skills into action. I would certainly recommend any beginner getting onto the air as soon as possible. Everyone I have worked has been outstanding and first class operators. I have learned something from each contact.

Thanks for all the feedback and support. Hope to work you soon.

73 de K6TT

Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: KB2HSH on December 28, 2009, 09:46:24 AM
You'll know that you're enjoying CW when you end up with more than one key/keyer.  I have my old Nye-Viking straight key, and 2 Vibroplex Original Presentations.  

And don't rely TOO heavily on software to do the decoding.  Most, if not all the guys here will agree when I say that at times when there is excessive QRM/QRN, the BEST software doesn't come close to the "computer" between your ears.

(Case is point...XW-1's CW beacon.  I can still copy it at 1 degree above horizon, but I know darn well that MultiPSK can't.)



Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: N4KZ on December 30, 2009, 11:35:29 AM
Congrats on using your CW skills on the air. Off-air practice is good but it only gets you so far. Real fire-by-trial on-the-air CW is the best way to build your CW skills. Don't worry if you don't copy everything. That will come in time and after a while, it becomes second nature.

73, Dave, N4KZ

Title: RE: First CW QSO
Post by: KG6UGS on February 20, 2010, 04:21:06 PM
Hello I  just read your thread and was wondering how lone does it take to able to read incoming code good, I can send CW really good but I am slower at readinfg it back,
I know all the letters, numbers and etc., I am constantly taking off line tests and studing at 15 WPM, .
Please advise.