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Author Topic: Attitudes against CW over the years  (Read 7020 times)
N2EY
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2010, 11:16:30 AM »

To NU4B: I'll not only do that classic but the lesser-known "Ruben Clamzo" one.

73 de Jim, N2EY

....with 27 8x10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows....
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K5END
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2010, 01:09:01 PM »

N3QE writes: "the prevailing attitude was that the novice ticket "confined" you to CW, that the real next step after that was to get your General and get phone privileges. Then you wouldn't be stuck in the CW ghetto."

I was licensed in the 1960s as a kid, too.

The big reason to upgrade from Novice back then was simple: until the 1970s the Novice was a nonrenewable one-time license. When it ran out, you were off the ham bands unless you'd upgraded.

On top of that, the Technician back-then had no HF privileges at all, even though it had a 5 wpm code test and the same written as General.

So if you started on HF, as most of us did, the natural next step was to General (or Conditional, if you lived far enough out)
 
N3QE: "When my dad bought me my first rig he refused to look at any CW-only stuff and insisted I needed a rig that would use phone for when I upgraded. I got a used HW-100."

Luxury.

Here's why:

Before the 1970s Novices were limited to 75 watts input, small parts of 80, 40 and 15 meters and crystal control. That meant most newcomers started with a "Novice" station, which then had to be resold or rebuilt to get something that had VFO, more power and more bands. Or 'phone. That swap could cost serious money if you bought new and then sold used.

The rules changes of the 1970s that gave Novices more power and VFO meant a newcomer could start off with a rig that wouldn't have to be replaced when the General was earned. They also caused the prices of used "Novice" gear to plummet, and greatly reduced the number of newcomers homebrewing and converting surplus.

N3QE: "when I upgraded at age 13 (went to the FCC field office to test for General, but when I passed that the examiner asked if I wanted to try the Advanced theory test too, I gave it a shot, and just barely passed!)"

Did you go to the Philadelphia office? The same thing happened to me in 1968 (I was 14).

N3QE: "Went back to CW. My parents were obviously disappointed that I didn't make the transition. But they accepted it."

I wonder why....

N3QE: "We all thought he was crazy, but only now do I realize that he was definitely the most "into" ham radio, and what made it fun."

Great story!

Here's my theory:

In those days, as well as now, there was a mindset that saw everything "new" as "better". This was particularly strong in some parts of Amateur Radio.

The mindset took many forms. Transistors were better than tubes, SSB was better than AM, coax was better than open line, miniature was better than octal, green paint was better than black crackle, FM was better than AM, etc., etc., etc.

And of course just about anything was better than Morse Code, which was older than radio itself.

That was the era of "status" and "keeping up with the Joneses", when things like the car you drove meant a lot to your social circle. Chevies, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks might all come from the same factories and be practically identical under the sheet metal, but they were worlds apart in the minds of many Americans. It's not an accident that Volkswagens were a symbol of the counter-culture back then.

So in Amateur Radio, the ham with a Collins S-line was like the man who drove a shiny new Cadillac. Trading it in for an HW-8 was as odd as if he'd gotten a red VW microbus with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction....

And there's one more factor. Jealousy.

The big thing about Morse Code is that you can't buy skill in its use. Most people already know how to talk, so voice is immediately available to them, but for most of us just *using* Morse Code means learning new skills. Those skills aren't taught in school and they can't be learned by reading a book or watching a video.  

Yet even young children can learn to use Morse Code to a high degree of skill if given the chance. Worse, the mode makes them anonymous; you can't tell the age, gender, color, ethnicity, etc. of the person at the key. The hotshot down on 7002 working the rare ones at 35 per might not even shave yet, for all anyone knows.

I suspect that more than a few adults don't like the idea that someone they consider "inferior" - which can be a young person - could do something much better than they can.

73 de Jim, N2EY

Jim, you have a gift for brevity. Smiley

73
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2010, 10:32:44 PM »

I like the "phone is for CBers" commentary.

I work some phone modes, and some RTTY and digital, but mostly CW.  Not to be elitist, but just to take advantage of the conditions as they have been lately, which isn't so great.

Plus, CW is actually the easiest mode to operate once you like it.  Takes less power, makes less noise in the house (for the family) and easier to listen to.

But you have to get used to it, and like it, for those things to become apparent.

I learned code as a kid, when in school we had to learn new stuff every single day, whether we liked it or not.  As a result, code was a breeze compared to Shakespeare, or Trig, or dissecting frogs.  Or all the other stuff we had to learn every single day.
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KF6QEX
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2010, 12:30:17 AM »


Jim, you have a gift for brevity. Smiley

73

!
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N2EY
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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2010, 07:22:39 AM »

K5END: "Jim, you have a gift for brevity. Smiley"

You should have seen that piece before I edited it down.

73 de Jim, N2EY

...with clampoon in hand....
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K0WA
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« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2010, 01:19:42 PM »

I just have to comment as to my experience.  Novice in 1965. I was 15.  No money.  No job.  Mom and Dad said you are in school...school comes before job.  OK, when I upgrade to General a year later I had nothing but a CW rig.  I am 16.  I am going to throw away the key.  CW is gone.  I got a DX-40 and a VF-1 for $50.00 and I cannot remember where I got the $50.00.  I was in hog heaven...working DX on 10 meter AM Phone...and working a lot of 40 meter AM phone.  But, I always drifted back to CW...because I ended up admitting to myself that I loved Morse Code.  I wanted on SSB so bad that I modified the DX-40 to run AB1 and threw an old SB-10 on the air.  I drifted back to CW.  My Grandpa, Frank, "loaned" be enough money to buy an HW-100 in 1969 and I was now on the air with a SSB transceiver.  I drifted back to CW.  It just gets into your blood.  I did not like CW at first but it was the way to get a General ticket.  More frequencies.  A VFO. Phone contacts.  I drifted back to CW

Now I have a K3 (and a whole plethora or rigs in between) and I am still on CW and only use "voice" to talk to friends and do a contest.  When I want to get on the air...it is CW.  Maybe it was all those hours of traffic handling with the Kansas CW (QKS) net twice a night, then on to Tenth Region Net and then on to Central Area Net.  Tried TCC once...remember TCC?  Those guys were goooooood!  I loved CW traffic handling and back then there was a lot of traffic.

See ya later...I am drifting back to CW
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2010, 01:35:02 PM »

I just have to comment as to my experience.  Novice in 1965. I was 15.  No money.  No job.  Mom and Dad said you are in school...school comes before job.  OK, when I upgrade to General a year later I had nothing but a CW rig.  I am 16.  I am going to throw away the key.  CW is gone.  I got a DX-40 and a VF-1 for $50.00 and I cannot remember where I got the $50.00.  I was in hog heaven...working DX on 10 meter AM Phone...and working a lot of 40 meter AM phone.  But, I always drifted back to CW...because I ended up admitting to myself that I loved Morse Code.  I wanted on SSB so bad that I modified the DX-40 to run AB1 and threw an old SB-10 on the air.  I drifted back to CW.  My Grandpa, Frank, "loaned" be enough money to buy an HW-100 in 1969 and I was now on the air with a SSB transceiver.  I drifted back to CW.  It just gets into your blood.  I did not like CW at first but it was the way to get a General ticket.  More frequencies.  A VFO. Phone contacts.  I drifted back to CW

Now I have a K3 (and a whole plethora or rigs in between) and I am still on CW and only use "voice" to talk to friends and do a contest.  When I want to get on the air...it is CW.  Maybe it was all those hours of traffic handling with the Kansas CW (QKS) net twice a night, then on to Tenth Region Net and then on to Central Area Net.  Tried TCC once...remember TCC?  Those guys were goooooood!  I loved CW traffic handling and back then there was a lot of traffic.

See ya later...I am drifting back to CW

Your experience almost exactly parallels mine, which is why we're obviously such great guys. Wink

I started in '65 also at the age of 13.  We've both been hams a long time but I must be younger, hi.

My first "SSB" rig that actually sorta worked was the Apache with an SB-10 sideband adapter (NC-303 receiver) in '66-67 timeframe.  The SB-10 kept an operator quite busy.  No control stayed "set," ever.  It was good exercise.  Of course the Apache alone, with a few simple mods (mostly changing coupling caps) sounded very good on AM, so I used it there, too.  Remember the "AMers" vs. "Sidebanders" wars?  Hilarious.

I still work more CW than "phone," probably always will.

Speaking of wills, in mine it stipulates whatever I have cannot be distributed to survivors until my lawyer or his successor(s) review a photograph of me being buried with my keyer paddles.  After the photograph is authenticated, then anything goes. Cheesy
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AA0CW
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2010, 05:53:02 PM »

Well at 58 years old, I am a new ham just getting my Tech last month. I'm going to pass the General exam in February, and learning Morse code. To me code has a rhythm, almost like music. I've been listening to tapes, studying online and just bought a used FT-840. I can't wait to get on HF and try my hand at actually sending and copying code. Like one of the posters above said, anyone can talk, code is cool. Anyway, when the alien motherships arrive, Morse code will be the only form of communications not blocked by their jamming!
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K6LHA
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« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2010, 05:23:28 PM »

WX7G posted on January 12, 2010:
 
"W6OP I am being facetious when I say 'phone is for CBers.'"

"But take a look at where you are. Out of 33 eham forums you are at the only CW forum."

Check again at how many sub-forums there are for OOK CW. There is only ONE VHF-UHF forum with fewer sub-forums. Consider that next time you look at some license class statistics while Technician class numbers approach 50% and will go higher. <shrug>
....................
WX7G: "And you are at a thread that is titled "Attitudes against CW over the years."

Really? :-)

When I examined this sub-forum, all I saw were individual but amazingly similar Life Experiences - Everyone got their first license as a teen-ager, struggled against all odds to learn morse code, all slowly "upgraded" through the ranks, amassing truly wondrous skill at OOK CW, then praising one another massively for being so proficient. :-)

I started in radio, HF radio communications WITHOUT any morse skill, even without a license! Did that for three years. Never once was I required to know or use any morse code, not then or in professional radio communications and electronics design on past official retirement age. <shrug>
....................
WX7G: "Telegraphers rule and telephoners drool!"

See, more self-praise...even if done in jest.

This sub-forum title should be changed. What (probably) won't be allowed is the tens, perhaps thousands, of electronics hobbyists who were turned away from amateur radio by two things: (1) The code test for a license; (2) The attitudes of the long-timer OOK CW hams who looked down on the mundane "lesser" people who didn't use it. <shrug>

Me, I've been indifferent to OOK CW mode for over a half century. [waiting for someone to tell me to start immediately to attempt to be "as good as they are." :-)]

73, Len K6LHA
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N2EY
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2010, 05:46:37 PM »

K0BAM writes: "Well at 58 years old, I am a new ham just getting my Tech last month."

Congrats and welcome!

K0BAM: "I'm going to pass the General exam in February, and learning Morse code. To me code has a rhythm, almost like music."

Yes, it does. And once you get some skills, it's just like listening to somebody talk. Easier, in some cases.

Over on the main page there's a thread called "Getting Back on HF with Code" or some such. There's links to a bunch of useful code-learning resources there.

K0BAM: "I've been listening to tapes, studying online and just bought a used FT-840. I can't wait to get on HF and try my hand at actually sending and copying code."

Hook up the '840 to a wire and listen to real live Morse Code on the air. You can do that right now.

Once you get an HF antenna set up, you can work CW on parts of 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters with your Technician license.

K0BAM: "Like one of the posters above said, anyone can talk, code is cool."

Yes, it is.

K0BAM: "Anyway, when the alien motherships arrive, Morse code will be the only form of communications not blocked by their jamming!"

HAW! That's a good one!

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY

FISTS 4360
SKCC 307
SOC 895
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WX7G
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« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2010, 11:48:01 AM »

"Telegraphers rule and telephoners drool!"
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K6LHA
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« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2010, 12:17:47 PM »

WX7G posted (again) on January 20, 2010:
 
"Telegraphers rule and telephoners drool!"  

That minority viewpoint is PRECISELY what created the attitude by tens and hundreds of thousands of radio-interested persons about OOK CW modes.

You can (humorously or otherwise) quote all the morse mythos from a century ago...and hardly modified since then and NOT develop any devoted following. <shrug>

73, Len K6LHA
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N2EY
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« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2010, 02:37:54 AM »

The first hams I ever copied on-the-air were running AM on 75 meters when I was 11 or 12 years old.  I wanted in on that action so I set about getting a license.

In those days (1967) all US amateur licenses required passing Morse Code sending and receiving tests. I learned the code by listening to other hams using it on 80 CW with my homebrew 2-tube regenerative receiver.
I learned sending on a WW2 surplus J-37 and homebrew code oscillator. Hardly "state of the art" but it did the job.

By the time I was 13 I had earned the Novice license and was on the air with a simple 1 tube 10 watt transmitter - also homebrew. Within a year I'd upgraded to Advanced. Would have gone for Extra but back then there was a 2 year experience requirement.

I found that once some basic skills were learned the code was not only fun but more effective on the air than voice. The equipment was less expensive, simpler, and made less noise if you used headphones.

I finally got on 75 meter AM back in the 1990s and had a great time. But Morse Code is still a first preference for me.

If others prefer other modes, that's fine. But it's odd how many will bash Morse Code when they've never really tried it (as in having made several QSOs with it).

73 de Jim, N2EY
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NI0C
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« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2010, 04:39:26 AM »

N2EY wrote:
"But it's odd how many will bash Morse Code when they've never really tried it (as in having made several QSOs with it)."

Jim, I don't think there are that many-- the few who bash seemed to be afflicted with Morse envy.  No, what I'm observing (on the air, and in these forums) is there are a lot of newer hams who, having obtained a license, are studying and practicing the code in order to work HF DX, or use QRP power levels more effectively, or just for the fun of it. 

I'm also proud to say that I have a nine year old grand-daughter who is simultaneously studying for her Tech license and practicing the code. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C 

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WX7G
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« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2010, 10:33:28 AM »

The majority of anti-CW hams are not that way because of interactions with CW hams. They have no interactions with CW hams.

They are that way because they are find CW unpleasant.

Unpleasant because CW takes time and effort to master.

Unpleasant because they must employ economy of words.

Uunpleasant because they have difficulty spelling.

Unpleasant because they are lazy.
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