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Author Topic: CW, a manly skill  (Read 3977 times)
WX7G
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« on: July 26, 2010, 02:33:06 PM »

http://artofmanliness.com/category/manly-skills/page/4/
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N2EY
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 03:19:42 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQk-imB1m2k

"Manly? Yes...but I like it too!"

(one of the best CW ops I ever knew was Lou Moreau, W3WRE/WB6BBO).

73 de Jim, N2EY
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 12:31:48 AM »


Being a relic of the early technical age, Morse code falls in the same category as the games of the day.
Before the clock ruled our lives, games did not have time limits.
Cricket and tennis are two examples.
Morse would never be implemented today as it takes a lot of time, determination and persistent patient application.
These qualities are in opposition to today's culture of instant gratification and results.
This in part, is what makes morse so fascinating, much like learning to fence when guns abound.
Morse conjures up images of overland telegraph offices, railroads, the Titanic and of an era when people were still able to wonder at technology.

As long as there are people who have this spirit, morse is alive and well.
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N2EY
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 07:01:00 PM »


Being a relic of the early technical age, Morse code falls in the same category as the games of the day.
Before the clock ruled our lives, games did not have time limits.
Cricket and tennis are two examples.

There's also baseball.

And while most other popular sports are played against the clock, many also have overtime.

Morse would never be implemented today as it takes a lot of time, determination and persistent patient application.
These qualities are in opposition to today's culture of instant gratification and results.

Maybe.

But consider that some time back, a couple of Morse ops with decent skills easily beat the world record holder in texting. (see Jay Leno clip on YouTube).

They were only going about 28 wpm.

73 de Jim, N2EY

Accuracy transcends speed
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2010, 05:48:42 PM »

Quote
But consider that some time back, a couple of Morse ops with decent skills easily beat the world record holder in texting. (see Jay Leno clip on YouTube).

They were only going about 28 wpm.

73 de Jim, N2EY

Accuracy transcends speed

That was a great clip! , too bad they did not mention that those morse ops could probably has put in a 50% increase of speed without breaking a sweat.
The ultimate barrier is the human-machine interface, in that case it would probably have been more fair to have them use straight keys, although I am certain they could have still achieved that speed, but it would have been much more effort.
Morse is one of those skills that the average person thinks is cool, but they can't think of a modern day use for it.
But in keeping with the original "manly skill" nature of this thread, the original term "pounding brass" evokes images of the early days of communications, and up until 1999 when morse was killed off most ships, seagoing men.

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N2EY
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2010, 06:21:37 PM »

That was a great clip! , too bad they did not mention that those morse ops could probably has put in a 50% increase of speed without breaking a sweat.

Easily. Note too that they did not use abbreviations; each word was spelled out in full.

The ultimate barrier is the human-machine interface, in that case it would probably have been more fair to have them use straight keys, although I am certain they could have still achieved that speed, but it would have been much more effort.

Why would it have been more fair to have them use straight keys? Electronic keyers have been around at least 60 years and semiautomatic bugs at least 100 years.

Morse is one of those skills that the average person thinks is cool, but they can't think of a modern day use for it.

Only those who lack imagination. It has many uses besides Amateur Radio.

For example, there are at least two cell phone apps using Morse Code:

1) an app that converts Morse tapping into text. This permits sending text messages without looking at the phone.

2) an app that converts the number of an incoming call to Morse. If the number is in the 'phone's contact list, it can send the name of the person calling. The result is that the 'phone's owner knows who is calling by the ring.

But in keeping with the original "manly skill" nature of this thread, the original term "pounding brass" evokes images of the early days of communications, and up until 1999 when morse was killed off most ships, seagoing men.

The requirement for Morse capability on ships was eliminated to save money.

The image of "manly" that I got from that website was one of having lots of skills that make one independent rather than helpless.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2010, 12:50:10 AM »

Quote
The requirement for Morse capability on ships was eliminated to save money.

The image of "manly" that I got from that website was one of having lots of skills that make one independent rather than helpless.

73 de Jim, N2EY

I am sure saving money was in the minds of the shipowners, but I doubt they saved much.
Contrast the wages of one sparky who was sometimes termed the electronics officer on many ships (the qualifications were changed around 1972 to incorporate the new skills) who looked after the Radars, echo sounders, shipboard rf distribution systems, electronic navigation systems and autopilot to name just a few.
All of these devices would still have to maintained, as well as the slew of equipment required to replace the RO/EO depending on the ships class. Seagoing Radio Officers had left the 500Khz watch standing only point many years before it was made redundant.
I really think it was mainly that technology had finally reached a point where SOLAS (safety of life at sea) was possible to place in the hands of machines with Deck Officers given training to push that big red button.
Of course, certain classes of vessels still require Radio Officers although they don't pound brass any more, except for a few very special situations.
As an aside I know a few R/Os who trained and converted to Deck Officers, so it was not all bad news, although I believe many just called it a day.
That was a great run for CW, and 500Khz is etched in the lives of so many people rescued from a watery grave, but times do move on.
Remember there used to be Radio Officers on aircraft as well, but like Flight Engineers so many people are now being replaced by glowing screens.
Another career our young people will not be able to pursue, but other options do exist for going to sea of course.

 73s
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N2EY
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2010, 03:00:46 AM »

I am sure saving money was in the minds of the shipowners, but I doubt they saved much.
Contrast the wages of one sparky who was sometimes termed the electronics officer on many ships (the qualifications were changed around 1972 to incorporate the new skills) who looked after the Radars, echo sounders, shipboard rf distribution systems, electronic navigation systems and autopilot to name just a few.
All of these devices would still have to maintained, as well as the slew of equipment required to replace the RO/EO depending on the ships class.

Yes, but for a lot of ships it meant fewer crew were needed. Also, the sparky didn't need a Commercial Radiotelegraph license.

More important, it also meant that the shore Morse stations could be shut down, eliminating many operators as well as facilities.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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KC8WUC
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2010, 04:51:56 AM »

I still operate CW exclusively on my tug, Sourmash although, for better or worse, will be adding full GMDSS capability for all sea areas |
No one can dispute the invaluable service that CW provided in the maritime service, however, given the relative rarity of public coastal stations available that regularly monitor CW, it has become impractical to continue relying on CW exclusively (I'll continue to keep my Sailor and Skanti transmitters installed after the SEA-DMI console is up and running).

I see the Radio Officer as becoming an anomoly and eventually no longer being issued as a USCG license and the FCC no longer issuing or renewing licenses. The union that supplied radio officers, the American Radio Association, is all but non-existent.

Jim. I think you're right about every one learning to "push the red button" and no real skill is necessary...  anyone can pass the FCC GMDSS Operator/Maintainer examinations.  Passing the USCG examination, which requires either completing a course or, in the case of the Maintainer STCW, proof of training in electronics that would meet IMO regs, is another story altogether and requires some studying and ability.  As a Captain (Master 200 GRT, Oceans), I have obtained the STCW for GMDSS Operator and Maintainer, as well as Radar, ARPA (automatic radar plotting aids), Meteorology, and Celestial Navigation. With the exception of GMDSS, I have called upon to navigate across the ocean.  At least three of my Able Seamen have also obtained GMDSS STCW's as well and have demonstrated their ability to operate CW (they have their Radio Operator licenses).


73,
Michael KC8WUC/WDE9344

(in port, Toulon, France)
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KC8WUC
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 09:44:12 AM »

By the by, for those who are thinking about working as a merchant mariner on the oceans,knowing CW is also necessary to pass your flashing light exam.  Wink

73,

Michael KC8WUC/WDE9344

in port, Toulon, France
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K7KBN
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 01:17:41 PM »

I don't know if knowing CW will help with flashing light, but knowing Morse code certainly will.

Just curious - what speed is that flashing light test? 
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KC8WUC
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Posts: 52




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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2010, 04:48:31 AM »

Like many others, I have taken license (no pun intended) to colloquially substitute CW (a form of emission)  for the method of communicating (Morse code).  There isn't a prescribed speed for the flashing light exam, although I think that this was about 10 WPM.  Still very useful and necessary (and required for the Ocean endorsement) in international waters.

73,

Michael KC8WUC/WDE9344
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KC8WUC
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2010, 05:05:31 AM »

I stand corrected. One of my crew members (an Able Seaman) who recently got his STCW for Officer In Charge Of A Navigational Watch) informed me that the prescribed speed is a minimum of six words per minute, five word code groups, 70% correct to pass. Not nearly as difficult as the Third or First Class Radiotelegraph Certificate.

73,

Michael KC8WUC/WDE9344
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K7KBN
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2010, 12:02:31 PM »

Right after Navy Radioman school in 1963, I went aboard USS Kitty Hawk (SK-now decommissioned).  A high school classmate of mine from one year earlier literally bumped into me as I was coming aboard.  He was a Signalman, and he took me up to show me the signal bridge.

He asked if I could copy flashing light.  I'd never done it, but I'd been copying code for about four years as a ham and then RM school, so I tried it and it didn't seem too hard.  The Master Chief Signalman was watching us, and he took over the light my friend was using.  He timed me at 15 WPM, which was better than all but a couple of the Signalmen!

Sending with the searchlight took a little getting used to.  The shutter levers take a whole different set of muscles (as you well know!).

73, fair winds and following seas
Pat K7KBN - ZBM1 NZFF 63-66
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
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