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Author Topic: Are there any CW organizations that are free and not QRP or specific to one key?  (Read 9857 times)
KASSY
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Posts: 165




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« on: February 27, 2011, 06:41:51 PM »

Sure seems like there are a lot of "free for asking" memberships available for QRP ops.  QRP lends itself naturally to CW.  And then there's SKCC which is free, but my hands don't work well on a straight key...soft tissue weakness from birth.  Adventure Radio Society seems pretty spiffing, but again because they're outdoor enthusiasts, there's a huge QRP leaning. 

FISTS seems close, but they charge a membership fee and I'm not sure why.  Sure seems like there ought to be a "generic CW" group that does on-air events, allows you to use whatever power level you want, maybe even does quarterly sprints.

I'm sure there must be one out there, I just haven't found it.

Thanks

- k
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N9GXA
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 07:55:30 PM »

Hi Kassy,

  I don't have a direct answer for you, but I have asked about the FISTS membership fee before, but never really received an answer. It's a good group, but I still wonder. What seems to work without trying is that just operating CW is kind of an organization itself. Contests are fun, but the most fun I have is the state QSO parties.

73 - Paul - N9GXA
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2354




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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2011, 11:50:22 PM »

The SKCC includes straight keys, bugs, and sideswipers.  If you could use one of those, you'd be fully qualified for their events.  They seem to frown on paddles, though.  [I've always wanted to try a sideswiper; one day . . .]

The FISTS membership fee includes the "KeyNote" mailed-out newsletter - - that costs money, somebody's got to pay it.   I found FISTS very useful when I started out in CW, well worth the $15 per year.

               Charles
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M0JHA
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Posts: 647




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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 07:01:42 AM »

I would have to second FISTS £6 per year seems pretty ok to me , like stated there is the keynotes mag which needs paying for as well as the postage to its members, theres the website which needs paying for and has lots of good info on.. I use the member lookup section quite regular . They have a qsl buro , awards etc..

its not power limited nor to the use of any particular key/paddle.


billy FISTS #12589
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KB4MB
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Posts: 295




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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 07:51:26 AM »

Well, the NAQCC is qrp and free, but they let you run 100 watts in contests, I believe... they are more about simple antennas, CW at ragchew speeds (10-20wpm) and not QRO (opposed to QRP), in my opinion.  Most use low power, but they aren't "die hards" - they are more about the CW.

http://naqcc.info/
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AE4RV
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 08:05:05 AM »

Well, the NAQCC is qrp and free, but they let you run 100 watts in contests, I believe... they are more about simple antennas, CW at ragchew speeds (10-20wpm) and not QRO (opposed to QRP), in my opinion.  Most use low power, but they aren't "die hards" - they are more about the CW.

http://naqcc.info/


I like the NAQCC, am a member, and promote them whenever I can. But they are definitely QRP oriented, including their sprints. Their slow speed nets are the only exception they make for QRO, believing that the benefit of code practice is more important.

They are also somewhat key biased, to an extent. A straight key yields a 2X multiplier in their sprints, a bug yields a 1.5X.

Since switching to a bug and a paddle I have not missed straight keys (and their built-in "speed limit") and sort of wish the CW clubs would get over their key preferences. Although two years ago I was all for straight keys, completely.
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KB4MB
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2011, 08:45:50 AM »

I had no idea... oh well - I only use a paddle - no need to torture the other guy with my fist.
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NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2011, 07:34:07 AM »

I think SKCC is the way to go.  No disrespect to FISTS, but I think SKCC is the more active group; just check out how many SKCC members utilize the K3UK sked page vs FISTS (http://www.obriensweb.com/sked/).  SKCC also has lots of on-air club events, contests and awards.

No power limit, not limited to use of straight key only; the only restriction is no electronic keying. If you can stand using a bug, cootie or straight key, it's a fun CW club.

Bill in Pasadena
NK6Q
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AE4RV
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 08:15:26 AM »

I've been using a keyer more and more lately and wish SKCC would allow them but simply discourage it with words and scoring biases in the contests. But with a name like Straight Key Century Club, it would be hard to blame them if they never allowed keyers.

And I wish NAQCC would eliminate their scoring bias based on key type completely. A QRP sprint with simple wire antennas is challenging enough and there's already a major club promoting straight keys.

I used to be proudly devoted to straight keys but now I see them as a gateway to paddles (and bugs), better speeds, better ergonomics, more perfect sounding code. Why pretend it's 1870? Isn't 1940 good enough for nostalgia? Just my opinion...
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W5ESE
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2011, 09:48:58 AM »

I used to be proudly devoted to straight keys but now I see them as a gateway to paddles (and bugs), better speeds, better ergonomics, more perfect sounding code. Why pretend it's 1870? Isn't 1940 good enough for nostalgia? Just my opinion...

IMHO, the SKCC is the best thing to come along for NEW cw operators in a long time.

For some years, straight keys were viewed as similar to a bicycle with training wheels. SKCC (like ARRL Straight Key Night), was started to celebrate the simple facets of morse operating.

After the SKCC was first started, the 80m and 40m Novice bands
had almost as much activity as they had back when every new ham started as a Novice (this was before the FCC "refarmed" the 80m Novice band).

There used to be a high speed CW club; the 'Chicken Fat Operators',
but I don't think they're still around as a group.
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K9FV
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Posts: 478




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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2011, 01:10:01 PM »

I had no idea... oh well - I only use a paddle - no need to torture the other guy with my fist.

My feelings about my "fist" exactly!!!

73 de Ken H>
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N6GND
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 03:03:19 PM »

I've been using a keyer more and more lately and wish SKCC would allow them but simply discourage it with words and scoring biases in the contests. But with a name like Straight Key Century Club, it would be hard to blame them if they never allowed keyers.

And I wish NAQCC would eliminate their scoring bias based on key type completely. A QRP sprint with simple wire antennas is challenging enough and there's already a major club promoting straight keys.

I used to be proudly devoted to straight keys but now I see them as a gateway to paddles (and bugs), better speeds, better ergonomics, more perfect sounding code. Why pretend it's 1870? Isn't 1940 good enough for nostalgia? Just my opinion...

There is an intermediate keying method between using a bug and using a fully automatic keyer. This is to use a keyer with a "bug mode" which automates dits but not dahs or spacings. Using a "bug mode" keyer allows the same personal fist expressiveness as when using a bug, and I don't know how a listener could distinguish between the sound of a bug and the sound of a keyer in bug mode.

The operator advantage of using a keyer in bug mode is that it is significantly easier to use than using a bug proper.
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AE4RV
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 03:57:17 PM »

There is an intermediate keying method between using a bug and using a fully automatic keyer. This is to use a keyer with a "bug mode" which automates dits but not dahs or spacings. Using a "bug mode" keyer allows the same personal fist expressiveness as when using a bug, and I don't know how a listener could distinguish between the sound of a bug and the sound of a keyer in bug mode.

The operator advantage of using a keyer in bug mode is that it is significantly easier to use than using a bug proper.

Thanks. I've tried that and don't find it as satisfying as using a real bug and only marginally easier.

During the NC QSO Party last weekend I was happily using the keyer at about 25 WPM or so like most people when I came to someone holding a frequency but with a much slower speed, maybe 15. My bug is also hooked up and is set for about 18, so rather than fiddle with the tiny key speed knob on my 746Pro I switched to the bug for this one. Sure enough, when it was time to send "KY", I sent "DAH DI DAH    DAH DI DAAAAAAAAH".

Good times.
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N6GND
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2011, 12:13:54 AM »

Sure enough, when it was time to send "KY", I sent "DAH DI DAH    DAH DI DAAAAAAAAH".

I know exactly how that feels. So my keyer stays in "bug mode."
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VE3EGA
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2011, 05:48:55 PM »

KASSY,

I'm not really sure why you are even searching for a CW Organization to join???

If you have a ham-licence with CW privileges (whatever your comfort-level) then you are automatically in the 'Prima-CW organization' - HAM RADIO! Grin

Just get on the radio and SEND code!

BTW,  am always surprised when I hear newcomers struggling with 'paddles' without first learning how to send using a 'straight key' and mastering the 'rhythm' of sending code with correct spacings - I  often shudder when hear poor code sent which blends characters and words together with no spaces.

Put the paddles aside, use a SK and then later a bug-key and then (if you must)
go electronic - remember this is about having fun - it's a hobby -

make mistakes, learn, get better and then teach others! Smiley

73

ve3ega
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 05:51:47 PM by VE3EGA » Logged
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