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Author Topic: MY WAR WITH THE SSB BIG GUNS... by W8LV  (Read 2740 times)

Posts: 129


« on: November 29, 2003, 07:05:21 PM »

(as told to a user group....)

The funny thing is that when I went into this, I just wanted to do
voice. But I got better.

Now it's still pretty rare for me to do voice. HHH net is about it,
and I do "listen" at the qrp channels, for both CW and voice. When I
work CW, I do it like this: I work the low end of 40. I especially
like to work the Cubans with their 60 cycle hums. You got to give a
guy credit when he can build a rig and get it on the air out of
scrounged stuff like so many of them do. And they send so perfect.
That's pride in doing the best with what you've got! (When we can
actually visit there someday for vacation like Canadians do all the
time since it is not illegal for them, I have resolved that I am
defiantly going to DO Cuba, and I am going to take my whole
family.) These are people that I actually want to meet for an
eyeball QSO after all these years.... Anyhow, after working a lower
end QSO, I go up to 7.125 or so, and listen up and down from that
center point for newbies. I work one of them, and I slow down for
them. Whatever it takes, you know? Then I move back down to the
lower end and work another 'experienced' guy there. Then, move up to
SSB, and use the the following "method": I like to work a guy that
is way down in the noise calling voice, (and he's not getting any
answers) by replying in CW. Eventually, he will answer me, in voice
sometimes, in CW sometimes. But I coax him to answer me in CW,
because hey, I can barely hear him anyway. By the end of the QSO, I
have usually 'recruited' him to finish in CW. When you can
actually 'see' (hear) a CW contact that made the DIFFERENCE between
having a QSO, or not being able to complete the QSO, then you have
a 'convert'! You can be sure that the next QSO he makes will be in
CW, or he might turn to that mode when the band craps out right in
the middle of his next SSB QSO. He might even move down the band
once in a while and try to pull another little weak station doing CW
like mine, and begin to make a regular habit of it.

It's kinda like this in my mind--here you are in SSB, with a 'wide'
signal, and you're not making it. I suppose that if you had the
bucks for it, you could turn on a 220 volt separately-wired amp to
finish the QSO. OK, fine. But if you throw the switch to "CW" on
your existing rig, now you just converted your "wide and
consequently weak" signal into a narrow and much more powerful
signal that's gonna 'make it'. Switching from SSB to CW mode to me
is like focusing your "weak, wide" RF signal with a magnifying
glass to make it "narrow" "hot" and therefore "powerful"……ME BUY AN
AMP? HAHAHAHA! Hey, I have other expenses. Like Gas, and Beer, and
Worms. Plus, it's hard to fend off the wife, who actually NEEDS
money to buy groceries. Besides, it's worth giving her the money to
shop, just so I don't have to! I just don't let her know this fact,
or she could actually demand more, and hey, I'd give it to her, just
so I never have to set foot an a grocery store! And anyway, this is
NOT a woman who you are going to convince "that the latest rig" is
just what our family budget needs, when I can't even convince MYSELF
of such logic.

The beauty of this hobby is that it is so multifaceted. I think that
there are a lot of guys like me out there doing the minimum rig
thing. With six kids, you are never gonna find monster rigs and
beams at my QTH. We're not gonna make the front page of ham
magazine, and you will never find our antennas or shacks as pictures
for a calendar, as if we could care less anyway. And my idea of a
mobile is a trashmobile with NO monthly payment book and all kinds
of rusty holes drilled in it for antenna experiments! It MUST belch
blue smoke and have a dent in the hood. Picture the car from the
John Candy movie "Uncle Buck"…

Sometimes in everyday life when someone who is exceptionally stupid
and boring is talking to me, I immediately transpose, in 'real
time', their conversation into CW in my head. So as to not make such
conversations an ENTIRE waste of time. You might want to try it!

Another thing that I do is open up word or notepad on the computer
when I am working CW--and I use that as a 'scratch pad' for my copy,
instead of paper. Works for me!

So to me, CW is a language, and QRP is a lifestyle. It is for the
guy who would rather bow hunt than hunt with a rifle, or go sail
boating rather power boating, and really HATES the whole concept of
credit and monthly payments in general.

So who out there is with me on this?



Posts: 4

« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2003, 12:09:13 PM »

Preach it brother.
I live in a New York City hi-rise apartment, no balcony, no roof access, and not much disposable income for a hobby. At night (and once in a while during the day when I'm feeling daring), I attach a Hamstick dipole on to a broomstick and stick it out my bedroom window. If I'm really feeling daring, I crank my ebay acquired Patcomm all the way up to 15 watts. I've had my General ticket now for about a month, but since I'm still pretty slow, I hang out in the Novice portion of 40. And even though I still break out in a cold sweat every time I begin a cw QSO, and I know last night I sent a "j" when I meant to send a "1" when answering a cq, all I get is encouragement from guys like you. So this newbie says thanks. And if you're ever in New York, let me know. I know the best places to drink beer and to dig for worms.

Posts: 2808

« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2003, 09:34:33 PM »

This is the best piece on the "code / no-code" debate I've read in a long time.

Morse is _just another mode_.  It will live or die on its merits.

It's the only narrow-band mode that doesn't need computer gear, just ears and fingers.  That alone makes it worthwhile.   W8LV is making it fun, on top of that.

Posts: 3

« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2003, 01:37:36 AM »

My sentiments exactly.  In shack there resides a new, "appliance type", everything in one box rig, replete with old reliable 30L-1 amp.  Once in a while it's OK to SSB ragchew with this stuff, but what is really fun is to back down to the CW subbands with my lil K2.  Ah, good ole CW-the answer to noisy band condx, QRM, weak signals and just about every other nemesis known to the radio ham.  I totally agree about the Cuban ops.  Every time I hear one of these guys, I have to admire his determination; we in the US have radio gear the Cubans can only dream of.  They homebrew even though parts are extremely hard for them to get, and they are lucky to have electricity for six hours straight.  Cuban hams are really good radio operators, and I also look forward to being able to go someday to their beautiful island.        

Posts: 180


« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2003, 11:28:03 AM »

Well done Bill, you are a true politician.(I mean that in a nice way) I'm more "in-the-trenches type". I refuse to work anyone that is running more than 100 watts. 99 times out of a 100, I can tell just by listening(a fading practice with todays hams) For example, every morning (Mon-Fri)on 3.849 is the widest splatter station I've heard in over 50 years of SWL & Hamming. When I tried to tell him in a nice, instructive way, he just ignored me. I won't give his call sign. If you listen, you will know who I mean.
 Over 20 years ago, I adopted a practice when calling CQ, to answer the weakest signal that replies. It drives the "Bullies" crazy. And while I'm at it, I also refuse to work the "over-processed-audio" stations. You know the ones; "I'm STUDIO QUALITY", don't 'cha know.
73's Larry
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