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Author Topic: Future CW speed?  (Read 6352 times)
N3QE
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Posts: 2090




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« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2011, 06:08:43 AM »

I think the reason for this, is we have escaped the "CW ghetto" mentality of the 1970's. Today the future for a young CW op is very bright.
What is this "CW ghetto mentality of the 1970s" of which you speak? I have been a CW op since 1967 and never heard of it.

I think you must have leapfrogged it. I became a ham in the 1970's. It was assumed by almost all (*) members of the local club, that the only reason to learn CW was so that you could pass the novice, then you had to upgrade to the general (when I started you could only have the novice two years I think.... you had to upgrade within those two years... ooh that was a long time ago, I'm stretching my memory). Then after you got general, you never needed to use CW again, because you bought a linear and a sideband rig and used a microphone from then on.

The license structure at the time reflected this too - the step up from General was the Advanced license which only offered more phone privileges, no new CW privs. And back then you couldn't leapfrog straight to Extra like everyone does today. I think you had to be two years at Advanced.

I know that these attitudes were not unique to the local club. But they may have been unique to the guys at the club who opened their mouth the most :-).

(*) The asterisk is because there were exceptions. I was very lucky that my personal elmer was looked upon by the rest of the club as a nutcase. He had owned a real nice Collins sideband station with a big linear. Then he up and sold all the Collins stuff, and bought a Heath HW-8 instead, and had (in my opinion as a kid) 10 times as much fun doing QRP CW than anybody else in the club doing phone :-)
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NI0C
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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2011, 06:23:46 AM »

N4OI wrote:
Quote
You could also make an analogy to extreme sports -- skating, skiing, motocross, mountain biking -- "youngsters" seem to always push performance beyond what was considered exceptional even 10 years ago.

Good point!  Take a look at the RufzXP Toplist available at at: http://www.rufzxp.net/  There are categories for "Youngsters" (16 yrs. and younger), and "Juniors" (21 yrs. and younger).  Some of them are decoding call signs by ear at speeds upwards of 160 wpm.  

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N2EY
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Posts: 3856




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« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2011, 07:55:50 AM »

I became a ham in the 1970's. It was assumed by almost all (*) members of the local club, that the only reason to learn CW was so that you could pass the novice, then you had to upgrade to the general (when I started you could only have the novice two years I think.... you had to upgrade within those two years... ooh that was a long time ago, I'm stretching my memory). Then after you got general, you never needed to use CW again, because you bought a linear and a sideband rig and used a microphone from then on.

Oh....THAT. Yes, there were some hams like that back in the 1960s too. In fact, from my reading and talking to older OTs, that attitude goes back to at least the 1940s.

Personally I thought it was a bunch of...well, I can't say in polite company.

The license structure at the time reflected this too - the step up from General was the Advanced license which only offered more phone privileges, no new CW privs.

Sort of. The reopening of Advanced in 1967 and the intermediate privileges it gave were in part a way to acknowledge the old-time Advanceds who had earned the license before 1953.

And back then you couldn't leapfrog straight to Extra like everyone does today. I think you had to be two years at Advanced.

Not exactly.

The original experience requirement for Extra was 2 years as a Conditional, General or Advanced (or old Class C, B or A). This was reduced to 1 year in the early 1970s and removed in the mid-1970s. There was no requirement to spend time at Advanced in order to get an Extra.

Before it was closed to new issues at the end of 1952, the Advanced required 1 year at Conditional or General. When it was reopened to new issues in 1967 there was no experience requirement.

I know that these attitudes were not unique to the local club. But they may have been unique to the guys at the club who opened their mouth the most :-).

Ironically, it was that attitude which brought us "incentive licensing". But that's another story.

(*) The asterisk is because there were exceptions. I was very lucky that my personal elmer was looked upon by the rest of the club as a nutcase. He had owned a real nice Collins sideband station with a big linear. Then he up and sold all the Collins stuff, and bought a Heath HW-8 instead, and had (in my opinion as a kid) 10 times as much fun doing QRP CW than anybody else in the club doing phone :-)

From what I saw, American culture in the 1950s-70s  used to contain a very strong level of "material class consciousness and competitiveness" - summarized as "keeping up with the Joneses". Parts of it still remain, although today we're mostly concerned with just surviving.

What I mean is that, in those days, what a person owned and did made a much bigger statement about the person than it does today. And the distinctions were very fine.

For example, GM made Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, Pontiacs and Chevrolets. There were a lot of commonalities between them. Often they shared parts and were made in the same factories by the same people. Yet to many if not most Americans there was a BIG difference between the brands. The guy who drove a Chevy was simply not in the same social class as the guy who drove a Buick, even though they were very similar under the sheet metal.

What car you drove, what TV you owned, where you lived, what sports you watched and played, what you smoked, drank and ate, and much more, were taken as status/success symbols.

New was always better than old, more was always better than less, automatic was always better than manual, manufactured/processed/store-bought was always better than home-made/natural/classic, conformity was better than individuality, etc.

The worst you could say about something was that it was "old-fashioned" or "obsolete". (Great TZ episode with Burgess Meredith: "The Obsolete Man").

Ham radio didn't escape this culture. In the 1960s, Collins was the top, Drake next, National/Hallicrafters/Hammarlund/Swan third, etc. Heathkit was for beginners and poor hams, as was WW2 surplus and used gear more than a few years old.

Of course there was a counter-culture which ignored/challenged it. And times have changed.

But those attitudes did exist. And they had an enormous effect. Just watch "Mad Men"

73 de Jim, N2EY 
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K1ZJH
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Posts: 901




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« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2011, 09:38:57 AM »

Some of these recent threads on the future of CW are downright silly.

Now that CW is a rewarding persuit, instead of a punitive licensing requirement, hams that using CW
doing for the enjoyment and relaxation of using the mode. If you are serious contester or DXer you
will need to become somewhat proficient with CW.

QRP operators gravitate to CW simply because it gets through using the lowest possible power levels, while
using simple and relatively inexpensive equipment. Vintage gear and CW go well together.
Ragchewers can get by with lower speeds, contesters tend to crowd the speed settings as high as they
can send.

Pete k1zjh
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N5RWJ
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Posts: 461




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« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2011, 11:11:25 AM »

OP/ The point is that new operators start off at around 5 wpm, and then average around 10 wpm in the future? What do you think.

Hi Charles, read your question. Interesting point.

What is your CW rag chewing speed as technician with 12 years experience?

Bob
Hi Bob, what is yours.
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2011, 12:18:20 PM »

Strange question Charles, because I asked it first.

The readbility of code depends on the fist of the operator and the time of day.
Some ops have a bad fist. Especially noticible lack of word spaces is bad, that lowers the speed of head copy to 25 and when they are nearly machine timing, 40 wpm is then no probleml, however my old hands are not able to answer in that speed, the bug speed is limited  and fixed at 30 wpm in order to prevent too much errors.

So I expect you to answer my question now, fair huh?
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N2EY
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Posts: 3856




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« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2011, 01:30:27 PM »

Some of these recent threads on the future of CW are downright silly.

Yep. Or attempts to stir the pot.

Now that CW is a rewarding persuit, instead of a punitive licensing requirement, hams that using CW
doing for the enjoyment and relaxation of using the mode. If you are serious contester or DXer you
will need to become somewhat proficient with CW.

CW has always been a rewarding pursuit for me. License requirements are only "punitive" if a person sees them that way. (It can be argued that practically all of the written tests is punitive if all someone wants to do is operate QRP CW....

Even a semi-serious contester like myself sees the benefit of CW skill. And the ham with limited resources - be they $$, space and/or antenna possibilities - gets the most from a CW setup.

QRP operators gravitate to CW simply because it gets through using the lowest possible power levels, while
using simple and relatively inexpensive equipment. Vintage gear and CW go well together.

Also homebrew gear, simple gear, portable HF gear, etc.

Sure, there are multimode QRP portable rigs out there. But almost all of them require a lot more power, weight and space than a simple QRP rig. (The Elecraft K2 challenges that a bit, and the KX3 may challenge t more. But even with those rigs your maximum results are on...CW).

Ragchewers can get by with lower speeds, contesters tend to crowd the speed settings as high as they
can send. 

The smart contesters are all about points per unit time. Sending 40 wpm doesn't do much good if you have to repeat everything three times and spend half your time calling CQ with no answers. Other times 40 is barely fast enough to keep up!

---

I remember reading old QSTs of the late 1940s and early 1950s in which it was claimed by some that the 5 wpm code test was a bad idea. Their argument was that learning at such a slow speed encouraged bad habits ("counting dots") which had to be unlearned later. Better to start at 10-15 wpm, they said.

And maybe they were right.


73 de Jim, N2EY
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PA0WV
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Posts: 98




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« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2011, 03:18:21 PM »

Some of these recent threads on the future of CW are downright silly.

Yep. Or attempts to stir the pot.
We better spent our time keeping the code alive and enjoy it where it ought to be, on the short wave bands, than using our time stirring the pot right here, and  feeding trolls (and on our part enjoying simulated stupidity?)

The wannabees get disappointed when they are trying to decode with their decoders the code I generate with the "CWgettemepper" You have to master the Dutch language in order to understand the meaning of the name of that home brew device.

They were damned right that 5wpm is the wrong way to learn the code. In proficiency runs from 5 to 70 wpm it turns out that the guys copying wide separated words at 70 wpm solid copy, go wrong at 5 wpm. No wonder.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 01:26:04 AM by PA0WV » Logged
AK7V
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Posts: 249




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« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2011, 03:54:45 PM »


.... And the ham with limited resources - be they $$, space and/or antenna possibilities - gets the most from a CW setup.


Bingo.  So many of the apartment-dwelling hams, HOA-saddled hams, cash-strapped hams, etc. that I see posting online could be on the air instead if they'd use CW as opposed to voice or even digital modes.  I was one of them and had plenty of fun with no complaints.
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N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




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« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2011, 10:38:24 PM »

Strange question Charles, because I asked it first.

The readbility of code depends on the fist of the operator and the time of day.
Some ops have a bad fist. Especially noticible lack of word spaces is bad, that lowers the speed of head copy to 25 and when they are nearly machine timing, 40 wpm is then no probleml, however my old hands are not able to answer in that speed, the bug speed is limited  and fixed at 30 wpm in order to prevent too much errors.

So I expect you to answer my question now, fair huh?
I'm not as fast as you, our team requirement was
 12 wpm and  the radio operator must do 18 wpm, tho that change daring the cores of the war, I have been up to 22 wpm, but not now. I like slow code around 10 wpm QRP with my KX1. I normally work the high bands, my hobby is in astronomy.
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2011, 01:21:51 AM »


.... And the ham with limited resources - be they $$, space and/or antenna possibilities - gets the most from a CW setup.


Bingo.  So many of the apartment-dwelling hams, HOA-saddled hams, cash-strapped hams, etc. that I see posting online could be on the air instead if they'd use CW as opposed to voice or even digital modes.  I was one of them and had plenty of fun with no complaints.

When you have limited resources, CW does't help. I agree that CW transmitters designed explicitly for CW use,are simple to build, however, when you buy a set it is a complicated SSB set with CW as an add-on. (OK, unless it is some QRP toy kit)

Also with a final amplifier, presently called "linear". Linears have low yield because the amplifiers are in class AB. For CW you need class C in order to crank up your output to 80% of the input, and hence keeps your tubes cool compared to 2 or 3 times the dissipation when the "linear" in class AB is used in CW.

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KC8Y
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Posts: 234




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« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2011, 03:50:54 PM »

CW is the best !!!

My two friends and I, ALL began our novice careers in 1968 (we got our Novice-tickets) learning the code...

Since then as of today, we each have gotten our Extra-tickets via code greater than 25wpm...

My one buddy has even got a certificate from the ARRL for copying hi-speed code...

We all have attained Engineering degrees and still have an
interest in hi-spped code above 25wpm...


KC8Y Smiley
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N5XM
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2011, 12:38:41 PM »

I'm optomistic about this.  There are many, many fine CW ops here in America, and people just need time to develop their skills.  That's why those of us with good CW skills need to get on the air and work everyone that wants a QSO.  People gravitate to whatever level they gravitate to.  Some just have lousy ears.  How can we expect those folks to produce excellent CW?  The bottom line is you just cannot expect to legislate excellence.  I am an extreme overachiever, but that's just me.  We may not be perfect, but we can always get better regardless of what we do.  Personal motivation has nothing to do with age, incentive licensing, or any of that crap. 
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