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Author Topic: Bad fist and what to do about it?  (Read 1232 times)
K5DVW
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« on: April 08, 2005, 06:49:23 AM »

So I was calling CQ on the novice portion of 40m and someone returned to me. I know what he was transmitting was SUPPOSED to be Morse, but it sounded horrible. Straight key, erratic spacing, inconsistant speed.. it sounded like a continuous stream of random dashdots with no spacing. Did I have a drunk OM?

I'm nowhere near the best Op on frequency but I just couldnt pick out anything this guy was sending but a few letters now and then. Couldnt even get the full call. Yikes. I tried working with him and told him to QRS, but he just sent a slower version of the same hacked up Morse. I finally just claimed QSB out of exasperation and turned off the rig.

Have you ever had this problem and what do you normally do?
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2005, 07:53:17 AM »

>Have you ever had this problem and what do you normally do?<

Move a few kHz and call CQ.

Some people will never get it.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2005, 07:58:31 AM »

Sounds like what my Navy code instructor said. You can't send properly any faster than you can receive - you only think you can.
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K5DVW
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2005, 08:59:57 AM »

>WB2WIK

Hah, I didnt mention that the guy followed me up 2 Kc. I guess he didnt realize I was trying to get away. Maybe I was still in his audio passband, woops!
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W5HTW
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2005, 03:33:19 PM »

That really is a difficult question.  Most of us hate to offend someone whom we know is really trying.  Plus there is no guarantee he could copy you anyway, if is sending is that bad, so he might not get the suggestion that he needs more practice.  

Of course, it's over now.  He's gone, so are you.  We could post-quarterback the QSO with lots of questions.  But the real question is only good for the next time you run across someone like that.  The answers given are probably the most valid - move.  There's really no way to teach someone code over the air, although you can help someone increase speed.  The basics, though, have to be learned on ones own, or through a class, for you have just run into the "doing it the other way" type, and you know what that's like.  

 
Ed
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N2EY
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2005, 04:11:30 PM »

I would simply say:

SRI CANT CPY U

and leave it at that.

If the other op persisted but I still couldn't make sense of it I'd add "QSD".

Don't want to hurt someone's feelings but if somebody's fist is so bad that they can't be copied, they need to know.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W5ESE
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2005, 04:42:50 PM »

I try *really*, *really* hard when I encounter something
like this.

In the Novice band, it could be that they were new to CW
and terrified. Perhaps try sending 'RELAX OM ES HAVE FUN'

I've also had QSOs with hams that I would have wagered
were severely disabled. For some of the disabled, phone
is impossible, CW their only option and quite a stretch
at that. So give it your best try and be patient.

73
Scott
W5ESE  

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AG4RQ
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2005, 08:44:56 PM »

K5DVW, maybe the person you were working had a stroke. If so, W5ESE may be correct. This op may no longer be able to use phone. A paddle and keyer could do wonders  for a person whose coordination is shot, and is no longer able to handle a straight key. At least the man is trying. You've got to give him credit for that. He's in the Novice sub band for a reason. Either he's brand new at CW and doesn't know what he's doing, or he's an experienced op who had a stroke. My advice is be patient and try to complete the QSO.

73 de Mark
AG4RQ
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K7UNZ
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2005, 08:33:33 AM »

There really isn't much YOU can do about it, and I'm sorry to say that this is not confined to the Novice sub-bands.  I've heard more and more of the same thing in both the General and Extra portions of 40 meters in the last few weeks.

Now, I'm guy who actually looks for slow senders and weak fists, just to give them some experience on the air.  We all started in the same place, so I give 'em credit for trying and do my best to welcome 'em to CW.

BUT, lately there have been some that are so bad that I can't make out anything they are sending!  Dots & dashes sound the same, no spacing to give you a hint of where words begin and end.....I mean just no way to tell what's being sent, try as I may to make something out of it.

It's really unfortunate for both ends, as I really would like to have a QSO with 'em, but when you can't even make out a call sign it's pretty hard to do.

I can only hope they have a friend who will sit down with 'em and do some practice.  

This just might turn out to be the guy who makes a post a month from now, saying that CW stinks, the ops won't talk to a newbie, etc., etc..

A shame, but not much you can do....

Jim/k7unz
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N2NFG
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2005, 08:30:27 AM »

Poor CW ops have always been a part of the challange of CW, almost always in the 5-18 WPM range. As others have pointed out, some of these guys may be disabled so I give everyone the benifit of the doubt before I give up. Most of the poor CW though is just the result of poor training or practice. Even with good operators, if you ask them what CW is, most will reply that it is a series of dots and dashes. WRONG! CW is a series of dots, dashes, AND spaces. The spaces are as an important component of CW as the dots and dashes. Not only must you learn the correct spacing between words, but also the correct spacing between the dots and dashes in the individual characters themselves. AND...the spacing MUST be consistant if you ever want anyone to be able to copy your fist. Another big problem is the operator who is trying to "time" the dots when using a straight key. This is an easy fix if you can get them to just tap the key for a dot instead of trying to time it. Of course keyers eliminate the problems of "timed" dots and spacing within characters, but do nothing to help word spacing. There are more than a few higher speed ops out there that think CQCQCQDEAB2XYAB2XYK is the same thing as CQ CQ CQ DE AB2XY AB2XY K. Oh well, if they're calling CQ, you can just pass them by. Other than that, you just have to make the best of it! At least they are signals on the CW bands. And yes, optimist that I am, I believe that most of them will improve with time and perhaps some gentle guidance.
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K3ESE
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2005, 05:21:19 AM »

Fortunately, this doesn't happen all that often. I just learned "QSD" from this thread, though - thanks, N2EY! I'll use that next time.

 I was in a contest recently where I tried to copy somebody's call about 5 or 6 times. They were 599, but there was no space between the letters of their call, and no way to make any sense of it. I'd send PSE QRS, but to no avail.

 It sounds as though they're lazy, &/or just don't care - after all, THEY know what they're sending...and, let's face it...what could be more boring than sending your own call, right? You've sent it, like, a gazillion times, right? So it's really too much of an effort to add spaces...let the other guy figure it out.
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K5DVW
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2005, 12:49:43 PM »

QSD, yeah, that's a new one for me too.

I understand the post about someone being disabled or whatever and that's a valid argument.

Anyway, I'm glad that some have the patience to mess with slower CW ops, of which I am one, but I suspect that the guy I'm talking about would have given anyone a fit. Seems like with keyers built into rigs or even external ones, there's no room for such poor spacing and sloppy timing.

I guess really I was asking if anyone had a nice way to inform the guy his sending needed improvement without making him feel bad. Maybe "QSD" is it?
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K0EWS
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2005, 11:20:18 AM »

I will usually try to ride it out if I can.  Ran into an older op one time who had some difficulty with a shakey hand.  He kept sending "MY CW HAS GONE TO HELL"  I fell out of the chair laughing.  I can usually get the gist of what they are trying to send, and to me, that's waht makes CW fun; always a challenge.  
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M0CUQ
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2005, 05:14:43 AM »

On my third or fourth QSO I was disheartened to receive (from a guy with an excellent fist),

= SO [big space] LID CPY OM=

LID copy! was I that bad??
I ended the QSO on the next over and replayed the tape of it to see if I deserved to be called a lid.  Only then did I realize what had happened.  Timing is crucial!
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2005, 10:48:40 AM »

There was a story published in QST magazine a very long time ago -- in the late 30s I think, I had the copy -- called, "Harold, Are You Drunk?"

It was about a CW contact between two hams, the writer and "Harold."  No matter what the writer sent, "Harold" replied with jibberish.  Finally, the author sent, "Harold, are you drunk?"  More jibberish.  So, he sent it again: "Harold, are you drunk?"  More jibberish.

It was a funny story.  I feel like asking the same question of some CW ops today, although I might add, "or on drugs?"

WB2WIK/6
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