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Author Topic: Where are all the young CW operators?  (Read 1705 times)
VE7ALQ
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Posts: 349




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« on: December 18, 2004, 06:07:23 PM »

When I enter a reasonable speed (15 WPM - 20 WPM) CQ on 40 meters CW, I almost always raise a geezer who has passed his 65th birthday and has retired.  I am 50 years old myself so I don't exactly qualify as "young" although to them I am.  Where are the younger hams?  No interest in CW or improving CW skills?  I am a member of FISTS, member number 11117, asked for code buddies, both for teaching (up to about 18 WPM) and for learning (>18 WPM)  So far they have not dredged up any interested amateurs.
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KG6DAO
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2004, 08:05:06 PM »

Hey, my name is collin. im am 16 years old. im still a technitian but am learning code so hopefully i will be able to get on to 40 meters soon, and hopefully meet some young hams as well as older ones.
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W4YA
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2004, 02:55:07 AM »

Collin,
Check out http://www.qsl.net/g4fon/. This will help you learn the code.

73,
Jim W4YA
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AB0SI
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Posts: 79




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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2004, 12:20:10 PM »

Not young here (56) but a recent ham -- 3 years.

My theory (it is good to have untestable thoeries) is that the 5 wpm test is the worst possible entry for CW. When I was studying for the exams, my objective was to pass the exams. The fastest way to pass Element 1 (for me) was to memorize the dits and dahs, translate them in my head (let's see 2 dits a dah and dit). This is a perfect way to make really learning code very difficult.

Secondly, it is something one HAS to do to get on HF. Learning a little about theory was fascinating and peaked my interest to learn more, the RF safety questins wre so obvious that no study is required. the same is true for mos of the regulation questions. So, the painful, boring part was memorizing code -- let's se was that two dits and dah or three dits and a dah?

Please note: I am not arguing for or against Element 1, merely that if there is to a code test, I would rather see it at a reasonable speed.

The autumn I decided to actually learn code. First I had to overcome the above mentioned self-imposed handicap. I joined FISTS and have requested a code buddy -- haven't been assigned a victim yet. Anyone willing to struggle through sending 7 wpm to a newbie like me deserves sainthood. It's been a slow painful struggle but I hope to actually get my copy speed to something useful. Heck, I even have the keyclick mod orderd for my Mark V. Since I have never soldered anything other than ruining some PL-259s, my problem might be solved by either a) burning the house down or b) nuking the rig.

Paul  AB0SI
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N8IY
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Posts: 43




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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2004, 03:32:26 PM »

I'm right here!!!

 I'm 16 and work about 90% cw. My keyer stays at about 25 to 30 wpm (so does my bug) but, Ill go down to any speed. I get on the air almost every day. So does my friend KC8ZQS (who is 15).

 In my opinion, the best way to get your cw speed up is to join a local slow speed cw net. Get an arrl net directory and pick you out one. I know of a couple right off my head. The hit and bounce slow net (hbsn), The ohio slow net (osn), and the maryland slow net (msn). Not only will your code speed rise faster, you will be doing a public service by tking there traffic training course.

 If you can already handle traffic, check-in to a state cw net.
 
 Good luck and see you on the bands!!!

 73 es merry Christmas de N8IY (the bug op)
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KD6TVH
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2004, 09:35:46 AM »

I'm younger (27) and I've love CW. In fact, when I finally get on HF (that's for another post), I doubt I'll get a mike. What's true for CW is also true for ham radio  and other technical hobbies--it's filled with "grey beards". For whatever reason, there is a lack of interest  in all things technical. It might be the lack of jobs, lower pay, or prestige, but something is going on.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2004, 10:30:28 AM »

Here's another slant: While CW is a great old mode and I use it a lot myself (age 53), I hear from a lot of the "kids" (younger hams) that the thrill for them is using CW for contesting and other competitive events or times when only CW seems to work (moonbounce, stuff like that).  Other than those times, they prefer the digital modes, and I can't say I blame them.  

20 year-olds today grew up in the computer era and have had PCs since they were toddlers.  They're a lot more used to a keyboard and monitor than to a microphone or key paddle.

But a fair number of new hot-shot contesters are young people, and hopefully always will be.  On all modes, including CW!

WB2WIK/6
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VE7ALQ
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2004, 10:32:58 AM »

I'm 50 and definitely not young.  I use only an ICOM IC-706mkiiG as my station (shack in a box).  I have installed the optional 500 Hz filter and the optional 250 Hz filter, and only work CW on the HF bands.  On VHF I work FM, but that is off-topic.

Maybe one reason I keep encountering old geezers is because I am active during the day, while most people are away at work.  Retired people don't work, have free time. Unfortunately the (40 meter) band goes long skip at nightfall, and I have an "S7" noise level which means that I can't hear much of the long skip.
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N6PEH
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Posts: 104




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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2004, 12:30:23 PM »

I don't think amateur radio is a young mans hobby.  It wasn't 20 years ago when I got my license, and it isn't now.  Yes, there are a lot of youngsters that enjoy the hobby, but they have always been out numbered by the seniors.

My son is 9 years old and is showing a little interest in learning morse code.  We'll see what happens.  One thing is for sure; things are always  changing.  Retro is always popping its head up.

I will gladly work with anyone on the air to help improve their cw skills.  Just look my call up on eham, and send me an email.  It would truly be my pleasure!
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KD5VDO
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2004, 08:34:03 AM »

On 20m. At our parents houses many of us stay up on the higher bands due to antenna and height restrictions.
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KU4UV
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2004, 11:10:54 AM »

I don't know what age qualifies a person as "young," but I just turned 30 and I am active on CW.  I would like to get my code speed up some more, but I still like CW QSO's

Mike KU4UV
Lexington, KY.
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KC7JTY
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2004, 05:50:59 PM »

They are waiting for the Morse requirement to drop. Fat chance they will be learning Morse while waiting.
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EXWA2SWA
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2004, 01:15:06 PM »

TVH writes: " In fact, when I finally get on HF (that's for another post), I doubt I'll get a mike."

Microphones? They got microphones for HF rigs? I thought that was a fancy thing on which to hang my cans!

Kidding aside, there's much truth to the notion that most CW ops are, uh, not so young any more. That said, I am thrilled to work a ham who keys "age 90, been pounding brass fer 75 yrs" or some such. That speaks to the longevity of interest in the hobby, at least from the pioneers among us.

The other day, my 25-yr old son expressed a mild interest in, as he put it, "seeing all your new stuff, 'cause I  think I might like to learn that code." Made my day! (The stuff is 'new' because I'm newly retreaded - but it ain't really new.)

Now, he didn't say anything about getting licensed, but if all I get is another guy who knows code, I'll feel pretty good. Besides, who knows Morse and doesn't want to use it?

Age 59, bn ham since Nov 10 - this time.
73 de KE5CXX e e




 



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KC2GOW
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2004, 03:43:33 PM »

The young CW op is in THE BIG APPLE. Staten Island to be exact. I am 13 years old and an extra class operator. Slowly raising my code speed above 13wpm but having 20 or so CW QSO's between 160/80/40/30/17 meters. If you my CQ answer and you'll get a card.

73
Andy KC2GOW
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KB2HSH
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2004, 06:14:11 PM »

I received my license at 16.  I was on CW (of course...I was a NOVICE)...and when MOST ops heard "age hr is 16...16" they would always go QRT, because of some urgent lawn care emergency.  The younger ops ARE out there....they just encounter the "Elderly Stigma" from the OTs.  

Brings back memories of "no kids, no lids, no space cadets!"

Merry Christmas All
(NO, I'm not politically correct)

John
KB2HSH
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