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Author Topic: Where are all the young CW operators?  (Read 4373 times)

Posts: 20

« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2004, 05:13:00 AM »

It's a good question, and one I've had many times myself. I work a lot of 40m cw on my 30 mile commute, and have noticed most ops seem to be above 50.

But 2 earlier posts have some good points. VDO points out younger hams may have some antenna limitations at their parents homes (as I did) which keeps them on the upper bands (now often dead during sunspot low). And ALQ points out daytime operations will undoubtedly find only other operators with free time during the day.

I know throughout my ham career, my interest always waned during sunspot lows. Hopefully in a few years, we'll see activity pick up again.

Posts: 30

« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2004, 07:47:53 PM »

 I'm 37 and use CW alot. Try calling a little faster, the "geezers" might be trying to help a newbie.  They enjoy helping new CW ops.

There are alot of us younger CW ops on VHF working Aurora, Meteor Scatter etc.


Posts: 14

« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2004, 12:32:08 AM »

Hello my son geert passed the morse code test 2 years ago at the age of 8 yrs. the exam (5wpm) was without any mistake in receiving and transmitting. But in the netherlands you have to be 14 years to become a ham for the time being he can only be a swl.


Posts: 10

« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2004, 07:57:52 AM »

They are on their mobile phone keypads going "tap-tap-tap" for the letter C, "tap" for the letter A, "hold key down" for number 1, etc...; sending SMS messages.  Sorry just had to do that.

My four year old often grabs my Bencher paddles when I'm in the shack, sending out code.  And the cool thing is, she actually knows K,D,O,E,I,X,and M.  Now if a four year old can do it, anyone can.

Myself, been pounding brass since 1992 and still active today at the age of 34 (although in a HOA subdivision using my loaded gutters).  


Posts: 1012

« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2004, 10:48:34 AM »

I am hardly young (44) and I've been licensed for a little while now (20 years).  You know what?  I don't like CW much either.  I was told that would change when I got to 15 WPM.  It didn't.  20 WPM.  Still nope.  25 WPM.  Sorry, no.

I use CW for some QRP events and for VHF weak signal work when nothing else will get through.  Between the two I keep my speed up.  Do I enjoy it?  I enjoy the fact that I make a difficult contact that would otherwise find impossible.  It's the sense of accomplishment that makes CW worth bothering with.  CW itself I could easily live without.

As fas as the comment that ham radio "isn't a young man's hobby", well... if you dropped the "man's" part and didn't exclude 50% of the population you'd do better.  Seriously, I don't think most hams know how to market the hobby to people who are different to them.  Ham radio is an incredibly diverse hobby with many different areas to interest different people.  Perhaps if hams talked about areas that matched the interests of the target audience du jour there would be more young people and more women in the hobby.


Posts: 44

« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2004, 01:33:16 PM »

The age here is 39, and I've been licenced since summer of 1983.  I started out in CW and for a couple of years was fairly active.  I dropped out in 1987 (but remained licenced) when I enlisted in the Navy and never touched a key again until earlier this year, after restructuring allowed me to upgrade in 2000 on my original 5wpm endorsement.  Using predominantly lower power on HF phone when the propagation is going away is pushing me to use CW again and I've been actively listening to practice on a pocket tutor, and I've enjoyed a few real QSOs lately.  Bottom line: I'm very interested in becoming a much more proficient CW operator and am much more enthusiastic about ragchewing using portable QRP CW than about DXing.  Anyone who wants to QSO is welcome, like some of the other folks have also expressed, to email me for a sked:
73, Ray KA8SYX Big Pine Key, FL

Posts: 1490

« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2005, 06:34:49 AM »

I think a lot of people get licensed when they're young, but get "taken away" by the hard work of growing up, getting married, and having a family.  I know I did.  There were periods when I was active, but for months to years at a time I was unable to do much hamming.  Then, when the kids were in high school, I started to find a bit more time for it.  I'm still not doing as much as I would like to, but I'm having more and more fun.  I don't know if I will ever actually retire, but I hope to keep increasing my involvement in the hobby.

If a lot of other people are like me, that alone explains why most _active_ hams are older -- because that's when we can finally make the time to BE active.

BTW, I operate about 90% CW.  Hope to catch you all on the air!  73 de kt8k - Tim  (53 but feeling like 23 -- with a lot of hard work ...)

Posts: 125

« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2005, 06:47:01 AM »

I got active again a year ago after almost a decade off the air, and as a 99.9% CW type, was afraid I'd find the CW bands abandoned.  I shouldn't have worried - there's *plenty* of activity, and during contests there's more than enough ;-)

I did notice that most of the folks I spoke to seemed to be in my category - I'm 58, licensed since I was 14.  Don't know about others, but I got hooked on CW largely because I had no other option for getting on the air - as a broke kid all I could afford was a couple of Command Set receivers, which I converted and used happily on 80 and 40 with a homebrew 6L6 transmitter until my Elmer sold me a DX-60 at a price he knew I could afford, and I used that until I graduated from college, 100% CW.  SSB just wasn't an option for me back then, and by the time it was, I didn't care.

I've been delighted, though, to run into quite a few young folks on CW.  I was particularly pleased to work Sam, N8IY the other day - he was clipping along at 30 WPM, sounding great, and I would never have guessed that he was 16 if he hadn't told me.  The rig I was using to talk to him (TS-940) is 3 years older than he is :-)  His circumstances look to be different than mine were at the same age - his equipment is fancier (though he was running QRP when we worked) so he has lots of options, but he's sure doing well on CW.  Sure made my day ...


Posts: 6


« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2005, 06:09:18 AM »

I was updating my eham profile, etc... and then surffed a bit around, this topic called my attention, I am 30, since last Sep. (2004) I was 29 when I passed my CW Exam, I am not sure it was between 15wpm to 20wpm, here is still a must but I think they will dropp it soon... anyway two strong (sentimental) reasons made be go for it, now; well... hopefuly some of "u" heard me already... I still enjoy SSB vri much but CW has become also very interesting, ohh bye the way, I still aint confortable with automatic dits and dats, so when/if "u" hear me I am trasnmiting with a straight Key.

PS: I think speed above something (in my opinion)HUMAN, is absurd, I still have  RX dificulties, but I can and  enjoy a longer conversation, when impatient "pileups" aloud me so...

Cheers to all

Posts: 121

« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2005, 04:55:08 PM »

I am only 16 and I am all over 40M (day) and 30M (night) ... even on 30M right now...

N5EIL, Neil

Posts: 31

« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2005, 08:17:07 AM »

Greetings.  First, Paul AB0SI, I'm in _exactly_ the same situation as you.  I'm looking for someone just like you, to practice "Really Slow CW" with... So if you are interested, lets email, my address is on eham and QRZ.  Lets make contact, and give it a try.

On to some comments.  I'm not a greybeard, only 39, but just got licensed in November.  I took element 1,2,3 all together on the same day, and my goal was to scrape by the code test.  I did, I got the minimum required 25 characters in a row.  (actually, I got 24, but one was a period, so I made it by truely the minimum).

I think that the 5wpm code test is hampering the development of new CW operators.  My goal was to get my general license to get on HF, and I studied the Gordon west CD, and crammed using the excellent

web page.  I didn't "hate" CW, but I wanted to get access to HF, so I did the minimum to get past the requirement.  Just as Paul said.  But once I got on the bands, just this last December, I almost immediately became fascinated by this mode, and wanted to learn more.  I think that the code _test_ keeps people from getting their license -- and there are many people who would become interested in the mode once they get on HF.  I think that the code test keeps out many operators who might come to like CW if they were exposed to it as an interesting facet of the hobby.  Instead, the CW test makes many people dislike CW just because it is the hardest part of the license requirements, the one thing that they can't get past to get on HF.  The CW test makes operators who are indifferent to CW into operators who actively _dislike_ CW because it is the one thing that keeps them from their general license.

--Ron KC0TLN

Posts: 3

« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2005, 07:15:29 AM »

I am 34 and absolutely love using cw.  That is all I use now.  The mic is unplugged from my rig because it takes up the space for my paddles!  I am really enjoying qrp kits that only do cw. I am all for getting more young folks into the hobby.


Posts: 74

« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2005, 06:56:14 PM »

I think it's great to see at least a few "young" CW ops here. I thought I was alone. I think I'm still regarded as a youngster (35). I got my extra (20 wpm) when I was 21 and I've been pretty regular on CW (I've been slacking the last couple of years though) since. The thing that really helped me was for the first couple of years after getting my novice ticket, I only owned a CW-only transmitter (Ten-Tec Century 21) and a straight key for the first year and a bug after that. I didn't even have a microphone for a while. in 1997, I got interested in a CW traffic net and I was a regular net control station and the youngest on the net roster (for that matter). Right now, I have a couple new kids and two broken HF radios so I haven't been too active. One of these days soon, I hope...

Curt, K8AI

Posts: 26


« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2005, 03:38:24 PM »

I am 26 and have been a CW op since I was 13.  I don't know if I still count as a young ham or not.  But since I started out as one I never quite stopped viewing myself that way, especially with so much else there is to learn abou this hobby (even after 13 years).  CW is still my first love, and I am currently trying to get a QRP rig set up so I can work CW from my little apartment without being too much of an inconvenience to my wife.  It is nice to see that there are still new young CW ops out there.  Happy hamming, and happy CW-ing!  :-)  73

Posts: 3

« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2005, 02:11:27 PM »

I'm 28 and have been a CW op since I was 19 and got my extra.
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