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Author Topic: Being Humbled  (Read 834 times)
KC2NIK
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Posts: 38




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« on: May 06, 2006, 02:05:39 PM »

Well just when you think you are good...  I passed my CW test a month or two ago and practiced practiced practiced.  I finally got a rig on the air and today I tried my attempt at my first CW contact.  Well lets just say it did not go very well.  I was lost.  I got so used to the letter perfect code a computer puts out and could not follow a human hand.  I started out good.  I got the call sign after two attempts but after I gave my name and location and gave my contact to go ahead.  I completely lost train of thought and ability.  Although there was quite a bit of static most of the issue was me.  So I am going back to the drawing board.  I can do this and even though I got discouraged I want to succeed.  My advice to all the newbies in CW land.  Practice Copying REAL people not a machine!

KC2NIK
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KE4MOB
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Posts: 721


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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2006, 04:52:04 PM »

Don't sweat it.  We've all blown contacts for one reason or another.

Field Day is coming up next month.  Do yourself a favor.  Don't take a microphone along.  Take a key/paddle/bug (your choice).  Run exclusively CW.

I guarantee you that by Sunday night, you will be well on your way to 25 WPM.
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K7UNZ
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Posts: 691




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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2006, 08:41:27 PM »

Sounds like a typical "first" QSO attempt to me!

Hey, you got on....that's the BIG step that we all have had to take.  

If you can find the contact info on the station you were working, let them know, and I'm sure they will be happy to learn they were the first QSO for you!

It's a historic event.  Now, get back in there and do it again!

73, Jim/k7unz



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KA5VCQ
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2006, 03:33:10 AM »

I don't remember who was my first QSO, but I do know I was sweating bullets. It was almost too much stress for a 12-year-old kid. ;-) I had a Novice license and only had time to operate at night on 40 meters. Sitting between BCB QRM and having plenty of static crashes made things difficult but you do get used to it. It helps you create your own "DSP filter" inside your head. There's no better device out there than the good old human brain.

Stick with it and you'll be cruising in no time. If you miss something then ask for a repeat. It's not a shame to be the new kid on the block.

Best of luck,

Korey
KA5VCQ/4
Fort Bragg/Fayetteville, NC
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N0IU
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Posts: 1279


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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2006, 05:10:32 AM »

Welcome to the CW fraternity... you have just been initiated!

On my first attempt at CW after becoming a Tech Plus, I sent out CQ according to the book. When someone finally came back after several calls, I proceeded to forget EVERYTHING I ever knew about Morse code. The only thing I could think of do do was to shut off the radio! That was quite a few years ago and now CW is my favorite mode by far!

Good luck!
Scott N0IU
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KB9CRY
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Posts: 4284


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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2006, 06:28:01 AM »

I agree, sounds like my first contact.  Don't sweat it.
What helped me in the beginning is I made myself a pre-printed script.  At the top was a typical xmit transmission,  CQ CQ DE KB9CRY KB9CRY K
Then MY NAME IS PHIL PHIL, QTH NR CHICAGO, etc etc.
At the bottom, I had the same script but left blanks for the other station's call, name, qth, etc. since most conversations start off in the same manner more or less.  This way I learned to listen to the other station's sending but only wrote down the key info and then when my turn came, I just sent off the script.  Seemd to help for me.  Phil  KB9CRY
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KD8BVJ
Member

Posts: 184




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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2006, 11:18:45 AM »

Are you sure you are not talking about my first QSO. The EXACT same thing happened to me. I want to thank you guys again for being patient with us.

       KD8BVJ
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2006, 11:56:29 AM »

Sounds like my first CW contact, in 1976. It was hard
to copy over the din of my heart pounding away.

My advice is to -not- practice receiving on the air,
but instead, -get- -on- the air. No amount of receiving
practice, whether computer generated, or copying
stations you hear on the air, will completely prepare
you for those butterflies you get when you're trying
to do it for real.

Just give it a go again. CW operators are a patient
lot.

73
Scott
W5ESE
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W2RDD
Member

Posts: 191




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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2006, 07:13:21 PM »

My gosh, relax. It isn't the end of the world and you are not alone. This is a hobby and you will find  sympathetic operators on the other end willing to be patient.

I remember when I was a new cw op in the Air Force. Now that was stress. 73
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20574




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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2006, 08:54:50 AM »

Welcome to the fraternity, you passed the initiation.

My first CW contact was also my first ham radio contact, 41 years ago.  I was 13 years old and wasn't used to copying computer-sent perfect code, since there was no such thing.  I was used to copying my buddy Dave's "fist," sending with a hand key.

But the jitters still do set in.

I remember being nervous and screwing up for the first several contacts (not just the first one) and telling my "Elmer" (so to speak) about this, and he said, "Don't worry, just listen and get whatever you can.  There's no cash prize for perfect copy, or for perfect sending."

Good advice.

WB2WIK/6
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AB0SI
Member

Posts: 79




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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2006, 04:23:31 PM »

Relax, enjoy, make contacts. Try to keep in mind:

1) CW ops are almsot always friendly and supportive. Tell your contact you are new at this and you will make them HAPPY. They usually want to help and will.

2) Didn't copy perfectly? so what? ask.

3) Didn't send perfectly? so waht? The other guy probably understood you anyway and if not, he/she will ask.

As others ahve suggested, make a cheat sheet. Outline or completely write out the first several exchanges.

I hope to hear you on the air.

Paul  AB0SI
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AD4IE
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2006, 07:51:27 PM »

Licensed since 1963. I screwed up my own callsign today while answering a DX station. I sent a string of dits, snickered at myself, and then sent it correctly. I plan on doing the same thing again someday.
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AD4IE
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2006, 07:54:31 PM »

Licensed since 1963. I screwed up my own callsign today while answering a DX station. I sent a string of dits, snickered at myself, and then sent it correctly. I plan on doing the same thing again someday... soon.

-Paul, AD4IE

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KC2NIK
Member

Posts: 38




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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2006, 10:08:06 AM »

AD4IE said "Licensed since 1963. I screwed up my own callsign today while answering a DX station. I sent a string of dits, snickered at myself, and then sent it correctly. I plan on doing the same thing again someday... soon. "


Thats too good!  I actually made a couple more attempts over Mothers Day Weekend.  I did fairly well with one contact.  The signal faded and I missed the call on the other end.  Then I just responded with
'QRN, PSE RPT K'  He repeated the call and I felt good.  So I then responded with my name and QTH he responded with some info but again I lost some of it.  When I responded I told the individual I was new and this was only my 2nd attempt.  I thought I did very well with timing etc... but he was gone!  Never heard anything else from him after that.  So I am not sure if the person was just annoyed with me Smiley hehe.  Or maybe it was a contest contact as the Mid-Atlantic QSO Party was going on, and he got his info and left.  I am not sure.  But the important thing is I felt a bit more relaxed and IT WAS FUN!  So I will continue to try to improve.  

PS. You guys are very helpful and understanding I appreciate it.  I am proud to be part of the club.

KC2NIK
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AB9LZ
Member

Posts: 198




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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2006, 01:31:41 PM »

There is a world of difference between the nice clean code you learned on, and the real world full of crashes and static, and (saw this in another post) "that guy who sends with his left foot". Just when you think you've mastered it well enough to hook up with your first "real" DX contact, you screw up your call sign, never to hear the guy again 'cause your neighbor just turned on his shiny new plasma tv.

It's addicting.

Hope to work you, I'm out there most nights.

73 Mark
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