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Author Topic: What's Old is New Again--Even Me!!  (Read 5779 times)
K8AXW
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Posts: 3827




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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2012, 09:08:59 AM »

Quote
Thank you for sharing this. Funny how we don't really forget the code.

When I was kid in junior high I was tuning around on an elderly console radio we had in the house that had "shortwave". I ran across some CW. My uncle (who raised me) walked into the room, listened, then whipped out a pen and started copying on the back on some old envelope. I remember looking at him as if he had suddenly grown horns and flew away. He matter of factly informed me that he had qualified as a high speed CW operator before shipping out in WWII. Hadn't copied a letter in, what, 22 years and he just wanted to see if he could still do it! I still remember asking him, "Ok, how do I learn this stuff?" Now 47 yrs later I'm the one copying on the back of envelopes.

DOC WB0FDJ 73
 

 Grin  I love this story Doc!  Once the code is learned well it never is totally lost.  The speed might diminish but is quickly regained.  The funny part is, whenever/whereever CW is heard, rather it be the background of a TV, movie or someone pecking on a restaurant table with a spoon, the ear locks onto that sound and the character lines and other noise is tuned out. 
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K0OD
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Posts: 2556




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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2012, 11:42:02 AM »

Quote
$5. Still, $5 was real money in those days

Yes, it was. It would be interesting to do a ham Cost of Living Index spanning those years. New 6146's cost a very pricy $5 at Walter Ashe. A J38 key cost $1.98. Minimum wage was a buck.

About the only other cost I remember from those days was that almost every drugstore sold milkshakes for a quarter. Milkshakes and 6146s were major items in my C.O.L.

Didn't apply to me, but a year's tuition at Harvard in the 50s cost less than $1000. A year at the University of Texas for a resident was $100!
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KC8Y
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Posts: 243




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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2012, 06:29:25 AM »

I just love reading ALL the responses to this subject...  It reminds me of my earlier days in radio...

Today, I am handicap with a rare form of MS (cannot speak clearly & no muscle control; Muscle Atrophy with Tay-Sachs disease), still love CW as my chosen mode...Because I cannot use any type of key or bug, operate CW (include all other digital modes, as well) via the computer with software...

Ken-KC8Y

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KB3TXH
Member

Posts: 44




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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2012, 07:21:08 AM »

David, like you I let my license lapse when kids came along (in the 70's).
I have had my new general ticket now for two years, all CW, and really look forward
 to having more slow code operators on the bands.
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NI0C
Member

Posts: 2400




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« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2012, 06:13:24 AM »

I agree this has been an interesting discussion.  I'm also a "retread" ham, now active since 1984 after a long absence. 

Since I was copying 55-60 wpm code when I dropped out of the hobby in 1969, I had no trouble at all when I resumed.  My Morse experience is far different from my proficiency (or lack thereof) with languages.  Although I had two years of French and two years of German in high school, I retained very little of it, and I struggle to re-learn them now. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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K0HEA
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2012, 07:10:03 AM »

I got my first taste of CW when I was in the Boy Scouts,and kept up with it all through high school and two years of college ( oh how that draft lotto number interrupts things).

In 1972, I enlisted in the Coast Guard, I was on a guaranteed school program (Radioman), I could already copy about 20wpm and that is what I wanted to do.

My hang up was that I could copy using a ‘stick’ but I couldn’t type worth a …. Finally those old Underwoods gave in and let me learn to type at a speed that would let me qualify in the CW portion of RM school.  I had seen some of the instructors using a ‘bug’ and was fascinated.  They said it allowed them to work more traffic quicker and for longer periods of time.

When I got to my first duty station, and satisfied the ‘Chief’ that I was proficient enough to try my hand at a speed key (which was preferred working the HF bands for OBS and AMVERS), my speed began to increase.  As I got better, I went ahead and bought my own speed key (1973).

One day while I was working HF, I got a surprise, as the ‘Master Chief’ was in the operations center and walked over and plopped down my speed key certificate (proficiency at 35wpm send/rcve).

I have worked many USNS and Merchant vessels, MEDICOs, a few SOS’s and  more OBS and AMVERS that I can count.  Twelve hour shifts of CW was like heaven to us.  It drove the non – RM personnel nuts, we would converse verbally in CW on our off time.  I would even find myself reading the signs and billboards in CW as I drove down the road (ain’t that pathetic?).

I finally got my first ship (CGC Diligence) and on one of our patrols, a merchant vessel called on 500Khz to advise that they had a small sailboat alongside and wanted to transfer the occupants to our vessel.  I passed the voice freqs to the operator and he sent those to the bridge so that we could coordinate the rendezvous.

After the formalities were done, the operator asked if I had worked at NMN (Commsta Portsmouth, my first duty station) as he recognized my ‘fist’, I said yes, and we chatted for a few minutes before other duties required our attention.

The next few years, I was CW deprived, as my duty stations (Instructor at RM school and a Group Office in Miami Beach) did not give me an opportunity to work live CW traffic.

My second ship was an Icebreaker (CGC Polar Star), I was the only RM proficient enough (mainly because the others did not appreciate CW) to work our traffic when comms got rough.  We also ran phone patched home, using the ham shack setup on the ship, I don’t remember the callsign.

Then it was off of CW while stationed at the District Office in Miami.  But when I transferred to Commsta Boston/NMF, we still had not shut down 500Khz, so as Watch Officer, I had the policy of rotating personnel through all positions, including sitting the supervisor position.  That way, the supervisor and I could get some CW in, while still keeping an eye on the watch as a whole.  The supervisor and I were also getting back into ham radio.  My first callsign was KA1SHC (novice)…

I then transferred to the last ship I would have before I retired.  A commercial vessel contracted to the USCG, these were Mobile Aerostat Vessels (converted oil field supply ships),   I worked MARS traffic while stationed on this vessel.
And when I made ‘Chief’ and was transferred, I once again was away from ham radio, until a few years ago, when I got my Technician License (KC0VXG) and getting my vanity callsign K0HEA.

Now having been retired for almost 20 years (I guess it is that time flying thing), I am now in the process of piecing together my ham shack and getting the ‘bug’ reconditioned.
Hoping to get my skills back up to snuff and get on the air soon.

Herb / K0HEA
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