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Author Topic: Sloppy CW sending: I hate it!  (Read 18926 times)

Posts: 700

« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2012, 08:03:38 AM »

Any of us who have worked much CW all have our stories of trying to copy poorly sent CW from some chap who thinks he has a good fist but doesn't.

I recall a few years back calling CQ and having a fellow reply who was sending suspect CW. But as the QSO went on, he got very liberal with his dits. If a character had two dits in it, he threw in two or three more for good measure. Soon, nearly everything he sent became impossible to copy. He was an old timer and I cut him some slack, of course. But I got to the point where I had to sign clear because I was copying so little of what he was sending. But I wouldn't want to embarrass him or hurt his feelings.

More recently, I was tuning 40 CW up on the high end where slower ops tend to hang out. Heard a station calling NNQ instead of CQ. And to make matters even worse, his call began with KC and he was sending KNNxxxx. I answered his NNQ and he had a good QSO. Afterwards, I emailed him and very politely explained the difference between NN and C. I got a very positive email in reply thanking me for taking the time to explain it to him. I was glad the info was taken in the spirit in which it was meant -- to be helpful and not critical.

It's great to hear of so much continuing interest in CW even though it's no longer mandatory in the testing process. After tuning the ham bands for 40-plus years, I can say there's really no more bad CW heard now than years ago. It's always been with us and that's not likely to change. Most folks do a good job with it but there's the occasional person who apparently doesn't have an ear for sending good, clean, and accurate CW.

But no biggie. You deal with it and then log more CW QSOs!

73, N4KZ

Posts: 534

« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2012, 11:02:48 AM »

I understand, but consider this.  You do not need to be able to know Morse Code / CW, or be able to send it in order to get your Tech, General, or Extra license these days.  

I for one am just now learning CW, not because I have to, but because I want to.  I don't know it well enough to make contacts yet.  

If you turn on a live cable news show, you will see/hear many people making grammatical, and speech errors, stuttering, etc.  Its normal human communication issues to make a few mistakes, and this is in those speaker’s native language.  I’m sure I made a few in this email thread, and this is deferred, not real-time.  Grin

  Foreign speakers of a second language constantly make mistakes in grammar, punctuation,  etc.

CW is a second language for all of us.  The most you can ask is for us to do the best job we can.

I will try and do the best job I can, but if I goof up,  please forgive me.   Grin

Posts: 202

« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2012, 09:30:18 PM »


I wasn't referring to newbies just getting their CW feet wet. Of course, we all should cut new guys plenty of slack while they get comfortable with the code. 

I am more bugged (no pun intended) by operators who've been doing CW a long time and either don't hear their own sending, don't monitor their own code formation, or maybe just don't care.  The op who during a QSO repeatedly makes B's into 6's, S's into H's, H's into 5's, you get the picture.

And just because an op is using a bug doesn't give them license (again, no pun intended) to explain crappy sending as their "swing". 

By the way, if an announcer or commentator on CNN or ESPN continued making grammatical errors or couldn't speak in a comprehensible manner, he or she wouldn't be on the air very long... with the exception of the late, great Howard Cosell. 

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q
polishing up the silver contacts for Field Day

Posts: 2645


« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2012, 06:55:01 AM »

My sending is by no means perfect but I do my best.

The ones I have trouble copying are some that are sending by straight key who's dit's and dah's are very close in length. Usually though their timing is still pretty good so I'm still able to copy, but it can be a struggle. I'm not sure if it's just a poor fist or as others suggested someone with a disability but they're still on the air having a good time like the rest of us. I just copy as best as I can and enjoy the QSO.

Posts: 352

« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2012, 07:02:07 AM »

Consider the **possibility** that the guy's hands are not a steady as they once were and he may be struggling to hang in their with CW. Most sloppy CW comes from guys who are trying to send way too fast for their ability with a keyer.

Many times I have been frustrated coping a "sloppy operator" only later to find out that they had some sort of significant disability (Parkinsons etc.)  We need to be tolerant of some.  We OTs are getting along there and some of us will have problems.

I have said for decades that folks should include recording their own sending and then copying it.  Send a magazine article or chapter from a book backwards.  Then copy your own fist and see how easy you are to copy.  If you have trouble copying your own fist, so will everybody else.

73, JP, K8AG
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