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Author Topic: Is there a healthy number of new cw ops?  (Read 11845 times)
AB9NZ
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« on: October 02, 2012, 07:37:24 AM »

 I'm in the autumn of my life (51!) so I doubt I'll outlive being able to find a cw qso. I'm curious, what do you guys think the future holds for Morse telegraphy?
         Tom Bruzan AB9NZ, Mount Prospect Illinois, http://radiotelegrapher.posterous.com/
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K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 08:06:42 AM »

Tom:  If you consider 51 as being in the "autumn" of your life, I guess at 76 I'm into midwinter!  LOL. 

I prowl this CW forum daily and from what I read, CW is not only still alive but still quite vibrant!  I read almost daily the adventures of those who are just starting out with CW, wanting to learn the fastest and best ways to do it.  I also read questions from many who have specific problems and are seeking solutions to them.....because they want to learn CW.

I no longer operate on the weekends because of the contests.  Whenever there is a CW contest the bands are nothing but bedlam.  No.... CW isn't dead yet and as far as I can tell it isn't even sick!

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AB9NZ
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 10:04:45 AM »

Allen, no doubt the contesters and experienced ops are very dedicated and very busy, and yes lots of folks share their intent to become cw ops on the forums.  Have you logged a brand new operator lately?
   Tom
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WX7G
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2012, 12:29:57 PM »

I run into relatively new CW ops quite often; No-code ops turned CW ops. Often enough that at age 56 I no longer fear having no one to work in the future.
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AB9NZ
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 01:09:41 PM »

Cool, glad to hear it. My experience has been working almost none over the last five years. Extremely rare to work a guy that hasn't been code tested. It seemed when I started out five years ago the "novice' part of 40 had lots of new operators, now I just don't hear 'em anymore the FISTS and SKCC freqs used to be packed too. Maybe it's just me, not looking for slow code as much anymore.
   Best of 73 de Tom ab9nz
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AE4RV
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 01:45:52 PM »

I haven't been very active this year and last year I mostly worked DX and QRP sprints. But the preceding couple of years I was fairly active with domestic CW QSOs and it was not uncommon to work new CW ops, even at 15+WPM. Once I overheard a 17 year old rocking a speed key.

CW is no longer a bitter pill to swallow, now it is an interesting choice and a great mode for those restricted to low power and/or inefficient antennas. A great way to earn some street cred without spending any or much money. New ops are out there.

73, Geoff


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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 02:02:36 PM »

NO there are not.

You have to distinguish between:

a) old hams compulsory learning the code
b) retired radio officers and military operators
c) east Europeans former communist countries
d) new people in western hemisphere learning the code


To start with d) They announce they are GOING TO learn the code, they are always busy with thinking what they are GOING TO do, but they did not learn perseverance in their sloppy education, they just collecting hurray when they announce their last "going to do" and you never hear something about them when you don't tune in the SSB in order to hear their extremely stupid vocal output.

class c) their government know that in case of weaponed conflict Morse code can be vital, no Internet, no satellites available, they make Morse code exercising a peoples sport, and so a very large crowd is able to conversate in Morse code. Those governments  give excellent performers a grant. So ridiculous when some western RO, like K8AXW,  try to tell they couldn't copy his fast sending, The opposite is and will be the truth. Sleep well Al.

class b) is the bulk present population here in CW forum. That will die out within 5 years. The only thing they can is operating an appliance. I notice that they become in this  (Dutch)country novice operator because they even can't pass the full license requirements within a year of dedicated "study". Beware, and think about  that at sea they couldn't repair a transmitter and a receiver.

class a) dying out, the average ham is over 60 years old in the meantime, so reasonable, a young guy can conversate on Internet and is not amazed to contact a Dutchman via the ether. Present developments in amateur radio are repeaters, packet radio, satellites, D-star and you name it. The point-point connection via the ether without any infrastructure is not recognised as an essential difference.  So what?

It took 100 years, from birth, and now it is going to die fast. Amateur radio is pure appliance operating. $$$ made the license requirements go to zero, Nothing else.
Success with your SSB, I don't like to talk to those stupids

Why bother? It takes only two to tango. (I am #1)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 02:11:44 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged
W7ASA
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 07:44:49 PM »

I've been talking with one fellow in particular, who just got licensed about a month ago - OR LESS.  He led into that by building his own ELECRAFT kits and today I talked with him over 800 miles away on his indoor antenna - 2 Watts then 15 Watts from his K2. I know that he copied me - really - because I asked him questions and he had the correct, detailed answers.  Good exercise of the code.  Taught himself the Morse code with software while studying for his license(s) and is learning the various unique procedures on the air while having an amazing time with low power CW.  He is just one example.

I bump into quite a few fellows who have been almost inactive after doing other aspects of ham but becoming bored, but avoiding the code up to this point. However, once started in code, they like it a lot.

It's interesting that human nature often rejects what we are 'required' to do, but when the requirement is dropped, says' hmmm, now that I'm not told to learn the Morse code, I'll do it.   Roll Eyes

I have to agree with the staff and crew of Maritime Radio Station KSM , that radio telegraphy has (so far) outlived many of it's pallbearers


ZUT DE W7ASA  ..._ ._
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KB9VLR
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 08:14:20 PM »

Tom,

I'm 30 and have been a ham for 14 of those years. I passed the 5 wpm test just before they were done away with. I'm a new CW op because I never had interest in using the code until I recently bought a Flex-1500 QRP radio. The facet of the hobby that captivates me is the challenge and thrill of learning something new, tinkering, and the reward of getting a project working exactly the way I want it to. Once the challenge is over, the completed project is usually closeted within a few months.

That said, I "relearned" CW after about 12 years of non-use and have been gradually building up to a useful speed. So far this has been the most rewarding, yet least challenging project I've undertaken. It's not difficult to learn and build speed with the code... but it is difficult to maintain the discipline needed to practice EVERY day, and stick with it. Most people my age or younger with their smart phones and texting don't have an attention span long enough to make it through an episode of Jersey Shore, much less learn an "Outdated" language. Have you conversed face to face with a teenager lately? This is the main problem facing CW today. It's ironic to think that with all of the tools available today, code is easier than ever to learn; the limiting factor lies purely within the self discipline and determination of the new op.

If the new op is lucky, they will have enough discipline to make it to about 15 WPM. That is the point where I realized that I had made it, and the sky is the limit. I don't notice the progress daily, but looking over the trend of study on LCWO for the last 3 months, I can see a linear trend of steady improvement. Once that track record is there, sticking with practice is a lot easier to manage.

Adam
KB9VLR

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K8AXW
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 09:53:14 PM »

Tom:  I can't answer your question..... I haven't heard one say that "they just got on the air using CW."  You might have a valid observation!!
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GILGSN
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 10:20:02 PM »

I started two weeks ago (Hi Ray :-), never had a voice QSO (haven't built the K2 SSB card yet), right away with Morse code. Why? Because I think it's elegant in it's simplicity and the simplicity of the radios. For me, it's about doing more with less. Honestly, the stuff I hear on VHF can be downright eye-rolling at times. I have yet to hear a stupid rag chew in Morse. I have been struggling with the code and it has been everything but easy. I am glad that people like Ray are willing to help newbies. I would think that given the number of younger people interested in technology, there should be more Hams and more using CW. Unfortunately we also live in a time when quick results are expected. Kids these days have the attention span of a goldfish. I also don't think there is much promotion of the Morse code. After getting my licenses, I received an ARRL starter magazine in the mail. There was nothing about Morse in it, zilch, nada! Even a Technician class Ham can use CW on HF.. Why not remind them of that fact? Nevertheless, there will always be people like me interested in Morse. It's just the nature of the beast. It is simply too useful to die. There is nothing as simple that could replace it. Even without a radio, you can use Morse in many ways if needed. In case of a wide-area emergency, operating complicated radios and computers might not be an option. I can operate my K1 hours per day on a solar-charged small battery, year after year without any other source of power. I can slip my RockMite in my shirt pocket and make thousand-mile contacts with a handful of AA batteries and a piece of wire.. Can't do that with SSB or FM. Sure, many will give up along the way, because it takes efforts and patience, but I have heard beginners on the air, and a few were below the age of 40, especially among the QRP crowd, that is where Morse code might yet flourish. I am certainly going to preach the virtues of Morse code to all the Hams I come across! I sure get a lot of questions when I set-up at a coffee shop, with my Buddistick clamped to my table and start QSOing on the K1 :-)

Gil.
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ZL1BBW
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2012, 12:37:33 AM »

class b) is the bulk present population here in CW forum. That will die out within 5 years. The only thing they can is operating an appliance. I notice that they become in this  (Dutch)country novice operator because they even can't pass the full license requirements within a year of dedicated "study". Beware, and think about  that at sea they couldn't repair a transmitter and a receiver.

It is nice to see that the people that for many years kept the seaways of cargo open are held in such high regard by the poster PAOBLAH...      Certainly all the RO's that I knew and have met were capable and did on many occasions repair and keep a ships station on the aire in very difficult circumstances.

As to CW long may it live,,, not the fancy high speed rattle dattle operator, but the nice steady fist at 20 - 25 wpm operating an piece of brass that goes up n down and using the grey matter between the headphones as the decoder.

There has been much ado about how fast and quality etc, I have heard some shocking cw not on the ham bands, but who knows what the conditions they were operating under, I know I have judged some operators harshly and have apologised for such, its a bit difficult being key perfect when you have the South Atlantic tearing at you door and a good deal of aircraft cannon fire heading your way.

Oh and just to finish, I have no intention of becoming a silent key in the next 5 years, nor do many of my colleagues.

Have a nice day Grin
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
RENTON481
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 05:44:03 AM »

From a SWL / monitor's perspective, I think CW is pretty healthy.  When you compare the number of CW stations on the ham bands to the number of ops of other data modes (RTTY, Fax, etc.) CW is doing o.k.


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N3LCW
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2012, 06:51:57 AM »

Once the new no-code amateurs learn that CW operators are by far the friendliest, they become eager to learn.  I've run into many new CW operators the past few years, especially QRP.

I don't worry at all about CW dying off.  I'm more concerned about their lack of technical abilities where they can't even take a can of contact cleaner to their equipment to fix a scratchy volume control. (as evident on equipment For Sale postings).

Andy
N3LCW
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AB9NZ
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2012, 06:54:31 AM »

First off I want to say I'm not singing a funeral song for cw. CW is the most badass, superfly, navy seal of all ham radio modes, jeepers my web page is called The Radiotelegrapher. Let me show you where I'm coming from with my query. This is the number of hams before the complete elimination of U.S. code testing. TPNA is tech plus, novice advanced.
 22 February 2007         
                       ----------------         
   Technician              311,851               
   General                 142,031                 
   Amateur Extra           111,464                 
   TPNA                    145,886                 
   Total Individual        711,232 
  Subtract the 311851 no code techs, leaving 399,381 code tested hams, generously spread them over 50 years, and divide them by 365 days per year leaves almost 22 code tested hams coming on board every day. You can see all the holes in my methodology, so the actual number must have been much higher, but then again many of those guys probably went on to work one of the lesser modes. I would suspect that back then it wasn't very unusual to hear someone having their first cw qso.
  Because of the nature of radio waves, the few new guys are heard by a lot of folks, but I don't believe the Tom Sawer effect is actually bringing in that many new ops. I do however believe that the lack of quantity is offset by the quality of our new operators. If lack of numbers causes cw to become more of a niche mode I'm sure it will still be in good hands.
   Just my thoughts, Tom, ab9nz, Mount Prospect, Illinois
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