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Author Topic: Help for that first QSO  (Read 656 times)
VE4AEK
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Posts: 6




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« on: December 04, 2008, 10:08:38 AM »

I recently retired and decided to get involved in the hobby again after an absence of more than 20 years.  But not being an outgoing person at the best of times, I found it surprisingly difficult to actually go on the air.  Would my code be good enough?  What if I made a fool of myself?  What if I got involved in a QSO and then couldn't think of anything to say?

Fortunately, I came across two things that helped me overcome my fears:

1) While exploring the F.I.S.T.S. website, I found a reference to 'A Beginner's Guide to Making CW Contacts' by Jack Wagoner, WB8FSV.  This guide tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about making CW contacts.  Here is the link:

http://www.netwalk.com/~fsv/CWguide.htm

2) One evening, while listening near the F.I.S.T.S. calling frequency of 7.058 MHz, I heard a CW QSO in progress, one in which both parties were sending at an extremely slow speed.  When I looked up the callsigns on QRZ.com, I was struck by the fact that one ham was an experienced and accomplished operator -- who was apparently going out of his way to help a new ham get established on the air.  I was also humbled by the new ham, because he had the courage to get on the air and I did not.

These things changed my attitude about getting on the air, and a few days later, I answered a CQ from a nice gentleman in Michigan.  Yes, I was still nervous and I made lots of mistakes, but with Bill's help, I was able to complete the QSO.

If you are a "newbie" who is reluctant to get on the air, I hope that my experience will encourage you to do so.  Amateur radio is a great hobby and there are lots of great people out there who would be more than happy to help you through your first CW contact.  So what are you waiting for?

Bruce - VE4AEK
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N0UY
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2008, 10:22:29 AM »

Bruce,  
There is no other feeling than the one you get when your sweating bullets in your first cw qso.  Most are done with a straight key which only adds to the excitement.  It is also a unique feeling of accomplishment that makes the next one easier.

gl   ray
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N9GXA
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2008, 11:37:33 AM »

Yep - I used Jack Wagoner's guide while sweating bullets a few months ago when I returned to CW. Although I'm not sure I was ever there to begin with. It sure wasn't this fun when I had to do it....hihi

  Good of you to bring this post up. And thanks to Mr. Wagoner!

73 - Paul - N9GXA
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KB9CRY
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Posts: 4284


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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 04:56:13 PM »

As you all know from your beginner's ham classes!!!, the standard QSO exchanges the same information at the very beginning.

I developed a transmit and receive Script.  So I would send from my script,  my name is, my qth is, antenna is, etc. and the same for the receive script.'


This way, I was able to just wade through the initial info sent and just listen for the "key' info to write into my script and then when I transmitted, I would transmit from the script.  This way when I made a mistake, I wouldn't "lose my place" in the QSO.


So I literally had a paper with my scripts already printed on it.  I would fill in the receive side and just transmit from the transmit side.

After a while, I could get rid of the paper, and do this in my head.
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W6ONV
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 07:26:02 AM »

I too read the material from Jack. Right or wrong, I made my first CW QSOs this past weekend during the CQWW CW Contest. Of course all the code I sent was not sent by hand, but by keyboard, since they were such short (5NN CQ Zone) exchanges. Sure it was not all hand sent, but I too was a bit nervous about getting on air with a very slow fist attempting to make that first QSO. I am still looking to send my first QSO using the key, but some of the nervousness has subsided. Also, the longer I sit at my radio, the more drawn in became and was able to recognize more and more by ear.

73, W6ONV
Stephen
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KB7GL
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 01:35:30 PM »

Another very helpful group is the SKCC. There are frequently SKCC members monitoring 7114 KHz, which is for slow CW. Membership is free, and they have many fun  on-the-air activities.

http://www.skccgroup.com/

There is also a SKCC Yahoo forum at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skcc/messages

73, Vic, SKCC 3636
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K9FON
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Posts: 1012




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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 04:16:57 PM »

I have worked a few FISTS ops over the past month or so that i got into CW. They are a great help and the elmers on the SKCC are as well. I had the heebie geebies when i first made my first "long and substantial" CW contact but after a while it goes away. I try to have at least ONE CW QSO a day to keep myself sharp.
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W6ONV
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2008, 12:25:49 PM »

Yep, I concur I too joined SKCC on recommendation.
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PLANKEYE
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Posts: 19




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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2008, 01:36:55 AM »

Keep Ham Radio Fun, it's a hobby!!

I call CQ with a Straight Key VERY SLOW.  I'm looking for those that need help.  The way I figure it, maybe they hear me and will feel relaxed enough to call me back.

I also look for those who call CQ and obviously need help.  Then Call them back.  

SKCC and FISTS are awesome.  I hope you all reading this, take the time to check them out.

Have Fun Guys!!

Most important, BE NICE!!


PLANKEYE


     

   
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WW2JS
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2008, 06:35:35 PM »

 I'm not on all that long, was not required to learn code either but I am totally sold on CW. I've tried it and having loads of fun. Yes it is a difficult skill to master but I find it very rewarding. Every QSO I have now is an accomplishment especially the ones with minimal mistakes. I like it so much I'm trying to acquire a 1x2 or 2x1 call. I was hooked during a contest in the spring when I worked quite a few stations both in NA and DX. Just exchanging calls, states and RST's with minimal paddle time was good enough for me. I've been fortunate to run into more experienced ops who was patient with me, and I will reciprocate when the time comes.I really can't wait until the good DX starts rolling in, hopefully at that point I'll be at 20 WPM+

Joe WW2JS
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K9FON
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2008, 04:12:16 PM »

Even though im not a FISTS member i will stand by on or around 3558 and listen out for anyone that wants a QSO!
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N9GXA
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2008, 06:56:02 PM »

I sent a few CQ's. Nothing heard, but I am probably 3 hours after you sent that...
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