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Author Topic: Percent of new operators using CW  (Read 1837 times)
K7NNG
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2009, 07:43:32 AM »

On a lighter note, I have not lost sleep over this. And that's the beauty of Amateur Radio's menu: there's something for everyone. Your mileage may vary, but I've tried most modes over the years and CW remains my favorite. This magic mode existed before I made the scene and it is my hope it will continue long after I reach life's checkout line

DITTO DITTO DITTO.
WELL PUT STATEMENT, AND I AGREE 100%
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K7GLM
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Posts: 51




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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2009, 12:35:20 PM »

K5END - Good luck on the WAS. If you want to sked WA, just let me know.

I came in as a no-code Tech/General/Extra, then went immediately to know-code. Starting up in the middle of the sun-spot doldrums made me want every advantage I could get. Having many years of music and electronics hobbying may have made things easier too.

Even though I work SSB and FM, it's nice to have CW there as an alternative. It really helped on WAS and WAC, as well as being required for Triple Play (#229). I never thought I would get the TPA, but it only took a few weeks after I knuckled down and focused. My confirmed DXCC entries are almost an even split between SSB and CW, but the real DX stations are almost all CW. I think that CW helps to overcome some language and pronunciation barriers.

As someone else noted, having a test requirement for CW didn't seem to help our club. Seems like every one of the members who took their license test during the 5 wpm era has exactly zero interest in doing CW. On field day, I was the only one trying to work CW (getting blown out by the PSK station). Some of the (much) older crowd still do code, but not at public events. Just not show dogs I guess.

dit dit.

73,
K7GLM
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2009, 08:42:42 PM »

K7GLM,

Well, not long after I submitted that post in January a local "Elmer" suggested I try the NAQP CW contest.

You can probably still look up my rudimentary score, but man what fun it was.

And would you believe in that January NAQP I worked one of the Ham "Celebrities," a well-known QST writer, who was operating from Vashon Island, King County, WA on 80 meters--QRP, IIRC. At the time I did not realize who he is. He even sent me a QSL card. I met him in person at CTU this year. Never met a nicer man.

Then in March my Dad and I drove to Oklahoma to do the OKQP. From the high plains just a few miles from the location of the closing scene of the movie "Castaway" I worked a QRP'er in Snohomish County WA on 20 meters.

It's a small world when ya got HF, ain't it?

73 K5END Larry . .
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N4KZ
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Posts: 597




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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2009, 08:21:52 AM »

I have worked a bunch of new hams in the past couple of years who have made similar comments to those made to me last week during a digital mode QSO I was having on 20 meters. The other guy is an extra class who got his ticket two years ago. I'm paraphrasing but he said that he wanted to become a ham for years but was put off my having to learn Morse Code. But after two years of SSB and digi mode operating, he's realized that he's missing a big part of ham radio by not knowing Morse Code.

"I want to work DX on CW and I want to do QRP on CW from portable locations. I'm missing too much of this great hobby by not knowing Morse Code. I'm going to learn it because I want to," he said.

Not every newcomer will have this same experience or desire but enough will to keep CW alive for a long time yet to come. Heck, let's be real. Even though every ham had to be tested on CW at one time, it sure didn't mean they liked it, used it, had any proficiency at it or gave two hoots about it once they passed the test. Just having a minimal knowledge of it never meant you were destined to enjoy Morse Code or be any good at it.

Removing the mandatory CW test just might be the best thing ever done to enhance the longevity of Morse Code on the ham bands!

73, Dave, N4KZ
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KB2FCV
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Posts: 1159


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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2009, 11:34:02 AM »

N2EY Writes:
"What worked best for us is a location in a public park where there's a big open pavilion to keep of the rain and sun, and we put all the stations under it. One in each corner, food and logging server in the center. Folks can wander by without the barrier of a tent."

I'll throw my 2 cents in about field day. When operating I personally can't stand noise in the station, especially big open pavilion types. We separate our tents out and we use 10X10 open gazebo type tents. We have a centralized food tent where people can hang out and talk - away from the stations. I personally can't stand people standing right behind you holding a 'full volume' conversation. I can hear it with our without earphones and I find it distracting when trying to pound brass.  

I've visited another club who used to hold their field day in a pavilion with all the stations in close quarters. There was plenty of chatter from people socializing and I found it tough to operate. Not to mention you had other stations right next to you and had to listen to them. Maybe it works for some but defintely not for me.

I by no means want to be rude to others who are new, I just like my peace and quiet when I operate. I'm more than happy to stop and answer questions about CW, field day and what's going on to anyone who stops by. If they want to operate CW I'll hand the key over to them and take the logging seat - or ask if they want to log if they don't operate CW. I just need quiet. Shhhhhhh :-)
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KE7WAV
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2009, 03:11:37 PM »

I'm new and before I ever work VHF or HF SSB I was working 40M CW.

I love it!  I don't know a percentage; but I do know lots of new hams who have asked me to help them learn code.  So when you hear us slow code guys calling CQ at 5wpm---pls QRS and help us along.

Always grateful for a slow ragchew. TNX es 73
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N2EY
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Posts: 3877




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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2009, 07:19:06 PM »

KB2FCV writes: "When operating I personally can't stand noise in the station, especially big open pavilion types. ...I personally can't stand people standing right behind you holding a 'full volume' conversation. I can hear it with our without earphones and I find it distracting when trying to pound brass."

Me too! I find that headphones help a lot, though. We made up a box with multiple jacks and plugged in several sets of cans for the operator, logger and observer.

But it's still a problem sometimes. A big QUIET sign helps, as does having others usher people out of the operating area.

KB2FCV: "I've visited another club who used to hold their field day in a pavilion with all the stations in close quarters. There was plenty of chatter from people socializing and I found it tough to operate. Not to mention you had other stations right next to you and had to listen to them. Maybe it works for some but defintely not for me."

The pavilion we have is pretty big and the stations are separated at least 20-25 feet from each other. The food is down the other end, 50+ feet away.

Years ago, with the same group but at a different location, the acoustic noise was so bad that we did the CW tent thing for several years. Problem was, one of our main goals was for people to see CW in action, and being in a tent a couple of hundred feet away put a damper on that.

KB2FCV: "I by no means want to be rude to others who are new, I just like my peace and quiet when I operate. I'm more than happy to stop and answer questions about CW, field day and what's going on to anyone who stops by. If they want to operate CW I'll hand the key over to them and take the logging seat - or ask if they want to log if they don't operate CW. I just need quiet. Shhhhhhh :-)"

WELL SAID!

One thing we've done that helps is to have at least one or two of the off-duty CW ops hanging around the CW table. If somebody has questions, *they* answer them - quietly. They also (politely) ask people to lower their voices and move the conversation away from the op table.

Oddly enough it's not the newcomers who are the worst offenders, but the folks who've been licensed long enough to know better.

I wonder sometimes if they're not jealous of how many QSOs and points the CW station makes.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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WS4E
Member

Posts: 220




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« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2009, 06:00:28 PM »

I have had my license for less than a year, even though I had been planning on it, reading about it, for about a decade before I got around to it.

One of the main reasons I wanted to even get licensed was to do QRP and CW.

Maybe I am one of the odd ones.

I am learning now, and my goal is to be 15wpm+ by the next straight key night this winter.

I am getting pretty good with copying all the alpha and numbers at this point.

I tried to work on my fist the other night using a computer hooked up to my radio and letting a cw reader check my sending quality but it was pretty bad.  


I think most people thing learning CW is all about 'knowing the code' to copy...I now see that the copying is only half the battle, I its going to be harder to develop a good fist.


But really CW is FUN....really fun.
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2009, 03:07:52 PM »

> But really CW is FUN....really fun.

yes, it is.

stick with it, and don't delay getting
on the air for too long.

73
scott
w5ese
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KA3DNR
Member

Posts: 74




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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2009, 05:23:08 PM »

Probably 2% (a guess)

Average age of CW operator: 70 years old (a guess)

Therefore, CW will be basically dead in 20 years (two more sun spot cycles).

I love CW. I wish the young operators would come to CW. It is my favorite mode, and the ops are top-notch.

Marc
KA3DNR
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N2EY
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Posts: 3877




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« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2009, 04:21:57 PM »

KA3DNR: "I love CW. I wish the young operators would come to CW. It is my favorite mode, and the ops are top-notch."

There are lots of things you can do to promote the mode.

Here's a list:
 
Ten Ways:

1) Use Morse Code on the air. For ragchewing, DXing, contesting, traffic handling, QRP, QRO, QRS, QRQ, whatever floats your boat. If your favorite band is crowded, try another and/or get a sharper filter. If you contest, even a little, send in your logs, photos, soapbox comments, etc. Our presence on the air is essential.

2) Work on your Morse Code skills. Got a Code Proficency certificate?

But Morse Code skill is not just speed. Can you send and receive a message in standard form? Can you do it faster than someone on 'phone? Can you do both "head copy" and write it down? How about copying on a mill? Ragchewing? Contesting? Being able to have a QSO at slow as well as fast speeds?

3) Find a local club that does Field Day and go out with them. Particularly if they have little or no Morse Code activity on FD now. Help with their Morse Code efforts however you can - operating, logging, setting up, tearing down, etc. FD is one way to actively demonstrate 21st Century Morse Code *use*. Talking to people about Morse isn't nearly so effective as showing them.

4) Set up a Morse Code demo at a local hamfest/club meeting/air show/town fair/middle school etc. Not as some sort of nostalgia thing but as a demonstration that Morse Code is alive and in use today.

5) Conduct training classes - on the air, in person, over the 'net, whatever. Help anybody who wants to learn. Could be as simple as giving them some code tapes or CDs, or as involved as a formal course at a local community center.

6) Elmer anybody who wants help - even if they're not interested in Morse Code at all. Your help and example may inspire them.

7) Write articles for QST/CQ/Worldradio/K9YA Telegraph/Electric Radio/your local hamclub newsletter etc. Not about the code *test* nor about Morse Code history, the past, etc., but about how to use Morse
Code *today*. For example, how about an article on what rigs are best for Morse Code use, and why? Or about the differences between a bug, single-lever keyer, iambic A and iambic B? Your FD experiences with
Morse Code? (QST, June, 1994) Yes, you may be turned down by the first mag you submit it to - but keep submitting.

Cool Get involved in NTS, QMN, ARES, whatever, and use Morse Code there. The main reason so much emergency/public service stuff is done on voice is because they don't have the people - skilled operators - to use any other mode.

9) Join FISTS & SKCC and any other group that supports Morse. Give out numbers to those who ask for them even if you're not a contester/award collector.

10) Forget about "the test". It is long gone and FCC won't bring it back. You may say they made a bad decision, but that's nothing new, just look at BPL or their rulings on the sale of broadcast radio stations. FCC won't preserve our standards and values - we have to do it.

And our attitude is a key part of that (pun intended). If we're seen as a bunch of old grumpy gus types, not many will want to join us. But if we present ourselves as a fun-loving, welcoming, young-at-heart-and-mind,
helpful group with useful skills, people will want to join us.

IMHO

But ya shoulda seen the crowd around the CW table on Field Day...

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K7JG
Member

Posts: 40




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« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2009, 01:07:56 PM »

(off topic) K5END:

To your query elsewhere about the origin of the particular straight key, this may provide the answer, an answer which you already have:

JH Bunnell & Co Telegraph Apparatus
http://jhbunnell.com/

http://jhbunnell.com/bunnellcohistory.shtml

They manufactured interesting items enabling a prior form of "instant" communication:
http://jhbunnell.com/other.shtml


73,
K7JG
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KA3DNR
Member

Posts: 74




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« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2009, 04:20:10 PM »

Great points Jim.

Marc
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