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Author Topic: Is CW going to survive?  (Read 4598 times)
KE2KB
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Posts: 127




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« on: May 26, 2009, 03:22:41 PM »

With the end of code requirements for Amateur licensing, one might expect that, eventually CW will just "go away".
I for one hope not. I have enjoyed using CW, and still believe it is a useful tool to have available.

What do you think?

FW
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KE7WAV
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2009, 04:40:11 PM »

Well-- I am a "new" General class licensee and I learned code and use it all the time. (So I am a 'know' code General)

I hope CW is around for a long time; it is my favorite mode.  My straight key stays busy on 40m.  I may only be pounding the brass a 5-8wpm but I'll get to 20 with a little more practice. Code is just a great lure to hobby, I hope more new hams find it as exciting as I do.

Hope to CU on the air!

KE7WAV..

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KB9CRY
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2009, 04:43:31 PM »

I'm getting sleepy.  Yawn!
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KE2KB
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Posts: 127




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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2009, 04:49:34 PM »

Because you're bored, or because you have been pounding brass for too long<g>

I like to go until I fall asleep, then hear and even see the code in my sleep.

FW
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20559




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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2009, 06:10:11 PM »

Code will likely live as long as amateur radio, however long that is.

There's been no code test f, or a couple of years now, and code has not declined in popularity for amateur use even by 1%.  You can tell that by looking at on-line activity logs, DXpedition logs, contest logs and results, and many other indicators.

Also, there's lots of QRM at the "CW" end of the bands, and on bands like 30m where only CW and digital are allowed.

I may be imagining things, but it seems to me there's more QRM on CW today than there ever was, and I've been using it for 44 years (and one month) now.

WB2WIK/6
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AD7WN
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Posts: 113




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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2009, 07:13:30 PM »

Of course CW will survive.  Sure, the FCC screwed up and dropped the code requirment from all classes of ham licenses.  But they were simply caving in from pressure from activist groups instead of doing their jobs.

I think the number of hams who use morse has declined slightly over the last couple of years.  The reason for this seems obvious.  Now that a new ham can get a ticket without knowing code, he is more likely to learn code after getting licensed if he is going to learn it at all.

But listening to the ham bands, there is still a lot of CW being worked.  Those who come to hate the CB-style nonsense being widely practiced on 75 and 20 SSB learn that there is a much better world in the CW bands.  Even if they have to learn the code to improve their lot, they will migrate to the CW sub-bands.

73 de John/AD7WN
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EA5BLP
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2009, 02:15:45 AM »

I think that cw should be declared historical heritage ot telecommunications. In the same way than the old arquitechture or the music are also heritage of our culture. From this point of view, cw is in the origen of the actual binary codes and the big nets of information.
As a radioamateurs, and from an historical perspective, i think we must preserve and save the code. Exactly in the same way the states must preserve it´s cultural richness. If we are capable of transmiting this idea and the potential of cw as the only binary lenguage that still our brain can decode, it will survive for long years. In any case, cw is still a very good way of transmission when there are hard conditions of noise-signal ratio on the bands or when basic low power operation techniques are used. But above of all, I think, there is a very important historical ingredient on the code wich must survive as a legacy for the future of the communication.
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Juan
EA5BLP
KJ4FUU
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Posts: 162




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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2009, 08:14:38 AM »

If I wasn't confident CW would continue, I wouldn't be trying to learn it right now. I'm an extra, but currently can only copy at 5wpm. I'm using the G4FON training software to learn at the 20wpm character speed (although I'm only doing 10wpm, but I figure that's enough to not try the patience of the more experienced operators).

Since I plan to do QRP almost exclusively, I won't be having many DX QSOs unless I do CW. My goal is to be able to QSO at 10wpm by the fall. I have my radio and a general coverage receiver by my bed, so I can practice copying a little before going to sleep.

I think that CW operating is sort of an exclusive club, although not difficult to get into.

-- Tom
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2372




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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2009, 08:17:18 AM »

I think it will survive until something better comes along -- and it may survive after that, for sentimental reasons.

It's the best mode we have for weak-signal work, without needing computer de-coding.  So it still has a place in the world _based on its merits_.

          Charles
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N2EY
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Posts: 3875




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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2009, 09:31:31 AM »

It used to be that hams learned Morse Code for two reasons:

1) to pass the license tests

2) to use it on the air

The first reason is gone but the second reason is alive as ever. Maybe even more so, for a bunch of reasons.

Some folks criticize amateurs' use of Morse Code, pointing out that almost nobody else uses it anymore. But that's part of the attraction: a unique thing that requires skill to do.  

This month's QST has the results of the ARRL 160 meter contest. 1281 logs submitted (an all-time high). More than a few stations had over 1000 QSOs; the highest QSO total I saw was 1832. This on a band many rigs don't cover, where the antennas are huge.

The ARRL 160 meter contest is CW-only.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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VE3GNU
Member

Posts: 86




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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2009, 09:40:51 AM »

The fascination for me is the realization that you can send energy that contains information that ignores geographical and political boundaries.
The physics of it translates into some sort of 'magic' for me.
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KB1LKR
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Posts: 1899




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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2009, 12:18:57 PM »

I expect it will, though perhaps in lesser numbers than in days gone by (and that's fine) when there was the 13WPM requirement (& 20 WPM), for a couple reasons:

One, the mystique & historical aspects of the mode, Mystique comes part from the rhythm, tone, feel of the signals and the hardware to send it -- the tactile aspects of a well built key, or paddle or the mechanics of a bug, part (for many I'd bet) from our childhood where like any "secret" language be it Morse, pig latin, Orphan Annie decoder rings (and K2ORS (SK) saying "... drink your Ovaltine!"), etc., there was something about a communication system not everyone knew.

History from mental images of RR & WU telegraph offices, ocean going ships see: http://www.radiomarine.org/tales.html for example), even blinkers on WWII ships, that one can be a part of a thing now otherwise gone by.

Two, functionality: when conditions are poor, available power is limited, etc. CW can get thru when phone can't -- so at least in DX, though perhaps not ragchewing, it will survive, though modes like PSK31 and others will also fill some of this niche too, but CW remains the simplest, potentially simple transmitter, receiver, and input device.

Last, it remains perhaps the best/least obtrusive way to ID repeaters, etc, as it's quick and not as hard to talk over as voice ID'ers, but that's really a specialized case of broadcast, not a regular 2 way communication, so perhaps outside th escope of the question.
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KC2MJT
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2009, 03:10:23 PM »

Yes, it will endure, if only because it takes us back to another era; the smell of pine tar, ionized air and the icy cold Atlantic. It takes many of us back to our youth when the SW bands were alive with exotic voices and radio dramas.
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WX7G
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Posts: 5949




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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2009, 03:26:24 PM »

Tune to the CW subbands during a CW contest. Try it this comming weekind for the CQ WPX contest. The open bands are absolutely full. Last CQ 160 meter contest the band was solid from 1800 to 1900 kHz. The ARRL 160 meter contest had a record number of entries.

At non-contest times CW activity is way down from what it was 20 years ago. If you are a DXer and haven't got a big tower and an amp CW is the ticket.
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2528




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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2009, 05:00:27 PM »

If you want to find out what will happen in the future, "Stay tuned."
:-)

Not too many hobbies where one can, in all honesty, say "Stay tuned!"

73
Bob

PS: the fewer people who can copy what the DX station is sending, the better for those who can copy pile-up-speed CW.
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