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eHam.net Survey

Survey Question
What's your experience with Morse code?
  Posted: Feb 06, 2016   (474 votes, 30 comments) by N2MG

  Never learned it, never will.
  Never learned, but want to.
  Just learning it now...somewhat.
  Seriously studying it.
  Learned it for license years ago. Barely used it since.
  Learned it, use it, love it.
    (474 votes, 30 comments)

Survey Results
Never learned it, never will. 4% (18)
Never learned, but want to. 8% (36)
Just learning it now...somewhat. 3% (12)
Seriously studying it. 2% (9)
Learned it for license years ago. Barely used it since. 37% (177)
Learned it, use it, love it. 47% (222)

Survey Comments
Agree!!
Yes....we should all thank Mike for taking over the survey as VK5LA couldn't/wouldn't or was unable to do the job.

Posted by K0CBA on February 12, 2016

New Column Co-Ordinator
Has nobody noticed that there is a brand spanking new
survey editor at the helm, in the person of Mike (N2MG)...?

Here's hoping that he injects a whole new life force into the
proceedings here, & that the topics will be changed with
some reasonable regularity.

Good luck to you, Mike---welcome aboard!

Posted by VE3CUI on February 12, 2016

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
1961 I had to go to the San Francisco FCC Field Office
to take tests for General. Had to pass two part cw test
to get to the written test. CW test part one: examiner and
I alone in tesring room. I had to send 13 wpm to him on
straight key. WOW - I WAS ONE NERVOUS 16 year
old kid. I passed the sending test so he took the key
and sent to me! Key was a WWII straight key. I passed.
So on to the written test. Six weeks later my license
arrived in the mail. Been pounding brass ever since. I
do not look down my nose at anyone. To each their
own. But I do object to those who flame me because I
am 70 years old and came up in the hobby during days
different from today. Get over it and enjoy the hobby.

Posted by K7NSW on February 11, 2016

CW
Been a ham since 1956. Have the ARRL CP Award for 30 wpm. Use CW 99.8% of the time. Absolutely love it. Have had serious conversations on CW. Keep on clicking as they say. Will take the time to help / work anyone on cw - even if 1 wpm. 73's to all - W2FKN

Posted by W2FKN on February 11, 2016

I really wish this Poll was a true reflection
Unfortunately this Poll will draw in CW people by the droves and people who do not know or use CW will not bother to respond. I know enough CW to be dangerous Hi Hi and listening to some of these replies I get the feeling most people believe Hams that do not know CW are not serious operators. While I know CW is great and it works pretty well under bad band conditions, so do a lot of the new digital modes. For most newly licensed operators, it's hard to convince them of the benefits of CW when they see PSK and JT65 in action. The second problem is learning it! There is a reason why so many people have responded that they once knew CW but don't know it now. If someone who once knew code is having a hard time learning it again it's most likely due to age. So now imagine how hard it is for a newly licensed 50 year old Ham Op to learn code for the first time! We also don't have the luxury anymore of 9-5 jobs, most people today have to work 10-12 hours per day and some 6 days a week. The last thing you want to do when you get home at 8:30pm is to start learning code. So please don't bash the no coders, it's not 1960 anymore and people are no longer treated fairly in the work place, most people are given very little spare time for family and that means learning CW just cannot be a high priority.

Posted by KD8MJR on February 10, 2016

CW
I started to learn Morse when I was a student at a Maritime College to become a radio officer.I was 19 years old and now 75 !!! Still using CW every day. Reason minimum power and very good readability and less spectrum use. Mainly use 5 watts and worked the whole world without shouting with kilowatts !!

Posted by PA3ALX on February 9, 2016

CW
Big part of the hobby, and required it seems to work many of
the DXpeditions.
I tried it, didn't like it. Didn't enjoy digital modes either. But,
that is the great part of the hobby, you can do what you like to
do.

Posted by K6CRC on February 9, 2016

A Mode for the Generations
After learning Morse code using my dad's USN cardboard Aldis lamp "simulator" in the early 1950's and then transitioning to SWL reading code groups, it didn't take much of a push to become a ham. A teacher ham, Bill Pedigo (K8NXD/SK) at my high school pushed a bunch of us over the top in 1959-1960 A neighbor ham, Bill Shurance (W8BEW/SK), who had worked on the Great Lakes as a radio op and as an early ham in the 1915-1940 era, helped me buy a "bug" and then tutored me up to 65 wpm through nightly QSO's. I can't even think that fast today .... but I still have that bug and can slip into that Lake Erie swing style whenever I want.

I only hope that it does not become a lost art, and I think I hear the spirits of those SK's asking the same.

Posted by K4IQT on February 9, 2016

CW got me hooked
Listening to "modulated" CW on an old shortwave
receiver in the seventies got me hooked on ham
radio!

Posted by ZS4U on February 9, 2016

Use it regularly -or- lose it !
Learned it and enjoyed writing down the mystery signals... Definitely a skill to keep current! And, it's fun-- because you never know who will answer !

Posted by AA7LX on February 8, 2016

CW
did cw, back when first licensed in 1967...haven't used it in last 30-yrs, BUT must used keyboard & PC-today

Posted by KC8Y on February 8, 2016

CW
I learned CW when I joined a new Boy Scout troop and the first meeting they had a ham radio demo. The scoutmasters son was a ham and in the same grade as me. Needless to say, I was hooked.

Been working CW almost 100% the last 15+ years. There may still be some of our teachers who wondered why we got the same questions wrong on multiple choice tests when we were on opposite sides of the room.

73
K4BKD

Posted by K4BKD on February 8, 2016

Have always enjoyed it
I do not consider myself a Morse Code zealot,
but I do enjoy using it along with various
other modes. One of my favorite niches within
our hobby is DX chasing and CW is still
extremely important for successfully pursuing
that. The recent VP8STI/VP8SGI DXpedition is
a good example. I rarely heard them when they
operated SSB, but I was able to hear them and
work them on several bands with CW. Using CW
is similar to using another language. The
more proficient you are the more fun it is.

Posted by KK9H on February 8, 2016

Morse Code
Had to learn Morse Code to get my Novice License in 1968, a whopping 5 wpm. Had to copy 13 wpm, very difficult speed for me, for my General License in 1972. In 1978 I wanted an Extra Class License and had to copy code at 20 wpm, actually a piece of cake. Now I want to upgrade my Philippine Amateur Radio License to Class A, have to copy code at a whopping 5 wpm again, hope I do not fall asleep between the characters - hi hi.

CW is not my preferred mode of operation but I still operate that mode, I prefer to have CW QSOs between 16 - 18 wpm but can still copy better than 20 wpm if I have to. Unfortunately with the demise of CW in most of the world, IMHO it is getting harder to to have an enjoyable QSO in CW. I remember in the older days, many operators could be identified easily by their fist as by their callsign - just saying!

I remember, in the Army, we could always get a message through using CW when Voice was useless.

Posted by WB0HZL on February 8, 2016

Tradition Period
I said KNOW code not NO code. CW has roots back to the beginning of amateur radio. I believe that the elimination of the code was due to multiple factors. The political correct movement of inclusion. There were too many people that complained that they had this issue or that issue that caused them not to be able to learn the code. The second is due to technology and society changes. Many of the new generation (some Gen-Xers and almost all millennials) expect instant gratification and will not put in the type of effort to learn CW, especially at 13 or 20 WPM.

The next is also the changing of society with the HOA's and CC&Rs. It is difficult to find a location where you can put up a tower and large yagi. It is easier for the new generation to get onto social media and chat in that manner.

Our wonderful amateur radio organization in conjunction with the equipment manufacturers saw the writing on the wall, that if they did not lower the license standard by the elimination of the code and the theory tests that the population of hams would drop significantly. Just look at the average age of hams in 2016. There are less public demonstrations of amateur radio these days. The last time that I mentioned that I was a ham radio operator, the response was "They still do that".

So if you obtained a license under the code less system, consider learning code. It is a tradition that goes back to the roots of amateur radio.

Posted by KB6QXM on February 7, 2016

CW
I learned it for my license and then used it off an on for about 5 years. Started out with a straight key and ended with a bencher paddle.

After being off the air for over 20 years, I want to get back into it. But...have recently began to have trouble with tremors - part of the joys of getting older.

To be clear, if I can be competent with 10 + words per minute CW, I will be happy. That will be my goal if health allows.

Some of my favorite memories of operating were QSOs with older CW operators.

Posted by N7WAS on February 7, 2016

Just Doesn't Work for Me
The very first time I attempted to learn
Morse Code was in the Boy Scouts, almost 60
years ago. I could use semaphores, blinker
light and flags but hearing and interpreting
Morse eluded me. I tried again in High
School. The members of our local radio club
worked with me for over six months but, no
success. I then let it ride till I was an
adult and finally attempted it again in 2003.
I tried a formal class but, when the rest of
the class was doing well on the third
session, I was still trying to make headway
with the material from the first session.
Since then I have tried the sleep learning
tapes, hypnosis, Koch, any number of
computerized and on-line learning
environments, you name it - again with no
luck. I guess my brain is not wired for this
type of activity.

Posted by KG4RUL on February 7, 2016

Tradition Period
I said KNOW code not NO code. CW has roots back to the beginning of amateur radio. I believe that the elimination of the code was due to multiple factors. The political correct movement of inclusion. There were too many people that complained that they had this issue or that issue that caused them not to be able to learn the code. The second is due to technology and society changes. Many of the new generation (some Gen-Xers and almost all millennials) expect instant gratification and will not put in the type of effort to learn CW, especially at 13 or 20 WPM.

The next is also the changing of society with the HOA's and CC&Rs. It is difficult to find a location where you can put up a tower and large yagi. It is easier for the new generation to get onto social media and chat in that manner.

Our wonderful amateur radio organization in conjunction with the equipment manufacturers saw the writing on the wall, that if they did not lower the license standard by the elimination of the code and the theory tests that the population of hams would drop significantly. Just look at the average age of hams in 2016. There are less public demonstrations of amateur radio these days. The last time that I mentioned that I was a ham radio operator, the response was "They still do that".

So if you obtained a license under the code less system, consider learning code. It is a tradition that goes back to the roots of amateur radio.

Posted by KB6QXM on February 7, 2016

41 years and still going strong with cw since my novice days.

If you like to operate 6 meters looking for those weak signal rare ones then you need to know cw otherwise your going to be missing a lot of those rare dx contacts.

Posted by WB8VLC on February 7, 2016

Got my merit badge
Back in my scouting days (1960-1962) several of us scouts earned our "signaling" merit badge by displaying a proficiency in both sending and receiving morse code. We learned with sound, lights, and with either 1 or 2 flags, aka semafores. I guess it stuck with me over the years between scouting and getting my Novice exam because I had no trouble with it, even when taking the 20wpm test for Extra. I still enjoy using a straight key and am a member of SKCC. If not for CW and the digital modes, I'd switch to basket weaving.

Posted by WB4M on February 7, 2016

RE: CW
CW isn't the same today. When I was into it there were few pileups except for rare entities. None of that up 5 or split junk. Ops used to wait their turn and there were seldom more than two or three in line. Today high speed guys are mostly creeps or a new breed as sociologists would say. I still listen to high speed operators. When I post my current views in the forums I am treated with distain because of my KW prefix but I was working high speed cw since the 1970s. CW stinks now because of the stinkers who have moved in.

Posted by KW4JA on February 7, 2016

Fondest memories
My fondest memories of working CW was in summer of 2010 working Russian and Ukrainian stations over the north pole in the middle of the night. My radio was an Omni C running 20-50 watts into an end fed half wave on 20 meters. To me those were the good old days down on 14.010. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

KW4JA
ex AB7JK

Posted by KW4JA on February 6, 2016

use less now
CW was great five years ago when I still owned a BY1 keyer. A couple years ago I obtained a USB interface keyer to use with CW Type and although it is interesting and reduces some effort it is just not the same experience as using an iambic paddle. To do CW you have to be into it - meaning to operate regularly at high speeds using a paddle. To get into CW before I sk I need to get a paddle again. Computer keying is no substitute.

Posted by KW4JA on February 6, 2016

CW & I ?
Learned it ONLY so I could upgrade to
General Class.RARE that I ever use it
because just like when I learned it back
then it still gives me a massive headache
today when I listen to it.I learned it &
earned the upgrade as required by the
rules at that time & passed the CW test
with Straight Copy.If I never heard CW
again it would be a OK with me.Phone
contacts are for me.Aced the written
General Test & told them I was NOT
interested in trying the Extra Class test
& left.Got in my mobile tuned to 17 meters
on the ICOM 706 MKII & already had the 17
meter Ham Stick on the roof tuned & ready
to go.Made my 1st HF contact within 5
minutes with a ham in Minnesota & still
making lots of contacts today in the
General Class Band where I always wanted
to be & will be until I'm a SK. {:>)

Posted by W4KVW on February 6, 2016

Morse...you bet!
Separates the men from the boys!

Posted by K0CBA on February 6, 2016

From Hate To Genuine Love-In
Back in '69---when I was more than serious about
becoming a Ham here in Canada, but discovered that our
licensing authority required code proficiency at a
minimum of 10 WPM---I was very despondent at such a
discouraging prospect. All I wanted to do was grab a
microphone & yak it up, like everyone was doing on 10-
meters AM phone!

But I invested 50-cents in a copy of the ARRL's "Learning
the Radio Telegraphic Code," & religiously followed its
instructions, day by day. In short order I learned, much to
my amazement & delight, that I actually LOVED CW, & took
to it like a duck to water!

In fact, to-day I continue to probably spend 99% of my air
time on code, while the microphone collects dust. CW is
like a second language...and as George Bernard Shaw once
observed, "A man who knows but one language is only
half a man."

Posted by VE3CUI on February 6, 2016

Code to use Phone
I learned the code to for the privilege to
use phone, once I got serious it took me 30
days to get to 13 wpm for the test.

Posted by KA5ROW on February 6, 2016

CW
Took the 20 wpm code test in the 70s, passed it, got my
extra call, a 2X1. Let license lapse and took test again in
1998, got my 2nd extra call. I have never regretted learning
Morse code: some of the finest ops out there are cw ops.

Posted by AF4LV on February 6, 2016

There will always be a place.
There will always be a place for Morse Code in ham radio for those who have an interest in it.

As for me, my interests are not in it. I learned it. I passed the test. I used it briefly and I still use it for testing equipment and such, but my interests are elsewhere in antennas, new modes, experimentation, light conversation, and mobile radio.

Posted by AI2IA on February 6, 2016

CW
I took my Extra test sommer of l999. Passed the written, failed the code. That gave me a year to pass the code. Along comes 2000 and all I need is 5 WPM, which I already had, so I got my Extra license.

The big reason I got into this hobby, I wanted to be a whizbang Morse code operator. It hasn't come easy. I refuse to get on the air less than 20 WPM. I'm making one more attempt to attain my goal. I'm using the Koch method and I think I'm finally going to get there. I highly recommend it to anyone who's really wanting to learn Morse Code. Type in G4FON and you can down load it.

Posted by AD9GB on February 6, 2016

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