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Author Topic: Are we missing out on slow speed CW on 30m?  (Read 3555 times)
VK5EEE
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Posts: 1196




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« on: November 26, 2017, 03:25:46 AM »

In the old days we had novice bands FULL of very QRS (5WPM or so) CW... I remember 15m well... we are missing out on something. Remember back then, how above 21100 was around 50 kHz full of slow CW all having great fun? Now it is all but empty.

There is, at least in North America as far as I can tell, slow speed CW taking place on 40m higher up. But I wonder about bands like 30m, where we, far away DX, can QSO America and Europe etc with modest set ups, but we almost never hear slow speed CW.

I am wondering if this may be due to those who are slower being shy, since there are few or no slow signals heard on 30m, shy to put out a CQ at 5WPM to 12WPM? Also, if they hear a faster CQ but can decode the callsign after many repeats, are they shy to answer at a very slow speed?

If that is you, I wish you were NOT shy. Don't be. While many of us (I'd say most!) do not like CALLING CQ at a slow speed when we're capable of higher speeds and it is thus actually much easier to call at higher speeds, especially on a keyer, we ARE happy to slow down for a slow OP. Please DO call us if you can decode our callsign, call us at your speed and we will drop back to your speed (most of us will anyway).

Likewise, why not call CQ on 30m? It's a band that you are very likely to get great results, including DX. Much of the time you can find many clear frequencies. You can call on ANY frequency though avoid 10116 (unless QRP), and 10139-10141 (some QRP digital modes). A good area that it would be EXPECTED to hear slow CW would be 10118 to 10130 kHz, 10118 is FISTS who are always happy to QRS, 10120 is SKCC, 10121.5 are side swipers, and the area there and higher too, is certainly not going to offend anyone, nor would the area lower down in the band on any clear frequency.

I just get the suspicion that those new to CW or returning to it, or who are slower than 18 WPM, may be hesitant to go on air on DX bands?

Either that, or there are very few CW hams in USA, but I'm sure there are many, it's just that on 40m we can only hear the BIG GUNS here in VK due to the very high local noise levels and the high QRM from SSB pirates in Indonesia. But 30m, is much quieter, and even modest set ups (QRP, or 100W to a low dipole) will easily achieve DX during darkness and an hour or so before and after darkness. Give it a try?
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
KD8ZM
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2017, 05:34:04 AM »

Well, there are very few NEW cw hams, I think that is the difference. Most I QSO with are older than me, and I'm 57!
I'm a cw rookie, only on cw since August 5th. I quickly gravitated to 30m and never found that people were too fast. CW ops are among the greatest people around - always helpful. I'm up to head copying 15-18 wpm, depending on  qrm/qsb.
I agree, 30m is a wonderful band, especially on dreaded contest weekends.
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KQ4MM
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2017, 05:38:35 AM »

I've often wondered that as well. I'm still a somewhat new CW OP, and definitely QRS ( 10-13WPM). I try and make at least 1 to 3 QSO,s per day or more, but they 99% on 40M. I check 30, 15, 17, even 10M quite often for openings and when I hear CW there its way past my threshold. After about 100 QSOs now I have gotten over my shyness ( I think that plays a part) and I've tried to call CQ a few times on those bands, but have had about only a 5% success rate ( I'll keep trying though ) ... What I was also wondering after this weekend was how new CW OPs could participate in the bigger CW contests like the one this weekend. I listened but never attempted to make a QSO, I did however learn what the word test sounds like at QRS speeds ... At any rate, if it were not rediscovering CW my return to radio after 25 years QRT would not have lasted long, have made some great friends, started collecting and using straight keys, and just plain having fun.

Best Regards

Brian - KQ4MM

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KD8ZM
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2017, 06:51:36 AM »

I've often wondered that as well. I'm still a somewhat new CW OP, and definitely QRS ( 10-13WPM). I try and make at least 1 to 3 QSO,s per day or more, but they 99% on 40M. I check 30, 15, 17, even 10M quite often for openings and when I hear CW there its way past my threshold. After about 100 QSOs now I have gotten over my shyness ( I think that plays a part) and I've tried to call CQ a few times on those bands, but have had about only a 5% success rate ( I'll keep trying though ) ... What I was also wondering after this weekend was how new CW OPs could participate in the bigger CW contests like the one this weekend. I listened but never attempted to make a QSO, I did however learn what the word test sounds like at QRS speeds ... At any rate, if it were not rediscovering CW my return to radio after 25 years QRT would not have lasted long, have made some great friends, started collecting and using straight keys, and just plain having fun.

Best Regards

Brian - KQ4MM
Yeah, I should have said, "CW ops are always helpful,  except for contesters who are anything but helpful " I stand corrected. Smiley
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AC4RD
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2017, 07:25:34 AM »

... What I was also wondering after this weekend was how new CW OPs could participate in the bigger CW contests like the one this weekend. I listened but never attempted to make a QSO,

Brian, I can't copy all those guys in my head--TI7W was running 45wpm, I think, every time I heard him.  But if you have a memory keyer--built into a lot of radios--you can get in those contests.  Program one key with your callsign--remembering that you have to be able to recognize your own callsign coming back to you at 50wpm.  Program another button with the contest exchange--contests with the same exchange for every QSO are the best for that, otherwise you need a keyer with the ability to assign a serial number to each QSO and send it when you are replying.

Then you can listen to someone calling "CQ TEST" until you've heard the callsign a few times.  Get one or two letters at a time until you're sure you have his callsign right.  Then when he says "TU" to the previous caller, hit the button with your own callsign in it.  He replies "KQ4MM 5NN 14."  You hit the button with "R 5NN 5 TU" and that's it--you've made a contact in a contest!   Grin  And do that for a few hours and I promise, your receiving speed will increase, no doubt about it.

HTH, 73 GL!   --ken
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AA4OO
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2017, 10:33:59 AM »

I tried a small unscientific test this morning...  30m was pretty busy and the noise levels were low for a change.

I sent my call for about 10 minutes at 15-16 wpm on 30m and got no takers... Then I sped up to over 20 wpm and got answered right away.  Did it again a couple QSOs later and same thing.

I think a many ops just don't want to work slower speeds.  Those new to CW who call and call with few responses probably get discouraged and turn to digital modes on 30m.

I've heard the phrase "Life's too short for QRP"... is there a corollary "Life's too short for slow code"?
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KD8ZM
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2017, 11:39:02 AM »

I tried a small unscientific test this morning...  30m was pretty busy and the noise levels were low for a change.

I sent my call for about 10 minutes at 15-16 wpm on 30m and got no takers... Then I sped up to over 20 wpm and got answered right away.  Did it again a couple QSOs later and same thing.

I think a many ops just don't want to work slower speeds.  Those new to CW who call and call with few responses probably get discouraged and turn to digital modes on 30m.

I've heard the phrase "Life's too short for QRP"... is there a corollary "Life's too short for slow code"?

I am slow, 15 wpm, and I almost always get a response to cq on 30m with a couple of minutes,  unless the band propagation is horrible. Are sure it's not your antenna?
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AA4OO
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2017, 12:19:39 PM »


I am slow, 15 wpm, and I almost always get a response to cq on 30m with a couple of minutes,  unless the band propagation is horrible. Are sure it's not your antenna?

Not unless my antenna works better over 20 wpm
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KD8ZM
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2017, 12:56:43 PM »


I am slow, 15 wpm, and I almost always get a response to cq on 30m with a couple of minutes,  unless the band propagation is horrible. Are sure it's not your antenna?

Not unless my antenna works better over 20 wpm

Ok I just went to 10110 and called at 13 wpm, got a reply from k3bsy in less than 2 minutes and had a nice qso (though weak - 559s all around ). Fairly typical because I'm not someone who would have the patience to call CQ for 15 minutes.  Maybe 15 and 20 are both too fast and are scaring off the true qsy crowd?
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KD8IIC
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2017, 07:11:36 PM »

  Guess I've never concluded my CQ send speed as being much of a hinderance to a reply.
  The skimmer says I gravitate to 12wpm so maybe it's a good average ability speed that's not too sluggish for
  seasoned ops or QRS new/rusters to answer. 
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2017, 10:12:08 PM »

Most I QSO with are older than me, and I'm 57!
Me too, even a few years younger!

I was also wondering after this weekend was how new CW OPs could participate in the bigger CW contests like the one this weekend.
I think that is not easy at all because even if you program buttons, you have to copy the serial number from the contester, and they're not happy to have to repeat again as it slows down their score, unless you just ignore that and press the button saying TU. But how are you going to send their callsign at high speed without a computer program? Being a competition, speed (overall throughput) if of the essence. There are a few contests especially for slower speeds, and some that are more relaxed, but the big ones are likely a no-go without QRQ. Many contesters have trained to do callsigns and read serial numbers at high speed, but cannot have a chat at high speed.

I tried a small unscientific test this morning...  30m was pretty busy and the noise levels were low for a change.

I sent my call for about 10 minutes at 15-16 wpm on 30m and got no takers... Then I sped up to over 20 wpm and got answered right away.  Did it again a couple QSOs later and same thing.

I think a many ops just don't want to work slower speeds.  Those new to CW who call and call with few responses probably get discouraged and turn to digital modes on 30m.

I've heard the phrase "Life's too short for QRP"... is there a corollary "Life's too short for slow code"?
I've also got only a feeling over the past two years of activity here (but this isolated part of the world is very different from N.AM. and EU. for CW) that slow calls get few takers, fast calls few takers, those in the middle the most takers. I believe that slow folks are reluctant to answer a call much above their speed ability, and I know for sure, sadly that there are many who don't have the patience or desire to work QRS, as they find it difficult, taxing, not fun. I simply go to a straight key then it is FUN even at slow speeds. SO I think speed matters, which is why I vary my CQ speeds, but CQ from here unless band is wide open for DX, is not easy: calling an hour without response, and no signals (other than WSPR and few digital signals) on any bands, is not uncommon down here.

I am slow, 15 wpm, and I almost always get a response to cq on 30m with a couple of minutes,  unless the band propagation is horrible.
I know that those of you in NAM, EU, JA are really lucky, if you are in SA, AF or OC on CW it is really hard there are few CW ops around even on weekends on WARC bands unless propagation is open to NAM, EU or JA. Russia including Asiatic Russia is the other exception, there are more CW Ops there too. I'm seriously considering in future a remote station in Europe, as it is awful here. A year or so back I and a few others managed to motivate many VK CW hams into more activity, but they've again dropped off to the TV and XYL who they here call "she who must be obeyed" (unlike those of us lucky enough to have traditional XYLs, generally non-Westerners).

  Guess I've never concluded my CQ send speed as being much of a hinderance to a reply.
  The skimmer says I gravitate to 12wpm so maybe it's a good average ability speed that's not too sluggish for
  seasoned ops or QRS new/rusters to answer. 
Many of the higher speed OPs I know (not myself nor all of them) will not answer a 12 WPM CQ, they just consider it too slow and difficult. They are used to keyers at higher speeds, and sending slow on a keyer is really hard for them because their reflexes are trained to move faster, so they make errors at 12WPM by too soon tapping on the paddle. If they have a straight key wired up and also  enjoy using a straight key, then that would be different. I'm glad you get plenty of takers, you are in a good place for CW, NAM. What bands do you get such success on? Also 30m, 20m or higher? Or mainly 40m (or 80m at night)?
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
K3UIM
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2017, 06:29:23 AM »

In the old days we had novice bands FULL of very QRS (5WPM or so) CW... I remember 15m well... we are missing out on something. Remember back then, how above 21100 was around 50 kHz full of slow CW all having great fun? Now it is all but empty.

There is, at least in North America as far as I can tell, slow speed CW taking place on 40m higher up. But I wonder about bands like 30m, where we, far away DX, can QSO America and Europe etc with modest set ups, but we almost never hear slow speed CW.

I am wondering if this may be due to those who are slower being shy, since there are few or no slow signals heard on 30m, shy to put out a CQ at 5WPM to 12WPM? Also, if they hear a faster CQ but can decode the callsign after many repeats, are they shy to answer at a very slow speed?

I remember being a novice in 1962 and never needing to look for a 5 wpm qso on 40. The band was full of us newbies struggling to master the code. I can't recall even once being outgunned with a block-buster signal. (May have happened, but ...) It was a different world back then. And, yes! We looked forward to when we could one day home-brew our own kw rig! (Today it's 1.5 kw??? Judas Priest! Why??? Hi)

I left hamming in the early 90's and just recently purchased a qrp tri-band transceiver kit from Pacific Antenna for 40, 30 and 15. After sending out about 25 or 30 cq's on the "recommended" qrp freq's, (Selecting the band puts you there) at 7 or 8 wpm, I have yet to get a bite. (Being almost 84 years old, I'm beginning to think my next of kin could be the lucky fisherman. Hi.)  I'll not give up, though!

Perhaps there are less cw novices out there today??? I hated to see the cw requirement removed from the tests! Compromising for gain is not always a good idea!

Charlie
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2017, 06:42:17 AM »

Perhaps there are less cw novices out there today??? I hated to see the cw requirement removed from the tests! Compromising for gain is not always a good idea!

Charlie

DR OT Charlie,

Yes, sadly you are right. There are way less CW novices these days. Do try around FISTS and SKCC frequencies, e.g. on 30m that is 10118 and 10120. Sad that you're not getting replies on the QRP frequencies either, though, I think that may improve with the QCX selling like hot cakes. More are finishing their builds and getting on air. The QCX defaults to 20 kHz above band edge at switch on, again, on 30m that means 10120. My guess is that part of the band will get the best results for slow speed CQ. I really need to put up a 30m antenna for direction USA, it is not easy to do at this QTH, fortunately I could to it for EU though. For USA maybe I need to try a sloper for QRO, or an End Fed Half Wave for QRP. Your small hours of the night, or very late evening, is when 30m is open to VK. I'd be very happy to QSO you and many others. I did manage N7XM on my 3Watts. 2-way QRP would be very nice!
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
K3UIM
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2017, 06:54:28 AM »

Good grief! FISTS, SKCC??? Like I said, "I've been away!!" Hi. What are they?
I'm printing out your last note so I don't forget the 30 m freq's you mentioned. I'll give them a try. Thanks.
Charlie
 
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2017, 07:15:10 AM »

Good grief! FISTS, SKCC??? Like I said, "I've been away!!" Hi. What are they?
I'm printing out your last note so I don't forget the 30 m freq's you mentioned. I'll give them a try. Thanks.
Charlie
 
Hi, do a web search for FISTS CW Club and look at North American chapter. It's worth joining! And also search for SKCC -- each have big web sites.
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
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