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Author Topic: Getting motivated and Recruiting ??  (Read 8595 times)

Posts: 58

« on: February 06, 2002, 05:24:44 PM »

What are good ways to motivate yourself to learn CW ? Also, what are good ways to recruit others (Young and old ) into amateur radio and learning CW ??  Thanks and best 73's,  Sam  KG4HEB,

Posts: 21811

« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2002, 06:16:51 PM »

CW is easy to learn and much fun to use.  In the "old days" we learned it out of necessity, since all license classes required a code test, and most new hams came through the ranks starting as Novices, who only had CW privileges on HF, with additional restrictions that Novices and Tech Plus licensees do not have today: Those being, we were restricted to 75 Watts DC input power (typically 40W output), and crystal control (no VFO's!) only.  We had another restriction, too: The Novice license was only good for one year, and was non-renewable.  That was quite an incentive to either learn more or get out of the hobby.

Once you actually _use_ CW, even if fumbling along at 2 wpm and making 50% mistakes, most find it so enjoyable they want to learn more, and do better.  The mode can also easily "spoil" an operator, since 50W on CW is equivalent to 200W on SSB and about 800W on AM or FM, in terms of what can be worked in any situation.  So, getting "spoiled" means working the world with 50 Watts and a wire, on CW.  Then, try that using another mode.  Oops, not so easy.  (Although I must admit that PSK31 is pretty close.  It just takes a whole lot more equipment, like a computer, sound card and software as a minimum, to use effectively.)  A simple QRP CW rig can weigh one pound and run all day off a battery pack, and thus makes the most simple portable DX station possible.

It's also interesting that, despite the popularity of other modes and the elimination of the code proficiency requirement in many cases, CW activity on the bands is about as high as it ever was, at least as high as it's been for the past 40 years or so.  The CW subbands are still crowded, and when the bands are really open, they're more crowded.  All those using it can't be nuts -- it's a great mode.

If that's not enough incentive, then perhaps simply challenging yourself is.  Successful people (in life, and in all endeavors of life) constantly challenge themselves, and when you reach the pinnacle of success in any field, the only one left to challenge you is you.  Reminds me of a really great and very short conversation I heard at a Lakers game last year: After Kobe Bryant did a 180 degree spin, reverse-slam dunk starting out about 15 feet from the basket and made it look about as easy as eating a jelly donut, coach Phil Jackson said to Kobe: "You're gonna hurt yourself."  To which Kobe replied, "No, I'm not."  Pure and simple.

As for recruiting, I'm sure there are as many opinions as stars in the sky, but the only thing I've found effective is letting prospects sit at the rig and have a chat with somebody on the other side of the world (with me as the control operator).  It is quite an experience for most people, and many immediately want to know more about this wonderful hobby.  For that reason, my door is always open to anyone remotely interested, and I've set up parking-lot portable stations many times.  Seems about 9 out of 10 people with any interest in anything become as least a bit interested in chatting with the world "for free," using no telephone or internet connection, just a tiny radio and a whip on the car.



Posts: 58

« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2002, 09:13:30 PM »

Thanks very much for your reply . I dont know much about the process of learning other than it takes practice . What all types of equipment will I need to learn code fairly easy . Iam 23 and have really loved ham radio and have been wanting to learn the code ever since I was introduced to it. I find the hardest part of learning the code is sitting down, picking up the book and picking it back up the next day . But, beleive me I wont to learn CW, I cant feel like a true ham without it . Plus, I know Iam missing out on alot .   Thanks very much and 73's,  Sam

Posts: 70

« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2002, 11:16:29 AM »

Spend a few bucks and buy CodeQuick. I couldn't get anywhere with the freeware. CodeQuick is actually fun! I got to 5wpm in about three weeks, practicing the recommended one hour per day. Although I haven't practiced as much since passing the test in December, I'm up to 10wpm now.
dah dah di di dit
di di di dah dah

Posts: 21811

« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2002, 11:17:50 AM »

I'm not sure what you mean by a "book."  I've worked CW for 37 years, learned it at age 13 and was working it daily at 50+wpm by age 14 and never had a "book."  What kind of book?

I used a small slip of paper with the letters, numbers and symbols written out with the dits and dahs written next to them, and would practice with a buddy, who later became WN2WND (when I became WN2WIK, we took our Novice tests together), for about an hour a day, after school, just sending to each other with code practice setups we built: A key, a buzzer, and a battery.  We would also challenge each other on "CW" using our vocal chords!  No kidding.  "A" is "di-dah."  "B" is "dah-di-di-dit."  And so forth.  You can "say" every character in code, pretty efficiently, and this requires no equipment at all.  

So, when Dave and I walked to school together, we'd "Morse" each other vocally, spelling out car license plates or anything else we'd spot.  Within two weeks we were both going much faster than 5 wpm.

I do realize that it's easier to learn almost anything when you're a kid, and I doubt I could learn that fast today.  Oh well.  But at 23, you're far from over the hill.  I still don't know what you mean by a "book."

Evidently there is some excellent tutorial software out there, though.  I haven't used any of it, myself, but I keep hearing "Code Quick" is great.  You might try that.  

The _only_ challenge, I think, is getting that 5 wpm code endorsement, which gives you CW privileges on four HF-DX bands (and phone privileges on one of them).  Once you're licensed to actually _operate_ CW, increasing speed and proficiency is a cinch, since you can now actually _use_ it to make contacts.  There's nothing like actually using anything to become good at it.  Studying and practicing are a pain...using is fun.

73 & good luck!

Steve, WB2WIK/6

Posts: 440


« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2002, 10:40:13 PM »

I just wanted to say I am also 13 and I am working on my general class license since now it only takes 5wpm code and a 35 question test by this summer I should have it all down ready to go.  Thats about it just had to put my two sense in,hey hey....

Steve Xavier Anness,KD5OWO
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