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eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: HS0ZIB on August 16, 2013, 02:20:06 AM



Title: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: HS0ZIB on August 16, 2013, 02:20:06 AM
I bought a Sierra Wilderness rig a few years ago off Ebay.  Great little rig, but I've still not got on the air with it.  One reason was because I was working away from my home base.  The other reason is because my CW speed is somewhat slower than a very slow snail.

I've read recent posts about the best way/learning technique to increase my CW speed.  In my mind, the best (and most enjoyable) way would be to get on the air, send QRS many times, and then work those stations who slow down to my snail's pace.

What's your opinion?  Get on the air at a snail's pace, or wait until my CW speed reaches double figures?

Simon


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: W1JKA on August 16, 2013, 03:44:11 AM
  YES, as mentioned many times before just get on the air even if it's only one LETTER per minute, plenty of hams out there just learning and as slow as you and many more willing to match your speed. Most of us started out slooowwwww and nervous.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: N9BH on August 16, 2013, 04:28:35 AM
Yes, get on the air....


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: ZENKI on August 16, 2013, 05:01:50 AM
5wpm CW on the AIR is the equivalent of  20 wpm off the air.

If you want to become a master at CW, 1 daily CW QSO is much more effective than endless hours sitting on a computer or some other off air CW learning aids.

What throws most new operators is non familiarity with common QSO abbreviations and prosigns.  These can throw  your mind and rattle your nerves. Once you are familiar and can recognize  common CW QSO conversation and practice, you can more effectively concentrate on technique and speed.

You also need to break your  reluctance to have your first on air QSO. Having your 5 first on the air QSO's will give you a lot of confidence. I know  a lot  operators who would just listened to CW for 1 year before they had the guts to make a QSO. I suggest you get on the air make your first QSO ASAP.  CW ragchew operators are very considerate and will turn a blind eye to your mistakes and be nice about it.  Just stay  away from the  5NN types on the low end of 20 meters. Tune to the top end of the CW bands where you hear some of the rag chew straight key types. These operators have more patience and dont have the 5nn 73 mentality.

SO  get your fist dirty, even with a straight key!

Good luck


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: K8AXW on August 16, 2013, 07:18:47 AM
Simon:  An intelligent man can make excuses and procrastinate until he dies!

The way it works is like this:  You get on the air at YOUR speed and either call someone or call CQ.  Only one of two things will happen.  Someone will drop down to your speed and work you or NADA, ZIP...nothing!  If by some chance you get someone who is too fast, ask him to PSE QRS. 

With that only two things can happen:  He does and you have your QSO.  He doesn't and the QSO fails.  No big deal.  It might be a big deal if this LID was the only ham in the world but he isn't.

Stop with the excuses and go for it.  Or as Larry the Cable Guy says, "Git 'er done!"  I love that expression.  This is the American way.  Git 'er done!


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: W5ESE on August 16, 2013, 09:54:51 AM
Try out the section of 40 meters between 7100-7125 KHz.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: W8DPC on August 16, 2013, 01:24:13 PM
GET ON THE AIR!

Hey, I'm in the process of re-learning code. I passed my code test then wanted nothing to do with it, so I forgot most that I learned. When I'm ready to get on the air with it, I'll probably be going at a snail's pace too, but so will others. Listen around a little bit - there are others who are going slow right now. And if you are slower, they'd probably enjoy slowing down even more.

The main thing is, it doesn't hurt to try. Nobody's going to sit an laugh at you for being slow. Even if they did, hey man, at least you're on the air trying to work it!

Dave
KX8N


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: WA9CFK on August 16, 2013, 02:02:10 PM
Yup,   Slowing down for the new and not so new comers is part of the hobby.

You will gain a lot just by getting used to the standard exchange of info then add in a few details.

As mentioned, the high end of 40m in the summer and 80 meters in the winter are good starting points.

See you on the band.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: M0LEP on August 16, 2013, 02:30:39 PM
I'm not quite sure what bits of band are available to you out in HS0, but it might be worth trying to find out if there are any locally defined QRS centres of activity, and concentrating on operating there. QRP centres of activity might also worth trying.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KU3V on August 16, 2013, 08:09:07 PM
I started very slow and as soon as I was holding QSOs my speed picked up.  I am no speed demon but my CW has improved quite a bit by being on the air.  Go for it.  If people don't slow down to reply to you after you tell them PSE QRS, then just spin the dial to another frequency and call CQ CQ agn.  You will find 99% of the operators who will match your speed.  Besides no one knows you since you will never see the people you hold QSOs with unless you become friends and meet at HAM Fests, etc. 

I find the following freq is great for new folks including me: 7.055.  From about 7.049 to 7.060 I have held many QSOs on 40 meters.  People sending only 1 Watt up to 100 Watts.  Have not made any DX contacts yet but sure met a lot of nice people on the air in the US.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  :D
73
KU3V
Bill


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: NO2A on August 17, 2013, 02:08:15 PM
Hello Simon,as others have stated I would reccomend getting on the air,as that`s the best practice. Not sure what the band limits are in your country,but your best bet is the higher ends of the cw bands. If you can operate just above 7100,that`s a good part of the band. In the U.S. 50 khz up from most bands is good for slower speed cw. 17 meters would be a good band to hear you if propagation is good. 15m if conditions permit would be good too,though lately it`s been poor. It would help if we knew what bands you can operate from Thailand.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: AC6CV on August 18, 2013, 07:42:27 AM
If I am whizzing along at 30 wpm and you answered my CQ at 5 wpm I would switch to my straight key and respond at the speed you answered my CQ. We have all started out slow. My opinion, amateurs that work mostly CW are glad to see other amateurs who are really interested in CW. Although I have nothing against SSB, CW is my greatest interest. Get on and you will be amazed how fast your speed will build. No one is going to be critical because you start out slow.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: K5AID on August 22, 2013, 09:19:20 AM
You bet!  That is the BEST way to learn and improve!   ;D
I remember the sweaty palms and butterfies that I had every time
I called CQ! Its normal!  Another good idea is to listen to W1AW and
get the qualifying runs done. That will help boost your confidence at each
documented level.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KA0HVE on August 22, 2013, 10:07:18 AM
Yep, get on the air!  But, I know where you're coming from.

In addition to getting on the air I downloaded CWGet to my laptop, ran a microphone over to my keyer speaker, hooked up my straight key (which I prefer), and I use CWGet to give me feedback on how my Morse code skill is or is not progressing.

You gotta do some on the air sending before using CWGet will really make sense.  Once you become attuned to how you should be sending you'll notice there are a LOT of hams sending mediocre to bad code but as long as you can understand it it's good enough so have fun.  Don't be intimidated by your lack of skill because that's something you can fix.  Join the crowd!


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: SM5JAB on August 22, 2013, 01:09:30 PM
Of course you should get on the air! Firstly it will give you experience and ramps up your CW proficiency, secondly we need more populated bands. So just go for it!


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KA0HVE on August 23, 2013, 06:45:52 AM
Something else I want to suggest that seems obvious but maybe isn't - eavesdropping.  Eavesdrop on QSOs, lots of them.  Also, write down what you hear.

For me, there was a big difference between listening to perfectly sent code from W1AW code practice sessions and a QSO between two hams on the air.  There's also a big difference between just listening and writing while listening.

When I went to have a QSO it was difficult to keep up while writing down what was received.  As you practice it becomes at least more automatic.  I think it also aids the brain to decode code without thinking about it nearly as much.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KA0HVE on August 23, 2013, 10:10:02 AM
http://www.fpqrp.org/BBITS/BBQ0309.pdf

Scroll down to this part: Eight Reasons CW Ops Stay Off the Air


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: K8AXW on August 23, 2013, 07:46:36 PM
HVE:  Thanks for the link OM.  Very interesting!  Bookmarked it for reading when I have more time.  Sounds like a fun group.



Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: RENTON481 on August 23, 2013, 11:44:55 PM
As an SWL who is learning code I would say yes, get on the air.  If you listen around the CW sections of the 40 and 20 meter bands you will hear plenty of slow speed QSO's by hams who are doing slow speed CW.  You won't be in bad company.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: WA0TML on August 24, 2013, 08:52:35 PM
By all means, get on the air! We all have been there, we make mistakes - so what. On air experience is much better than copying off a record, tape, computer.  I have to agree with others, stay off of 20 meters for now.

Any good CW operator started slow and worked up and they will, or should, slow down for a slower speed operator. One word of caution (ok several words) never send faster than you can receive.

That is my two cents worth, hope to work you some time - SSB or CW, slow or fast - it does not matter. Good Luck!

73,
WB0HZL/DW5HT


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: M0LEP on August 25, 2013, 01:58:34 AM
I have to agree with others, stay off of 20 meters for now.

From Thailand he may not have all that much choice unless the propagation's being really helpful. Parts of 40 metres still get flattened by broadcast over that side of the globe, if my listening from Australia earlier in the year was any guide...

...but 30 and 17 will likely have more gentle pile-ups.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KE4ILG on August 25, 2013, 10:49:04 AM
Some really great comments and suggestions which I echo.  If I could shout it louder I would, GET ON THE AIR!!

In my early days of cw operating I would write a list of everything I would want to say. 
Ke4ilg
Mike
Jacksonville, NC
Icom-706
dipole up about 35 ft
retired Marine

So when I would get excited all I had to do was look at my list.  It may seem extreme to write my own name down but I didn't have to think about it.  73, Mike ke4ilg


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: K2MMO on August 29, 2013, 05:51:32 AM
What are you waiting for lots of great qso's on the bands every day.The only way to pick up your speed is my tapping out those letters
When you cal CQ and you get and answer and you find the operator is moving a little bit quicker than you like ask him to QRS most "hams"will slow down We were all in your shoes
Relax and enjoy soon you too will be tapping out at a good speed.
73


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: K0ZN on September 02, 2013, 07:59:34 PM

 AMEN !!  YES !   Get on the air. Your speed will pick up much quicker if you get into active QSO's.  EVERYBODY starts off slow !!  I don't know of anybody
 who was born on this planet and instantly capable of 20 WPM !

 DO NOT be afraid to ask another station to QRS.  If you have the bad luck of running into one of the rare "jerks"....don't fret....HE is the guy with the problem.
 Say "73" and move on!  That said, I would not recommend answering a CQ by some guy sending 30 WPM....he, by definition, is looking for a high speed QSO.  Common sense applies....

 DON'T be afraid to call CQ. You may not get a pile up, but you will accumulate some QSO's.  Tell people you are new to CW and learning.....98% of them will
fully understand and work with you. CW is still pretty much old school ham radio with a lot of fraternalism and friendship..... it is not like the unfriendly cliques on 75 M SSB. The bottomline is most CW operators WANT to encourage new CW op's and will QRS to work you. Free advice:  try to send the best CW you can (i.e. proper spacing between characters, letters and words) at a speed you are comfortable with.....not the fastest you can send.

73,  K0ZN


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KF7ATL on October 02, 2013, 01:49:54 PM
Simon,

We were all once where you are now. We'll slow down for you.  I'll work you any time you want, no matter how slow. Besides, I still need Thailand!

Garth, KF7ATL


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KE7WAV on October 02, 2013, 05:17:59 PM
Get on the air and give it your best. 40M at 7.100 to 7.120 tends to have a lot of ops willing to go slow. I'd be happy to chat with you no matter how slow.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on October 02, 2013, 05:46:02 PM
I bought a Sierra Wilderness rig a few years ago off Ebay.  Great little rig, but I've still not got on the air with it.  One reason was because I was working away from my home base.  The other reason is because my CW speed is somewhat slower than a very slow snail.

I've read recent posts about the best way/learning technique to increase my CW speed.  In my mind, the best (and most enjoyable) way would be to get on the air, send QRS many times, and then work those stations who slow down to my snail's pace.

What's your opinion?  Get on the air at a snail's pace, or wait until my CW speed reaches double figures?

Simon

Get on the air and have a go at it. I believe the slower or new to cw hams usually congregate about 50khz up from the lower band edge but I could be wrong on this. Check into it.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: NK7Z on October 02, 2013, 08:46:02 PM
I bought a Sierra Wilderness rig a few years ago off Ebay.  Great little rig, but I've still not got on the air with it.  One reason was because I was working away from my home base.  The other reason is because my CW speed is somewhat slower than a very slow snail.

I've read recent posts about the best way/learning technique to increase my CW speed.  In my mind, the best (and most enjoyable) way would be to get on the air, send QRS many times, and then work those stations who slow down to my snail's pace.

What's your opinion?  Get on the air at a snail's pace, or wait until my CW speed reaches double figures?

Simon
Simon,
In short yes, you should get on the air!  If someone will not QRS, find another...  The only real way to increase speed is to work people...  When I started I could do just barely 5 WPM.  I can now do 40 WPM, or better, and the way it happened was by getting on the air at 5 WPM...  I will be happy to work you anytime, ant any speed you feel good at.


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: WA7SGS on October 09, 2013, 09:07:01 PM
This site uses the Koch method of teaching Morse code.  Compared to they way I learned it over 40 years ago, I consider it superior since it teaches instinctive reaction to the sound at a speed better than 5 WPM.  I got 5 WPM in one week of study back in the day but I never could receive better than 12 WPM or send better than 14 WPM despite much practice.  I still can't send for squat but using the Koch method is helping me to receive faster speeds much easier than I did doing it the old fashioned way.

http://aa9pw.com/morsecode/

As for getting on the air with slow CW, that's fine.  It beats not being on the air at all...LOL!  Some day you may find conditions for phone are lousy but the CW can get through.

Rick



Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: W4KA on October 10, 2013, 04:51:47 AM
Yes you should.  How do you think fast cw ops started?  They got on the air, lots of slow cw ops on and I will slow down and work anyone when I'm on the air.  Good luck.  David


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: HS0ZIB on October 10, 2013, 05:55:16 AM
Thanks for all the encouragement, and I will certainly get on the air soon.  I've just started to build a new little hotel on Phuket Island (my 4th project of this type).  This time, I am building with ham radio in mind. So as described in a thread in the antennas forum, I will try to design my guest-room layout to fit in with a reasonable, top band wire antenna and ground system.

Simon


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KH2G on October 10, 2013, 10:29:04 AM
I agree with getting on the air NOW@ I would like to suggest that if you have a program that copies code, don't use it for on air BUT use it to practice sending and develope your fist so you sound good. A decoder will let you know in a hurry if your ffist is clean and that is very important for getting those desired contacts. Nobody enjoys listening to a hasha fisty scratchy - hi
You will start improving the sooner the quicker by getting thosw sweaty palms on the key and go for it. I still recall my shaking and quaking on the first one. ;D
73
Dick KH2G


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KQ6Q on October 25, 2013, 08:58:53 PM
With your HS0 call, people will work you at whatever speed is comfy for you.
As you make more contacts, your comfortable speed will increase.
Fred, KQ6Q
(HS2AJG 1973-74)


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KK4MRN on November 26, 2013, 07:37:05 AM
This is a great thread that is inspirational for this CW newbie. 

I am still trying to learn CW.  And hopefully, I can try making my first contact in February.   Maybe even December or January if I can learn all the elements by then (letters, numbers, pro-signs, punctuation), but I doubt it.  I like the idea that as soon as you can listen and send the required elements even if at a slow speed of 5 WPM, just get on the air and make a contact.  I looking forward to that moment.

I've been practicing about 15 to 30 minutes a day.  I am learning the elements at 18 wpm, but the overall speed is 5 wpm for the spacing between elements and words.   I think this is the Farnesworth and Koch methods.

I talked to a ham who only does CW on HF and he said he was willing to show me his rig and how to do CW properly when I am ready to get on the air.   Funny thing is, he will do "phone" on 2 meters though.  And I talked to other hams learning CW as well.  So, it looks like there will be some local hams I will be able to make contacts. 

Daniel, KK4MRN



Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: K3STX on November 28, 2013, 09:37:12 AM
Daniel.

I am happy you are practicing, but perhaps you are further along than you realize! I have never understood why people use the stupid Koch or Farnesworth or whatever they are called. Just listen to 5wpm code at "normal" 5wpm spacing, THAT is what a good CW operator will be sending you ON THE AIR.

Go to the ARRL website or google "W1AW Code Practice Files". The ARRL has mp3 files of code (and you can print out the corresponding text to follow along) at speeds from 5wpm up to 40wpm. That is the Morse you should LISTEN to and THAT is what you should emulate when you SEND. That is what I did, I printed out the text, and then sent with my practice oscillator with the mp3 file going (actually, back when "I" did it there were no mp3 files, we would listen on the air.) THAT is how to learn Morse code, and once you can understand 70% or so of 5 wpm text GET ON THE AIR. Once on the air, one QSO per day for a month will AMAZED at your progress. I PROMISE!!!!

Don't wait, just do it. Nothing in life is perfect, you don't have to be perfect either. What is the worst that can happen, you freeze up and miss almost everything the other guy says? So what!!


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: M0LEP on November 28, 2013, 10:27:30 AM
Just listen to 5wpm code at "normal" 5wpm spacing, THAT is what a good CW operator will be sending you ON THE AIR.

At slow speeds (say less than about 12wpm) you will quite often hear "Farnsworth" spaced characters on the air. Chances are, if you call into a pile-up and the pile-up operator is using a paddle and a rig's built-in keyer, then he'll slow down to your speed by spacing the characters out to your speed. That's at least half because changing the CW speed properly involves diving into a menu option, and not many rig designers put the option right at the top. There are exceptions. Speed control is usually at the operator's fingertips if an external keyer is in use, but only one of my rigs lets me change the CW speed without pressing at least two buttons first.

Obviously, straight key operators don't have to worry about such things, but even with them you may sometimes get "Farnsworth" spaced characters...

73, Rick M0LEP


Title: RE: Should I get on the air, even though my CW is very slooowwwww?
Post by: KD8IIC on November 28, 2013, 04:14:42 PM
YES, My Goodness, Yes, By all Means, Who Ever Wants to get on the air at/with Slow, Clunky, Beginner's Speed, Please Do It!!!...We Are All waiting To Work You!!! Just Try...73