Adding CW to the Mix

Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
203
#1
I've sampled a number of modes, the normal PSK routines, RTTY, Olivia, phone (of course), and the JT modes. Of those I've tried, JT was easily the most boring, though perhaps most productive in terms of volume, but not quality of entities. In fact, I just took a look at hamspots and the rarest entity currently listed for JT modes is Turkey - woohoo.

During the recent CW contest, I endeavored to participate even though I have a horrible ear for it. Knowing that I can send it fine, I relied on my transceivers CW decoding feature to help me along. Through the course of a night, I learned to pick out my callsign and the normal exchange, making me less dependent on the decoding of my transceiver.

I have to say, it's added a new element of pleasure to the hobby for me. Let's face it, we're going to see many more rare ones working CW than we will something along the lines of JT65 or 9, and CW is more interactive and skill based, rather than pressing a series of buttons over the course of a single six minute exchange. Please don't think I'm attacking the JT modes. I think they're great for what they are.

I would encourage any of you who are timid of CW to learn a few basics, as I have, to get you started. It's actually quite enjoyable and challenging.
 

kj3n

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
80
#4
I would encourage any of you who are timid of CW to learn a few basics, as I have, to get you started. It's actually quite enjoyable and challenging.
Yeah..... that's not going to happen. I never found CW enjoyable....... ever. I don't even like to hear it.

Pass.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
203
#5
Yeah..... that's not going to happen. I never found CW enjoyable....... ever. I don't even like to hear it.

Pass.
I never disliked CW, I just had a hard time decoding it. However, since I've instituted this unorthodox approach, it's not been so bad. Fact is, being able to utilize all modes completes the cycle. There's no longer a mode I can't work.

I keep an eye on the cluster and it's not unusual to see a rare entity utilizing only CW and nothing else. In fact, in the past, I've seen entities that would have been an ATNO for me but was not able to work it due to my inflexibility. If you're just interested in making contacts, I suppose there's no need, but to realize the fullest possibilities, for me at least, I'm glad I have gotten as far as being able to at least complete a simple exchange in CW.
 

kj3n

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
80
#6
I have completed 2 CW contacts, both by computer. That is as far as I care to go.

As much as I would like to put Mongolia in the log, if it only appears on CW, then it's not going to happen. I can live with that.

I don't live or die by anything in ham radio. Too many other hams seem to take this WAY too seriously.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
203
#7
I'm on your side on that one. I have other hobbies I enjoy more. However, since I don't spend that much time on the radio, I do want to maximize opportunities.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2012
Messages
110
#8
jt65,jt9,ft8

I've sampled a number of modes, the normal PSK routines, RTTY, Olivia, phone (of course), and the JT modes. Of those I've tried, JT was easily the most boring, though perhaps most productive in terms of volume, but not quality of entities. In fact, I just took a look at hamspots and the rarest entity currently listed for JT modes is Turkey - woohoo.

During the recent CW contest, I endeavored to participate even though I have a horrible ear for it. Knowing that I can send it fine, I relied on my transceivers CW decoding feature to help me along. Through the course of a night, I learned to pick out my callsign and the normal exchange, making me less dependent on the decoding of my transceiver.

I have to say, it's added a new element of pleasure to the hobby for me. Let's face it, we're going to see many more rare ones working CW than we will something along the lines of JT65 or 9, and CW is more interactive and skill based, rather than pressing a series of buttons over the course of a single six minute exchange. Please don't think I'm attacking the JT modes. I think they're great for what they are.

I would encourage any of you who are timid of CW to learn a few basics, as I have, to get you started. It's actually quite enjoyable and challenging.
jt65 is an excellent mode for those that have very poor antennas and low power it gets the signal out. jt9 is a little better as far as cutting thru the noise. the new mode is ft8 give it a shot is a lot faster than jt65 and jt9.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
579
Location
Gettysburg, Pa
#9
For me it was like learning to play a musical instrument. Very ruff in
the beginning but it requires practice over time and became my favorite mode.
Getting on the air is a great way to improve. Remember almost everyone
starting out sounds ruff but that goes away with time and practice.
Good luck....
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
1
Location
Baltimore
#10
CW is the original Chat Room!

I would encourage any of you who are timid of CW to learn a few basics, as I have, to get you started. It's actually quite enjoyable and challenging.
I agree. Used to be, that you needed a little bit of Morse to get a license. Now you don't need Morse, but it is real nice to have. First, you get 20 times the power with CW. And it is nice to use. I have a lot of pleasure copying a station sending a bit slower than I can do maximum. It is just so nice to see real words and thoughts coming out of dits and dahs. Amazing!

Encouraging anyone and everyone to learn the code and get on the air with CW. Contact me for a QSO SKED (schedule appointment on the air). I am good on QRZ.com. I will be happy to go as slow as you want.

After all - CW is the original Chat Room!

73, Joe W3TTT
 
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,559
#11
Are you using a straight key or a paddle and keyer?
I love the digi modes, because if I'm not decoding them directly, they are sounders to indicate that the band is not dead at all, and it is open to *somewhere*. :)

As an swl, with no intent on becoming an amateur, I picked up a nice bencher straight key and a practice oscillator. My first attempts using a pot-metal bend-y piece of junk made me upgrade immediately.

After learning a few characters from code-tapes, I would then try to "send it" via the oscillator. That combination of sound, and FEEL, made me learn it very quick. My brain was putting two senses together, which helped.

Back in the day, I would grab text from magazines or newspapers and send it, skipping the characters I didn't know, to an imaginary recipient. :)

These days, I suppose one could try to "send" the messages from all the RadioReference threads to another imaginary recipient.

Learning cw is not only for amateurs, but can be a nifty tool for swl'ers or amateur-swl'ers too. Sell the key / paddle / oscillator when you no longer need it.
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
22
Location
Wherever The RV Is Parked
#12
I work strictly CW, my ICOM 7300 mic is still in the plastic bag. Have a look at SKCC - Straight Key Century Club.
You can work any speed with that group and they are very supportive. CW is a skill that has to be developed but for many like myself it's very enjoyable. You'll find me most evenings around 7052 when the rig is connected. We're full time RV'ers so it requires some setup time, and hopefully I'll be back on the air this coming Wednesday. If you'll join the SKCC group, get a good straight key and have patience you'll get there. I sometimes use a straight key but mostly use a side swiper or more affectionately called a cootie. As far as using a computer to copy that's OK and I've done it myself. It's also another learning tool. Good Luck and --... ...--
 
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