CW attempt #1: success 0

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by AJ4ZX, Jul 13, 2010.

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  1. MW0UZO

    MW0UZO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Jeff
    Well done trying your first CW QSO - it took me ages to actually get round to trying a real QSO. I've had a few since then and have gone back to learning rx to get my reliability up. My nerves kill all rx ability during the QSO!
    Theres plenty of people here with good advice on CW, join a club too (i joined SKCC).
    Dan.
     
  2. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's December of 1959. I'm on the Novice portion of 15 meters (21153 kcs if my crystal is correctly marked). Pumping a mighty 75 watts input to a pair of 807s (output maybe 50 watts). Antenna is a 40 meter dipole. SWR? We didn't worry about it.

    Called CQ from Las Vegas NV and signed de KN7KBN. Immediately, a KN4 from South Carolina called me, and my mind evaporated. I did copy his call when he turned it back to me and we finished the QSO. My memory of the event ends as soon as I recognize my call. After that, nothing until I realized my pencil was moving.
     
  3. N3PDT

    N3PDT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    AJ4ZX,

    Yep that's pretty much everyone's first experience. Mind goes blank, you start to panic, forget your own call, etc. etc. I've been at it for about 8 weeks now and keep a cheat sheet with important stuff like my call, my name, punctuations, and QTH written down. I find I can send anything I can read. I'll also jot down today's WX stats and my rig/antenna info.

    My first QSO was with a guy named jeff in Ohio. Got his call sign and the other info, and that was about it. After I calmed down and re-read my notes, I also figured out his town, his antenna and his rig! It was in there, but my brain wasn't processing it well. I find I'm still missing stuff that I'm actually copying, but as I'm getting more relaxed, I miss less and less. I try to get at least one call in a day and listen in on a couple more. I'm getting better, but I still freeze up for a few characters and QRM and QSB give me fits.

    Just keep at it, let the other op know you're brand new, and don't be shy to ask for a RPT and QRS. Took me 5 tries to get a guy's SKCC number night before last. I finally told him: NEW CW OP HR, I M SLOW WITH NUMBERS. He sent it R E A L slow, I finally got it, and we moved on and chatted WX a bit before sending our 73 back and forth. If you're like most of us, you'll find CW more and more addicting. I haven't abandoned my mic yet, but it sure is gathering a lot of dust!

    Doug, N3PDT
     
  4. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD Ham Member QRZ Page

    It would be smart to put a recorder where it could record everything and then listen afterward for these brain farts!
     
  5. AG3Y

    AG3Y Guest

    Doug, with a call like that, you had BETTER stick to CW ! :eek: ;) :D
     
  6. N3PDT

    N3PDT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, selecting that call maybe wasn't my wisest decision - for more than one reason. But so far it's worked out okay, and I do like its rythm and weight in CW. I've thought of changing it again and getting another zero call, but I'm used to it now, people know me by that call, zeroes really weight a call up, and I have a bunch of N3PDT QSL cards left to send. I still like it a LOT better than KD0JSS.
     
  7. KE5FRF

    KE5FRF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another suggestion to encourage you on your first CW contacts...

    Most experienced ops will have a sense that they are working someone new or freshly minted into the CW ranks...as much by your fist and cadence as anything else...but also by your hesitations etc.

    This is one of the characteristics of code that is difficult to explain but VERY REAL nevertheless...Your fist is capable of showing emotions, frustrations, joy, friendliness, fear, anxiety, and a whole host of detectable qualities. Those of us who are experienced are even able to intentionally add qualities to our sending that show such things. Amazing isn't it, being that code is a simple, monotoned interruption of a continuous waveform and "nothing more" in the mathematical sense.

    So, most of the time an op will sense your newness and make the extra effort to be patient and encouraging. Any GOOD CW op will do this (though you might get your first taste of detecting emotions in a fist if HE loses patience or gets flustered!) :D

    One way to insure that the other guy works with you (or moves on and leaves you hanging) is to start the QSO by sending something that clearly marks you as inexperienced. Try sending "NW CW OP". Write that down on a tablet next to you so you don't forget. Practice THIS short message along with your callsign and the normal prosigns and such.

    9/10 ops will take the cue and work patiently with you. But just as life has its jerks, some will just tune away and forget about you. Thats OK, you don't want to work those guys anyway! They will just frustrate you more. Make sure your skin is thick and don't take it personal.

    I dare say that you won't run into these guys often. Most would not answer your call from the start if they are true jerks. But don't worry about it if someone does. When I was learning, I did have one QSO that I was offended by but I quickly forgot it happened.

    Also, don't try to call a slow CQ on 14.005 Mhz or a frequency like that. You will find us QRQ operators on the low end of the bands, mostly below the 30 KHz point (but that isn't in stone). There are plenty of SKCC frequencies for QRS, as well as QRP frequencies where a lot of low power guys also work slower code with a straight key. They will be happy just to make the contact and add you to the log if they hear you!

    One other thing...remember that there are plenty of ops on the bands who are also new and learning...some perhaps who are at a more advanced stage of confidence and experience but who are more comfortable at a slower speed. Look for THEIR CQs and answer THEIR calls as much as possible. Listening first is often better than transmitting in such cases.
     
  8. W5HTW

    W5HTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was lucky. My first Novice CW experience came the day I arrived home from school and found the FCC license in the mail box. I had taken the test with a friend, and I called him (on the phone) and asked if he had his license. He did. So we arranged to get on the air on 40 CW. My rig was only made for 40 CW, and ran about 12 watts input. But it was enough for John and me to have our very first QSO ever! No idea what he had for a rig. I don't think I ever knew.

    After that, it seemed easier. I was a high school kid. So imagine how thrilled I was when my second QSO was with a high school girl in Kentucky! (I was in Tennessee.) I think that second QSO earned me the Rag Chewer's Club award, for which you had to have a QSO lasting at least 30 minutes. Of course, it is not difficult to take 30 minutes to say "hello, how are you today?" at four words per minute. Or maybe three. I was sure going slow. So was she.

    My third QSO was with another friend from high school. He, too, was a Novice. We got up to 5 wpm, I bet.

    After that, it was 'take whatever comes.' Had tons of fun with a 40 meter folded dipole 15 feet off the ground, and 12 watts crystal controlled.

    Enjoy ham radio, and enjoy Morse!

    Ed
     
  9. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hmmmm... I'm a little concerned. If your dial says W1AW is at 14.095, what frequency were you calling CQ on? Much below 14.080 on your dial and you will be in the Extra band, I suspect.
     
  10. AB2T

    AB2T Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Jeff,

    Just another welcome aboard! My first two years of contacts were made with a Polish J-38 knock-off straight key bolted to a piece of plywood with mismatched screws. Stay in the old Novice bands (now the 'Technician HF portions') and you'll do fine.

    Little tip: sometimes a station will simply send one or two ? if he/she hears a faint or marginal signal after their CQ. Or, they might send something like AJ? AJ? (i.e. "the station with prefix AJ go ahead"). This is quite common during contests and pileups. It's arguably better procedure to send QRZ? DE <callsign> K ("who's calling me?") rather than just send a string of ? or partial callsigns. However, DX don't have a lot of time to wind out long callsigns when ops have been waiting hours to make that Q.

    CW is awesome.

    73, Jordan
     
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