Slow down for slow speed CW Ops!
I passed the code test to get my license. Tho I've never been very fast at CW I still like to get on the air and pound a little brass. In the last couple of years I've built eight CW transmitters using tubes and couple QRP kits. It's fun to tell another operator that "RIG HERE IS HB TUBE GEAR.
One of the biggest discouragements is when an operator responds to my CQ at a faster speed then I can copy. I will ask them to QRS (slow down) they say OK but continue at the fast speed. After telling them again "TOO FAST TO CPY PSE QRS" and they continue on at a fast clip I usually stop transmitting and shut the radio off.
This happens more often then not. Why can't these guys slow down and match my speed? Why even bother to answer my slow speed CQ? If they want to promote CW they need to help the slow guys. Not every one can copy 15 WPM and faster.
I do miss the old novice days when you could count on a nice slow speed QSO. The best slow speed CW I've copied came from a gent who was close to 90 years old. He sent slow and steady with a perfect fist. The next best CW I've copied was from Japenese hams, they always came back at the same speed I was sending. When copying good slow speed code I notice my speed over time begins to increase. Being able to copy near 100% is very encouraging and helps build speed but if the other guy sends faster then I can copy it is counter productive and I just shut down.
Please, if you hear a slow seed CW operator calling CQ, answer his CQ at the same speed and give the guy a break.
As my callsign suggests, I did not pass a code test. But, I am having a blast practising code and am really looking forward to getting my homebrew tube rig on the air (it will be a while). It will be a long time before I can copy code at any speed, so hopefully when the time comes, I can find you calling CQ.
What frequencies are you operating? If you stay near the SKCC and FISTS areas, you should find plenty of people who will slow down. If you are on the lower portions of the bands, then that is usually frequented by faster ops who will expect you to jump in at a higher speed.
I hate to say it, but a lot of folks have no idea what QRS means. Or if they do, they just get a kick out of sending faster than they know the op at the other end can copy. If I were you, I would drop my speed to about 5 WPM and send "please slow down. Can you copy this?" and see what happens.
A memory imprinted on my brain was when I was about 12 years old just before getting my license and listening while my Dad worked a station on CW. The fellow two or three times asked my Dad to QRS, but Pop kept sending at the same speed, so the op on the other end just signed off. After the QSO, I asked Pop, "why didn't you slow down? He asked you twice to QRS." Dad had been out of ham radio for years and only got back into it after I discovered several boat anchors in the attic and hooked them up. He had apparently forgotten what "QRS" meant but was too ashamed to admit it to me.
Try 40 meters around 7.1 to 7.125. Many folks sending slow code there to improve their skills.
It must be ego working, when they 'act' like they're going to slow down, and they keep on at the same speed...
There's all kinds of operators around the globe, and how each of us chooses to operate is an individual, personal choice.
Same reason I can't use speed control on the highways here in CA, just too many drivers just refuse to match a natural flow of traffic.
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
Yeah, I know what you mean. Using cruise control during my commute into El Segundo from Palmdale was very frustrating. I was repeatedly obstructed by the obstinate so and so's who refused to match the natural flow of traffic.
Originally Posted by WA6TKD
"As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H.L. Mencken
HMmmm... Our experiences are different. I've been relicensed now for 2.5 years and I am a boat-anchor CW OP. Only once did I have a QSO where the other OP refused to slow down. He admitted that he want to "train me" and push me to higher copy speed. Frustrating, but I soldiered thru it for a while copying ~ 50% of his QRQ ("Quicker" is how I remember it) sending. As you have stated; It was not a delightful experience.
My "regular" speed now is probably ~ 12WPM, with excursions up to 15 or higher under 599 conditions (and a good Farnsworth fist on the other OP). But I ALWAYS slow to match others, and most all "speed demons" slow to match me. Two weekends ago, I "tailed" a slow speed (~5WPM) QSO. The other OP & I started at 5WPM and he keyed that he could go faster, if wanted. I upped it to ~8WPM and he stayed with me, responding ~ 12WPM and we both ratcheted up to 15WPM, or so. :-) When he did his final station call, sign-off to me, and when the next station tailed OUR "Q" to him, he was pushing 22+WPM. I think with a straight key! Fun stuff. Very polite, accommodating OP. Most CW OPs are. Most.
Which reminds me...
One hint I've received, and given, politely and successfully many times, that the speed COULD go higher, if wanted, is during the 2nd or 3rd turn-over. At that point when I send "BTU AR WX1XXX DE W7JZE KN", I'll up the speed a notch. We've already got each others' calls, so no info is lost. If the other OP chooses to start the come-back at higher speed, great. If not, great. Whatever. Slow is fun and EASY.
Good advice, already given above, is to hang around the SKCC 7.114 "Elmer" freq. 7.100 <---> 7.122 seems to work FB for me. The 7.050 crowd always slows for my CQ though, too.
Love to see some pix of UR Homebrew tube stuff!? I am itchin' & a-twitchin' to (re)build the 50C5 QRP rig, from my original novice days. Maybe this summer???
I'll PM you for a slow speed SKED, if interested...
Last edited by W7JZE; 02-29-2012 at 03:13 PM.
73, Bill - W7JZE
Swans and Drakes do NOT
belong in lakes. Maybe some Heathkits do, depending on who built them
As someone said, stay at the upper CW subband and you'll do ok. Sending 5 wpm on the lower end may get you the treatment you described. For instance on 40m when I started, at 5WPM I stayed above 7.050. When I got to 13WPM I ventured into the area between 7.040 and 7.050. After hitting 20WPM, I ventured into 7.030 territory. Over 20wpm I played in the 7.020 range. Good luck with CW. It gets much easier with practice.
Thats glad to hear. Going to try calling CQ for the first time tonight.