Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by K5TSK, Oct 26, 2020.
I just finished CWAcademy Basic course last night. This thread is fascinating...
I must be an outlier. I was in the military (National Guard) and ultimately wound up the platoon sergeant for a radio/teletype group consisting of three AN/GRC-26D radio trucks. Each ran a pair of R-390's, a BC-610, and various modems, teletype machines, etc. We had CW capability but never got to use it until after hours on 40 CW. The military NEVER taught me code. I knew it before I got there, and had a great time confusing all of my instructors. I was initially trained as a depot-level radio repairman, able to fix whatever happened to the gear. Bad tubes were the first level mechanic's duty. I got the failed components, gear dropped off trucks, etc. BUT, having been a ham for almost 10 years by then, I was also faster at CW than any of the school-trained operators in the platoon, so I was promoted to sergeant over them.
A fun anecdote from radio repair school -- as the "final exam" of the receiver repair course, the problem given was to repair and re-align a damaged R-390. We were allotted 4 hours for the complete job. I quickly found the burned resistor in one of the IF stages on my project receiver, then touched up the alignment with probably 2 hours to spare. I plugged the receiver into the outside antenna and tuned it to 40 CW. I sat listening to several QSO's for a while, not noticing what was going on around me. The class instructor sneaked up behind me and snatched the cans off my head. He began screaming at me like a basic training drill instructor, telling me that I had no business listening to that stuff and that we repair grunts couldn't even decode what we were hearing. I quickly snatched the cans back and listened with one ear to the 20 WPM or so QSO I was tuned to, and started verbally telling him just what was being sent. The big gorilla was totally dumbfounded. His army mind couldn't comprehend how a repair person could also do what a trained operator was supposed to do.
Never underestimate a determined ham.