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Correct Amateur Radio Operating Procedures

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by VK5EEE, Sep 3, 2015.

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  1. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of our CW operators in VK who is still fairly new to CW compared to OTs, drew my attention to a very long document in PDF format that he'd been studying from ARRL: ETHICS AND OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR THE RADIO AMATEUR (Edition 3, June 2010) by ON4UN and ON4WW. It's a pity the ARRL have published it as it is with only some proof reading by G3PJT without first undergoing some proper peer review. This would be less of a problem if published on a web page that can be corrected later, but it is published in PDF which is downloaded and referred to by newcomers to CW and even Amateur Radio.

    It not only is not up to date, and re-invents things incorrectly in places, but it is extremely long, repetitious, complicated, and thus of very little help to newcomers, in fact, the newcomers are (rightly as it turns out) confused by this long treatise by what are presumed to be experts. This is very far from the days back in the 70s and 80s when we had much simpler, straight forward, no nonsense, educative materials less than one tenth of this length, which made sense, were clear, and this did not contain so many repetitions and errors.

    Below are some comments I made on another forum after only reading through the first half. As many already know, I am NOT the briefest of communicators in writing, and "verbose" would be an understatement. But even I found what would be a very interesting document to me, impossible to read more than half way through. Why on earth would ARRL inflict this on new comers? A technical book for advanced license wouldn't be much longer than this so-called authoratitive document :)

    In these comments I've reposted some parts of it that I do happen to agree with, no doubt to the consternation of some e.g. it would perhaps be nice if politics wasn't allowed and neither gardening nor chat about the weather, or what was eaten for lunch, and I do agree with the position on CW decoders ;) Here:

    Note that discussing gardening or the weather is not allowed HIHI: "any subject that has no relation whatsoever with the ham radio hobby." Page 11, II.7.

    "Tuning should in the first instance be done on a dummy load. If necessary, fine tuning can be done on a clear frequency with reduced power, after having asked if the frequency is in use." How many really do that? Not many. And I've yet to hear anyone else identify themselves when doing so!

    "Check which portion of the band you should use for phone contacts. Always have a copy of the IARU Band Plan available on your operating desk." — we wish. If so we wouldn't have any SSB below 7053.

    "Also, when you transmit on USB on a given nominal (suppressed carrier) frequency, your transmission on SSB will spread at least 3 kHz above that frequency. On LSB it is the inverse, your signal will spread at least 3 kHz below the frequency indicated on your rig. This means: never transmit on LSB below 1.843 kHz (1.840 is the lower limit of the sideband section);..., or on USB never above 14347 kHz, etc."

    There is no secret recipe to master the Art of CW: training, training, training, just as in any sport.
    • CW is a unique language, a language which is mastered in all countries of the world!
    II.9.1. The computer as your assistant?
    • You will not learn CW by using a computer program that helps you to decode CW.
    • It is acceptable though to send CW from a computer (pre-programmed short messages). This is commonly done in contests by the logging program.
    • As a newcomer you may want to use a CW decoding program to assist you in order to be able to verify that a text was correctly decoded. However, if you really want to learn the code, you will need to decode the same CW text yourself using your ears and brain.
    • CW decoding programs perform very poorly under anything but perfect conditions; our ears and brains are far superior. This is mainly because Morse code was not developed to be automatically sent nor received, as is the case
    with many modern digital codes (RTTY, PSK etc.).

    They are wrong saying AR K or AR KN or AR SK cannot be used, and wrong about saying a CQ should not end with a K.
    The document is huge, pedantic (even more than I am and that's saying something!) and would confuse and put people off Amateur Radio. This is way beyond the simple and effective operating practice books we used to have!
    I stopped reading it half way through, it should have had better peer review, and is complicated and half of it unnecessary junk!
  2. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is sad and likely a "turn off" to new comers. :( It used to be the ARRL did cover the basics in the Handbook?
    VK5EEE likes this.
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I agree with Bill. No need to over-complicate things. SO WHAT if someone sends AR, KN, or SK or ends a CQ with K???

    At least they're on the air with CW.

    That's like who vs. whom and which pinky you should hold up while drinking tea.

    Get on the air on CW and work somebody - don't sweat the small stuff from 75 years ago

    [Primary mode for 41 years: CW, and I DO use AR, KN, SK and K after a CQ - shoot me :p]
    K8PG likes this.
  4. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    We must be reading something different. What I read says you should use K or AR. It says you shouldn't use "AR K" or "PSE K".

    I'm pretty sure I read this multiple times before and shortly after I got my licence. I think I even got a copy when I got my first CSCE. It sure didn't "turn me off". Maybe I didn't agree with everything in it, but I took it merely as someone's suggestions, which I can appreciate.
  5. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are many things I disagree with, and are just wrong.

    For example, it's interesting to know the Prosign BT (Break Text) doesn't exist despite over a century of formal use. :)

    It's a rather tedious document.
    VK5EEE likes this.
  6. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Exactly, it was all very simple. Frankly, ending a CQ with K, PSE K, or even + shouldn't be a big problem, there are clearly some benefits in ending "PSE K" and that used to be recomended, and if someone ends with KN they'll get less replies, but it's not a big deal. The length of it, and the lack of clarity and easy summary, and lack of practical helpful things, is surely a turn off for many.
    Bring back those simple lists of abbreviations, rubber stamp QSO, and meanings, and focus on 3 Q codes as essential: QRT, QSY, QRL.
    KD2RON likes this.
  7. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Started flipping through it. Only halfway. I would say I don't find it redundant. Does it repeat itself? Yes, but it is repeating to make a point. As long as each time something is repeated (don't use PSE K for example) does not conflict eslewhere, I think it will help make the point. Not only that, but it is kinda annoying when a text has the reader flipping back multiple times to reference something when a simple few words in paranthesis would suffice.


    What I'm not sure about is how this does not reflect what I've heard in slow code thus far. Maybe the high speed stuff is different, but what I hear is not so cut and dry. Now, I could aspire to be above this, but then it'd be like arguing with everyone around me that it's an ATM and not an "ATM machine" that we are getting money from. Language evolves, so why not CW? Only languages I know that do not evolve are dead ones.

    I get the notion of being a first class op and all, but since I'm not paid to do this, and it's largely for fun, I'm not sure how much of a stickler for CW proceedure I want to be. Esp since most of the ops I would be working would not understand.
  9. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    When ATM machines first appeared round here, they were part of the Take Your Money Everywhere network, TYME. So everyone called them TYME machines. TYME is long gone, but everyone still calls them TYME machines.

    This is problematic when one travels: If I go into a gas station in Missouri, and ask if there's a TYME machine, nothing I say after that will be taken seriously.
    AG6QR likes this.
  10. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page


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