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CW question (new CW op)

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KD8ZM, Aug 24, 2017.

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  1. KD4ZFS

    KD4ZFS Ham Member QRZ Page

    KQ4MM I heard you! I have your call written on my notepad as talking on 40m to KA8... I listened for a while. Your fist was fine. Everything sounded FB. :)

    As to the original topic of DX, I just don't know. When I restarted the hobby a while ago, I was eagerly expecting to pull in lots of DX. I've been disappointed. As you said, I get at most about 700 miles away. I live in Alabama, USA, and I've heard Canada and Cuba and Mexico, but aside from some very rare folks with exceptional beams pointed my way, I just don't hear DX. I know I need a better antenna, but it's not my top priority right now.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you need a good filter to limit your bandwidth down to about 200 Hz to get any benefit on CW over SSB. It makes ALL the difference!

    As to nervousness: Just get on the air! :)

    You WILL mess up. Get ready for that, and accept it. Send much more slowly than you think you can handle. Accuracy over speed! But initially, don't worry too much about perfection. That will all come with time.

    These days I practice at 22-25 wpm, but I usually run 15-18 wpm on the air. There are the speed demons that won't go slower than 30 wpm. Let them enjoy their speed. I usually get some of what they say. I've had folks speed up when I asked for slower. Let 'em have their fun.

    If I have time and hear a call at 5-10 wpm, I'll do my best to match speed, and I think most folks will try to help a brother out.
    KD8ZM likes this.
  2. W0GSQ

    W0GSQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Used to have many ragchews with another young novice here locally on 15M, 78-79 timeframe.
    We both got our tickets about the same time and the QSO's did a lot to improve my CW and get rid of the nervousness.
    Stick with it, you're doing fine!
  3. VE7PJR

    VE7PJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just one thought...

    CW and fone tend not to be much different when condx are good. It's when the QSB eats the signal that things change. I've worked CW with stations so far down in the noise that I'm not copying their signal so much as copying the faint changes in the noise level. Can't do that with fone.

    Which is why digimodes work, of course, on a whole different level.
  4. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    DX is all about antennas and listening. DX is competitive, so you can't be satisfied with using an end fed wire in an attic or similar highly compromised antenna. If you live where there is an HOA you have to think outside of the box and fool them or operate portable or use a small transmitting loop or something.

    Use horizontal antennas when you can get them at least 1/2 wave high, and vertical antennas with a good radial field when you can't (on 80 and 160m shortened verticals such as the inverted "L" and the "T" are common) and it will help.

    It also helps to be on during contests. Be prepared to study the rules and submit a log if necessary, even if you only care about getting the DX and not are not worried about your score.

    I only have mediocre antennas here. I have plans to put up better ones but haven't done it yet. Even so I have something like 1200 non-contest DX QSOs with those mediocre antennas because I have a low noise environment and I listen, listen, listen. I do have only about 135 confirmed - when you are using mediocre antennas and medium power, it is hard to be competitive on Honor Roll. But I still get rare ones now and then, usually because I listen to how the DX is working and follow his rhythm, which makes it easier to break the pile-up.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Everyone has family, job and other stuff as "top priorities," but as far as ham radio is concerned, antennas should be your "top ham radio priority," for sure.

    The signals don't come from the electrical outlet, they come from antennas and the difference between a compromised antenna and a good one is the difference between having a 700 mile contact range and a 12,000 mile contact range (which covers the entire world). With a good antenna (as well as good timing, of course -- doesn't pay to operate on a "closed" band that has no propagation) making 6000 mile contacts should be an every day occurrence for anybody, even with a modest station on CW.

    Definitely pays to have a few bands available for use. 17/20m daytime are great, 30/40m nighttime are great.
  6. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Did it just now with ZD7BG on 10m. Took awhile, but I broke the pileup, even though the 40m delta I was using I probably has a lot of loss on 10m. I did it more through listening than through sending.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  7. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    I usually do OK getting through pile-ups - except for last night - 3C0L - I couldnt get him to save my life. He was working 'up' about 7 kc which made it more difficult to follow his rhythm. I've been working a lot of digital which has made my CW DX Chasing skills rusty :)
  8. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    He kept varying his pattern too... sometimes he was moving up and then back down, sometimes he was 'resetting' and moving up, etc...

    I finally nabbed him on 17m. He was moving up a little each time and I luckily heard his last qso and was in the right place / right time.
  9. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    yeah, once i couldnt discerne his pattern, i just sat on a freq. and called. . .i'll get him once it dies down a bit.

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