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Do you use full break-in (QSK), semi-QSK, or no QSK?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by VK5EEE, Mar 16, 2016.


In CW CQ and QSO, do you mostly use full break in (QSK), semi-QSK or no break-in (TX only)

Poll closed Jun 16, 2016.
  1. I almost always use full QSK (I can hear between characters)

  2. I almost always use semi-QSK (I can hear between words)

  3. I don't use QSK, I can't hear between words, only after a longer pause or on switching to RX

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  1. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    What mode do you normally use when operating CW? Do you have:

    1) full break-in (QSK) usually on so that you can hear between each dit and dah, or
    2) do you have semi-QSK (VOX delay) so that you can hear between words or
    3) do you not use QSK or have a very long delay so you don't hear between words?

    Please vote in the poll!
  2. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    My newest big rig is the first one capable of full QSK and the only time I use it is when there is a persistant tuner-upper jamming my QSO so I can tell when to pause and when to start sending again.
    I do have a couple of QRP rigs that are all QSK and sometimes the noise between my sending drives me nuts !
    I have never had QSK through out most of my 54 years of CW operating, started with throw the switch and send or semi-break-in, and now I can't stand using the full QSK when I have tried it. .
    VK5EEE likes this.
  3. M0PHE

    M0PHE Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you don't have QSK how do you know when the other end is trying to break in?
  4. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Of course you don't. I'm not sure what you mean by your question, can you elaborate a little?
  5. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree as it is the opposite for those of us who have always used QSK, we would feel totally disconnected if there was silence while we're sending (other than our side tone). It feels so unnatural and odd, after always running QSK we'd never consider changing to not running it, at most we'd use (VOX) delay if wanting less noise, so it switches only between words. Which is kind of the best of both worlds I guess, so I'm interested in the poll result. And as you said, the opposite occurs, for those who always don't use full QSK, the noise would drive them nuts rather than the absence of noise. I think most all who do it one way or the other are very unlikely to ever change. I'm interested to know what the percentages are of the various 3 types of use, as I really have no clue, since in actual fact break-in is rarely used in Amateur Radio CW, and most times when I've tried to break in its failed, so my guess is majority don't use QSK.
    And yet the poll thus far shows that the majority do seem to use it?
  6. W7UUU

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

    Depends entirely on the rig I'm on. The HW-16 I have no choice.... it's in full QSK all the time (dang fast I might add!) Other rigs I use a manual TR switch so zero QSK - the FT-950 I run very fast semi-QSK but it's still just T/R just really fast

    Just depends on the rig - I have 6 CW rigs in play and all are different

    VK2WP, W8ZNX, VK5EEE and 1 other person like this.
  7. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You can tell when CW contest op's aren't using full QSK :(
    If these operators would use full QSK & "real-time" Morse, it would eliminate most/much of the QRM.

    While using the HW-8, HW-9, Tentec C-21/22, HW-16... it's full QSK all of the time.

    If I'm using the Icom-735, Swan-270 or Swan-500c, (for ragchews) I set the VOX for QSK between words. (it helps for spacing between words & eliminates a lot of QRN/QRM)
    VK5EEE likes this.
  8. KI6J

    KI6J Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any serious CW radio must have silky-smooth, full QSK or I don't want to use it.
  9. KN3O

    KN3O Ham Member QRZ Page

    For a while I used Semi-break in. Once I discovered Full break in though I found it much preferred. The Ic-7200 isn't too clunky so I don't mind. When I run the SB-200 I have to run semi-break through so it happens sometimes.
    W5BIB and VK5EEE like this.
  10. DK7OB

    DK7OB Ham Member QRZ Page


    1,5) do you have semi-QSK (VOX delay) so that you can hear between characters

    That's enough to hear the other station break in. I am using AGC and don't like the noise coming through between the dits and dahs.
    My TS590 supports full QSK, but after some testing I went back to fast Semi BK.
    My home made QRP transceiver is QSK by design, but its RX has no AGC so I have to adjust the RF gain anyway.
    With my old station (Sommerkamp FT250 and Drake R-4C) I use an external T/R relay with a sequencer which allows fast semi BK up to around 30 WPM, which is sufficient for me.
    VK2WP, W8ZNX, W5BIB and 1 other person like this.

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