How to help those trying to learn CW?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WF4W, Apr 18, 2017.

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  1. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    What a magnificent post, and a nearly identical story to my first (you never forget your first) except I emailed an apology to the op I froze up on. He was gracious, which is the norm, and we became QRS friends as he needed to practice as well.

    If I can't find a QSO to copy on-air, I visit the CW learning/practice website which I find to be invaluable. For learning, it offers both the Koch and Farnsworth methods. For practice, it offers a variety of real-world news headlines, an ARRL feed, or simulated QSOs that you can set the character speed and spacing separately.

    This is a very well thought out website and it, and the mobile device app, are particularly beneficial for anytime practice.
  2. W5KYP

    W5KYP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Morning Gentlemen,
    Back when I took my general exam I had to learn the code. I was eager to get on SSB with my radio, I never went back to CW.
    A few years later, lightening took out the station and everything in the house. Insurance took care of it but I just didn't want to risk another lightening strike.
    I put down the microphone and almost abandoned the hobby. Another few years went by and I started with an HT working the satellites from work and started to get the fever for radio again however, I still didn't want to put up a tower. I decided to go 100% QRP/P. I purchased the KX3 and and constructed a few wire antennas and started chasing DX. I now have the fever for CW. I feel that I can relearn pretty easy but while studying for the general exam, I only had to receive CW and not send so my question is...... Being that I am QRP/P and have never sent CW, what kind of key would/should I be looking for? Iambic or Straight.
    I don't want to purchase a real expensive key as I will be bringing it with me to work and in the field when I operate in different locations so the fancy high dollar keys are out of the question. I thought about the key made for the KX3, but the reviews aren't very good.

    So, with all that said, I turn to you guys for advise. What key for a beginner working portable?

  3. VE7JBX

    VE7JBX Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might want to think of making that question the start of a new post - likely to get more eyes on it than it will here.

    With that said, here's my 2 cents - as someone new to CW, and who only knows how to use a straight key.

    I like using a straight key from the home QTH - I found it easy to learn, one less complexity compared to using paddles, plus it gives you that ability to do things like alter spacing of spaces, dits, and dahs on the fly - there's another thread on here where I describe how someone else used that to clarify for me that their callsign began "AE" and not "AT" by exaggerating the dah on the "A". You can't do that on paddles/ keyer.

    I also work QRP /P though and for that I find a straight key to be a real nuisance. I don't want to lug an expensive straight key out with me, and it would weigh more than the radio and batteries - so I use a cheap, light "practice key". The issue with that is since it has not much weight and often there's no good way to pin it down, sending becomes a clumsy two-hand affair of holding the key down with one hand and sending with the other. By contrast, there are some really neat, small paddles which you can e.g. clip to your noteboard you're logging on, and then it's an easy one hand affair to send. If these little paddles weren't so expensive I would get one and try to learn, only for QRP /P use.

    There are things like straight key leg clips, to provide a way to secure a straight key in this sort of use, but I think the mini paddles are probably a more elegant and easier to find approach for what you're doing.
  4. W5KYP

    W5KYP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the reply, and I agree with you on the straight key. I am going to repost as a new topic.
    Hope that doesn't upset anyone...

  5. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wax on
    Wax off

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