Imbalance in activities on the CW bands

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by VK5EEE, Mar 27, 2016.

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  1. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes that would be good Rog !

    Our Sunrise is always better for Transatlantic DX, as at your sunset time the band is pretty noisy as it's a peak time for TVs etc to be on!

    Roger G3YRO
    KA0HCP likes this.
  2. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    OK let's get the timeline down....

    You went from no license to Advanced in about a year, with an 8th grade education, right?

    Hold that thought.

    It may seem "harder" to you - think about why. When you took the Advanced, you had maybe a year as a ham, and probably hadn't even entered high school yet. When you took the Extra, you were in college, had been a ham maybe 5 years, and had a lot more knowledge and experience!

    So of course the Extra should seem "easier"!

    It would be interesting to see what the actual tests of those times were.

    Such as?

    QTT? Not on any list of Q signals I know.

    I'm glad you've come back!

    I suggest that you focus your efforts on the lower HF bands - 80, 40 and even 160 meter CW - because of the sunspot cycle and your work/sleep schedule.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  3. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Um. I'm not going to try to multiquote all that:

    1. Yes I did. In fact, in six months flat. Novice, then General three months later, then Advanced.
    2. True enough but I do remember about what they covered. The Advanced had a fair amount of AC theory, a lot about sideband and SSTV (which at that time was restricted to the Advaned subbands.) Technical stuff. The Extra had some technical stuff but lots of odd specialized things like regulatory questions about being the licensee for a ham satellite station. Rather than harder maybe I should say "more technical."

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying either were all THAT hard. Compared to the vendor certification exams I take now for my career in networking, they were easy. Another thing that made the Advanced more difficult was that when I took it the actual questions were not released into public domain, so you had to study the material not knowing exactly what they would ask. I don't know if it's the same now, but when I took the Extra under the VE program (heck it might have been closer to ten years later, I don't recall, could probably look it up) ALL the exact questions, exact answers, AND exact multiple choice distractors were PD and you bought a book with all of it. Trust me, I'd ace my networking exams if they worked that way (I don't ace them, but I pass.) I even had one that I KNEW was wrong. Knowing I'd pass I marked what was actually the correct answer. They flagged that one of course. I then produced my book and argued with them, the book saying "the given answer is X, however this is wrong. The correct answer should be..." and an explanation. They agreed, but of course had to follow the scoring key.

    I still remember the one word I missed in the code test, the transmitting operators name was Emitt I think. Sound that out and you'll see why - either I put two Ts in the answer and there was one, or vice versa.

    More later, something came up and I have to run..
    VK5EEE likes this.
  4. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    3. Heck I might have a study guide for the tests those days somewhere back at my parents' house in Tennessee. If I turn one up I'll let you know. Probably could find them on ebay though. There's everything else. I got a QST from my birth month there (August 1963.)

    4. All kinds of things are different from new modes (digital modes, there were some like Packet on 2M and AMTOR starting to be heard by the time I left before, and computers taking over from surplus teletypes for RTTY - we had a VIC 20 for that at the University club) to online QSLing, web sites for propagation, software defined radios, and apparently different sorts of "contacts." I don't recall EVER hearing "5nn 73" as a "complete" contact though in contests they weren't much more than that. But outside contesting even fairly rare stations would exchange name, location, and signal report. Ragchewing between common countries, while not exactly the norm, was far from rare. I remember being president of the Ham club at East Tennessee State University (this would have been 1986-89, some time in there I believe) and chatting with a fellow in Ireland twice, just happened on the same guy again, and talking for nearly an hour each time. That was SSB. Just as common on CW though. VHF - tone access was almost unheard of on VHF repeaters. Multiple new modes there too but while I've heard of the various ones I am not yet conversant enough to rattle them off, but that remote relay bit, the ones with built in GPS that send location information, HF rigs that cover six meters! In my day to get on 6M you had to buy a dedicated rig, of which there were very, very few which were never popular (Yaesu had one, FT-620(B) or build it. I've never transmitted on 6M in my life for that reason. It's popular again, as it was before my time too. I completely missed the times when that band has been used. Probably has something to do with the move to digital TV alleviating all the TVI problems 6M used to have. Just tons of new stuff around and old stuff changed. (And yes I realize it's not the sunspot time for F layer on 6M, and my hours don't work for E. Though I am awake in the daytime SOME!)

    5. QTT comes from up thread discussion where VK5EEE mentioned it. I did as he suggested and googled it:

    I admit I rather liked the suggestion to send with a bug and add a deliberate swing so you can't be copied by automatic code readers. :D That might sound like I'm anti technological progression, but I'm not really. I'm anti tech-that-does-for-me-things-I-enjoy-doing-myself. Like one of my other hobbies, film photography and darkroom work. Bah to digital imaging. Sure I take snapshots with my phone but for my own attempts at art, it's film and getting in the darkroom and getting my hands wet and feeling like I'm crafting something. I get overexposed due to work too and admit there are times I just want to fling wooden shoes (metaphorically, see "Luddites") into the lot of digital stuff. Occupational over exposure hazard. ;)

    Thanks for the welcome! I didn't figure the day/night propagation patterns had changed much. ;) I don't know how active I'm going to be, but I'll see. If there's an "Introduce Yourself" forum here maybe I'll post there. I am sometimes accused of oversharing. But bottom line was 2+ years of increasingly awful marriage with one year spent frantically trying to save the unsavable and not worth saving and another spent trying to find the most graceful least painful way out left me feeling like none of ME and my stuff remained so I'm reveling in getting back into multiple hobbies. The flying (private pilot, starting instrument work toward the rating in a month or two, hadn't flown since March of 2013 until last month) tends to eat up a lot of money that could go to the others, but it's just liberating to my spirit. The others, photography and radio so far, are much more demanding of time and energy than of money, at least compared to flying and seen in isolation. Because I'm doing so much at once and also, of course, working, progress in each is slowed but I'm ok with that. Still having a blast.
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
    VK5EEE likes this.
  5. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    With a major (CQ WWPX) contest on this weekend, I will disagree a little with those who say TV is a better option: (received today from two very dear friends of mine): "Looks like a great night for TV the 5NN's are on the 40m band everywhere and I'm not interested at all, I prefer to listen to TV than to listen to everyone jumping on top of each other" and "Due to This weekends World Wide contest I won't be real active on cw this weekend maybe just give out a few numbers at most"...

    I think we can actually benefit from this situation, without going off air this weekend. Here is what I think options are readily available to us to make the most out of this opportunity:

    * Having the CW bands busy with the contest is an opportunity to show the world CW is alive and well, but also for some of us to squeeze in between and practice brain/ear filters.

    * We can always go to the top end of the SSB/CW band -- remember that ALL HF is allowed for CW -- right now I'm calling CQ on the quiet top end of 40m at 7299, should be open to USA even on my low dipole 4m above ground, and tomorrow will be on 14349kHz again.

    It is sooooo quiet up there, I called on 14349 this afternoon local time and got an answer from a VK4 also using a bug. We had almost a full hour of great conversation in CW, without any QRM whatsoever, signals starting at 559 and finishing at 599 when it was dinner time. Wasn't that a good idea instead of just switching off and giving up because of a contest? And 30m would have been an option too. If QTT "Quality Telegraphy Time" i.e. non-5NN CW activity (nothing against ENN activity from time to time) ops realise that whenever there is QRM on the lower part of the (formerly exclusive CW band) we absolutely can and should move to the very TOP end of the bands, and use up there, naturally on clear frequencies not being used, but believe me, the top end of the SSB bands are almost always full of clear frequencies.

    Down under here, after dark and until after sunlight, 40m CW bottom end is full of 5kW Indonesian SSB intruders engaged in Lomba Radio (Radio Race) etc, all the way from 7000 to 7050 every 5kHz LSB and USB, meaning every 2.5kHz, and given that SSB signals are 2.5kHz wide, there is NOT ONE CLEAR spot for CW much of the time. And yet, if we tune above 7200, there is almost no SSB activity at all, after all we all know SSB is dying out while CW is on the rise :p

    What is stopping us? See you there!
  6. AI6KX

    AI6KX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Lou,

    It's a great weekend for exercising my QRP rig at the beach. Almost like using RBN to test an antenna! (Except for the phony 5NN reports).


    VK5EEE likes this.
  7. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes that's true :) I found on 15m either my dipole isn't performing as it should, or more likely, the stations that were at most around S5 were probably running many kW and thus couldn't hear me. Hope to run into you on 20m evening I wasn't on there for weeks, recently was and heard others but they couldn't hear me, signals were way down, the band closes earlier here now in Winter.
  8. WA9CWX

    WA9CWX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I too have noticed the huge imbalance on the CW bands. I have been active on a regular basis for 55 years, mostly on 40, but a lot of DX work on 10, 15 and 20. It is getting a bit rare to find someone who just wants to 'chat' at a comfortable rate and not just have the equivelent of a 'text' chat. But it IS nice that CW , and the effort to learn and perfect the art, is not dead.
    As for the fellow who mentioned the difficulty of the earlier tests....'OLD topic'... But, he is right, study guides were to let us know what needed to be learned, NOT what the ANSWER was. In addition, FCC examiners were NOT in the least interested in increasing the ranks of ham radio, unlike the VE's of today.
    A 'Test' was to eliminate unqualified applicants, definitley NOT meant to be a nominal ritual to get a piece of paper.
    dit dit
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
    VK5EEE likes this.
  9. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm sure it's an old topic, just addressing particular posts here. :)
  10. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was having a nice chat with VK4PN this morning on 7010 when I suddenly lost him. I wonder if I got stepped on by one of these guys?
    VK5EEE likes this.

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