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Is It Acceptable or a Way to Send a Short Transmission For Verification?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KN4ICU, Feb 18, 2018.

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  1. W2OZB

    W2OZB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't we all!

    As a newbie here, I would get those 5 numbers done first (my luck the first QSO would have one of those numbers). My biggest regret was not getting out there more, and sooner.

    Yes, my advice is get the form down pat! In fact, cheat! Learn how to recognize 'rst', 'QTH', and "name" while thinking of something else, and learn them at a speed faster than you normally copy, you'll get it. In the heat of a qso, you will get lost, don't ask me how I know. If you know those three and hear one of them, you are right back in the game.

    You're gonna love it!
  2. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had to write down my city, Columbus, because it was confusing. A script is very much a-ok!
    If you have your code down and can copy most of the slower or at your speed QSO's you are likely ready.
    Have you been using your key and a monitor to practice your sending yet?
  3. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Usual QSO format/sequence is; Tnx fer reply, ur rst is 5**, my qth is, name here is, so on and conversation, tnx es 73
    SK N8AFT de KN4ICU dit dit.
    By the way I frequently worked a GA ham near Atlanta on 40m with his low mount dipole from my Columbus, Ohio QTH
    so we should be able to enjoy a QSO some afternoon soon.
    I enjoy working with new ops and I will go slooooow fer u.
    AG5DB, K7TRF and KN4ICU like this.
  4. KN4ICU

    KN4ICU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have an app with a free write with a touch screen for practice morse key.
  5. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have you any experience using an actual straight key then ?
    The touch keys are ok to get sense of timing, space and rhythm but the muscles used
    for a proper keying and controlling a straight key will be different.
    I used a touch tapper key when I started due to wrist trouble, had to learn to manipulate the J38.
  6. KN4ICU

    KN4ICU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes. I started also practicing with my straight key this week to start getting the feel of it. I transferred over no problem. I'm a professional musician by trade, so the whole rhythm / feeling aspect was easy to transfer over.
    AA4OO likes this.
  7. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great! I'm just the opposite, hi.
  8. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    As far as the format goes, this is a good example. But what I would actually send on my first transmission would be something more like TU UR RST 5** 5** BT QTH NR AUSTIN, TX BT OP DAN DAN BT HW? (call) DE WB5YUZ K

    The idea is to limit information in the first exchange to the essentials while the other op gets a good feel for just how easily he can copy you. If he copies you well enough he will often go on to secondary information in his reply, like rig, age, etc. If not he will usually send something brief, like OK DAN TU QSO GL ES DX 73 DIT DIT

    I personally don't care if the other op sends, for example, NAME HERE IS instead of just OP, but some ops, and it's generally the good ones, get annoyed if you send too many superfluous characters. And, I guarantee when you are ready to come down to the bottom 25 KHz of the band the transmissions you will hear will run more along the lines of OK TU RST 599 BT QTH BOSTON BT OP TED BT HW? BK more often than you will. THANKS FOR CALL BT UR RST 599 BT QTH HERE IS BOSTON BT NAME HERE IS TED BT HOW COPY? BK

    But it's supposed to be a fun hobby, so don't worry about it all too much.
    K7TRF likes this.
  9. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great advice from @WB5YUZ and @N8AFT above.

    One thing to consider is the initial signal report you get from the other ham. IOW, if they tell you you're coming in 599 then you can usually send the pertinent info once as shown above. But if you get a 559 wid QSB or otherwise low signal report it can make sense to send things twice as in:

    RR, (means you copied the whole transmission, don't send this if you need things repeated), TU, RST 569 569 QTH Buford, GA Buford, GA (or just GA GA) BT (throw these prosigns in to break stuff up as opposed to periods) OP Jeff Jeff BTU de KN4ICU K

    Lot's of possible variations, but if you know the other ham doesn't have a great copy on you it can help to send things more than once for the initial info. If the QSO continues into a ragchew or you both have easy copy then I'll just go to sending stuff once and not repeating everything.

    A couple of things that make it easier:
    - New hams tend to send a lot of periods which are awkward and not really used much, if at all, by more experienced CW ops. A bit of space between thoughts or the BT prosign (all sent as a continuous character: -...- ) once or twice is most of the punctuation you need to finish thoughts. BT is also a good way to let you collect your thoughts and buy a tiny pause, almost an Ummmm in CW so you'll hear some folks throwing a few of these in a row mid transmission which isn't terrible form and can be useful to let you buy a bit of mental time as in .......... FB on ur rig BT BT rig hr knwd TS-590.........

    - The '&' prosign ES (sent with a tiny bit of spacing so it doesn't sound like H) is used a lot so you'll get used to hearing it a lot. Some ops string together the initial report this way as in ........ RST 599 ES QTH GA ES OP Jeff.... That's not really my style but you'll hear it so don't let it throw you.

    - You'll hear a ton of shorthand abbreviations like wid (for with), wud (would), Tnx or TU (thanks or thank you), FB (fine business, means OK), etc. They may not always make sense when you copy them but in context you'll figure it out and pick up your own set that you like to use. Similarly a lot of vowels get dropped so knwd (is Kenwood), etc. It'll make sense if you just copy the larger sentence but can throw you at the beginning.

    As others have suggested a short script can help you stem the panic in your first QSOs but no need to stick with it or even finish all of it. So maybe something like:

    - Initial response: RST, QTH, Name
    - Second response: Rig, Weather (Wx), Age, years as ham (these get real boring after a ton of them but sometimes spawn interesting conversations all by themselves)
    - If there's a third response or more you're probably already discussing stuff and the conversation takes on its own life. That could be interesting stuff about where you live or where the other ham lives, professions, non ham interests, projects you're working on or a hundred other things.

    And I guess for someone thinking about first CW QSOs there's also the SKCC variant. Sure I've ragchewed with some folks calling CQ SKCC but most of those QSOs seem to go like:

    TU RST 569 569 QTH Ca Ca Op Bob Bob SKCC NR 123456T 123456T BK

    You send your version of the same info and most of the time you'll get back something like:

    TU 73 de 'Call' SK . .

    Yeah, that's a generalization and I've gone on for an hour or more with some of these folks but it's pretty typical among the SKCC crowd which can make those a great place to start as they're pretty low commitment for a new CW operator and the code speeds tend to be pretty tame so another good reason to get experience with those.

    Oh yeah, another thing. It's not essential that you perfectly copy everything as long as you can copy important stuff like callsigns and get the gist of the conversation but don't hesitate to send : QRS pse if you need the other ham to slow it down a bit. Some new hams seem hesitant to do this and more experienced hams tend to speed up during a QSO even if they started slow. Once you get used to sending 20 plus wpm it can take conscious thought to keep it slow and steady.
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  10. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Incidentally, "fine business" was a slang phrase in the early 1920s, when radio was first catching on with the general public, and it has been enshrined in amateur radio CW since. You will find the spoken phrase used much as CW ops still use it today in Sinclair Lewis' famous novel "Babbitt," published in 1922, which was the year radio really became big.
    K7TRF likes this.

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