Maybe, "Get on as soon as possible" isn't the best advice?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE0EYJ, Sep 5, 2018.

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  1. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am only 1/4 of the way into, and I felt like I should try some on-air attempts at basic QSOs -- I keep reading, "JUMP IN! GET EXPERIENCE!".

    Almost a complete disaster.

    I ended up forgetting most every letter I know. The guy even slowed for me -- and what's worse, half of his callsign was comprised of letters that I don't have in memory yet.

    I ended up looking at the chart through most of the QSO, missing 75% of what the guy was going on about (I got his call and 579 out of it). He was super patient, slowed to about 7wpm, repeated multiple times, but he started throwing a bunch of other numbers at me, for some reason, and I became completely lost.

    I had a similar QSO last week. I feel like I completely wasted these peoples' time, and that I shouldn't have jumped in ASAP, as I have seen so many people say online.

    My ego took a big hit.

    Perhaps I shouldn't have tried to start a QSO so soon? Feeling really, really stupid.
  2. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you haven't done so already, check out . You aren't wasting your time! I would encourage you to learn the entire alphabet before trying to have a QSO. SKCC is a great resource for someone just starting out. You'll get it....keep your ego in check....we all have our moments. :)
    N8TGQ, WB5YUZ, KE0EYJ and 1 other person like this.
  3. W2OZB

    W2OZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think you were perhaps a bit premature in getting on the air. I would wait until you have all letters and numbers memorized (and at least the period and comma). Also, I would recommend that you can (have it down pat) easily recognize RST and name, very, very helpful in getting ready to copy what's next (don't ask me how I know this).

    Even then, expect the occasional "brain fart". As a new HAM (just over a year old), I first enrolled in CW Academy and my cw development was quite surprising fast. However, I still make mistakes and actually had complete train wrecks when on the air, it happens to everyone. The good thing is everyone out there has been where you are and have tons of patience and good will.

    Don't be hard on yourself. Your not stupid, just eager (not a bad thing).
    N8DAH and KE0EYJ like this.
  4. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    "Get back on the horse". :)
  5. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm just getting started myself, limping along at 12 wpm on the air. My first QSO was during Field Day, this year. I asked for QRS and was able to copy what I figured was 15 wpm slowed to 10 actual. However, I didn't know the Field Day exchange, so I answered WA instead of WWA, and I had no idea what the station type was all about. Next year I will do better.

    I used G4FON to learn Morse, which is similar to, I believe. I found that, in order to "break" the construction of a lookup table in my head, I had to run the software at 15/15 before adding another letter. After adding the new letter, I slowed it down to 15/7 and worked back to 15/15. This was tedious beyond belief, but I hear Morse characters as sounds now and not individual dits and dahs.

    I can copy (into Notepad) what I hear on G4FON at 15/15, but it is still a struggle. As you found, an actual QSO introduces all sorts of other "workload" associated with calling and answering. That's why I have my keyer set to 12 wpm.

    I believe there are two aspects to CW operation - knowing Morse and knowing the QSO protocols. Reading up on the protocols helps, but only OTA experience will make it easier.

    Don't give up on it. It will eventually stop being "work" and will feel more like "fun".
    KE0EYJ and KA0HCP like this.
  6. W7UUU

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

    Don't be hard on yourself!! It takes time. I would definitely get all the letters down first though.

    Do you have a ham friend who is Morse capable? What I've done for several years with locals learning Morse is to set up a schedule with them, and be on the phone with them at the same time. That way you're talking to them while working a CW contact, pointing out errors or clearing confusions verbally.

    Hang in there - you'll get it!! Do NOT give up!! :)

    N2RIC, W5BIB, KC3RN and 2 others like this.
  7. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    We've ALL been there, done that !! ;) Do it some more !!! :D It'll get better each time...
    N2SUB likes this.
  8. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    "W1AW transmits on-the-air code practice and bulletins of interest to hams. The bulletins are also available via email and on the Web."
    N2SUB likes this.
  9. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was listening the other day and I heard W1AW call QRL? 2 times before transmitting.


    JUST KIDDING! They started the automated broadcast right over the adjacent station. :)
    ND6M and W5BIB like this.
  10. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yah, don't worry about it. We all lose it now and then and flub the copy. Most QSOs, no biggie, but you can always ask for repeat.

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