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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. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know about others, but I always suggest learning ALL the letters, numbers, the comma, the period, the error sign(s), the most common Q signals, and some common abbreviations before attempting one's first QSO!

    But don't let it bother you. Most of us blew at least one of our first ten to twenty QSOs. I blew several of mine.

    Just remember, SRI OM QRT 73, followed by your call sign and maybe a TU, is always a legitimate way to end a QSO.

    So, finish learning all the characters you are likely to hear in a typical QSO, and then try again.

    When you try again, you can try just listening for a while until you can fairly easily follow the QSOs of others. That's what I did; it only took a few days of listening after I learned all the common characters to learn to follow a QSO. The SKCC frequencies are a good place to get slower-speed CW copy.
  2. KF9VV

    KF9VV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Been there. First QSO I pretty much forgot everything. That QSO just drove me to go back and drill harder. I did and all of a sudden there's lots of QSOs in the log. It takes some work, but it is worth it - keep plugging!

    Roughly one year after that first QSO as a returning Ham, I am starting to copy code reliably in my head. It took me daily practice to be able to send and receive well, and I'm still improving. I am a proponent of "time in the saddle" as the best method once one gets the basics down.
    KE0EYJ likes this.
  3. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    By the way, having a "QSO template" in front of you isn't a bad way to get you through the first few. Just a few notes like...



    Those 6 things will get you through a basic QSO and then you're into ragchewing.
  4. KF9VV

    KF9VV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    N1OOQ's script is ideal, and consider practicing sending both parts of the QSO as scripted. Once sending those parts becomes well rehearsed, it will make you more at ease getting started.

    From there, it is weather, chatting about antennas, teasing a guy over his football team and what ever else pops into mind. At slowish speed, the script N1OOQ has will be plenty long for most.
    W5BIB likes this.
  5. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am just frustrated. As soon as I get on air to listen, I can't figure out what people are saying. Some people send so poorly I cannot tell where one letter beings and the other ends. Then others are just too fast.

    I am sending at 10wpm, and they come back at 15-25wpm and then give their call just once... or give their call like this JA1XXXJA1XXXJA1XXX with no spaces in between. If it's obvious someone is having trouble getting your call, do you just send once, then stop? Or just send a blur of letters so fast with no spaces? I feel like people are just teasing me.

    Or I sent out a call, and 3 people come back at me at the same time and randomly jump in when I'm trying to get one. Then they all get pissed and leave because I cannot figure out who is calling. Then nobody answers me the rest of the day.

    Wish I had my Yaesu here... this 7300 is not as good a CW radio on RX.
  6. KF9VV

    KF9VV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Several frustration breakers:

    1. Schedule a QSO with a quality operator. There are a bunch around here that would be happy to schedule a QSO with you, just ask!
    2. Engage in SKCC. There are some GREAT operators to be found in SKCC.
    3. CW Ops has their CW Academy. Level 1 Academy is a way to get off to a great start.

    There are a lot of very sloppy ops on air, the sort who run things together or lack the desire (or ability) to adjust their speed to make things comfortable for the other guy. Hang in there.

    I went through much the same trials and tribulations when I came back on the air a year ago. Not wanting to be one of the knuckleheads drove me try all that much harder to be the easiest to copy I can be. It was the motivation behind my working hard on sending practice daily. I'm still learning every time I practice or get on the air. I try to participate in the SKCC events, they are fun and a great environment. I would like to also engage in CW Ops, but I have a standing conflict with Thursday nights, which has limited my ability to take the appropriate academy sessions.
  7. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It seems what's confusing me is that there is some kind of JA event going on (I'm in Korea) that has callsigns like 8J50IAKU/5CC8KKB or some such. It's darned hard to figure out, and it could be that they are using some Japanese CW. I'm trying to find others on air, but everyone seems preoccupied with these special callsigns, and there are 2 or 3 similar ones.
  8. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think I related this earlier, but I have now experienced three different responses to my request to QRS. The first is they actually slow to my speed, whatever I'm sending, with the correct inter-character spacing for that speed. The second is they continue at 15 or 20, and insert longer spaces between words to slow the effective speed. This is Farnsworth timing, and is encouraged by NAQCC for their slow-speed nets, but not everyone knows how to do it. The third is they continue sending at their original speed.

    I don't know the reason for this. Too hard to change the speed in the keyer? Using a bug and the thing just won't adjust slower than 20? Using software for Morse generation and don't know how to adjust it?

    I read some time ago of a CW op who found it difficult to send slower than 15 wpm with a straight key. At the time, this sounded weird, but after practicing all summer with a straight key at 12-15 wpm, I can understand the difficulty. You get into a rhythm and it is far easier to pause between letters than to send the entire letter at a slower pace than you've practiced.

    All I can suggest is to make a couple of requests to QRS early in your reply. Then get ready for whatever results you get...
  9. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If they sent at 20wpm and gave 5wpm pauses, it would be ideal. I'm studying my letters on LCWO at 20/5 to 20/8.

    I can see where some people used to working at 20wpm just can't slow down. It really becomes another language, below 15wpm.
  10. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are two schools of thought on this, and I certainly don't know which is right.

    The first is what I would call "old school", and that is that Morse has 3:1 timing for dah/dit
    ratio, 1 dit between elements, 3 dits between letters and 7 dits between words. Slower speeds slow everything down proportionately. The old school approach is this is the only way to do it.

    The second is Farnsworth, which is often represented with two numbers (as you did.) The first is the speed of the correctly-timed characters. The second is the effective speed, taking into account longer spaces between characters/words. The understood goal is to reach correct timing.

    What I don't know is if it is proper to send with Farnsworth timing, unless you are specifically trying to help someone learn Morse, or in response to a QRS. I think it is not. So I send at 12 wpm or so, correctly timed, and hope to get a reply at either that speed, or a Farnsworth speed which is 20/12 or slower.

    Someday I'd like to do correctly-timed Morse at 20 wpm, but I have no idea how long that will take. Meanwhile, I hope others are patient with me.

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