My first CW contact

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K2DN, Aug 29, 2010.

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  1. K2DN

    K2DN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Or at least I think I made it through it.
    Everyone says that once you learn all of the letters and prosigns that you should jump on the air and start making contacts.
    I have also read that contesters will work with pretty much anyone considering the fact that they need you more than you need them in most cases.

    So with those two facts in hand i decided to start scanning the dial last night trying to find a contester that I could follow.

    I found someone operating in the Hawaii QSO Party. They were moving pretty fast but after listening to them for a while I made out their callsign. I continued listening to them call CQ with no one answering them, so I figured if no one else is answering them, maybe I will not be wasting their time by trying to make a contact. I figured that all I had to get out was my callsign, the number 1 and TN for my state. Easy enough....

    So I send "K2DN 1 TN" at about 10 WPM.

    Sure enough I get a K2DN back. Followed by a string of stuff coming at me so fast I have no idea what they said. I did understand the word "State?"
    So I sent "TN" again. This was followed by another string of characters thrown out there at lightning speed. I froze, I had no idea what to do next so I sat there for about 2 seconds before he started calling CQ again.

    To be very honest I have no idea if the other guy considers the brief "conversation" we had an actual contact or not. Guess I will find out if I get a QSL via LOTW (The person says he does LOTW)

    So all in all, my first cw contact was a complete train wreck. I apologize to anyone who might have heard it including the guy I tried to contact :)

    Not to be discouraged, I am not going to give up, hopefully the contacts will get easier as I make more of them.
  2. KD7MSC

    KD7MSC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Was it a Hawaii station? If not it was a station looking to work only HI stations. If he was in HI you are probably in the books and have a valid contact.

    Congratulations on your CW QSO.

    73, Sean
  3. WJ6R

    WJ6R Ham Member QRZ Page

    You would have gotten a 5NN followed by the three letters for the county in Hawaii they are in.

    Then he had you repeat your state, which you did

    But your exchange should have been 5NN TN.

    Then he could have come back with 73 TU QRZ ....

    Most QSO in contests (yes qso partys are contests).. go like this



    K2DN 5NN AL

    5NN TN

  4. K2DN

    K2DN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, it was a HI station.

    I thought you had to give a serial number... just looked at the exchange info and you are right RST + state.

    Oh well, guess I screwed that up worse than I thought I did :)
  5. K4PP

    K4PP Ham Member QRZ Page

    He was probably just telling ya what a cool call sign that is when sounded out at 30WPM :). That's one that could stick in my head. Hate it when that happens.

    I struggle the same way too. I wouldn't sweat it.

  6. KE5FRF

    KE5FRF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats on your first contact, but whoever suggested making your first CW contact in the heat of ANY kind of contest exchange was throwing you to the wolves.

    Yes, contest ops are looking for contacts, but it isn't as if there is a shortage of them. Usually they are "running" stations and have some waiting in the wings when it is a "TEST" like the Hawaii QSO party.

    I would stay away from contests for a while. They mean no offense to you, but most of them have not got the patience to work through a contact when the other op is just learning.
  7. DL7GEM

    DL7GEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, having your first CW contact in a contest takes some guts -- congratulations. Most contesters I have heard go at speeds well above 25wpm, 30wpm seems to be the norm with the exchanges often being even faster.

    You might want to look up the FISTS and SKCC folks. There you will find ops which will go at any speed *you* are comfortable with. Slow ops can often be found above 7.100 on 40m.

    Take a look at the K3UK sked page at In the SKCC and FISTS/QRP groups you will find many helpful people.

    Enjoy the mode!

    73 de Marcus / DL7GEM
    SKCC #4120
    FISTS #14508
  8. K1DNR

    K1DNR Ham Member QRZ Page

    My comfy qso speed is around 20wpm.

    In contests that goes up to 35-40wpm, but I'm only good for the qth and signal report! I could not sustain a qso for very long.

    There are lots of people out there who will QRS and have a lower speed qso with you. To me that is when CW is really fun - when you get to stretch out and get to know someone a little bit and go beyond the signal report and qth.

    You also get much better at CW copying all the info about someone's occupation and grandchildren than you do copying a 599 contest signal report!

    Hope to work you on CW, I'd be happy to set up a sked with you some time if you want to get some practice.

    Charley AE2CS
  9. KD5R

    KD5R XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congrats on that 1st CW QSO!:) Probably 98% of my QSOs in my 48 years of hamming have been on CW. The effects of age and accident have taken their toll on my sending ability but I still enjoy it. I still have a microphone somewhere but it's been about 15 years since it's been connected to the rig.
  10. N4LCV

    N4LCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is no such thing as messing up or failing on your 1st CW contact! Just getting on the air and giving it a try is a MAJOR victory. In my first CW contact, I ended up asking the guy about a half dozen times to QRS, and even spelled it out once. "Please slow down!" Finally, (I hate to admit it) I spun the dial, listened a few minutes, and shut down the rig! However, the next day, I met my Elmer on the air, and he was patient enough to slow down and we had a nice QSO. Then, he sent me a "First CW Contact" award. It was WAY cool!

    Keep working at it. You'll get there, and it's lots of fun when you can find someone you can work.


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