New Ham on learning CW

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KD2SVR, Oct 29, 2019.

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  1. W5WTH

    W5WTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not that impressive if those lines where like a typical modern day DMV. :)
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, the lines may have been very long.

    But to learn a new skill, even if it took several hours or a couple of days, to "get a better job," is a good thing.

    Lots of literature on this. Seems the reason so many applied to be telegraph operators is what they did before was shovel out horse stalls, bail hay, pick cotton, or almost anything that was much harder and more back-breaking. Sitting in a chair at a table to work, wearing nice clothes, seemed more civilized, even if the pay was the same.

    Now, they had jobs in "technology" (although I'm doubtful anyone called it that at the time). But they were technology jobs, and lots more followed that.
  3. AD0DQ

    AD0DQ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am really interested in what you think the best paddle/key is for a person just learning CW. My assumption was paddles would be better because they set the spacing and timing for you. But I am interested in what a CW op thinks. I am looking at the Bencher paddles on line and they look to be the least expensive quality paddles out there. The reviews of the MFJ paddles have been less than stellar on Amazon. So, if you were counseling a new CW op on their first key, what would it be?

    (just learning)
    W9RAC likes this.
  4. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    HI DAVE,




    73 - K1LKP
    KD2SVR likes this.
  5. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I’m probably a bit old school on this but I’d suggest a straight key for developing CW sending skills and then move to paddles and an electronic keyer after developing basic sending skills.

    In terms of paddles once you get going I’ve had and liked the Bencher paddles (I also like their straight key) but there are many good paddles out there especially if you include the used market like Vibroplex, Brown Brothers and others. Over time I’ve settled on single paddles instead of iambic and really like the older Autronic paddles but they can be hard to find.
  6. KD2SVR

    KD2SVR Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

  7. KD2SVR

    KD2SVR Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Again, thx 4 all the advice. Just fyi, I've got a straight key now, and I've signed up for cw practice on I like the system of training there and am going to give it a try.
    KA0HCP likes this.
  8. KD4ZFS

    KD4ZFS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welcome, new CW ops! Congratulations on joining this elite club. :)

    Morse is great fun. Think of it as a journey, not a destination. There is always more to learn.

    There is great advice in this thread.

    Let me re-emphasize: as soon as you can, get on the air!

    SKCC has a schedule (SKED) room with folks willing to help and go slow.

    YouTube is your friend.

    Great stuff can be found on the AA4OO's HamRadioQRP YouTube channel.

    Here is a fantastic tutorial about how to set up and use a bug:

    KD2SVR: Yes, start with straight key or maybe a single paddle. But keep the Bug! You will grow into it. :)

    Early in my CW days I heard some horrible bug usage on the air and decided I would never use one. . . Then a few years later I wanted to try one. . . Now it's one of my favorite types of keys.

    AD0DQ: I think that a Bencher is a fantastic set of paddles that could last you a lifetime. For other recommended keys, see my QRZ page.

    73 de KD4ZFS
    KD2SVR likes this.
  9. KD2SVR

    KD2SVR Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have acquired the Vib. Straight key. It's well constructed and looks like it's very capable of years of service.
  10. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I may Tony, although paddles may seem "automated" they require a lot of work also regarding the timing of your characters. Although they will allow for perfect timing for repeated operation every other task is controlled by the operator. I have heard many a bad code sending with a paddle also. So, my advice is if you are to learn with a paddle and see yourself continuing as a Morse OP in the future, make one purchase and make it a good one. I have had many keys and paddles, some more expensive than others. Some are more "sloppy" than others which are not necessarily to be judged by cost but by style. I can recommend a N3ZN magnetic paddle as a solid investment that that will be the only purchase you will ever need. Personally, I use the single lever paddle, the ZN-SL. It seemed like a better fit to me coming from a bug action. These are magnetic paddles, perfectly smooth. Not a advertisement but just my opinion. If you are to decide to learn with a mechanical key, which I did, you might consider a decent j38. As a person just learning you would be hard pressed to get accurate advice to which is better to learn with, since you only "learn once" how could a person tell you. With me it happen to be the j38 but a paddle may have been better, how could one ever know? Stay with it for sure, you can change course later if you desire, 73 Rich
    WW2PT likes this.

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