Please don't do this...

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WB2WIK, Jun 20, 2016.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I work CW quite a lot, and have done so for more than fifty years; still a lot of activity and great fun.

    I do notice some "new" ops, including new licensees and also some long-licensed ops just getting into CW now, who do some things that are real time wasters and really should be avoided.

    Just worked an op yesterday afternoon who said he'd been using CW since January (about six months) now -- won't mention his callsign -- and here's what happened:

    -He called CQ in a way that won't get a lot of answers, although I did answer him. The CQ included sending his own callsign 7 times in a row, which is 4-5 times more than needed. Nothing illegal about this, it's just kind of a time kill. Better to call CQs that last 15-30 seconds depending upon keying speed and not send your own call more than 3x in any part of the CQ.

    -He didn't end the CQ with an invitation to transmit: "K." That's kind of silly. How will anyone know when you're finished and listening, without a K?

    -I answered him by sending his call once and my call twice. He got it! [​IMG] But he replied to me by sending my call, then his call, then K. Why? When someone answers you, it's your turn. Provide a report! Then, turn it back over to the other station.

    -On his next transmission, he provided first his name, with a period after that. Then "QTH IS" with his location, and a period after that. Then "NAME HERE IS" with his name, and a period after that. Nothing illegal about any of that, but it's kind of silly.

    First, I'd always recommend sending a signal report FIRST, before anything else. He didn't actually send me one. It's important to have this first, as it lets you know if the other guy is really hearing you well, or poorly, or at all. If poorly, it might be time to increase power if possible. If well, great. But this is nice to know right up front.

    Then, there's no reason to send periods in a ham radio rag chew. They might be important if relaying an important message someone else wrote; I'd never change anything about "someone else's message." But when you're making up your own text and just exchanging conversation, periods are a waste of time and never needed. Hams use _..._ (BT) for that, or if what you're sending obviously contains unrelated pieces of information, you really don't need to separate them with anything at all. I usually send (example) RST 599 HR QTH LOS ANGELES OP STEVE STEVE HW? Anyone who can copy code knows where the "breaks" are without me adding them. It makes conversation run smoother and exchanging more information more quickly an easier task.

    Also, DO send a signal report, don't omit it. It's not for "vanity," it's to let the other party know if you can really copy them well -- or not.

    If someone gives me a 599, I don't increase power or repeat information. If they give me a 339, I might increase power (if available) and will send everything twice to help assure they get it.

    Also, "QTH HERE IS" is superfluous -- "QTH" already means "my location is," so no reason to add more words to it. "NAME HERE IS" also seems a little silly...who else's name would you give?

    -The op also took a very long time to respond to each of my transmissions. I'd send some stuff, send "K" to turn it back to him, and be met with dead silence for maybe 15-20 seconds. Figured I'd lost him (happens), but then there he was replying to me with "R R" and stuff saying he got it all. What takes another 15-20 seconds to get it all? I don't understand that one. But I'll tell you if you do that when working DX, or making a contest contact, or contacting anyone in a pileup -- this won't work. During that 15 seconds, whoever you were after will make two other contacts and won't hear you again. [​IMG]

    I love that a lot of newer guys (and some older ones, too!) are getting into CW and hope they're all enjoying it. But really listen to how you operate and if there are places to improve...go for the improvements.
    KB2SMS, W9EBE, K6JJR and 8 others like this.
  2. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    With ya 100% Steve, I think we've worked the same guys! Either that or there's a movement underfoot that were not cotton to.

    It makes me wonder what resources these guys are using to learn code. CW isn't just learning the letters and numbers, it's the PROCESS AND PROCEDURES that are equally important. Apparently they aren't learning that part!

    If any elmers are reading this, PLEASE teach procedure!

    If any learners are reading this, PLEASE learn procedure!
  3. AA8TA

    AA8TA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Did you try to contact him and provide some friendly advice? You're probably preaching to the choir here. SKCC has a short summary that is very similar to what you (Steve) provided. I rarely do casual contacts anymore but if somebody had sent me an email after a contact and explained a few things in a friendly way, I would have printed it out and kept it close at hand for the next contact. This day and age is not like the Novice days of yore.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I didn't just hear this station, I was in contact with him for about 20 minutes.

    I did instruct him in a nice way to change some things. PLS DONT USE PERIODS -- NOBODY USES THOSE AND WILL UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY IF YOU JUST LEAVE THEM OUT. Stuff like that, sent at his speed.

    Hopefully this stuff helps.

    I normally don't spell out long words using code when I'm dealing with experienced ops. That "wud hv bn pls omit periods OM dont needum.":)
    AA8TA likes this.
  5. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I try and think back 56 years when I started ( I know that's a long "think") and made plenty of mistakes as a result try to be patient with the new folks on CW and any other mode for that matter. A good chance the station will pick up the routine as time goes on but I know it can get a little frustrating. Don't hesitate to point out the proper procedure and most view it in a positive manner.
    K8PG and W9AFB like this.
  6. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Please do all you can to patiently instruct new CW ops. I've been doing CW about a year now and have really appreciated advice given to me. I'm still improving my procedures and speed and try to encourage as many hams as I meet to get into CW. But if they read a post like the OP then they may feel discouraged because they don't want to be "silly".

    If you've been at this for 30 years just keep in mind that a new cw operator may be really struggling to copy even if you are sending at their speed. Avoiding abbreviations and using a few more filler words may help them keep the context of what is being sent. When a new cw operator misses a word they can sometimes panic a bit and miss the next one as well as they are trying to refocus their attention so while brevity may speed the exchange it may frustrate a new cw operator into giving up.

    I just went through my first FD operating CW and learned even more about brevity.

    The hobby should stay fun while we continue to improve our knowledge and operating skills.

    Richard, AA4OO
    AA8TA and N4IAG like this.
  7. WJ4U

    WJ4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    di-dah-di-dah-di-dah has a nice ring to it. :oops:
  8. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Sure he wasn't using a Morse decoder and/or keyboard? (Of course I trust you would know about the keyboard.)
  9. W7UUU

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

    Any time I casually walk into the shack, with a receiver playing in the room in the CW end of whatever band, and I hear a "period" I just assume it's ARRL code practice - they're about the only ops that I ever hear use a period! And boy do they love to send periods!!

    I wonder if he was one of the many "Computer CW operators" - trying to use a computer to work a mode not well suited to computers. Maybe he even built some transmission macros he "read about somewhere" in how to send and manage a QSO.

    W9JEF and W8ZNX like this.
  10. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    While I don't disagree, if we were professional radio operators, this would be a big deal. We're not and it's not.

    vy 73 es gl,
    Bryan WA7PRC
    N1KTJ, K8PRG and N4IAG like this.

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