Welcome to Straight Keys

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by AA7BQ, Jul 28, 2015.

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  1. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are some "younger" folks (and by younger I mean under 60) picking up the CW torch. I started CW a couple years ago when I was 50 and I mostly ragchew. You're correct in that the average age operator I work is 68 but I do work an occasional operator in their 50's and 40's. In 1500 or so QSOs I think I've only had CW ragchews with a couple operators under 30.

    I have a Youtube channel that is mostly CW related and it has over 100,000 views at this point. YouTube tracks the age of viewers somehow and I found its demographic report interesting. As you can see below there's less than 10% interest from viewers under 25 years of age which is probably the majority of Youtube viewers.

    A bit over 10% of the viewers are in their 30's

    But as many viewers in the 45-54 year range are watching as the oldsters (65+). So that makes me think that this 45-54 (my age group) is becoming interested in learning Morse Code and will carry on the mode.


    I'm not sure how to interest young hams (or young people) to learn CW. Most of them just laugh when I try to interest them in CW.

    73 de AA4OO
  2. KD2RON

    KD2RON Ham Member QRZ Page

    Been working at cw as a beginner for two years, now 73 years old. Work on both keyer and recently straight key to participate in skcc contests. Still slow but work at it every day. Since the entry level age in ham radio is fairly mature, maybe we should do a better job of reaching the more mature hams to learn cw even at a more advanced age. We older beginners may need to expect slower progess but still have fun with it. I have had a great time.
  3. KI4VLM

    KI4VLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Been at it for 15 days now. Trying to practice at least 30 minutes a day, sometimes longer. i put an app on my smartaleck phone, and can practice anywhere. I like the app alot and am now up to 15 characters. I( transmit better than I copy. Gotta work on copy speed.
    AA4OO likes this.
  4. KI4VLM

    KI4VLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    made it to 22 characters so far. This is really fun learning code. I am still struggling copying, but it is coming slowly but surely.
    AA4OO likes this.
  5. AE4P

    AE4P Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think thats all the motivation I need to learn!
  6. AE4P

    AE4P Ham Member QRZ Page

    Its also suggested for older people to engage in language learning to keep the mind active to to help fight memory issues. I am just now again wanting to learn to use that language thats called um um oh yeah morse code.

    This replay didn't end up with the correct response in the thread. Thats why it may seem random.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  7. AE4P

    AE4P Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a question for you. Just starting to learn cw at 53 so I will be good enough when I get 68 but knowing my short attention span I dont want to spend a hundred bucks on a straight key. So do you think the android apps with a straight key abstraction are good enough that a person could learn to code accuratly to prove themselves before spending the money on something that could possibly end up in a bin of things I bought but have lost interest in? so far after 1 day with just one app I find it difficult to tap out letters with multiple dit dahs without spaces before the letter is finished. Is this just a practice thing or is the touch screen not a good tool for coding on?
  8. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    These, new, are only a little more than one-tenth of that!!!


    They're not very good keys, but they are good enough to decide if CW is something you will enjoy or not. I know because I used one when I was a novice.

    Don't fall into the trap of trying to perfect your CW with an app or online.
    Those are excellent ways to get started, but just as soon as you learn all of the letters and numbers and some of the more common prosigns, jump in and start listening. As soon as you can copy complete QSOs, jump in and start transmitting.

    A little reading on this board will show you lots of posts from people who have been trying to learn CW for years. Almost all of them have tried to perfect their CW online or with an app; they tend to change methods frequently since they don't get the results they want.

    This is a modern phenomenon. The overwhelming majority of the millions of men and boys who learned CW before computers came in got to 5 WPM in six to ten weeks and 15 WPM within four or six months or so (and much faster if Uncle Sam was teaching them). This is because they got on the air and started having QSOs as soon as they got all the characters down instead of spending time looking for apps and websites that will work magic.

    CW is like cycling; "time in the saddle" (as "Iron Mary" says) "makes the biggest difference in how you progress, not instructional technique!"
    KA0HCP likes this.
  9. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    These look suspiciously like the one I bought from ARRL some years ago, in a moment of madness. I thought it was MFJ, but it could be both.

    Save your money. These are worthless junk, IMnotalwayssoHO, so worthless that my conscience will not permit me to even give mine away, let alone sell it to some unsuspecting soul.

    You won't like or enjoy this key, or CW if you end op with one.

    There are decent keys out there, many less than $100. Maybe you can find a used quality key, if frugality is essential.
  10. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, I have to respectfully agree to disagree on this one. As I said, I learned CW with one, and CW became a life-long avocation for me.

    I admit I sure was a lot happier when I got my K-4. Unfortunately, they are not available new anymore; the semi-disposable one I linked to still is.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017

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