Is it OK to get on air before your CW is down pat?

Started by K7JLJ, November 22, 2015, 11:29:17 am

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I mean I would have to use a cheat sheet for many letters and a scripted QSO.

A friend in a nearby town and I want to try NVIS and it would be my first QSO in CW, but I'm not ready and he's probably worse off.

I'm hoping that NVIS will keep it local and not interfere with anyone, but know there will be a lot of slow <5WPM going back and forth.

Is there a good chance I'll get the ".-..  .. -.." thrown at me? :)


Yes, absolutely!  Go for it, especially if you have a friend to QSO with.  You own the airwaves just as much as the 30wpm speed demons, and there's plenty of bandwidth for everyone.

To me it's a little sad that as I scan around the dial I rarely hear anyone stumbling along at 5wpm.  Please do it and set an example for the other people just learning and afraid to transmit. 

There's no official QRS frequencies in the Band Plans, but here's a link to a some information about QRS frequencies that looks reasonable to me.  In general the speed demons hang out at the lowest end of the band and the slow pokes are often around or above the QRP calling frequencies.

One problem I had (OK still have) when transmitting is going from the thought of a word to the spelling of the word to my hand making dots and dashes.  It has nothing to do with Morse code.  It's spelling out my thoughts.  So, I had a cheat sheet of standard QSO stuff right in front of me.  When working things like Field Day or a contest I'll still do that.


Sure.. I'd say try to get to 13-15wpm, but if all you can do is 5, then do 5. I am at 20wpm now, but with lack of practice, can probably only get 60% of what I hear. I can get 100% at 15wpm however, and that is what I should be using right now.

Nobody is going to mind, though faster people might not answer you because it is just harder for them to actually copy slower than their usual speed.

Your issue is that you may be learning the code the wrong way. A letter should pop in your mind as you hear the sound. You should not have a look-up table of dits and dahs in your head.. That will slow down your progress a great deal. Better learn letters at 20wpm by sound, with long pauses between letters. Also practice adding letters together in your mind to form words.

If I could go back in time and relearn Morse, I would do it at 20wpm without writing anything down. It would be harder and take longer, but in the end I would have been better. That said, QSOs are a good way to progress too.



November 24, 2015, 04:06:10 am #3 Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 04:10:35 am by K7JLJ
Thanks for the encouragement, I will give it a shot.

I am learning the letters at 20WPM speed but with lots of space (6WPM) using LCWO and I am writing it down then typing it in.

The lookup table would be for the few I haven't got down yet.

I don't plan on calling CQ until I'm in the 10WPM realm but want to keep my friend interested so I set up a QSO for ASAP.

Interesting statement Gil.

Also, I seem to do better with paddles and the radio set to 12WPM when sending, but know I should probably get my fist developed first.

I'm looking for a flameproof key to fill the niche on eBay now.  The J-38 I have drives me nuts with all the clanking!

- Jim


QuoteI am learning the letters at 20WPM speed but with lots of space


Let me know if you'd like to try a QSO some time..