30 Sep The CW Corner – September 2020
It’s been a few months since I’ve written one of my CW columns so here it is. Lately, I haven’t had much time to play with Amateur Radio, but I always seem to find the time when it comes to our club meetings, and to publish the newsletter. If you can recall the GCARC Information Net in September, I had the privilege to be the net control. The topic was the question “Is there another mode of operation that you would like to master that you may need help with from other club members? Some were interested in digital like FT8 and PSK31, while others were interested in DMR, D-star and yes, a few even mentioned CW.
I am pleasantly surprised that a few of our club members have stated that they are interested in pursuing CW. I had the bright idea that I would provide a course that operators could take that would teach them CW. (A long, long, long, long time coming)
Presently, there are 9 members from our club interested in learning CW.
They are as follows…
Glen Davis – N5LDO
Ron Witherington – WX5A
Lee Sly – N5SLY
Angel Staten – N5APJ
Lynda Tuma – KF5JUO
Bill Pierce – K5XBP
Jim McGlynn – K5QOI
Roy Reed – AF5VA
Andrew Bentley – KG5SKM
I may have missed a few. There are others that haven’t been to a club meeting lately, but they have attended my CW courses that I gave at the Grayson County Courthouse a few years ago. This is a far cry from what it used to be regarding interest in CW within our club.
I’ve had a long list of priorities this year, things to get done at home and getting involved in another business. The CW course has low priority. Even though it’s complete, I didn’t have a real way to get it out to the ones that wanted to learn CW. Because of Covid-19, it wasn’t feasible to have it at any of the learning institutions in the neighborhood earlier this year.
I’m presently putting together a new website dedicated to learning CW, and I will share the course with the club as soon as the website is complete. As I’ve previously mentioned about my priorities lately, the CW website may be a while before it’s finished. In the meantime, as promised on the GCARC Information net on September 6th, I’ve provided a link to my friend Kurt’s website (AD0WE) who lives in Manhattan Kansas. He created his own CW course, and has published dozens of YouTube videos that contain practice sessions of up to 50 WPM. You can find his website, including the course and practice CW sessions on YouTube by going to…
Kurt also has published an entire book in CW. He is absolutely on-top of mastering CW at speeds that you could hardly believe.
When you first learn CW, what do you do? You learn each letter and number with its corresponding code of tones, known as dits and dahs, or dots and dashes, depending on what you would like to call them. Within my 55 years of working CW, I’ve learned to perfect my skill with copying CW from just listening to single characters to words. I’ve mentioned this to others before, as when I hear CW, I don’t hear dits and dahs at speeds above 30 WPM, or dots and dashes, I hear words. Some of you may say, wow, it took James 55 years to accomplish that.
Actually, it only took 5 years but wait, what can my friend Kurt do when it comes to CW. He received his license on November 3, 2016, less than 5 years ago. So he’s been a ham now for almost 4 years – only. He has not only mastered copying CW of up to speeds of 50 WPM, as he obviously can copy words at that speed, but he’s two steps ahead of that. I can copy CW at speeds up to 40 WPM. Kurt can also copy phrases instead of single words, but wait, is there a next step? Absolutely. Yes, Kurt copies whole sentences in his head at speeds up to 50 WPM. He’s accomplished this in just 4 years. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, he doesn’t write everything down when he copies (How can anybody write on paper at 50 WPM), but he has the skill that I wished I had. For me to carry on a conversation with another operator sending and receiving at 35-40 WPM for an hour or so can be tiresome, but if you do it right like Kurt does, copying code at that speed is ‘just a walk in the Eisenhower park’. I challenge anyone reading this column to go out to his website and listen to his YouTube videos. Whatever speed you would like to practice up to 50 WPM, it’s out there for you.
At the time of the GCARC Newsletter publication – September 2020, I hope all of the hams mentioned in this article and others will check out Kurt’s website.
Late Notice Update… (Since I mentioned Eisenhower park)
Kurt and I will be running the Eisenhower Special Event from the State Park in Kansas at the beginning of the special event. We will be using the callsign W5K. The assigned park number is K-2335. The operations will consist of POTA, FT8, SSB and CW. Also be on the lookout for the calls of AD0WE and KW5CW. All members will receive an email before next Friday that will give operating dates and times, modes and frequencies while working from the park. The goal is to be set up and operating at the beginning of the event on October 10th at 00:00 UTC. (7:00PM on Friday – October 9th)
The goal is to run two stations at once from the park. One may be running FT8, while the other is running SSB or CW. It should be allot of fun, and I’ll take a few pics and maybe a video to show at the next meeting.
Until then, 73,
James – KW5CW