And for the record, my CW skills are attrocious.


Actually Andy its ATROCIOUS just one T - so one less DAH to send.
Sorry couldn’t resist - ex teacher (who couldn’t spell hence Engineering Degree).

Roger G4OWG :slight_smile: (Obligatory)

ps :- Ian only one f in Proficient that saves three dits and a dah :slight_smile: think of the saving in energy - CW the green X code.

In reply to G4OWG:

so one less DAH to send.

That’s OK Gerald. Try sending MM0 and you’ll realise why I added an extra dash, it’s just habit! :wink:

Roger G4OWG

Ah, sorry thought you were the other one. Can we merge you and Gerald together and just have one name and callsign to remember, how about “Rogald G4OIWG” ?


In reply to G7ADF:
Hi Ian
I’d have a go but with my MS i would the only that dose CW with a stutter :slight_smile:

In reply to G3CWI:

Just looks like a trail of sheep droppings to me.

Sat on the mountain I started to decode the sheep and rabbit droppings. If the rabbit’s represented dots and the sheep’s dashes could I read any thing into it?
.-././-…/.-./.-- “Redrum” it said I looked a litle further “Redrum Redrum Redrum Redrum” and so on at infinitum. I looked down at my log book I had filed it with that one word. What did in mean?

Arriving back at the hotel later I parked the snow mobile and went in and straight to the bathroom and found the XYL and the kids were locked in, good job there was a handy fire axe. Who’s Johnny?

Dehydration can do that to a man.

Steve GW7AAV -.-

In reply to MM0FMF:

"The only person in the world stopping you from using CW is you.

If you don’t want to learn then fine. But that is a decision you have actively made. So don’t complain about others doing what they want to do because they have made different decisions."

Do you know, Andy, over the last 45 years I have lost count of the number of people who have said something like that to me. In the early 60’s I tried desperately hard to get up to the necessary 12 wpm (at that time) but was never able to get faster than 10 wpm, and my efforts gradually petered out after I got my “B” license in 1964.

After the morse requirement was dropped I sampled the HF bands and my taste for them was re-kindled. I became aware again of how useful CW is in the HF environment and settled down to re-learn morse code. I very quickly got up to about 8 wpm and, guess what? - hit the same old problem, despite the modern aids that we now have. In addition after about 5 minutes of receiving I become fatigued and start making errors and after a few more minutes have to stop. What I have is great for reading the callsigns of beacons and I value it for that, but it is hardly fit for communication.

The point that I am making is that in my case I have learned up to a limit, that limit seems to be organic and no “decision” was “actively made”, nor do I have any hostility towards CW though I do rather regret the fact that CW activations are now more numerous than phone ones.

I rather like the idea of the “bad morse” sessions, let me know when they start!


Brian G8ADD

Your speed is fine Brian. The beauty of the dropping of the morse requirement for HF is that you can go on and feel comfortable operating at YOUR speed.

I have been operating at 8-10 wpm for months, happily making contacts and even chasing and activating SOTA summits at that speed. OK, my speed has recently started to creep up, but there was no pressure or need for it to do so.

You will find that the SOTA CW operators will be very welcoming, and they will QRS to your 8 wpm. 8 wpm is a perfectly acceptable speed to be making contacts at. We can fix some skeds up if you like.

In reply to M1EYP:

I agree with Tom 100% Brian, cw ops will always qrs to your speed and always welcome any qso.

Klaus DF2GN always operates qrs after his fast cw, for those who are learning cw or are slower for whatever reason and he will accomodate you with pleasure, it is good operating practice and more ops should adopt his approach.

CW is a great weapon in the sota armoury and is the main reason that I have done so well in such a short time.

At the end of the day it’s all about communication and not a race.

I’ll be more than pleased to work you any time at a speed to suit you.

Steve GW7AAV is a good example. He learned the alphabet and numbers and one day when I was on nw-062 we managed a contact on 2m-cw for his first ever sota cw point.
The qso was at approx 5wpm, but the point is in his sota log forever now.

I look forward to hearing you on the key Brian, good look with it.

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to G8ADD:

I tried desperately hard to get up to the necessary 12 wpm

But Brian, you’re not making a song and dance (light hearted or otherwise) about the CW activations taking place.


Perhaps we should start having “bad morse” sessions.>
Any takers?


I’d appreciate the chance to join in. While I can read 10 - 12 wpm computer generated, I find working off-air much more of a problem and I need a lot ox experience at sending before I venture to try an activation with cw. I have only 80 and 40 at the moment. QTH very poor for 2M.

Regards, Dave, M0DFA (2M and above) G6DTN (HF)

In reply to G7ADF:

In reply to MM0FMF:

And for the record, my CW skills are attrocious.

Perhaps we should start having “bad morse” sessions.> Any takers?


But Ian, there is no such thing as bad morse, hi, all morse is good, just that some cw ops aren’t as proficient as others.

Here it comes :slight_smile:

73 Mike GW0DSP

there is no such thing as bad morse…

Do you not remember that time when your paddle broke mid QSO? That came pretty close…!

In reply to M1EYP & GW0DSP

there is no such thing as bad morse…

As it has already been established that I cant spell, how do you distinguish between bad spelling and bad morse?


In reply to M0DFA:

Wonder if there is a way to practive over the internet. A bit like echolink but with a key? Does echolink support a key?

At least there would be practice with human senders. Just tune a MW receiver to a non channel to create some background noise, or even slightly off frequency for that all important QRN :slight_smile:


In reply to G7ADF:

As it has already been established that I cant spell, how do you
distinguish between bad spelling and bad morse?

Thank goodness for Q codes… fairly easy to spell I think… and I often find that poor spelling can be “pasd off as sme smrt CW abbrvton”. :slight_smile:

73 Marc GØAZS

In reply to GW0DSP:

Even some of the most proficient CW operators can send bad morse at times. I was professionally trained in CW and operated on and off for 30 odd years in the RAF. However, since leaving the RAF and with the early onset of arthritus in the fingers I cant use a straight anymore so moved to a paddle keyer about 6 months ago. Having almost mastered that I then took up SOTA activating and bought myself a palm paddle. So now I have to contend with a paddle key rather than a straight key, a key that is so small I need my glasses to find it, arthritus and the inability to send good CW when I am shivering on top of a hill. Apart from all that my CW is not too bad :-))).

My point is - even with age induced bad CW I can still make the contacts either from home or the hill top. There is no such thing as bad morse just bad morse operators. By that I mean operators who will not QRS when required but continue at their own speed regardless of that of the recieving station.

A good place to get practice from like minded people, other than SOTA, is the QRP freqs. Try working on 3560 or 7030 and you will be made most welcome even if you have to look up each character as it come in!

There are plenty of us out here willing to help anyone with CW practice and have the patience to spend all evening at 1 QSO.

Give it a go


In reply to GM4CFS:
…yes and I find the FISTS frequency on 3.558 always has good friendly ops. who will work at your speed.

73 Marc GØAZS

In reply to M1EYP:

there is no such thing as bad morse…

Do you not remember that time when your paddle broke mid QSO? That
came pretty close…!

I certainly do Tom, I can’t deny it, that was a classic, hi.

You can do CW over the internet with CWCOM:

You can even wire up a key(er) to your COM port. Works with Windows and I’ve also had it working under Linux with wine.

On Linux we have the fabulous CWIRC:

Check out the screenshot - with real S meter:

I don’t see any reason why a tone oscillator couldn’t be used with Skype as a lot of folk already have that program set up.

When I first got going I also found the FISTS frequency 3.558 a safe haven of patient and helpful ops who always took the time to chat at my own pace. Still pop in there now and again. Often hear QRS these days around 3.550 as well.

I was stuck at 8 wpm for ermm… about 15 years. According to the experts, it comes from counting the dots and dashes as you go, rather than reading each letter as a single rhythmic pattern. So I turned up the morse tutor so the characters were at 15 wpm but with long gaps between them (the so-called Farnsworth method). Reduce the gap slowly as you progress. The Koch method does something similar - you learn at the target speed (say 15wpm up) but start with only two letters and add a new one every time you reach 90% copy.

I can thoroughly recommend reading ‘The Art and Skill of Radio Telegraphy’ (Google it). It’s a fascinating book (available free in PDF) and great inspiration. It also documents the history of the mode, even if you don’t want to learn morse, still very interesting.


In reply to GW0DSP:

In reply to M1EYP:

Do you not remember that time when your paddle broke mid QSO?

Was this at the height of the recent deluge, Hi! By the way Tom, what use is a boat up on a summit?

73, Gerald
who still uses a straight key after 25 years of CW operation

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi Gerald

It was during a three way 80m qrs qso with Tom M1EYP and Richard G3CWI, the eyelet on the end of the spring on my bencher snapped off, great fun, hi, and not recommended.

73 Mike
who still uses both straight key and paddle after 22 years of cw operation

P.S. Your straight keying is very nice Gerald.