Oft told but thoroughly un-unique

I fell into SOTA in July 2015 soon after retiring and having watched too many of Steve’s (@WG0AT) wonderful goat videos.

Enjoyed activating immensely and in a very Western USA style made MG in under 2 years. 2 x MG happened long after and during a very fun trip to Norway this summer managed to become a Sloth via S2S chasing (that took 7 years!!).

However, that journey has been 100% voice and while doing co-activations with so many competent CW ops (@N7UN, @KT5X, @MM0FMF, @N6JFD, @N7DA, @G4OIG etc) I watched and listened in awe.

CW has never been an easy journey for me but I’m a stubborn old mule. Like many, my early exposure, in my case as a navy cadet in London, was pictorial, I passed the 5 wpm exam for my US General ticket and then really did nothing.

Segway forward a couple of decades and into the season of COVID had me join CWA. Plodded away, got frustrated, stopped, reflected and restarted only to repeat. Finally decided to give this one last college try, chased POTA, chased a little SOTA and found the twice weekly K1USN SST contest to be invaluable.

I made my first CW contacts as M0SNA before I left Northumberland this last summer and that felt good as I used a K2/100 I had built ages ago.

I’m lucky to have a SOTA peak 10 minutes from home by car and a short walk to a rather nice operating location.

Yesterday I fulfilled a “silly” dream and managed my first ever CW only activation netting 15 Qs on W6/SC-369. All quite exciting and terrifying at the same time. KX2, SOTABeams Dipole and a rather nice BaMa set of paddles.

In the grand scheme of things, nothing very remarkable but I huge deal for this old mule!


Congratulations Paul. CW is the best!

73 Richard


I agree. Welcome “old mule”


Congrats and well done!

Thanks for sharing! I hope your story inspires many followers.

73 Heinz


Well done Paul :+1:
I hope to work you soon on CW :slightly_smiling_face:

73, Mario DJ2MX

1 Like

Ah, I knew you’d get there. It was obvious you’d been practising your CW when we were out in HB9/DL this Summer. Not sure I’d include myself with those other brass bashers though!

What is difficult to explain is the high you get when you do your 1st all CW activation. Just keep doing some CW and some voice on each activation and you’ll find you get faster with practice.


Possibly a “daft laddie” question but, does it matter which hand you use for the key during CW operation ?
I don’t presently do CW but have bought a key and am curious about learning (not rushing, I’ve been curious for several years !).
The reason I ask is that I’m naturally left handed but write with my right hand (forced to at primary school).
It has caused me some confusion in other things like trying to hold/operate a guitar, but has meant I can use some tools in either hand. Which has proven useful in some confined spaces on boats.
At present for voice operation I hold the mic in my left hand and write my paper log or check spots on the phone with my right hand.


I am right-handed for everything in everyday life, but taught myself to send CW using my left hand just to keep my right hand less occupied (I can keep my pen in hand while sending, for example). I’m still new to CW so maybe that will pose a barrier as I try to increase speed, but so far it’s felt pretty natural. I’ve heard people that start sending CW with their dominant hand have trouble switching after the fact, though.

1 Like

Hi Andy,

Not a full answer, but most radios (I think) have a “reverse” setting which swaps the dit / dah paddles so that left handers can still use their thumb for “dits”


That’s phenomenal, congratulations on the CW activation I hope to get a s2s with you and chase you some time. and keep it up it gets so much easier the more you do it.

73 de VE6JTW, Jesse

1 Like

Congratulations Paul!

It is an uphill battle but you’re in the activation zone now and it’s all fun from now on! With each activation it gets easier and easier.

Well done, I’m proud of you, and anyone else who takes the brave step into activating with CW.

Vy 73,



Well done Paul, keep on doing what you are doing and above all make sure you enjoy it.


Congratulations Paul! I remember how nervous I felt for my first cw activation, so well done for plucking up the courage! :clap::clap::clap:

73, Matthew M0JSB


Well done Paul! I saw your 40m CW spot yesterday and did a double-take. I couldn’t hear you way up here in the frosty north on 40m, so I was very happy when you appeared later on 20m CW. Very pleased to have our first CW QSO - you were doing great! I look forward to many more. :beers:


Frosty North, below the 49th is like summer hihi. you guys need to come play in the real north hihi.
73 de VE6JTW

I see you took the bait =). It’s the frosty north compared to where he is! And I did in fact have to scrap ice off my windshield this morning, so my description is 100% accurate! :laughing:


Winter is Coming! We have lucked out this year so far the cold has held off and the snow is staying up in the mountains for the most part. That is changing soon though. It’s 24.8f outside right now here. but stay frosty down there haha.


Welcome to the dark side of the Herrz @W6PNG Hoping we can get out together again at some point in G or W land (or maybe we meet up elsewhere to coactivate again)!!
73 de N6JFD/foreverP


Welcome to the original digital mode, Paul.
Enjoy the extra 20 dB!


That settles the bet I started between Paul going CW versus Kay going to a higher class license… been so long that I can’t remember the prize. So a hearty hand clasp will do.

I always advise newbies to use a hand key in order to eliminate the distraction of getting down the timing on paddles. If left handed, turn the paddles upside down. If unable, then approach the paddles from behind and above with the left hand.

Elliott, K6EL