A NEW MODE FOR A NEW YEAR! December 26th, 2013
During the holiday period, we are often given to pondering on the coming year. I am sure many hams give some thought to how they can make changes to their radio station or consider alternative operating modes. A mode that often comes up in conversation is CW. You either love it or hate it. But to hate it, you have to try it first!
CW is the oldest form of data communication, but is unique in that it is the only mode that requires a level of skill before you can even begin to use it. There is a very distinct learning curve and it is the element of learning that probably puts many off. So perhaps the holiday period is just the time to take the plunge?
There has been much written about CW training, but it can be learnt without any outside help, simply by listening. That’s how I leaarnt. Check the RSGB and ARRL sites for slow CW transmission times. I think that there are some web sites as well that can help you. Try the approach of concentrate on the rhythm of characters, because as your speed increases, this is what you will be listening for. I learnt to read CW before I worried about sending it. There is a good reason for this approach. When reading, you cannot know what the character is until it has been sent, at which time the next character begins. So your brain is both working out what the character was sent as well as listening to the next character. There is a kind of brain time lag for reading the code. No such lag occurs when sending. In fact it is almost the reverse. You know what you are going to send before you send it.
I have met lots of hams in recent years who have taken up CW well after they have become licensed, and a very high percentage have stuck with it and become quite proficient CW operators. It is a skill that once learnt, never really leaves you. So if you are think about what to do during the holiday period. or indeed during the coming year, then give a thought towards CW. It could change your whole way of operation and open up a completely new aspect of ham radio for you. _ _ . . . . . . _ _ Peter G3OJV