CW Part 2

In 2016, I posted that I was learning CW by taking the CW Ops level 1 course. I did complete the class, made two on air QSO’s then life got in the way of the ham radio hobby and until recently, I left CW alone. In January this year, I decided to get started again and set a goal to make 100 CW QSO’s by the end of the year.

I started reviewing the CW Ops materials I had from 2016. I also copied the all the K7QO code course mp3 files to my phone so I could listen to that while in the car. In addition to those two things, I am also trying to listen to live QSO’s on the radio. Most of them go too fast for me to not miss a bunch of characters. Some QSO’s are difficult due to timing or no spacing. I heard a CQ call that sounded like “CQCQdeCallSignk”. There were no spaces in between the characters or words. One long string of dits and dahs.

So far, I am making progress. I relearned the alphabet, numbers and a few punctuation marks, and am trying to gain faster recognition so I can understand more.

I did make my first CW QSO of the year last week. It was a bit of a mess but we managed to actually exchange enough info to make an official QSO! That lead to an exchange of emails and this fellow ham and I made another scheduled QSO and he’s going to help me make more so I can practice CW! Gotta love the ham radio community!

If anyone is thinking of trying to learn CW, do it! If I can do it, then I think most people could do it as well. It’s going to take some effort and time but what doesn’t? 73.

Wayne Patton, K5UNX, is a regular contributor to and writes from Arkansas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “CW Part 2”

  • Howard AC4FS:

    Excellent! I was big into CW for a number of years, even chasing WAS on CW, but like you, life got in the way. It has been over eight and a half years since I made my last CW QSO. I can still pick out most of the letters, numbers, and prosigns, up to around 15-18 WPM, but haven’t tried an actual on-air QSO. Reading your post has inspired me to get back in the saddle, so to speak, and get back up to speed and get on the air. Thanks for this post!


  • Dan K9WRP:

    I’ve loved CW since I got my novice license at age 12 back in 1960. I still put the rig on in the background now and then when I’m doing something else in the ham shack so I can listen and make sure I still have the ear to copy CW. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as Captain of a ship in the North Atlantic and Caribbean, I used to copy the nightly CW weather forecasts that were still being sent out on the low frequency marine band.

  • Frank ON6UU:

    I did not want to learn CW when I was first licenced, I did not see the advantage of CW then, years later I started learning code at a slow rate, too slow so I stopped.
    Years later I met HA3HK while calling CQ in SSB, told him I was going on holidays to Lake Balaton, he told me he lives very close to the lake and invited me to visit him. We became good friends, we even started doing SOTA together, it was on one of those sota’s he inspired me to start learning code again after I’ve seem with what ease he was doing 30wmp. When I was back home I told him I started learning code, he told me, practice, practice practice, do it with higher speed, don’t mind mistakes, eventually they will disappear, but practice as much as possible, so I did.
    Zoli asked me via Viber every week how my code exercises were going, he did not only inspire me, he also kept me going. Then there was the time to do my first qso, nervously I called on the pre arranged frequency and heard HA3HK coming back at my rate, we exchanged rst, name and qth like in a normal qso, then when I thought the qso was over Zoli started asking questions, all went well, I made some terrible errors but as a good elmer Zoli understood everything …. ..
    Mainwhile some years have passed, I’m still doing CW and enjoy it every time. I now realise I should have started with it long time ago.

    Best mode ever !! Keep practicing, you will get better in CW the more you do it.


  • EI3EA:

    I was in the Navy in the Year 1975 to 1979.
    It was all CW back then. I am back on the air
    you will never forget CW it is like a song.
    Well done to all learners and users of CW.
    The message will get through on cw.
    When you hearing cw every where you go
    You are hooked well done to all
    Learners and CW users it is a great gift
    to have. Best of 73 Gerard from EI land.

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