CW As A Second Language

In this blog I’ve documented my recent commitment to, and preoccupation with CW.  As I mentioned before, this is the first time in my amateur “career” (which began in 1978) that I have made a protracted effort toward being active on CW.  I’ve only been at it for about 2 1/2 months but I’ve made definite progress.  I wouldn’t say that at any point it was hard, but for the first couple of months I had to consciously apply myself. CW felt a bit unnatural and there were times when I had to “force” myself to copy it. I’ve made attempts to become more fluent in CW before, but they were so half-hearted and brief in their nature that they don’t really qualify to be even called attempts. For some reason, I persevered this time.

I had a fun morning on 40m today.  I got out of bed just before 5am local time and called CQ on 7030.  As a station who is running just 5 watts to a Buddistick vertical 20 feet above ground, I don’t usually expect a reply when I call CQ.  This time however, JA1KIH came back to me and gave me a 569! An hour later, I worked DS5USH in South Korea. That QSO wasn’t quite as easy, but he gave me a 439 and I have never had a QSO with South Korea before, so that was fun. I then spent a happy hour or so listening to the pile-up on 7005 generated by T2G on Tuvalu, as well as 8J2MC/2 in the Phillippines, and  a Russian station – all on 40M.  It was a good morning.

It was then that it occurred to me that I hadn’t felt like I had had to “force” myself to think in terms of morse code in order to be able to copy the stations. I still had to concentrate of course, but the effort felt more natural and was enjoyable.

I think I’ve turned the corner. Now would any of those employers that are advertising positions on Craigslist as needing bilingual applicants consider someone who speaks English and Morse code?


One thought on “CW As A Second Language

  1. Dave,

    I really appreciate your recent blog posts. Both the SoftRock and
    CW one was very nicely written. I’m new operator, but was licensed
    long ago as a kid(I think it was 78). Recently returned to the hobby
    drawn by QRP, and digital modes.

    I’ve been working at CW, and despite my best effort to stay at it, I
    go a week on then off kind of pace. I’m using and have made
    it to lesson 27/40. But the going’s getting tougher. In the mean
    time I can only find so much time in a week to devote(indulge) to
    radio stuff so when I get the chance I end up trying SSB.

    Anyways what I wanted to tell you was that the image of you getting
    over the hump gives me inspiration as fuel to get back to the training
    aspect of this. I was beginning to lose track of the vision which
    you’ve helped restore. I’m hoping to get to a point where I can take
    my SW+40 to the park and talk to Japan and South Korea, that sounds like
    a blast.

    Thanks for the blog entry.

    ….maki…. K4RQZ

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