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?

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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 lcwo.net 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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