Wish List for 2010 and Beyond Item #3

     This is about CW.   Someone should do a CW net or activity evening.  
     It won’t be me for 3 reasons:  
     1)  My plate is full with radio activity.
     2)  We need diversity with the various nets and activities.   It’s not good when we all rely on just one or two guys.   It’s too easy for things to fall apart if there’s just one or two guys doing everything.
     3)   My CW (still, grrrr) is poor after 6 bleeping years.   So I’d need to visit a CW net, not start one. 

      CW — where do I start?   First off, it’s clearly a better mode for making whisper-quiet, weak-signal contacts.   Since a big part of why we love weak-signal work is the DX potential, it makes sense to use tools that give you an edge on working that tough DX.   CW is one of those tools.   I do use a bit of CW in contests, but I only do it with people I feel very comfortable with.   That’s how embarassed I am about my CW.   But from working with good, kind guys like W9FZ, I have learned first-hand how a CW signal is easily workable, yet when you go to SSB, you hear either nothing, or a signal too light to copy.  
     It’s crazy that a guy who loves V/UHF contesting as much as I do, isn’t at least a 10-15wpm CW op.   Just crazy.   Lord only knows how many more grids and Q’s I’d get in a contest if I was comfortable calling CQ with CW.   (And if I could copy at a solid 10-15wpm.)
     Now before some of you email me and say that you know just how to get me up to speed with CW… don’t.    Please.   I already know how.   It’s taking 15-30 minutes a day, every day, for a month or two, and JUST DOING IT.   I have the Koch Method trainer (Google G4FON for more info and a free download) and I believe in it.   The problem is I just don’t consistently apply myself.    Only I can do that, and I will.     For you friends who have heard this before, go right ahead and have a good groan.  

     Enough about me and CW.  
     The reason why I say a CW net or CW tutorial/activity hour would be a good idea is this:   Apparently a lot of other hams are like me.   Their CW isn’t very good.   They are probably embarrassed about it.   So they avoid CW, and the problem doesn’t get any better.   I wouldn’t have known this if I didn’t start doing nets and ragchewing a little with hundreds of guys.     Because I mostly contested and worked band openings, plus I was a newer kid on the ham block, I thought I was the only dunce in the world who didn’t know CW.   (The weak-signal community tends to be very strong in technical matters and operating skills — it’s always been that way, going back 40 or more years)
     Bottom line is while you no longer have to know CW to be a ham (and nope, I am NOT going to host that endless debate here.   Many places you can go if you want mudslinging — this ain’t the place.)  you should know CW if you want to get the most out of V/UHF.   You don’t have to, but you should.   So if someone out there believes in CW, and is patient and kind, you could do many of us a big favor by hosting CW activity on a regular basis.   Obviously, I’d be more than happy to help with the promotion.   I do V/UHF promotion better than anything else.   It’s my speciality.

     Rather than making hams feel embarassed about CW, I’d be happy to start a thread where we celebrate the success stories.   Overall, V/UHF guys are pretty friendly.   I’ve heard some 30-40 (probably higher) wpm CW on HF, and it’s just amazing to hear.   You don’t need to be that fast on V/UHF, I know that.   I think most guys must be about 15-20 wpm, but many are patient and will slow down if you ask them to.   If you can get in that 10-15wpm range, you’ll be very glad you did.   
    Who needs to be part of a CW activity or tutoring net?   I do.   Who else will admit it?   We’re going to need a tutor or host — hope we can find one, or perhaps even a committee.   No reason a rotation of guys couldn’t pitch in and host CW activity.

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