A CW Presentation for Your Club

Last February, I gave a talk to our club about the basics of operating CW. I thought I’d already posted the slides I used , but I guess not. At any rate, here are the slides I used for the talk. Feel free to use them to give a talk at your club and to modify them as you see fit.

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CW is Fun!
Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, February 8, 2006

Getting Started – Learning the Code

  • G4FON CW Trainer (www.g4fon.co.uk)
  • K7QO (http://www.kc5cqm.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.K7QOcwCourse) or get a CD from Fists – www.fists.org)
  • Many others, including CodeQuick, Ham Radio University, etc.
  • Tips for Learning the Code – http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/learncw/
  • Start! You’ll never learn it if you don’t start.
  • Practice, but don’t overdo it. Too much practice and you’ll burn out.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t copy 100%. You don’t need to copy every single character to pass the test or to take part in a QSO.

Getting Started – Choosing a Key

  • The three basic types are straight key, bug, paddle and keyer.
  • It’s tempting to start out with a straight key because it’s the simplest way to go.
  • I recommend starting with a paddle and keyer, however. It takes a bit more practice to master, but you’ll send better code and sending is much easier on the arm.
  • This means it will be more fun, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Making Contacts – A Basic QSO

  • Calling CQ: CQ CQ CQ DE KB6NU KB6NU KB6NU K
  • Reply to CQ: KB6NU KB6NU DE W8JNZ W8JNZ K
  • The First Exchange
    W8JNZ DE KB6NU TNX FER CALL–UR RST 599 599–NAME IS DAN DAN–QTH ANN ARBOR, MI ANN ARBOR, MI–HW? W8JNZ DE KB6NU

    KB6NU DE W8JNZ R TNX FER RPT–UR RST 599 599–NAME IS CLAY CLAY–QTH DIXBORO, MI DIXBORO, MI–HW NW? KB6NU DE W8JNZ K

Making Contacts – Using Abbreviations

  • CW ops use a whole raft of abbreviations to transfer more information in a short period of time.
  • Can be confusing. Sometimes there are two commonly-used abbreviations for the same word, i.e. TNX and TKS for “thanks.”
  • K3WWP’s Lists – http://home.alltel.net/johnshan/cw_ss_list_abbr.html

Making Contacts – Q Signals

  • Q-signals are also used to speed up a message.
  • Q-signals take the place of entire phrases, not just words. For example, QTH ANN ARBOR, MI means, “My location is Ann Arbor, MI.”
  • When followed by a question mark, the Q-signal is a question. QTH? means, “What is your location?”
  • Other common Q-signals include QRM (You are being interfered with), QSB (Your signals are fading), and QRS (Send slower!).
  • K3WWP’s list of Q-Signals: http://home.alltel.net/johnshan/cw_ss_list_q.html

Making Contacts -Prosigns

  • Prosigns = procedural signals.
  • Similar to abbreviations, but usually call for the other operator to do something.
  • For example, the prosign “K” is used at the end of a transmission to invite the other operator to start sending.
  • Other frequently used prosigns include R (all received correctly), AS (wait), BK (break in immediately).
  • K3WWP’s list of prosigns: http://home.alltel.net/johnshan/cw_ss_list_proc.html

Getting Faster

  • GET ON THE AIR!
  • Copy in your head.
  • GET ON THE AIR!
  • Work contests. Not all contests are 30+ wpm affairs.
  • GET ON THE AIR!

Comments

  1. Lloyd Mitchell says:

    Great list of sites and tips for those learning the Code.

    Some of those sites helped me pass earlier this year.

    Mitch KO4L

  2. Dan KB6NU says:

    AC7FA has published a similar presentation titled, “Learning CW With a Computer” at http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id=dfjtg7c5_23cpxdpvgb. As the title would suggest, he concentrates a bit more than I do on the learning aspect than I do, and accordingly, covers more programs than I do.

    Check it out………73, Dan

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