N9PUZ on Why CW?

On the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list, when a ham asked, “Why should I learn Morse Code if it is no longer required?” Tim, N9PUZ replied:

  • Why do you learn how to operate RTTY, PSK-31, etc.?
  • It’s one more way to have fun with Amateur Radio
  • If you’re a DX chaser it may be the only way to get that rare
    country.
  • If you’re a contester you usually get more points for a CW contact
    than you do a phone contact.
  • Many of us talk on the phone or stare at a computer all day. The music that is CW can make a nice way top relax at the end of the day.

Comments

  1. It’s also the most efficient in terms of bandwidth. So you can almost always squeeze a CW signal into a crowded and busy band. When I operated from the UK, I found that when the bands were open, the SSB portions were wall-to-wall signals, and whenever I managed to squeeze between two SSB signals, I was promptly told that I was covering up another station in QSO. So I routinely used the CW bands to make QSOs – it was often either that or not make QSOs at all.

  2. CW and PSK31 rock!

    It’s also the most efficient in terms of bandwidth. So you can almost always squeeze a CW signal into a crowded and busy band. When I operated from the UK, I found that when the bands were open, the SSB portions were wall-to-wall signals, and whenever I managed to squeeze between two SSB signals, I was promptly told that I was covering up another station in QSO. So I routinely used the CW bands to make QSOs – it was often either that or not make QSOs at all.

  3. Ha! one of the best reasons to learn Morse Code is that is more fun than is probably legal. There is a bit of a learning curve to it , but working CW is nothing short of a blast.

  4. I also think it’s like listening to a good piece of music and I’ve found quite a few CW/musicians on the air. It must have something to do with certain parts of the brain?
    It’s also SO simple but effective. I worked a guy recently, that was disabled and in a wheelchair sending with his left foot! Worked just fine!

    Puzzling….glad it’s not mandatory now but feel bad for those that don’t use it. They’re missing a really great part of Ham radio.

  5. Hi, Dan! I enjoy CW, too, but I’m really leaving this comment because I couldn’t find any way to send you an email. I’d like to invite you to take a look at my blog, garage-shoppe.com. I’ve just started actively blogging within the last couple of months, but already have some posts you might find interesting. I also manufacture and sell a software-defined radio, the LD-1A from Lazy Dog Engineering.

    73,
    Pete Goodmann, NI9N
    http://www.lazydogengineering.com
    garage-shoppe.com
    Inconveniently located 110 km. from Radioville, Indiana

  6. David Brodbeck N8SRE says:

    I tried operating CW when I was first licensed, and didn’t enjoy it much, but I was pretty young at the time. I’m tempted to give it another shot, but my skills have atrophied to the point that I’m faced with learning it all over again! Wish I hadn’t sold off my Gordon West tapes…

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      You don’t need those tapes, Dave. There are several resources that are available for free:

      The G4FON CW Trainer. If you have a PC, download this program.
      K7QO Code Course. This set of .mp3 files walk you through learning the code. If you don’t want to download the entire 700 Mbyte CD-ROM image, I can burn one for you.
      Learn CW Online. If you don’t have a PC or an mp3 player, try this website.

      One of these should do the trick for you.

  7. John KC8ZTJ says:

    Learn CW Online is very effective, and best of all, free.

  8. David Brodbeck N8SRE says:

    Thanks, Dan! The MP3 files sound great, because I can load them on my iPod and practice on the bus.

  9. David Brodbeck N8SRE says:

    Been working with the MP3s for a week now, mostly during my bus commute. I’m surprised how rapidly I’m picking it back up.

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