Monday, May 21, 2012

Thoughts about CW

Here you see the signal strength curve of 4X1RF on 10 meter WSPR. Though the MUF (22 MHz Max.) was not high enough there was Es on 10 meter and for 6 meter only South Europa.

On 20 meter I worked UA1OKO (see photo) with CW QRP contact. At first his signal was good, but a few minutes later I couldn't copy him any more. We exchanged the necessary info. Distance 2663 km. I realized that I never worked Australia with CW and QRP. Maximum distance ever was 5978 km. (USA) Compared to WSPR the chance to be heard in Australia (average 15.000 km) is high (almost daily with 5 watts) Why do we like CW so much? I wonder. It's first of all nostalgic. Now aviation and maritime services doesn't use CW any more because it's obsolete. We radio amateurs cling to the old mode. We put so much effort in it to learn CW, and when the CW ticket is in our pocket we cherish this mode. Maybe it gives us a little more status to have the CW licence? I don't know really, I guess so. I know, it is fun to 'speak' another language such as CW. When you practise a lot it's really another language. The dots and dashes are talking. But is it really effective for DX-ing? Many of us think so. At least it's better than phone. But as a QRP-er I prefer digital modes when I want to work DX such as JT65A. I noticed that novice radio amateurs take much more advantage of digital modes because of license restrictions. Maybe we old timers are more conservative than progressive. We like the old game. We don't want to loose it. I don't meant to be critical, every radio amateur should do what he likes to do. After all it is a hobby and should be fun.


  1. I agree, we cling to CW. I personally love it. I enjoy listening to it, and I enjoy sending it. I am 38 years old, so hardly old fashioned. And yet I have enjoyed forays into PSK and RTTY too. I have not tried WSPR yet but it does sound fascinating. I hear that some 6 metre ops are working each other on WSPR when the band is otherwise closed. Does HRD do WSPR or do you need special software?

    1. I use CW most of the time since 35 years now. But I like the digimodes as well now. You can't make qso's with WSPR, it is a beaconing system, but very effective. With JT65A you make qso's. For WSPR you need special software for it, see my WSPR page. 73 Paul

    2. Yes, my bad. The 6m WSPR spots were just that, spots! Not actual QSO . . .
      One of the advantages of CW over digi modes is that you don't need to have a computer or an interface to do CW. Although some rigs are able to decode and send RTTY it is much better to have a computer. I think CW still has some lifespan as a DXing mode!

    3. Indeed it is, plug in the key and go... that's the main advantage, when I am with holidays I use only CW and ssb. Another thing with CW: no language problems. 73 Paul


Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. 73 Paul

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