PA3CLQ's Leuke Linken Nr. 489
[skcc] So is that real CW?
So last night I worked an American ham on 20 meters in the CW portion of the band.
He was calling CQ at around 20 WPM.
I answered his call at around 13 WPM.
We began a QSO.
I come to find out that he was using a keyboard to send CW and an MFJ code reader/decoder to receive the CW conversations.
When I asked why he indicated that it wast He only way he could work dx that was operating at higher speeds as they never wanted to QRS for him.
So my question to our membership is: is that really CW operation?
As a CW purest,
I think not.
72/73, K2PHD - Doc
CW, or continuous wave, is a mode.
He used it.
If it doesn’t
fit your requirement, strike the QSO from your log and publicly shame
I’ve been sick for weeks, I’m grumpy and I’m tired of all the holier-than-thou attitudes I run across in this supposedly friendly and encouraging community of code users.
I wouldn't call it true CW.
Use of a keyboard is digital.
I don't know
how "officials" consider keyboard code, but that's my
BTW, I am not *opposed* to using keyboards to send morse code.
Some people need to for various reasons, physical and/or mental.
But their QSOs
should not be considered SKCC Qs, even if the other person is using a
key or bug.
73, Rick WU1V
the heck does being a "purist" have to do with being
I wonder if there is a category called "digital CW".
Using a keyboard to send Morse code would fall in that category.
I must be going against the other colleagues, I explain why some time ago I studied cw to do the promotion tests where I reached the top of the class the highest class here in the classil that comes to be the class A in the states united should be the general or something like that, well I was until well in the cw more I left aside and I just focused on the phony, and two years to ka I have epenhado in return to make cw more of the old fashion using pica paua manipulator and iambico and no proggramas or devices to decode, I'm still disturbing more devargar I'm making my contacts, same bad and qrs super qrs I have conceived, when the majority is migrating to digital modes because it is more facio than fonia and cw I'm still trying to make my contacts in cw even if without success you and the other friends can meet me in 20m, or 15m or even 10m calling or trying to make some contact if the colleague does not come at the speed that I am I was try as c5dx that the colleague anchored me at the same speed that was or in the case of z6 that the operado did not give ball and continued to attend at high speed. more is part ne.
And so I'll keep trying to make my cq in cw qrs super qrs.
73 dx Tuka py2bn
There is some "digital CW" out there, for example QRSS .
But that is not
what we are talking about ....
Generally the ear works better then any decoder, using a decoder is not in the spirit of CW and also this will retard your learning.
As for using a keyboard, contesters use it all the time.
just N1MM and macros).
If you want to use a keyboard to SEND, I don't have an issue with this, it helps me learn if you send perfect code with your keyboard, so type on brother!
It doesn't help
Now back to listening to 100 common words.
Come on brain,
let it sink in!
Ronald Legere n1zty
I think if you are interested CW you do what you can to work what you want to work.
If it's a station sending faster than you can copy and you have the technology to copy it, use it.
If you spend a
while putting together what a station is sending and do not want to
look stupid or annoy the calling station use the keyboard or a
If it's is rewarding to work CW by any means there is a chance that one will become encouraged to get more proficient and may even end up being able to
copy at 25 plus wpm, or better, in one's head.
If all you get is that's not the way to do it, then its goodbye, and off to digital, SSB or quit.
SKCC is a
special group with defined rules that encourage beginners and provide
a good environment for those who for whatever reason like
I think there are times when SKCC rules are not appropriate, and even get in the way of improving ones CW.
As a group that
prides itself in helping beginners, derogatory statements about how
anyone not doing it their way are far from encouraging too
73 Brian KF6C.
Well for those of you who made it all the way down to the bottom of this one to read my comments, the NAQCC in there sprints has a keyboard class.
Most of you may know that.
Some ops for whatever reason just can't send CW with a key worth a flip.
If they want to use a keyboard to send with that fine.
I don't like the way they sound but that is just personal preference.
It is not an SKCC qualified contact obviously but I would log it and delete the SKCC number from the log.
As to using a decoder for recepton, that is fine for a check but would think you would try to copy it and then look to see how you did.
Why would you
start a QSO with a station that was sending so fast you can't copy
would you start a QSO with a station that was sending so fast
you can't copy them????
I agree if it is a SKCC contact.
However if you
are chasing DX then you have choices, ignore the DX or attempt to
copy as best you can.
Being physically handicapped for the last 10 years and having lost the fine sensitivity of my fingers and muscle mobility, I use either a bug or a keyer and paddle.
I do use a J38 for slow speed contacts but above about 12 WPM it becomes very difficult for me to use the J38.
The muscle strain causes much pain.
Above 20 WPM I do not try to send anymore.
Should I find sending more difficult I will consider a keyboard for keying.
As to copying code, I do copy in my head, I still do about 25 WPM, and only log basic info.
I used to do about 35 WPM.
I do have sympathy for those who have trouble copying code.
Some folks just
do not have any musical ability.
Yes I believe using CW does require ability to feel and use musical rhythm and timing.
Memorizing dots and dashes just won't cut it in the long run.
My brother had much trouble until he went into the Navy and he qualified in radio school at 40 WPM.
At high speeds a reader is maybe necessary if that is your choice of contacts.
I choose to not
Your choice may be different.
Dr. Don W4BWS
It might have been a good thing to ask him/her to slow down to a speed where he could copy and continue the QSO.
If he had, I might have invited him to join SKCC.
But, to answer your question, Yes, of course, keyboard operation which turns a carrier on and off to international Morse code is CW mode.
As you probably
know, keyboards are routinely used by contest ops as they can make
"Qs" faster at a perfect 35 wpm CW than at their typically
slower manual and mental speed.
I remember from way back, it was a common project for hams to build a keyboard interface for CW.
In my personal world, the rules for the big CW contests would have a separate category for CW keyboards with a lower multiplier than CW manually produced by a straight key, cootie or bug.
But then, I
don't write the rules, and if I were to seriously operate some of the
big contests, I would certainly be using N1MM with macros, a WinKeyer
Right? Wrong? I don't believe either applies.
It is what it is.
I think I know what you are implying, but sometimes the meaning of the word "purist" is understood by many of its synonyms, such as, pedant, perfectionist, and nit-picker.
don't believe you mean any of those to describe your outlook on CW
Vry 73, Jay W8ES
The mode is technically correct.
It is continuous wave keying, and using the established code and lexicon.
In that sense,
it is CW.
However, using a reader and keyboard for all aspects of operation essentially removes any operator knowledge or skill from the equation, and therefore in the general sense of the term, the person you worked was no more a CW operator than someone who executes a pre-made script on their computer is a programmer.
And everyone who wants to chime in and say that this is a way to learn CW is wrong.
I have been a professional telegrapher, and taught telegraphy to others.
This is a complete rationalization that makes you feel good, but will never appreciably improve your CW skill.
This is like learning Spanish by hiring a translator, dictating to them in English, and listening to them translate what you say to a Spanish speaker.
the act of communication, but I'd be hard pressed to say that you'll
learn much Spanish that way.
I can of course only speak for myself, but to me SKCC is about using mechanical devices to manually form Morse code characters of appropriate length and spacing to effect communication with another person doing the same.
We have waivers for those who have a medical need to do otherwise when sending, and that's perfectly appropriate.
However, the exception is not the rule in this case when the person is perfectly capable of applying their own effort and time to improving their skill.
People who have had a hard time learning CW in the past have managed to overcome that hurdle with effort and consistent practice.
don't understand the need to insult and rail against those who think
that the club should maintain some standards for what constitutes a
73 Harv K2PI
Concur with K2PI.
Its what is
between your ears that makes you a cw operator.
You have captured the essence of what I was saying. In a CW contest, like the types from SKCC, the type of operation I was speaking of should not count as true CW.
However, as a ham in general operation I find this fellow's operation creative.
And I also agree that any use of the ham bands is good.
use it or lose it addage.
For all of those responding to my post: "Keep calm and CW on."
Harv K2PI has expressed exactly how I feel about the issue.
couldn't have said it in any better.
On the air using real CW since 1967
That's true, he gets credit for keeping a CW presence on the band.
If the choice is either automated CW or some other mode, which would we prefer to hear?
he can't understand what he's sending we at least can, and no problem
sharing the frequency; can't say that about trying to coexist with
Too be clear, I'm not advocating use of keyboards & code readers for SKCC activity; just saying if others are doing it outside of SKCC it's okay with me.
73, Drew AF2Z
I may have given the impression that I thought the SKCC rules should allow some other methods of sending CW, that was not my intension.
I think the SKCC rules are fine.
My only point is that running under SKCC rules is not always appropriate for one's current proficiency.
understand that using a decoder is not going to improve one's
proficiency, however, as has been mentioned as a check it is quite
Some of us learn in abnormal ways.
I am sure I would never have got into the door for telegraphy training but I am now very close to copying 25 wpm in my head.
Over the past 40 years I have tried every method imaginable to learn to read CW.
The best results obtained practicing with a character speed of 40 wpm, moderate character spacing and large word spacing.
I have rarely
been on the air with the exceptions of WES, being afraid of making
I can run Morse Trainer at 30 wpm 200 QSO/hour but that there is no CW in that.
I had been working with KK6EME with him sending and me doing most of the receiving, he was having great fun.
With all the troubles I have had moving on from copying code as dots and dashes I told him he had to learn to read the code before we did any more WES events in that manner. A 14 year, close to getting an extra class license, quit ham radio completely.
Based on my bad experiences, I had totally devastated a teenagers interest in ham radio.
A couple of years later he was asked if the could help with the scouts JOTA which he did.
After that I was able to get him back doing WES with me, we are still operating same way as before but it is notably he is quick to point out my receiving errors even with no real receiving practice.
My musical abilities are Zero Andrew are pretty good.
is still not really practicing CW and has no interest in voice or
73 Brian KF6C
I start from the premise that any CW is better than no CW.
A keyer is “better” than a keyboard.
A bug is “better” than a keyer and a straight key/sideswiper is better than a bug.
That being said, i really like my bugs and the SKCC accepts them so that is where I am.
If we are straight key only then my old joints won’t allow much air time.
The time may come when I am on a keyer or even a keyboard.
If so, I hope the “real” CW ops (I actually prefer the term telegrapher as it is more indicative of the method of CW use) will be wiling to work me.
Again, a “reader” might be necessary for copy but I worked with a guy who was deaf but used a hi-fi amp to drive a set of sound barrier earphones so loudly that I though the sound was excessively loud outside of his house.
He felt the
code through the bones in his skull!
Again, any CW is better than no CW.
Just my not so
humble opinion of course.
Les, Leslie Hock WB5JWI
It irks me too... but then I remind myself that the first third of the life-span of code was NOT copied by ear either.
From it's invention and first use in cable telegraph in the second half of the 1800's until the first half of the 1900's, code was almost always printed on strips of paper.
Only in the first quarter of the 1900's did people start realising that characters could be recognised by listening to the clicks and clacks of the ticker tape printer and only well into the 1900's did it become common to actually copy code from sound rather than reading it off a strip of paper.
In fact, it was possible over the course of the first half century of code's existence for it to be used completely asynchronously i.e. you could get up in the morning and read the code that had come in during the night, replace the ticker tape spool and then send off your responses while the receivers were all asleep or absent, so long as they had loaded their receivers with tape.
When we hanker after bygone eras, it is often just the ones we were used to when we learned it, not the original thing in it's natural state.
One day that guy using keyboard code will hear about someone else listening to code being read out to him in a veluptuous female voice and talking back to it, the intermediate code being entirely invisible to him... and he will lament the passing of the "good old days" when people still knew how to used keyboards and set up decoder software.
the meantime, I'm enjoying good old straight keys and copying with
pen and paper from sound.
It is real to me, real fun.
Results of playing in CW contests at speeds way beyond my skill level I now can head copy at top speeds many common names, random number combinations and many state abbreviations.
certainly carries over when I operate 'real CW'.
I agree Jeff.
I always use a code reader in high speed contests, even if I can copy the calls and exchange, since it allows me time to type the information in my log before my brain forgets what it heard. In SKCC events, at slower speeds it is unnecessary.
With respect to Keyboards as being "real CW", this argument is somewhat disingenuous, as cw keyboards have been around since before 1900 according to William G. Pierpont, NØHFF, "The Art & Skill of Radio-Telegraphy" 5th Edition (2012). (See Chapter C, page 201)
Same here, used computer generated CW to get my speed up before taking the 20wpm exam.
For me, there was just something about hearing it and seeing the letter on the screen that help me improve. .
I have no problem if someone wants to use a keyboard for CW, no different than using a memory keyer or macros.
Sometimes I'm glad they do as I hear a lot of mangled CW that is almost impossible to copy.
prefer the straight key for slower speeds.
73 Buddy WB4M
The built-in code reader in my radio is very inaccurate.
I would hate to think that was the only source I had for recognizing the Morse.
what's between the ears, in my case.
I have only used a reader a couple of times, to play with the software and capability of a piece of equipment.
In each case,
they displayed way too many errors, from 10 WPM to 50 WPM. My ears
were always better and more accurate.
Having said that, certain experiments suggested that listening to CW and seeing a visual display of it was a good learning tool, but it was not as good as just listening to it.
Some thought it might have been too much of a crutch, though, and might even hamper the learning of higher speed CW.
So, it was not
conclusive either way.
Contest CW can go faster as much of it can be anticipated.
Too often, i have heard and sent a side comment that was not acknowledged or was ignored.
I understand the ignoring of the comment as it is a 5NN TU QSO.
Also, in a contest, it is not expected, thus it can take a second to realize it was even sent.
operators would respond in kind, though.
I have learned to head copy years ago ad improved it greatly when I operated mobile while in motion.
noticed that my driving was less distracted then it was when I was
My late wife noticed it as well.
Often, I just listened as I drove along and particularly enjoyed a gang that hung around 7030, mostly the CFO (Chicken Fat Operator) gang and they rolled along at speeds of 30 to 45 WPM and higher.
Above 45 WPM, most used keyboards.
I got where I copied up to 60 WPM, but usually was blown off above that.
I still listened in and was starting to break that barrier, but moving and work cut my mobile operating time down.
I still miss
listening to those QRQ operators, many now SK.
The point to be taken, start listening to more and higher speed CW.
Throw the pen or pencil away except to make occasional notes.
When conditions are poor, have some recorded CW to listen to.
I used to have some CW tapes that started at 75 WPM and after 10, 15 or 20 minutes, dropped down speed by 5 WPM.
I always started at the higher speed.
There used to be a few programs that took printed text and made audio CW from it at various speeds.
computers, keeping several audio files on hand is easy.
And, the real secret, listen to CW and listen a lot.
If you can't copy CW, you can not send it!
still wish I could touch type and at speed.
Just because you can't do it, does not make it not real CW.
73/161, Joe, K8JP/V31JP
True enough Joe,
I spent hours after hour listening to the Hi speed ops while stand watch on the marientin bands.
This is how I
learned the "language". Listen.
When I was chasing DXCC a couple years ago I used MFJ's little code reader (battery powered) when the op was sending 25wpm or faster.
My ears can't distinuish characters at that speed and I even have trouble copying at 20wpm.
I don't use the unit anymore, but I'm glad I had it at the time.
of these CW guys just don't have the patience to QRS for simpletons
like me, especially in pileups!!
Bravo to you for your determination to learn and make contacts using CW.
am hoping to make contact with you soon,
73 Barry W4LSV
I can sympathize with your problem, Rick, but keep in mind, a DXpedition usually only has limited time to dispense QSOs to the deserving.
Depending on the need and the total time allowed, the pile ups tend to get smaller and that allows the DX to QRS at the end.
A goal of any DXpedition to to give out as many QSOs as they can in that given time period.
It has nothing
to do with patience, it has to do with "rate."
I speak from experience, being the main CW operator from Belize, V3, for 20+ years.
Still, to this day, well when I was home, not stuck up here in NE Texas getting my medical treatments, I generate large pile ups. Fortunately, living there, my time is not limited like someone on a week or two of vacation.
If I hear a QRS station, I will answer QRS because I want him to copy me once and no repeats.
That is call
Understand, it is not just for me, but for the others calling.
Besides the many bits of advice often presented here about improving your CW proficiency, I recommend investing in some reading on both CW and DXing. Particularly, read about DXpeditions.
Learn how they
are run and that will help you to learn how to work them.
Last, you do not expect a 16 year old with a new driver's license to get into an Indy 500 race or a NASCAR race, let alone win. Bu, these winners of those races, all started out at a young age of driving and built their skills up to get where they ran in and won some races.
originally from Michigan and some trades that allowed me to visit and
drive around some pretty neat tracks, I did not then even want to
think about doing
it at 200 MPH!
Likewise, being on both ends of DXing, I was on the Honor Roll, just two short of having them all at one time.
So, I do speak from experience, Rick. Keep at it because it will not all happen right now.
If it did, what would it really be worth?
and contesting are competitions, CW itself is not, but being good at
it may be to some.
Personally, being good it was a goal, not to be better than others, but just to be good at it for my own pleasure.
Good luck and keep at it. It takes time and effort.
73, Joe, K8JP/K5 - V31JP
I have to think If I am working you on CW and you are on a keyboard electronic keyer bug straight key or just touching two wires together we are still working CW so does it really matter that to me is the nr1 goal so maybe we all can get back to CW
Rick, lets start the "TTWCC" (Touching Two Wires Century Club).
All contacts must be made with 16 gauge braided speaker wire.
you have trouble you can make it easier on yourself and use solid
core, but it is generally frowned upon.
Been there done that....I'm in
I am willing to bet that purists do not consider the W1AW broadcasts as real CW either.
73 de w8nsi jim
CW is a MODE, not a practice.
Continuous wave transmissions, whatever the source (mechanical, keyed, recorded) is CW.
yes, W1AW broadcasts are CW.
I think the discussion should be about types of practice, not blanket judgements about CW mode.
73 Rick WU1V
If you want to be correct CW is short for continuous wave and says nothing about interruptions.
Yep. Most folks don’t recognize that the original wireless code was not CW.
The old spark systems did not emit a continuous wave.
It was code but not CW.
There is a short clip of Spark code at
Leslie Hock WB5JWI
damped wave vs continuous wave.
In an early text I have (1924) it does not even mention "continuous wave" but "undamped wave".
At the time damped waves were used for telegraphy and undamped waves was used for radio-telephony.
you could say that CW was originally used for phone!
73, Drew AF2z
Much of the CW transmitted today is actually a tone sent via SSB...
A tone generator, when keyed, sends a tone (700 CPS +/-) to a VOX circuit which becomes a USB or LSB SSB signal ....
Nothing like the old days when we actually keyed a cathode and generated a burst of RF...
We're using the
Mike Fitzgerald AA7WU
I guess you have not looked at the actual signal generated this way.
The signal that comes out the antenna connector on such a radio is just like the old cathode keyed rigs of 60 years ago, but maybe with better keyed shaping, which should have been done better than we did back then.
So, in fact, the signals are just like back then.
Go back to the books and better understand what you read.
generate the CW signals differently today.
Regards, Joe, K8JP/V31JP
Joe...Your last sentence was my whole point!
The outcome is the same, just a different way of creating the transmitted signal...
And as far as
"going back to the books", you might consider following
your own advice....
let's look to what is important in communication using CW.
In my military days CW came in two forms.
Straight hf on/off keying.
OK for efficiency but prone to several forms of distortion.
Then along came
continuous carrier modulated by an audio tone that was keyed more
Receivers loved it agc and afc solidly locked on to a carrier.
How the keying is done is immaterial to what is true CW.
It is How
information is conveyed from A to B that counts.
My two pennies worth. 73s 9H1UG
we get technical, many may simply be using filtered discrete pulses,
those who's radios still light up are almost certainly exempt from
73 Brian KF6C
Continuous Wave originally was used to differentiate between the old spark generated wave that was actually a chain of damped waves,
the pure waves generated by the Alexanderson Alternators and then
modern tube transmitters that came along !
CW is Real Radio 73, John...K8JD
The Alexanderson alternator at RCA in Rocky Point, NY was driven by a 500 HP electric motor running at about 1000 rpm.
mechanical transmission the steel alternator disk was made to spin
about 3000 rpm.
The radial slots cut into the disk was to alter the magnetic field as it passed between the coils on both sides of the disk.
The slots were
filled in with the non-magnetic brass to counteract the turbulence of
the rapidly rotating disk.
It took nearly half an hour to bring the alternator up to speed and you couldn't possibly turn it on and off to for the dits and dahs of CW.
That was accomplished by modulating the output from from about 100 percent to 10 percent while maintaining a constant speed of the alternator and a continuous wave output.
If we are going to split hairs: This is what I might call real CW
The first Continuous Wave carrier was generated by a machine, not a tube; the Alaxanderson Alternator.
The Alternator is driven by a steam turbine and employs reluctance modulation of a DC field to produce a VLF carrier at power levels of 100 Kw.
The basic active element of the reluctance modulator is a disk having bars of brass bedded in it and spinning between poles of an electromagnet over wound with a tuned pickup coil.
To generate 17,200 cycles that number of bars must pass the poles per second.
Even with a large disk and large number of bar in the disk.
The disk still must be spinning in the 6 to 10000 rpm range.
At such speeds, the tendency for the disk to burst stretched the engineering skills of the design and maintenance teams when first built.
limited the upper frequency at which such a machine could
The most well known, and still working, Alaxanderson Alternator, is SAQ in Sweden, transmitting on 17.2 Kcs.
Try YouTube for some picture of SAQ working taken in 2012.
I remember the stories my grandfather told me of working on one of these machines in France conducting modulation tests; my guess is would have been in the mid-1920s.
Think this machine qualifies as real CW, not certain how it was keyed, or if it was FSK rather than on/off keying.
I would guess
if on/off keying then with so much inductance in the system; code
speed was unlikely to have been very fast.
Have a great weekend.
best 73s, Dave in Ireland. G4JHT/EI0DB/VP8ART
It had an upper limit of about 500 kHz - the 600 meter distress frequency, and those using it have told me that it sounded burbly at that frequency and the transmitter was more stable at lower intermediate frequencies - like the 143 kc/s band that ships used at the time.
73, David N1EA
Some History about the Alexanderson alternator from one of my old PLLs
GRIMETON RADIO / SAQ TRANSMISSION
There will be an extra transmission with the Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz on Thursday April 14th 2011 at 12:45 UTC with tuning up some time before.
The transmission is directed to "The 5TH European Conference on Antennas and Propagation" in Rome, Italy.
We do not require any QSL-reports this time and will not verify.
Note: For information about the Conference see:
QSP Rob PA3EQB, thanks
To receive this station without a VLF receiver go to:
http://www.websdr.org/ no longer
websdr.pa3weg.nl at Delfi-C3 groundstation at:
http://websdr.pa3weg.nl/ no longer?
For receiving CW stations on 17,2 KHz and/off 500 KHz
Another possibility to receive SAQ transmission without a radioreceiver is with SAQrx:
The filter bandwidth is selectable in three steps, 300, 1000 and 2400 Hz.
Editor....You can use a longwire and a counter poise and a 1 : 1 LF transformer (LFT) to avoid static charge on the LINE-input of the soundcard in your PC.
On the secundair site of the LFT two anti parallel " diode to avoid high voltage on the LINE-input of the souncard of the PC.
Continuous Wave, which was different than the first type of radio which was spark which was Damped Waves, called Type B Modulation, while Continuous Wave was called CW modulation, or type A1 modulation.
So we celebrate a bit of history with the first CW transmitter, the Alexanderson Alternator.
I asked Lars Kålland, SM6NM who runs the Grimeton Radio / SAQ transmissions from the last remaining operational Alexanderson Alternator for a recording of the last transmission from SAQ.
He gave me one and I'd like to share it with you.
Nice photos are at:
Recording of SAQ is here:
Better pictures are here, scroll DOWN.
73, David N1EA
a nice week(end) gents, BCNU.
73, Yann, F5LAW
By OM Yann F5LAW SideSwiperNetGroup
73, from the town at the rivers "De Bergsche Maas" and "De Dongen" Geertruidenberg (800+ years city rights) at: 51.702211N 4.853854E
The GRIM, H.P. and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Editor Jan Pieter Oelp PA3CLQ
My simple website about Gigantic DF-Antennas
Part 1 "DF-Antenna Wullenweber Array"
Part 2 "DF-Antenna USSR Variants"
Part 3 "DF-Antenna USA Variant"
Next Part 4 "USSR OTHRA DUGA 1,2 & 3" at: