CW CONTACTS...............

(I am certainly no expert on teaching good ways of learning CW, but hopefully, and maybe, this will lay the ground work. S0 73's, if you think this page can be improved please e-mail me.)


What in the world was that?

Well hopefully we will be able to explain what that was. So here we go!

Now not a lot of people seem to fond on cw. Some say it gives them a headache. While others just think it is useless. CW is part of ham radio history. When Samuel E. Morse invented CW, consisting of dots and dashes. It was a invention that would benefit people all over. CW was used in the army, to help in the protection of or country. It was also used in delivering messages. These went by the name of, "A telegraph." These two things and many more are the benefitts of what CW has played.

That is why we should keep this wonderful invention alive today.

CW is not as bad as people make it out to sound. It is very easy to copy and send once you have developed an ear for it. So don't give up on learning this wonderful Mode of operation. But this text was not meant to help you learn it, but to help learn how to look for, and get contacts on CW. A text explaining how to learn CW can be found HERE


This can be a little intimidating for the beginner, but once you have done it a couple times you will fell right at home.

The following is usually how a person would call CQ:


Now some people will send this kind of call once or twice, in a row. You do not want to send 20 CQ's and then listen. The above would be used twice,or even once, would probably be better. The K is sent to say that the station has stopped sending, and is now open for replies.

Always remember to send the K after you are finished sending CQ. Other wise the station will be confused and wonder what happened, such as maybe your wife told you to get off the radio or she is going to leave you...
If a station does respond this is probably what it would look like, if copied on a piece of paper:


What is happening now, is that a station heard you and is now saying that he (or she) would like to be your contact. Always remember never to send faster then you can receive. "QRS PLSE" would be more then welcome to send if he replied to you at 20wpm and you can only copy 8wpm. I have had it happen so always remember QRS when you are first starting out. Then QRQ.

I would suggest telling the station that this is your first contact on CW. This will mean that if you make quit a few mistakes it's just because your beginning. Not because you're a sloppy operator. Other wise if they think you are just a sloppy OP. they will sometimes leave you, but if you tell them you are just starting out. They will be more then gracious. Alot of grace was needed for me.

I would then advise you, to get a code oscillator, and practice before you go on the air. I would also suggest to use a straight key and not a paddle. This will help you to practice nice sending code, and it return make it easier for the other station to copy you. Then graduate yourself to a paddle.

Answering a CW call......

Calling or hearing cw. You will find it has a wonderful rythem to it. Especially a CQ call. Here's one now:

_._. _ _._ CQ _._. _ _._CQ

Once you have heard te rythem of CQ you can usually understand it at 2wpm or 20wpm. This is one of the secrets to learning how to copy fast code, if you can start listening for words rather then individual letters. Then you will have a real helpful secret down in your memory banks.

So look for that rythem in the CW portion of the HF bands. Once you have found a station calling CQ. Listen for the DE _.. . Once you hear that, listen for the call sign. Once you have the call sign down, and he has sent the K. Send his call sign twice followed by DE and then your call twice, and then K. Then listen if he comes back with your call sign. Then congradulations on your first CW QSO. Remember always to relax. If you make a mistake, welcome to the club. We all make mistakes. No matter how long you do the code. you will always make mistakes. The way a mistake is corrected, is to send about 8 dits. Then start over on the word. Or you can just restart the word, and let the other operator figure it out.

So 73! And hope to hear you on CW soon! You get better with practice. Take a break every once and awhile, from CW. Go and enjoy some voice. Then when you feel like you can copy cw again without it driving you nuts. Then turn the radio back on, and enjoy yourself.73, again, and hope to hear you every soon!

Kevin, DE KC8LNE