Update on my CW Journey: First QSO!

I’ve been doing CW Academy for about 4 weeks now—I’m officially at the half-way point. We’ve got most of the letters/numbers, and we’re starting to move into prosigns and typical QSO lingo.  Having recently gotten my end-fed antenna back up at my house, I saw a SOTA spot on 40 meters last night, Keith KR7RK on CW.  I figured I’d give it a shot!

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American Morse Equipment “DCP” Paddle

OK, so saying “DCP Paddle” is redundant.  “DCP” stands for “Dirt Cheap Paddle.” While this paddle is inexpensive compared to a lot of morse/CW paddles out there, I would definitely not call it “cheap.”  It is exquisitely designed and expertly machined by Doug W6AME of American Morse Equipment.  I don’t remember where I first heard about his paddles and keys, but I knew I had to have one as soon as I saw it.  The DCP is the least expensive paddle he makes (hence the name) but doesn’t lack quality.  I have a pretty tight budget for my ham activities and equipment, so I was holding off on getting one until I really needed it.

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Update on CW Journey

It sounded quite dandy to go ahead and jump into the CW Academy materials and start practicing that way. But I just haven’t done it. Without the accountability of weekly class meetings, it just hasn’t been enough of a priority.  But the need and desire to learn is still there!  I see all of these SOTA and POTA spots popping up on CW and badly wish I could join in.  So an idea popped into my head.

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Learning Morse Code to Operate Continuous Wave (CW)

For a very long time—even before becoming a ham—I’ve wanted to learn Morse code.  As a child, this “secret” code fascinated me. As I grew older, the fascination remained. As a geeky adult wanting to get in to ham radio, it was a barrier to entry. Then, getting my general class amateur radio license in 2015, my interest was renewed, even though it was no longer a necessity.

The magic of radio has always been just that for me—magic. I know how it works, a lot more so than I did before studying to get my ticket.  But it’s still magic. So in my amateur radio journey so far, I’ve looked for ways to maximize the magic. And there are so many ways to do this in the hobby.  To me, one of these is CW (Continuous Wave) operation, using Morse code. Continue reading →