Episode #3 - Sweat Through It!
Chris Del Plato, KQ2RP, is a very prolific CW operator and all around good guy. He's very active in numerous online amateur radio groups and posts regularly to his own website. He has accomplished QRP DXCC on 8 bands using simple wire antennas. Chris shares a lot of great insights and advice about learning morse code and operating CW. Both new and seasoned CW operators will enjoy this conversation!
Take Aways From This Podcast:
- The CW skills you learned long ago come back relatively quickly. It's like riding a bike.
- Don't send faster than you can receive.
- Learning morse code is learning a new language. It's a 50 character/word language.
- After you know the characters, the best way to become proficient in morse code is to get on the air, screw it up, sweat bullets and do it again... and again... and again...
- Your first few QSOs are predictive. You know the basic format of the exchange. If you miss a character let it go and fill in later by context.
- Get started... get on the air... get going... sweat through it!
- Take advantage of Elmer frequencies. SKCC and FISTS members monitor the bands to help new operators develop speed and skill.
- There are plenty of slow speed CW opportunities on the bands. Listen to find them.
- Avoid any kind of morse code learning aid that wants you to do a translation in your head.
- Anytime you have to stick a mental image in your head it adds an extra step that's unnecessary.
- Unplug the microphone and put it in the drawer. Disconnect the computer. Use your headphones and paddles and totally focus on that.
- Besides the usual exchange, do a little rag chewing once in awhile to hone your skills even more.
- Fox hunts are fun, develop your CW skills and help you learn how to use your filters and receiver.
- Listen to W1AW in the background to hone your listening skills even further.
- Sending will come naturally. Put most of your efforts into listening to CW.
Links to organizations and websites mentioned in this podcast:
SKCC - Straight Key Century Club, http://www.skccgroup.com/
SKCC Schedule Page, http://n8fq.org/sked/
SOTA - Summits On The Air, http://sota.org.uk/
QRP Fox Hunts, http://www.qrpfoxhunt.org/
Tune In The World With Ham Radio, http://www.qsl.net/wd9t/pictures/IMG_20160505_174013_cr_235p.jpg
Tune In The World With Ham Radio Learn CW Tapes, http://kc9erz.com/portal/index.php?name=CW-Tape
N3ZN Paddles and Keys, http://www.n3znkeys.com/
Begali Paddles and Keys, http://www.i2rtf.com/
W1AW Code Practice, http://www.arrl.org/w1aw-operating-schedule
KQ2RP Website, http://kq2rp.tumblr.com/
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