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Author Topic: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?  (Read 1323 times)

Offline pjxii

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Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« on: January 30, 2020, 0250 UTC »
Okay, I finally learned morse code and can know copy at a slow rate (think longwave NDB speed). I'd like to start using CW on the air, which band and frequences would be the best for me?  I am aware that there are portions of bands I should probably avoid to keep from annoying the experienced CW operators.  Thanks for any advice, all would be appreciated.

Offline ThaDood

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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2020, 1806 UTC »
Just my opinion here, but how about testing with friends locally on the 10M CW portion of that band? Then, when you get more efficient, move to 80M, or anyplace else in HF. If you have HF/6M rig, you can even try 6M CW. The weird thing, my last CW contact was a VHF / UHF June Sweepsteaks in the mid-90's on 432MHz. (I knew the other station's ops, so they were patient with me. Hi-hi...) Why??? That's where a majority of weak signal activity was, and probably still is, on 432MHz, and even 2M 144MHz. Of coarse, with the upper HF bands being dead, you can also do 12M, 15M, (Plenty of elbow room there.), 17M, and the CW / Data only 30M band. Oh... Why did I suggest 10M for a CW start? Well, the trend today in starting into Amateur Radio seems to be CB'ers, with the export 10M rigs that are MOD'ed for 11M. However, when they get their Tech ticket, they already have the Tech portion of the 10M band from 28.0000MHz - 28.5000MHz open to them, and I've talked to more new HAM's on 10M, than on 2M, which use to be the gate-way band for Amateur Radio. Again, just my take here, and I'm on the assumption that you are new into the hobby, when, (For all I know.), you could be a near 30 year veteran. I really want to brush up on my CW as well, since I haven't really applied it since 1996. Good luck!!!! 73!!!!!!!
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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2020, 1822 UTC »
Generic response would be any frequency that has CW activity and that you are licensed to operate in. However with that being said, even if you hold an Extra the first 25 Khz of all the non WARC bands such as 80,40,20 and 15 meters is where all the seasoned speed demons hang out. I can hold my own in most qso's and at least copy what I need for a proper exchange, but there are some guys that are on another level. There QSO's sound like a blur. Again with that being said there are plenty of people who will work with you and adjust to your speed as best they can. Sometimes you gotta give them a min also to adjust to a slower speed. It is a bit tough. I personally never avoid a QSO because the person is slow or there spacing is off. Most CW op's want to do whatever it takes to encourage others to stick with it. No one started sending and receiving at 25 WPM. There are differing opinions on how to start, but I personally recommend an Iambic paddle with a radio that has electronic keying . Total respect to the straight key ops though. I hope I have time one day to concentrate on that method. Best of luck to you!

Matt285

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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2020, 2338 UTC »
One thing I would like to add is that DX stations calling CQ that are working 5/6 exchanges per minute will not respond below 10/12 per mins unless you wait for the pile up to slow down and you have a good take off angle towards them. I don't want to discourage you. I just want you to know it's a thing so your not let down the first time you hear someone in Europe or Africa etc coming in 5/9 plus and wonder whats up. They are likely able to copy you on their awesome antenna system, but their all business most of the time and early in your gonna be buried in the madness.

Offline pjxii

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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2020, 0215 UTC »
Thans for the replies!  I don't have a 6 meter rig but I can understand that advice. I'm one of those no-code Extras that finally wised up and realized that CW adds a lot to enjoying the hobby and will make the most of my 10 watt TS-130V. Staying away from the high speed ops is what I wanted to do so thanks for steering me away from the lower portions of the bands.   

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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2020, 1702 UTC »

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Offline Josh

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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2020, 1806 UTC »
I think you'll find most cw ops will have no issue with slowing down for you, but staying in the novice parts of the cw segments will keep you from creating HAM chaos. Even the dx stas will slow down for you, you just have to catch them on the right split, a lot of dx works split and move around as they listen, so copy some dx in progress to get the feel for how to operate split.

I think the trick is to use the farnsworth method of learning cw, copy/send at 20wpm but with 10 or 5wpm spacing.
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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2020, 0426 UTC »
I used to hear plenty of slow (5-12 wpm) CW on the tech/novice portion of 40 meters almost on a nightly basis. I know there are slow key nights. There is some slow key CW organization that has them periodically.
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Offline Looking-Glass

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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2020, 1651 UTC »
In Australia and New Zealand there are low speed CW groups with on air sessions to improve your send/receive speeds.

There are two regular groups on 40 and 80m certain nights of the week Australian time.

Also there used to be one on 10m but haven't heard it for years as propagation hasn't been good.

Your local amateur radio club should steer you in the right direction. :)
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Re: Best Band/Frequencies to Start on CW?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2020, 1819 UTC »
If you have a local buddy you are practicing CW with, the higher HF bands (15m, 17m, 12m, 10m) are usually dead at night for DX work, but work OK for local contacts on groundwave. I was always partial towards 15 because my 40m dipole loaded up on there just fine.

In general the old Novice sub-bands on HF are probably your best bet for a slow speed CW QSO, and there are enough old timers on there who will slow down for you, or CW beginners who are no faster than you are.

 

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