Sunday, July 26, 2009


Why is it, at least for me, that 20 words per minute code with each letter sent at that speed is slightly smoother to copy than 15 wpm code with each letter sent at the 20 wpm speed?

...On a related note, I can still copy 20 wpm (but not solid; I have the occasional alphabet crash and have to abandon a word to catch up). This would explain why bug keys seemed to be getting more "tame." They're not; I was a little faster than I thought I was -- and the "real fast" CW QSOs* I hear on the bands are blazin'!

(Also? Blogger's delayed-posting feature is fun!)
* Translation for non-hams: "..the 'real fast' radiotelegraph conversations I hear on the amateur bands are blazin'!"


  1. when I was a novice, more decades ago than I'd like to count, another novice at that time was a retired railroad telegrapher. He copied 60wpm on his novice test. At that time, any General or above ham could give novice test.

    He could never pass the written general test. The club that I belonged to at the time petitioned the FCC to renew his Novice class ticket. All he wanted to do was code on 80 & 40M. The FCC with the help from engineers at the KC FCC office, granted his request.

    He finally passed his general exam some years later, at age 90 when volunteers starting giving General exams. He's been gone some time now, but when he was on the air, he never wrote anything down. He and some other retired telegraphers were a wonder to watch. THey all had QSK and carried on round table conversations better than those of us on voice.

  2. Those guys are always a wonder -- I have worked a few retired railroad ops (and other pros) and their fluency is a whole different world.

    One of the differences is those ops have a far better grasp of what the spaces between letters and words ought to be; another one (and a big one) is grace -- most of the pros came back at the speed you were sending and would slow down if they found you were struggling. Those two things taken together result in QSOs that are way more pleasant that the usual RST-QTH-name-73 & SK exchange with someone who has taken the weights off his bug.