Monday, April 13, 2015

Job or Adventure?

David Keath

As always, I am going to taste, swish around in my mouth, and savor each and every experience in Radio that I am lucky enough to get. Like cheese tasting or biting into one of those awesome gourmet burgers you get at some place like Applebees or Fridays; those frightening experiences in life are ones to be relished for their power to shake your nerves and heart both.

I have been practicing CW, or rather Morse Code, for a long while now and yet I am still shakin in my boots when I attempt to make contacts. The funny part is that I work almost daily with my Elmer WØIIT like a seasoned pro, and recently I have been able to check into a local and regional CW net. Outside of that, you might say I've got a mean set of the jitters. Key fright.. Ouch! But hey, maybe there are one or two others out there who will say to themselves, “Wow, I am not the only one...”

After an enjoyable check in on the Rocky Mountain Regional net this evening, I was marching about the house, patting myself on the back and reveling in my glorious triumph; thinking myself master of the CW universe. Ya, right. After a bit though, I went back to my rig and began to work on a T match problem I have been having.

As I was just finishing my work, I heard a fellow operator calling CQ in my earphones. I knew by the call that the operator must be out east some place so I wrote down the call and listened too see if I might be able to try this one. This is a bit of a process for me as I always go through a line of reasoning that includes the old self-talk statement that “no one is going to do it for me.” There was some QSB and lots of noise but I thought that I might zero beat and key out the call sign to myself real fast. “Maybe I will try this one,” I thought to myself. As I started to key out the call, I suddenly realized I was sending. I was live. I had left my transmitter keying circuit live after the net. Holy cow!

Without missing a beat in my mind, I knew I had to keep my composure and keep going. Maybe I wont' be heard. Yes, that's it! Rationalization rarely works for me. So half excited and half terrified, I kept going. And to be sure, that whole not being heard thing has happened too many times for me to count. But not tonight. Sure enough, I got a call back! There it was now; that sudden shrill excitement that climbs up your windpipe into your throat when you make a contact. That never gets old. Unfortunately, just after exchanging RST and name, QSB started having fun. NO! Not now! RRR!!!
CW and Morse Code are not a job, but they sure are an adventure. They are that specter that haunts each of us just around the corner: stretch and growth. The painful chasm that separates stagnation and the push onward and forward..

If you struggle with CW and perhaps with self-confidence; do not give up. Stay the course and just do your best. It will pay off.

D Keath - NØWKZ

* David is a SEKARC club member and a frequent contributor to and his article are always among the most popular that we post! Another great one, keep them coming David!! 

1 comment:

  1. David - thank you for the QSO this evening in the NAQCC Sprint. I wasn't taking part, but heard you call and wanted to try out a new QRP rig I have recently built. I was only running 1W so was very happy that you could hear me. It wasn't until after our QSO that I realized I was supposed to send you my state as part of the contest exchange. Not sure why I forgot that, but I copied you sending me ST? and for some reason, the lightbulb didn't go on in my head. That's why, when I realized my mistake, I came back later and told you "CA".

    The main reason I am leaving this message is to tell you that after our QSO, I listened to you call CQ NA for several minutes and was amazed that that the QSB had brought your signal strength up. You were as clear as a bell. I assume you were running QRP. How much power were you running, and to what antenna? I'm curious. You sounded great on my little home-brew receiver. At that point, yours was the only signal in that part of the band.

    73/72 and tnx fer the QSO OM,

    Oakland, CA


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