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Getting on the air at Diamond Head Why Morse Code?

If I can talk FM on two meters, or SSB on HF, why should I be concerned at all about Morse Code, also known as CW (Continous Wave).

Find out below.

Many newcomers exploring ham radio, also known as amateur radio, are discouraged by the need to learn morse code. In the United States, that requirement to know morse code to get an amateur radio license was dropped in 1991, and completely removed in 2007.

Morse Code used to be required as an entry requirement to HF (High Frequency or Shortwave) ham communications. The entry level speed was 5 words per minute (WPM). That speed is slow enough to learn the basics, get on the air, and increase your speed through practice. (Yes, I started as a Novice way back when at 5 WPM, and can comfortably copy about 13 WPM (often copying the text in my head without the need for scratch paper), although I want to raise that proficiency much higher.)

I thought I'd want to get enough code speed to get on SSB voice. I did that, but discovered something I didn't expect. Sometimes, the band was so poor that I couldn't hear a signal voice contact on SSB. But, when I tuned down to the Morse code CW portion of the band, lo and behold, there were CW contacts going on. I learned that Morse code needs only about a tenth of the power of SSB to make a contact. Or, stated another way, if you use Morse code, it's like getting an amplifier for your transmitter for free! That's what renewed my love for CW! Believe me, there are days you'ld be desparate for a contact, and you simply can't beat Morse code!

Wikipedia article

September 19, 2006

Will write more as time permits. In the meantime, check this article out.

Find out more by contacting:  rhashiro(remove this part)@hawaiiantel.net
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Updated: February 25, 2007

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