The idea originated from Graham, G3XTZ, who wanted to encourage members who were less than confident in their morse sending and/or receiving. It was suggested that we should hold sessions at 8pm local time on the Thursday nights when there wasn't an EARS club meeting, using LSB and CW on topband, between the club's favourite frequency (1.979 MHz) and the top of the band.
This has proven successful to a certain extent, but we wanted to describe how things are run currently, hoping to encourage more members to join in. It also helps anyone listening in - they can hopefully understand what's going on. This is all open to discussion and change - all ideas are most welcome.
There is often an AM net on in the evenings, centred on 1.977 MHz. If that is heard, our net will move up, so if you don't hear anything on 1.979 MHz at first, tune upwards and you may well find the net has been established higher up.
Graham typically calls CQ Echelford on SSB and waits for callers to 'login' to the net. After a short general chat, we switch to CW and a passage of text is sent using the Farnsworth method, i.e. sending with a reasonably fast character speed (15 - 20 words per minute), but with a longer-than-normal gap between characters, thus bringing the overall word speed down significantly. The passage ends with "SSB SSB", indicating that you should change back to SSB mode. We then have a good laugh as each of us describes what we thought we received (or not, as the case may be!).
Others are then invited to send a passage of text, and the process is repeated until everyone decides they've had enough and want to drop out.
It's a very friendly, informal gathering, with no regimented right way or wrong way of doing things.
I have put together a 'Cheat Sheet' that I have been using for some years now. It includes the punctuation and ProSigns (Procedure signs) that are commonly heard on the bands, and which are used in the (now voluntary) Morse Tests. It can be downloaded here.
Please come and join in - and let us know how you'd like to see things evolve.
73 - Stuart, m0sar