Elmering CW Ops

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

I have a reputation for being a CW zealot. It's a reputation that I quite
deserve, thank you very much, and one that I'm proud of. Working CW is a
heckuva lot of fun, and I want to help as many hams as I can enjoy it as
much as I do.

Unlike some OFs (e-mail me if you're not familiar with that CW
abbreviation) who just complain that no one operates CW anymore or bemoan
the elimination of the code test, I try to walk the walk as well as talk
the talk. Here are some of the things I do to get guys to operate CW:

* I always carry around copies of the K7QO Code Course on CD-ROM
(http://www.kc5cqm.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.K7QOcwCourse). K7QO has
graciously allowed this version to be distributed freely, and when I'm at a
ham event, and anyone expresses even the slightest interest in CQ, I pull
one out of my briefcase and hand it to him or her.

* I try to keep one or two inexpensive paddles around to sell to interested
folks. Bencher BY-1s are good starter paddles, and you can often find them
at hamfests or on EBay for fifty to sixty bucks. I usually keep one or two
"in stock." When someone asks about paddles, I offer to sell them one of
the ones I have for exactly what I paid for it. Since they know me, they
get a good feeling that they're getting a decent paddle at a decent price.
And once they have it in the shack, it takes away one excuse for not
operating CW. I also, provide technical support. By that I mean I help them
get the key and keyer adjusted properly and help them use it properly.

* I never denigrate or complain about hams that never had to pass a code
test. That's a sure turnoff.  As soon as people get the feeling that you're
looking down your nose at them, you lose all credibility with them and they
just stop listening to you. My personal opinion is that if more folks have
ham licenses, then the pool of potential CW operators is bigger.

* I never denigrate or complain about hams that don't operate CW. See

* I acknowledge that Morse Code can be difficult to learn.  I often
apologize for the fact that I got into it when I was young and it was
easier for me to pick it up then. I also apologize that I seem to have at
least a limited talent for Morse Code. I acknowledge that this is not
something one learns overnight. You're more likely to win someone over if
you sympathise instead of criticise. I like to challenge them to learn it,
noting that once they've acquired the skill, it's something that they can
be proud of. Not only that, it's a lot of fun!

* I try to show them how much fun CW is!  I have an Elecraft KX-1, which I
take to things like club picnics. Throw up a simple antenna and I am on the
air making contacts. I also invite guys to my shack and show them in person
how cool it is.

Finally, I give presentations to just about any club that invites me, if I
can make the arrangements. On my blog at
http://kb6nu.com/a-cw-presentation-for-your-club/, you can find the text
for the slides I used for my presentation, "CW is Fun!" Feel free to use
them to give a presentation to your club.

Who knows? If you give this presentation to your club, maybe you'll even
get one or two guys interested enough in CW to learn the code and get on
the air. If every current CW op Elmered one other ham every year, the CW
bands would be chock full of activity. We'd   be complaining that it's
impossible to find a clear frequency instead of complaining that it's
getting hard to find a contact.