down load a text version of this file:  cw.txt
CW?
  What the heck is CW?  We know what a ham means by CW, it is "International Morse," Morse Code.  (NOT Country and Western music!)  Why do we call Morse Code CW?  The first Amateur Radio Operator to span the Atlantic Ocean was Guglielmo Marconi.  He sent the letter S, three times (on December 12, 1901, it was received at St. Johns Newfoundland.)  Did he use CW?  NO!  He used the `now dead' way of doing things, SPARK.  Most of our current hams have never experienced or heard SPARK.  Just as I haven't.  It was so popular that the "diehards" that were operating SPARK refused to abandon it when it was outlawed.  Why? Most "Modern" spark transmitters used a power supply (kinda on the high voltage side), a mechanical interrupter (motor or vibrator driven, for a musical note), and a resonant circuit tuned (with the antenna) to the transmit frequency.  The key connected the power source only when the key was down.  It was noisy, smelly (mostly from ozone from ionized air at the interrupter arc,) and I'm sure the table - the entire house sometimes, vibrated from the motor driven interrupters.  Why were the `diehards' so reluctant to give up SPARK?  A lot of HAMS were running 500 to 1,500 watts, and QSOing from New York to Chicago, while CW transmitters weren't putting out as much as 100 watts.  Most operated in the 2 - 30 watt range in fact.  And at such a high frequency, - 150 meters (OUCH!) and such, nothing worked up there! (150 meters is about 1.5 Mega-cycles per second!)  The U.S. Navy, a fledgling commercial operation (radio stations) pushed HAMS up to where the equipment barely worked, at least the home made tubes and such.  Commercial parts makers (with HAMs working for them, I'm sure) made tubes smaller, higher powered and higher frequencies, (is that a word?) the advancements haven't stopped!  So there was spark and CW, now there is only CW! Why did the F.C.C. (or whoever?) outlaw SPARK?  It occupied 100 times the spectrum of CW and the frequency control was crude.  If you are into this nostalgia stuff (like me!) you must reads: 200 METERS AND DOWN (The Story of Amateur Radio) by Clinton B. Desoto and ARRL THE FIRST 50 YEARS, (a reprint of Historical Articles from the 1964 issues of QST) (both are American Radio Relay League publications) and;  If you ever get to the Hartford, Connecticut area, drive over a few hills and visit our shrine to the old days of HAM radio, the ARRL Museum in the lobby of the ARRL on Main street in Newington, Connecticut (I did once.)
Ron KA4INM ka4inm@qsl.net