I prefer CW for a variety of reasons. Here are some of them:
There you go--half a dozen reasons to learn/use CW, and it's hard
to argue with any of 'em! (...'cept maybe the last one; nothing
is everyone's cup of tea, after all)
- Good for LPCA (Low Power, Crummy Antenna).
There are a large number
of circumstances under which it can be necessary to work with what we
sometimes call a "compromise" antenna, and/or it may be desirable to
use low power. Cost aside, factors like CC&R's, lease restrictions,
tiny and/or treeless lots, and other similar situations can severely
limit the sort of antenna we can put up. Especially when using an
antenna that's not good and high, there can be some advantages (beyond
cost and personal preferences) to running low power to reduce RFI,
etc. When operating with restrictions on antennas and/or power, we
can often make contacts using CW much easier than with SSB.
- Simplicity of circuits.
A few simply understood, easily constructed
circuits may comprise a basic CW transmitter. Cost aside, there are
lots of good reasons why some hams might prefer to build their own
equipment. The availability of a mode which can be implemented with
the simplest of circuits helps make such goals more reachable. Also,
experimentation with relatively non-traditional frequencies and such
can often be lubricated with the use of CW. CW can be an important
tool for experimenters of all kinds.
- And what if we don't put cost aside?
Yeah, yeah, I know... it's
almost politically incorrect in much of popular American Amateur
Radio culture to suggest that some of us may not have much money
to spend on the hobby. I've heard grumpy old hams grumble that
anyone who doesn't own a house with enough land for some real
antennas, and who can't spend a thousand dollars or more every now
and then on a hobby probably isn't a very worthwhile person anyway.
Well, there are plenty of good, honest, deserving people who have
a lot to offer Amateur Radio who, for whatever reason, don't have
a lot of money to spend. There are places in the world where the
vast majority of people get by on less money in a year than the
average American spends in a month. For some people, Amateur Radio
must be done inexpensively, or not at all. One might even argue
that the hobby would benefit if low-cost entry were promoted a bit
more than it is. In any event, there is a place in Amateur Radio
for stations that don't cost much, and CW is potentially the lowest
cost mode there is.
- Internationally understood.
CW comes with a set of abbreviations
and procedural signals which, when mixed with a few common English
words (and in fact, the non-English-speaking op need not even be
certain which is which, sometimes!), creates a sort of miniature
language for basic radio exchanges. A few weeks ago, I had a very
enjoyable chat over CW with a ham in Mexico. He knew very little
English, and I know no Spanish, but we enjoyed a good twenty minutes
of CW ragchew before QSB ended our fun.
- Where the DX is.
Fact: Sometimes, this-or-that DX station is only
using CW, and/or propagation to the DX site is marginal, resulting
in an advantage for CW. If you want to work the maximum number of
DX stations (or the maximum number of stations in just about any
kind of competition) you should be prepared to use CW at least some
of the time.
CW is fun. Try it (without pressure--not because you need
it to upgrade or anything like that) and see if you don't agree!