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Beginner CW QSO


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Well, I'm nowhere near an expert. I was licensed in 1994 but did not have my first contact (QSO) until 2002. Then there was another 10 year gap from 2007-2017 where I didn't have QSOs due to living in small city apartments where antennas were difficult and urban noise levels were high. Yes I could have done something but it would have required more effort and being short of time (working too hard) was another factor. Then I designed and produced the 5W CW transceiver "QCX" in the first half of 2017 and put up an antenna to operate, for testing it. The antenna blew down in a winter gale and I didn't have time/inclination to put it back up, so again 2018 was a year without QSOs. But I have now got a nice antenna up http://hanssummers.com/404ul and been having lots more QSOs in 2019. At time of writing (September 2019) I have had 1,237 CW QSOs. And none on any other mode. So I am reasonably competent at it but by no means an expert. 

You can google for expert guides on all this stuff but I thought I would write a basic guide for CW beginners, since a lot of people have been inspired to have a go at CW by the low cost and high performance and features of the QCX kit. Some guides over-complicate it. This guide is just about getting on air as soon as possible, which I believe to be the best way, and the most FUN way, to build up confidence and competence. This guide will concentrate on abbreviations and practices commonly heard on air. Not the complete possible list. 

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