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The Bright Future of Ham Radio, Thanks to CW


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Like many hams, I really enjoy participating in amateur radio demonstrations at public events.  For example, here in New Mexico the High Desert ARC sets up a booth at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a ten day long event which attracts about a million people each year, BC.  (BC? That would be Before COVID). 
The HDARC members set up a working station, replete with interesting displays, appropriate informational pamphlets, and friendly hams anxious to share their knowledge with visitors.  I show up with a straight key, a keyer, and my Begali paddles. 

We attract some interested folks, and about as many vacationing hams who like to grab a quick eyeball QSO.  Occasionally there'll be a visitor who "always wanted to get into ham radio, but never seemed to find the time" who signs the Wants More Information sheet.  Me? I always seem to have a short line of short people - children with a definite enthusiasm and curiosity about the sounds of dits and dahs my keyer is emitting.

"This is an archaic way people used to communicate," their mis-informed but well-meaning parent inevitably explains.  "It's called Morse code."

I smile at the child, and ask, "Would you like to hear what your name sounds like in Morse code?"

"Oh, yes!  Please!" the child answers.  Before you know it, the youngster is learning a few letters, and trying out their own fist at the paddles and/or straight key.  The proud parent is impressed with their kids natural ability.  I can understand that because many of them sure seem to take to CW.  And I think I know why.  These kids are growing up texting.  Texting is a completely normal way to communicate.  To them, Morse is just a new way to text.  It's "texting you can hear."  Those children who continue with an interest in CW may find their way to getting a license and then the whole, wide world of amateur radio will open up to them.  All thanks to a few dits and some dahs. 

I guess you could say my anecdotal experience has shown me that if you want to increase youth participation in modern amateur radio, try introducing them to the archaic digital mode of Morse code. 



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Well, guess what, I had never ever ever thought of it that way, but it's so so true. I love the idea. Guess who's going to try this out this weekend when I'm surrounded by a group of young people... 😎

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On 4/8/2021 at 9:52 PM, NS7X said:

 Let me know how it works out for you.

There were 12 youth ages 19 to 27. I got a firm yes from two of them.they're interested in amateur radio. One called me back this morning to get started! CW rules!

Edited by K3MRI
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