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That's my new way of calling fast CW operators 🥴 Which makes them Top Keyers!!

The fastest known transmission of Morse code is a matter of some debate, as the speeds at which people can send and receive Morse code can vary greatly depending on their skill and practice. However, some of the fastest Morse code operators, or "high-speed telegraphers," have been known to send and receive messages at speeds of around 60 to 75 words per minute (WPM).

In 1942, Theodore Roosevelt McElroy set a world record by copying Morse code at a speed of 75.2 WPM during a contest held by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). This record has not been officially broken since then, and many consider it the fastest known transmission of Morse code.

It is important to note that these high-speed transmissions are exceptional cases, and most amateur radio operators typically send and receive Morse code at speeds ranging from 5 to 35 WPM.

I'm curious who knows someone or who is someone who has operated in that oxygen-thin top sphere of operators. I'm sure not, but my dad was. Anyone else?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back about the early 80's, I was a very active CW traffic handler.  Depending on band conditions, I was quite comfortable receiving code at 35 - 40 wpm.  But, being as how I had to keep a hard copy of all the messages I handled, and being as how I never learned how to type, my code speed was limited to how fast I could apply the pencil to the paper.  

One night, after clearing bunches of messages, I was approached by a CFO operator for a QSO.  I, of course, was thrilled because I knew CFO stood for the Chicken Fat Operators - the premier high speed CW ops group on the airwaves.  These were the guys who enjoyed 75+ wpm QSO's.  

Anyway, the CFO guy and I started off at about 45 wpm, and he gradually QRQ'd the code speed up to 55+ wpm (my estimate).  Well, to make a long story short, after about three hours of passing CW traffic, and entering into a QRQ contact, my brain turned to mush.  I guess you could say I flunked my Chicken Fat Operator test.  Even so, I was thrilled to find I had at least been tested.

Some 40 years later, I'm delighted to learn that the CFO is still extant.  And my understanding is that 65 -75 wpm is the threshold for CFO membership.  I'm also told that the elite CFO op's enjoy QSO's at 100 wpm.  I don't know if that's true or not.  I do know that I can't copy code fast enough to tell.


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