CW (Morse code) mavens (like myself) often talk about the advantages of “the mode” over other modes “like SSB”. After all, CW is a form of a digital mode now isn’t it? CW gets through when other methods fail. Far more QSO’s or contest points are made with CW in the same span of time when compared to other modes such as SSB.

When contesting with CW, you can work at least a 5 to 1 ratio (I am trying to be kind here, it’s probably more like 10 to 1) over SSB contacts. For example, I had a limited amount of free time two weekends ago and decided to work the IARU contest for awhile. In the span of about an hour or so I worked around 100 stations and took a bunch of short breaks while operating. It takes seconds for each Q. If you are using a keyboard of course  pre-programming the function keys is the best way  to send your call, the customary 599 signal report and the I.T.U. region number.

When ragchewing, CW’s narrow bandwidth permits more stations to leverage the same bandwidth without affecting other QSO’s. Of course the features built into the newer, more expensive rigs sold today make a huge difference in removing unwanted adjacent signals.

I have never had the opportunity to operate a radio with fancy gadgets like roofing filters or DSP but have read other posts that state the virtues of these awesome features. I don’t own a $20k ham shack but my old TS450S with its AIP, IF shift, Notch and selectable filters does a fairly good job at picking out what I want to work. We all know how those features greatly reduce operating fatigue.

Icom IC-756 ProIII
Icom IC-756 ProIII

I think the disadvantage of options like roofing filters, is that operators come on the air with them engaged and call QRL, hear nothing and start calling CQ without ever hearing the operators already working on or close to a specific frequency. There’s nothing like a LID with a $10k radio.

Being inconsiderate and not knowing how to use your equipment reminds me of a time when I was out bay fishing. Here we are in an open 17 ft skiff, quietly enjoying the day, when all of sudden a huge cabin cruiser slows down next to us, pushes up a big wake that caused us to roll heavily for a moment. I looked up to noticed a small radar dish going round and a boatload of antennas. From the upper bridge the guy yells down to me “Which way is the inlet???“. I wanted to point right to the closest sand bar, but just shook my head in total amazement and pointed.

Luxury Cruiser Yacht
Luxury Cruiser Yacht

So, now it’s Amateur operators with their $10k rigs acting like the guys in the $200k cruiser. These guys just don’t seem to give a damn about others and just bully their way in. One can only hope that they will learn to operate their equipment properly some day.

Even though CW is touted as an “outdated” mode, it is, and will always be a very effective mode of communication. In my opinion, it was a sad day when the FCC dropped CW as a licensing requirement.

With the megatons of space junk floating around the earth providing countless forms of commercial and military signals, I am glad that I still have a traditional way to communicate that gets the job done without a $10k station. I guess I will always be the guy in the 17 ft  skiff directing the $200k Luxury Cruisers to the inlet and getting my personal “last laugh“.

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