I have completed the Level 1 CW OPs course and a lot of you have followed my progress and frustrations via my blog. This is a follow up to that course.
I have had some people contact me wanting to help and I am grateful. One CW teacher, W6BK, David Elliott called and talked to me about getting over the hump. Apparently this is quite common that once you pass the course you never get on the air because you are either scared of being to slow, not being able to copy, etc etc. Thanks David for trying to contact me on the air that day but we can barely hear one another.
I have been practicing sending and taping out license plates, the alphabet, etc. I was practicing late one night using 5 watts and was getting ready to quit and decided to try 500 watts. I sent my CW on a straight key which enables me slow my sending speed down. We tend to send faster than we can copy and people will answer you at the speed you sent. Anyhow, I sent my CQ and got an immediate answer. I didn’t know what to do except change my underwear!
At first I didn’t get anything, he kept sending and then I got a few letters. Now it was my turn so I sent my call again and QRS for slow down please. He sent again and I got another letter. I then sent my call and “I am new and need to go slow”. He sent again and then I sent ? ? and he immediately came back a lot slower. I got his call, minus the first letter. I thought it was a B but it ended up being a V. His call was VK4TJ and then I got the RST he sent.
I was so excited that I thought I got the contact and then he sent an email to me after that confirming it was indeed him.
I could not sleep that night and it has really motivated me to get on the air and stop using practice as an excuse. Practice is important but get on the air and suffer through it.
I had made a brief contact to a friend in Canada but I knew what his call sign was as we had a schedule contact. I did hear it and we did make the contact but this one felt like I got it on my own and boy was I a kid again. Thanks for all those slow operators or those that can slow down to help us new guys. Our little slow group shares emails and encouragement and continue to try to contact one another. The joy this hobby can bring always amazes me.
73 until next time