This week marked a big milestone for me; I successfully completed my first radio contact using CW aka Morse Code. It was a tough contact; conditions were bad but the guy I worked was polite and patient with me so we managed to pull it off.
I had always believed that I simply did not have an "ear" for code; it sounded like noise to me and I was never able to get past a basic understanding of the mechanics. After the amateur radio code requirement was lifted I was thankful and quickly upgraded to the highest level license. Still, in the back of my mind I felt I should make a real effort to learn code; if for no other reason than to overcome a personal limitation. (If you think I have a strong aversion to being told what to do; I have an even stronger aversion to being told what I can't do -- even if I'm the one doing the telling.) So my 2009 resolution was to learn enough code to complete a radio contact. It took me nine months, but I made it. I don't know that I will ever be a "real" CW operator, but right now I'm having fun and feeling good about my accomplishment.
I would like to thank the following people who helped make this happen for me:
- Gerald Wheeler (W6TJP) - Author of the Code Quick learning method. A great basic foundations course.
- Fabian Kurz (DJ1YFK) - Developer of the LCWO.net website. An awesome online Koch-method trainer. Did I mention it's free?
- Leon "Skip" Stem (WB4DAD) - CW operator, FISTS member, and the first entry in my CW contact logbook. Thanks for being patient with me.