I am I suppose the average CW operator who happily taps away at approximately 16/18 wpm. I’m a member of the FISTS club who actually taught me a lot, mainly to be patient with other operators and simply send clearly and if necessary slowly, their aptly named motto being “accuracy transcends speed” is certainly very true.
I rarely call CQ nowadays, simply because half the operators who come back to me do not try to reply at my speed but insists of rattling away at 20/25 wpm or more and inevitably its bad cw. I have asked operators to QRS and many have, but others just go away as if telling you they have no time for your low speed. So I just gave up sending CQ and thought better to just reply to someone you hear sending good code at a reasonable speed.
Please don’t get me wrong there are a lot of very good CW operators out there but sometimes you come across the odd one who is diabolical.
I am never going to be the best CW operator going, or a 30 wpm man but having gained some experience there is no question, when I wander around the airways listening to all the CW operators out there you soon pick out the good and the bad, for me its more the correct spacing and gaps, I’ll happily to listen to a 30 wpm conversation if its sent well because even I can then pick up snippets of the conversation quite easily.
Interestingly when I do manage to pick up
the CW operators there are normally very good, they use the full punctuation and instead of the usual USA RST, Name and QTH then close the call will happily have a casual conversation with you and to the inexperience European user this can for a time be quite off putting. But I found it taught me a great deal as I suddenly realised I was getting to the habit of guessing the letters/ words but with casual conversation you just cannot do this, it certainly keeps you on your toes.
So to all operators out there, have some patience we are not all speed merchants sometimes it’s nice to slow down and have a casual conversation!