Monday, May 14, 2012

Rude Operators & CW Talk

I’ve read about rude operators but rarely heard them, but today whilst listening on 40 meters LSB I heard a local station tentatively calling CQ, he sounded like a newbie and was obviously quite nervous. 
Almost immediately a station came back giving their call sign and report, the initial caller then thanked him and proceeded to give his station information, part of which he said he was transmitting with “15 whiskeys”, the reply came back “how can you transmit with whiskey? There was a pause and the chap asked him to repeat his message, another pause and the answer was, “oh just go away and drink your whiskey!” 
Ok so the guy was probably an old CB user, but so what, the answering station knew exactly what the chap was on about and had no reason to be so rude or arrogant. What if another new amateur had been listening to that conversation? It would have probably put them off and I was very tempted to step in and say a few words but wisely I kept my mouth shut. Thankfully the calling station had enough sense to continue on his way and got some replies with some sympathetic messages of support from other stations who had obviously like me been listening.
 Whilst I agree our hobby will never be perfect and will always have the few bad or rude operators who act as if they are on a higher level to others it’s a shame they can’t guide instead of just being plain arrogant.
Interestingly when on CW the other day I had some German station giving me grief when I got his call sign wrong. I added an extra letter by mistake and he shot back a reply really letting me have it with both barrels and then proceeded to speed up his sending probably knowing full well that I would be unable to keep up. I just ignored him and continued on at my pace apologising and wishing him 73s before hastily departing. But for a few hours afterwards I was hesitant to continue transmitting, it is funny how little things like that make you lose your confidence and put you off.
Some days for no apparent reason my CW receive brain slows right down and I find it difficult to pick out the most basic of Morse, almost as if I'm CW saturated! Normally I can work 18/20 wpm but at the moment I’m going through another slow phase; I cannot explain why but over the weekend I was having all sorts of problems. Thankfully through experience I know to just continue on and normally just find a station transmitting at a good clean 12 wpm and go back to basics.
Whilst every operator is different there’s no question in my mind that spacing is the key for me, I can translate an operator sending 30 wpm providing he/she is sending good Morse with the correct spacing, but will struggle if I come across an operator sending at 12 wpm if their spacing is all wrong. A lot of operators send too quickly, some just to prove how proficient they think they are, if only they could hear how they sound, I think it would make them realise that speed is not always the answer!
Many operators myself included find they inadvertently start to speed up when transmitting and wonder why the returning CW comes back at a higher speed, if I start to do this I just ask the sender to QRS and that normally seems to do the trick. My other problem is long QSO’s, this simply through lack of practise. It’s easy to have a quick QSO with the basic RST, name and QTH etc. But if the conversation turns to a long chat it can become difficult to work simply through lack of concentration and just not being used to general CW conversation.
To get round this I turn the antenna westwards and start a CW conversation across the pond, find a good reasonably slow US station and guaranteed they will always veer away from the basics and have a good ragchew. Rarely do I find a European who wants to have a good chat, unless of course it’s a local club member on 80!

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