Sunday, 30 September 2018

CW.....the adventure begins again

In 1971 my Dad passed his exam and became VE7BUX.   From that moment the house was filled daily with the sound of CW as soon as he was home from work.   He did have a mic, but I rarely ever saw him use it.

In 1974, due to a mistake by the then Department of Communications, Dad was issued a new call, VE7CVQ....which I now hold.  Apparently the DOC had already issued Dad's first call and for two years both he and a station in Northern BC (Smithers, I believe) both operated as VE7BUX.

Every day at 1630 local, Pacific time, he and his cronies: Steve VE7OF, Rusty VE7OM, Bill VE7ATR, and another ham in Kelowna who's name is now lost to the mists of time, fired up their rigs and spent the next hour holding court on CW.    Supper would arrive at the table, the rig would be turned off, we would eat, and then after supper on went the rig and he and I searched the bands for rare and strange CW signals.  It was quite the treat for me to be in charge of the VFO in those days.

Slowly my CW skills started to improve.....even though I didn't have a license....I started to be able to read the signals that arrived at our antenna.   In 1973 and 1974 I went to night school both winters to try and learn enough to get my ticket, but it never happened.  It was way over my head at the time.  In fact it wan't until a good number of years after Dad passed away that I finally got serious, got my ticket and became the proud owner of his old callsign - even managing to get the CW qualification.  However, I didn't use CW and it's always bugged me as I know how much it would have meant to him if I had been into CW.

Six weeks I ago I gave myself a big kick in the ass and decided it was time to knuckle down and get into CW.  So I bought a portable straight key from Palm Paddle with the thought that after spending that much money I better get to work on it......and I've been practicing since it arrived.

I found a great free CW trainer on line, it's called "Seiuchy", and you can get it HERE.  For one hour every evening I sit down in the shack with a happy ghost and copy code - slowly building up my speed - and waiting until I think I'm good enough to actually go on the air.  Hopefully that won't be too far in the distance.  SK.