Quiting CWops

I have quit the CWops.

A couple of years ago, Jim, N3JT, has given me an email telling me that he would establish an international club for CW enthusiasts and asked me to join it. In the begininng, I thought it had been his joke or kidding as he used to do. Having been involved in the conflict in the other major CW club, he and his company seemed to want to set up another club which they could do whatever they want. An international club to promote CW activities.

 I have written, in the previous post , about how an amateur ham radio club stands for. From that standpoint, I am sure now that the club has been oriented to the different way that I believe it should be. While the slogan says it is covering every aspect of CW activities in amateur ham radio, it is heading to be a contest club. And it is becoming a club for the US members as well. The posts in the mailing list concern mostly of contests and of local topics in the US. I won't blame that at all. I was feeling, however, a little bit discomfortable to be in the fellows who are contest or competetion oriented. As a non contest oriented member in Asia, I could not help feeling the club had been heading to be a local contest club in the US.

I have been asked by a couple of members at different occasions to help to promote their contests in Japan. I answered yes to them promptly. I have given them some ideas to internationalize the contests. Nonetheless, I have not had any proper response from them or have been almost neglected by one of them. They are concerned about only how to advertise their contests but not about how to improve it as international contests.

I know they might say there are many aspects of the club, not only the contest but also elmering the beginners and so forth. But so far as I have experienced in the club, it is not the reality. I won't blame the contest oriented people at all. They should enjoy it as they want. But I won't remain being a member in such a club any longer.

Now, it is over. I could enjoy ham radio as I want to. I won't be bothered to unwillingly join the contests or to be asked to promote the contests etc. I still believe in the founders' good will to establish an international club to promote CW activities. I wish it will come true in the future. I appreciate the members who let me in as a charter member and give me the directorship position in the club.


  1. Hi, Shin - as usual, it was nice running into you tonight on 15m and having a short ragchew.

    Even though I am an active contester, I can understand your decision to quit CWOPS, especially since I had read your earlier thoughtful post on what defines a club. It does seem that much of CWOPS energy is on the mini-contests.

    I am an active ragchewer *and* contester, and some of my most enjoyable ragchews are about contesting - because for a conversation to be enjoyable it must be on a topic of shared interest. When I find another ham interested in hiking or boating or internet security, I can have interesting CW conversations with them, as well. When we have shared interests in mastering something - whether it is kayaking or high speed contesting - there are many opportunities for many, many long enjoyable conversations.

    I have had many long boring conversations in real life and actually had some very boring ragchews on the air where the topic of great excitement to the other ham was of no interest to me. In those cases, I am very happy for hello/goodbye QSOs - because to me the magic of ham radio has always been in contacting someone far away. Hello/goodbye, 599 MD, "How is your garden?" or 30 minute ragchews are all just variants on that theme!

    73, John K3TN

  2. John,

    It was an unexpected pleasure to hear you on 15m this morning. I am pleased to know Carole is on the uneventful recovery and may enjoy hiking with you soon.

    I fully understand what you mean about contesting and ragchewing. I used to be an avid contester around 1990. I would question about the frequency of contests. There seem to be to many to me. In fall, every weekend is occupied by at least one contest. In worset case, 3 or 4 contsts are going on at the same time! No use on the conventional bands.

    The other problem is that contesting may limit the other aspects of ham radio activities in a ham himself as well as in the ham world. It has become so more of high technology and less of human aspect than ever, I am afraid. It could be replaced to PC soft ware itself in the near future. Such big set ups and PC controlled operation necessary for contesting won't attract new hams.

    Oh, it is enough. Maybe, I have become too old to catch up with the recent changes in contesting etc. Let the contesters enjoy them. But I will not do that much again. I was sorry for making a bit trouble to the club. I only thought it had not been the place I should stay. That's all.

    Well, I will go on enjoying CW as well as ham radio in my own way. I believe our activities and interests may overlap from time to time. See you again. All the best for the upcoming holiday season to you and Carole.

  3. Agree with much of what you say, Shin, I did the "big QRT" from about 1996 to 2009 and when I got back on the air I was amazed at the many changes, not all for the better but not all for the worse.

    There does seem to be many, many more contests - and I can understand the disruption that causes to those who have other interests. However, I was also amazed at the lower levels of activity on both phone and SSB during the week and outside of contests. While even I think there are too many contests now, they do keep our bands occupied (an important consideration in these days of spectrum need) and they do represent demand - more people are operating in more contests, leading to more hours of active amateur radio.

    There seemed to be much more RTTY and PSK and JT65, but much less CW/SSB QRM. The new technology in use has brought better signals on the air - much less chirp and key clicks and harmonics - along with much better receivers than just two decades ago. Of course, the Internet and computer technology has driven much of that, and (much like the use of cellphones and texting)it does represent a change in the way people who are interested in talking to people far away choose to do so. I think the use of computers and skimmers and remote operation and Internet are the factors that *do* attract new hams, just as the movement from tubes to transistors and from home brew receivers and transmitters to factory built transceivers (bemoaned in its time!) opened up the hobby to more hams back in those days.

    I noticed when I returned that the technology used by contesters had certainly advanced, but the same operators were winning the contests! The same tends to be true with race car drivers, pole vaulters, skiiers, etc. The advance of technology is much like the weather - we can not change it we can only deal with it each in our own way.

    Of my many hobbies I have found ham radio to be the most amazing from the point of view of being able to support so many different types of interest. Minimizing the disruption each of these types causes to the others is an important requirement and I agree contesting has to do work in that area. Some contests are putting out mandatory frequency ranges but much more needs to be done.

    73, John K3TN

  4. John,

    Thanks for the comment again.

    You seem to agree with me in the point that contests occupy too many weekends and disrupts the other aspects of ham radio activities. This should be corrected by CWops or other CW clubs etc.

    The next point is the question if computer and/or internet aid will activate ham radio. Does computer aided contesting will attract young new comers? I don't know the answer. I am inclined, however, to say no. So far as I have oberved contesting of the university clubs here, there are much less activities among them. It may mean that computer aid is not attractive enough to those young generation to stay in contesting activity. I have lost interests in computer aided contesting years ago.

    A fundamental question for me is what contests meant in the beginning of ham radio and what it still means to ham radio. Ham radio used to start with wish to communicate with people far away. When it was established, the pioneer hams might want to test their ability to communicate efficiently and proficiently with them. I guess that was the fundamental motivation of contesting in the pioneer era. At present, however, contesters seem to have forgot where contests came from. I could not help feeling that they have been changed from what they should be. Winning or only working as many as possible seems to be the only end in contesting for them. It has become a kind of game without any humanity.

    I cound not put up with such as CWops heading mainly to contesting. I am sure any idea leading to the other directions than that to the fundamental of ham radio as well as contesting won't work out.

    This discussion might not be very fruitful. For contesters enjoy contests as they are while I don't. It is a problem of liking to contesters, I guess.

    So it is my main question to contesters if they feel happy to occupy bands every weekend while the non contesters are forced to stay off the air.

  5. Shin,

    Sorry to hear you have quit CW Ops. Now there does not seem much point in me being active in the club since you are gone.

    I am off the air for a few months now because my station was hit by lightning, but I am putting together a new setup and will be active again in the new year.

    I spend a lot of time listening to your CW and improving my copying speed. I am still not comfortable with very high speeds so thank you for slowing down. I hope your family is well and I will see you again one day I am sure.

    Thanks for all the encouragement in the past.

    73 John 9 V 1 V V

  6. John,

    Welcome home again. I sure have missed you for weeks. I knew your set up was hit by a lightning. A too horrible event. I used to experience it years ago. I hope you to set them back again very soon. Any damages to your electrical items other than radio gear?

    I should have quit the club more quietly. It is concerned about my belief on ham radio but not about the other people's liking etc. I feel quite happy and free at present. I am getting even more active on the air as you might know.

    Thanks for monitoring me on the air hi. I know you are good at pretty high speed as well. I would exercise my bug a little bit in modest speed but feel tired in some 10 or 15 min. I should patiently practise it. So I would hear from you again soon. If you need any electrical items or parts not available there, let me know that.

    A very best holiday season to you and yours all. Listening the 4th symphony of Brahms.