The reasons for less activity of CW conversation

As John, 9V1VV, says in his comment to my other post in this blog, conversations are seldom possible on the radio nowadays. Of course, we talk about conversation on CW. I have been concerned about this for a long time. What has made amateur radio changed this way?

There must be two aspects defining amateur hams' behaviour. The external as well as internal factor. Both factors might be related each other as follows. One of the major external factors is how busy a ham should be due to the other routine activities. He is too busy, as always excused for their inactivity, to spend time for conversation. The work load might not have been changed at all. It could not be the reason. Now there are more and more hams retired who could spend more time for ham radio. If his busyness might be related with this lower activity for conversations on the air, it is an issue of choice. He might spend more time for the other hobbies or activities than ham radio. In this respect, it could be related with the internal factor.

Lack of proficience of code reception, in CW communication, could be another point. Since the licence exams won't impose this ability everywhere for now, this could limit the licensee for conversational ability. If the licensee does any SWL acivity before getting on the air by himself, he might enjoy the vast world of communication. However, such a new comer is really exceptional. To brush up reception ability with SWL etc may be from their motivation, again, another factor in mind.

There are less numbers of elmers of CW communication for the beginners in the world. Or they are hidden to the beginners, if the latter won't seek for their elmers. Most beginners learn how to QSO in the internet etc but seldom take lessons from elmers. Conversing on CW requires much skill and is hardly learned in the internet. CD practise won't teach how to do in a on going real conversation. It won't emphasize how important it is to learn head copy for fluent conversation. It rather requires the beginner to write down what he copies. So little chance for the beginners to meet possible elmers could be attributed to lack of the beginners' motivation, another internal issue.

Those without motivation for real communication are lead to contesting or DXing only. We should not quetion about those latter ways of enjoyment. Very few tell the beginners how to reach the ability of conversation on CW. That is the problem.


  1. I agree with the observation about CW conversations. I seldom go on the bands above 40M because it is a 599 TU QSO place these days. 17 and 30M have some good rag chewers but not much activity lately. I put an 80M dipole up since operators on that band like to talk. 40M is my favorite band for 50 years.
    The computer has made it too easy for the contesters. They simply type in the other stations call and push a key or two. At least they learn to copy fast but the retention skills required for a conversation are not developed.

  2. Bill,

    That may be why ragchewers are not on but just listening bands
    nowadays. I have been active on 40m looking for ragchewers but often feel tired with 599 TU type QSOs. 80m is a stable band but is not very suitable for ragchewing due to QRN etc. 40m has been my first love since I started radio like it has been for you.

    I am wondering why ham radio is becoming meaningless as a tool for conversation. Maybe, it is related with the current trend of thought in all aspects in our lives.

    I hope you are not very busy at babysitting!


    1. We survived our first week babysitting. I posted some new photos on Facebook. Photography is my number one hobby, mostly Alana (granddaughter) and the flowers and landscapes. My son-in-law said it was OK to install an antenna. I designed a 40M offset fed doublet that will fit their yard but this weekend it was too cold and windy to assemble it; I'll have to wait until next week.
      My daughter is doing well. I'm an energy healer and do some work on her each week.