Resisting the declining activity on CW

As I have written here many times, I love listening and operating on 40m before and at the sunset. The band is always quiet. The QRM from south eastern Asia is not bad at that time while it is always open to North and South America. If the condition is on the peak in a year, it may open to all over the world at the same time.

Again, as I repeatedly say, there have been less hams enjoying conversation on CW at this time in a day even if the condition is superb. Not having got bored with, I have called CQ on 7026KHz for an hour. The band was admirably quiet. I have got call from a couple of old friends, Keith, VK4TT and, Don, N4UB. I have not met them quite often for the past year. Unfortunately, either was not loud enough to enjoy conversation leisurely. Keith told me old Al, VK4SS, has gone SK when I asked him how he had been doing. I thought I had looked Al on a photo in his page of QRZ.com. Al used to be one of my DXs in my teen age days. He would have been over 90 years old. Don got only a real weak signal. We exchanged season's greetings. In the end of the QSO with him, signal was building up. Yes, it is always fascinating me that the condition is always coming up as we go on working. I have met a couple of other guys for simple QSOs. Four QSOs in total for an hour. Isn't it bad?

As I always complain of, there are decreasing number of hams enjoying conversation on this mode. I have wondered what brought it into the world of CW. One factor is the absolute decline of the number of CW operators all over the world. This art of communication was taken over its position by digital mode or, for young people, by the internet. The other factor may be that most CW operators use it as a tool for DXing, contesting or chasing awards. It is up to them how to do with this mode. It might be beyond imagination what a fun they could get in conversational CW. Useless to discuss about these themes which have been talked about for many times without any substantial and convincing conclusion.

I could operate radio as much as I want when the bands are open now. I would go on operating radio and enjoying it much. Some people may realize what a fun it is when they happen to listen to me, even though I won't be conscious or expecting of such audience at all. It is just for my fun and for my reminiscence for good old days. Another thing I would do for CW activity is to analyze and describe what goes on in ourselves with objective, preferably scientific, words. I got a hint that the rewarding circuit in our brain may play a role, which produces the fun of CW communication. This is one of my objects this year. There should be some reason why we find fun in operating with such a slow and effort requiring mode as CW.

So see you on 40m around our sunset, that is, 08Z if you get up that early, my friends in the US.  


  1. Shin,
    Some sad news, just received this from ARRL

    ARLX002 QST Contributing Editor Jack Troster, W6ISQ (SK)

    QST Contributing Editor and ham radio humorist John G. "Jack"
    Troster, W6ISQ, of Atherton, California, died January 11. He was 93.

    1. Terry,

      Yes, I have know of his passing away in FOC reflector. I haven't known him in person so much. But, through the support of him and Eric W6DU, we could get donation from NCDXF for our DXpedition to XU in 1991. He seemed a good person and missed by many people. Thanks for the news anyway.


  2. I'm still optimistic about CW rag chewing Shin. I usually find at least one good conversational QSO each day I operate. I'm generally active between 1300 and 1430Z and again 000-130 or 300-400Z. This solar cycle has made the path to Europe difficult from Southern CA; I had many great QSOs with the EU stations during past sunspot cycles. The path to JA is generally good but I don't hear too many operators on.


    1. Bill, it may be due to the areas we live. I still hear some US hams ragchewing on the higher portion of 40m, even though I am sure it is less active than a decade or two ago. It is your morning hours. In your late at night, it is quite different. Much less activities, I am afraid. Yes, some of them might think we japanes hams are not active any longer. That's why I still go on calling CQ on quiet band in our sunset even if I may have very few callers. One good QSO is like a jewel then.