In the end of this year

It has been some time since I made the last post. Sipping a small glass of beer, I would write a bit how I have been doing.

We have had a quiet peaceful Christmas here. No guests etc. Humble dishes I prepared and a small cake I bought at a super market were on the table. My wife came into the New Year holidays today and kindly prepared dinner for me. For the sake of her honor, she used to cook from time to time before I started cooking. Not so bad a chef but just not fond of cooking.

This year, I have learned that we are based on the history in the past. It sounds like a too natural thing. But I am afraid we are liable to forget this truth quite often. In Japan, the revisionists are trying to lead our country back to the regime before and during the WWII. At the end of WWII, a couple of systems were preserved in our country, which should have been greatly changed. One is the emperor system and the other the bureaucracy. Some people based on these systems seem to try to return to the ancient regime, which was turned out to be total fault in the history.

The other event on going right now that seems to be related with the recent history is the conflicts in the Middle East. It seems to have originated from the artificial borders among the countries which were determined by the western countries after WWI. Together with the dibersity of the religions, this artificial borderlines seem to have caused the present mess there. The western countries are responsible for the refugees in this respect. The military commitment by the developed countries in the more recent years has given rise to the Muslim extremists as well.

We are inexorably bound to the history in this way. We should learn more of the history and try to find a way to resolve the problem however complicated and tough it might be.

There have never been a year when I felt there was absolute decline in number of the CW operators enjoying conversational QSOs. Calling CQ on various bands always has turned out to be failure throughout the year. People explain this fact from the prevailing texting through the internet, the decrease of the number of CW operators and so forth. I must add to those causes that the CW operators are getting older and are unable to make QSO in dialogue. Aged people including myself are apt to make monologues. It also make QSOs less interesting, I should say. I think it is the critical period which determine if conversational CW could survive or not. It is crucially important to have younger hams join this category of ham radio. We are asked if we are enjoying conversational QSOs by ourselves. If we are not, how could young hams be interested in it? I will fully enjoy this category of enjoyment in ham radio, even if my CQ will be to no avail.

I feel I could make progress with cello a bit even at this old age. I started practicing it using a tuner. I realized what a terrible scale I was on with it. The tuner, even if ti is only the well tempered scale, gives good lessons for the right scale. Returning to the basic training, I am enjoying to brush it up. Due to my vision problem with cataracts, I had to take off from the ensemble. Fortunately, the piano trio partners kindly told me they would wait for my surgery, which is planned next month. I would start the ensemble again soon next year. Music, especially in ensemble, seems something profoundly related with our lives. It is similar to gardening for me in a sense.

Well, that's about it. Beer is almost run out. I would say good night to you. Thanks for visiting this blog even though it won't give you anything valuable or informative. Your concern will encourage me to go on this blog. I appreciate it very much.

Have a very happy new year!


  1. Thanks for your nice post. Happy New Year to you and Chiaki.

    1. Thank you, Bob. The same season's greetings to you and yours!

  2. Shin - I always look forward to reading your comments. I hope to see you again on CW in the New Year. I wish you and your wife health and happiness in 2016.

    73 Steve VE7SL

    1. Steve,

      Your words are a real encouragement to me. See you on the air. HNY to you and yours all.


  3. Shin, you point out that there is much more competition for amateur communication methods than there was in the past. In my early hamming days, it was either CW or voice - even RTTY was too difficult.

    But for me, the allure was always communicating with those far away and I found CW to be the most enjoyable, but I have always used all modes. Today I do some RTTY, some voice, some JT65, much Internet (like this communication), etc.

    What I have found in recent years is that there is actually increasing interest in CW by beginners, who of course are going at very low speeds. They are asking your same question (Where are the ragchewers?) but are adding "ragchewers that QRS..."

    The CW Ops academy program has been growing strong and there are many web sites now that many older hams who never did CW are using to get up to 10-13 WPM. The NCCC Thursday evening "mini-Sprints" have had a QRS version, etc.

    Being honest about it, I do not really enjoy slow speed CW and have not been very active in helping those efforts, other than on CW forums such as at QTH.com in trying to provide suggestions to those learning CW/increasing their speed.

    But, I think there is much growth in interest in conversational CW by those that are new(er) to CW. It is similar to many areas where the very experienced and the very new are not seeing each other!

    The ARRL used to sponsor the Rag Chewers club, would be nice if a version of that came back. I will do some research, maybe with some donations for financial support, it would be possible to revive.

    73 John K3TN

    1. John,

      Thanks for the comment. It is good new comers or old comers are getting interested in CW. I would help those who would enjoy ragchewing even in QRS.

      But I am afraid contesting excludes ragchewing with respect to occupying the bands for certain length of time and to the senses of rewarding from either activity. I admit CWA program might work well for those getting interested in CW. But I am afraid CWops itself is heading to be a contest circle and is recruiting new contesters only.

      Maybe, I am too pessimistic and sarcastic for their activities. At least, I won't be involved in their activities at once. I may choose the other way to promote conversational CW.

      I used to be a member of RCC by ARRL when I was a teen age boy. When i donated a buck or two to a DXpedition through Ray WA6IVM in SF, he has recommended me to the club and has paid the fee on behalf of me. I hope the club is still existing.

      Again, HNY. I will catch you and listen to you with that new paddle soon.


    2. Shin, turns out CW Ops does have a "Ragchewing Recognition" program, known as QTX. You can see the definition of it here: http://www.cwops.org/qtx.html

      The standings are reported each month in the CW Ops newsletter. It is currently only for member to member ragchewing, but I've suggested to Peter and Jim that it be opened to member to non-members, as well.

      RCC was the second piece of amateur radio "wallpaper" I ever received - the first was my 10wpm Code Proficiency Award! Since I enjoy contesting, these days there is no shortage of wallpaper, but I still remember the fun of adding those additional stickers as my code speed increased.

      73 John K3TN

    3. John,

      I know of that program. I used to be one of the foundation member and directer when the club was established.

      I guess QTX program is better than nothing. But it is still a quatitative competetion. It is esseantially difficult to judge the quality of ragchewing. Ragchewing is not adapted itself to competetion, I am afraid. Another factor is that a club always require some means to get its members united each other like contests or awards. Ragchewing is not difficult to be evaluated from that standpoint, either.

      I might be too critical to CWops programs. At least, however, I won't be involved in those programs so far.