We should advocate CW to young new comers

I have posted twice in the reflector of FOC yesterday. It was regarding the difference between contesting/DXing and ragchewing. Ragchewing should be described as ordinary conversational communication on CW. Based on the article I introduced here,  I would like to say these two genres of CW activities are handled at different areas in the brain, if partly overlapped, so that the resulting pleasure or sense of rewarding must be different each other.

Even if we should admit of the diversity of the way how to enjoy CW, we should be aware of this distinction in CW operation. Judging from the overall activity in each genre, I should say contesting/DXing is occupying the most portion in the club activity. Some members have endorsed me either on the reflector or by personal mail. But it seemed those having priority in contesting/DXing were the majority in the participants of the club.

We should learn how different they are each other if they use CW for the tool. Understanding it, we should know which we stand on. It will cause quite a big difference which standpoint we are on. It may determine the ethos of the club.

This morning, while talking to a member in the West Coast on 15m, who told me the new members would get inactive for ordinary QSOs but get on only for contests, I realized it was the problem of aging. When we get older, we won't be interested in the others. Aged people won't have the inner energy or lose some kind of intelligence to understand the others. It should not be blamed. It is a natural course of human being. Due to the indifference to the others, they may not communicate to understand each other. But they just enjoy CW as a tool for the games. 

Otherwise, it is quite difficult for me to understand the trend for contesting/DXing prevailing in the world of CW. We should advocate CW to the younger new comers or CW may vanish sooner or later. FOC is not an exception even if it has the calling to maintain and convey this mode for real communication among people to the next generation.    


  1. For me and for many, an interesting rag chew is the foundation of ham radio. Yet, three of the most powerful draws to ham radio and for CW specifically are: QRP. dXing, and contesting. Throw in some others such as SOTA (summits on the air) and fox-chasing, and overall one has more and more reasons why ham radio will survive, and why CW will be a major reason for its survival. I say we should celebrate all these CW "apps'" including contesting. Otherwise when we OTs are gone. CW and our beloved hobby might be as well. Jim.

    1. Jim,

      I won't deny the other enjoyments of CW as you told. What I would say is perfectly in your first sentence in your comment. Everything should be started or based on the desire to understand each other. Without that, every enjoyment would become meaningless or only temporary.

      When I wrote this post, KH6IJ Nose was in my mind. He has done a great job in ham radio and used to be a proficient CW operator. But in his latest years, he seemed to suffer from dementia. He still operated with a keyboard. Beautiful CW and complete operation. It was, however, only repetition of the same message. Machinery QSOs. Of course, I won't blame such way of QSO. His mental condition could let him do that way. But I could not help feeling it was meaningless to work him at that time. We are, sooner or later, destined to be such an operator since such an excellent operator has become a rubber stamper. While it is allowed to us, let's enjoy seeing and knowing each other. At least, every activity should be based on that desire.

      Hopefully, FOC should remain a club which advocate CW as a tool to understand each other. CW is a communicating tool, but not a system of symbols for game like activity. If the club turns to be oriented to the other way, it is the time for me to quit it quietly.


    2. Dr Shin - as much as I enjoy a nice CW ragchew, I also enjoy contesting. I think CW, in ANY usage is a wonderful thing!

      Steve VE7SL 73

    3. Steve,

      I understand you are enjoying both ragchwing as well as contesting. Most contesters say that to me. Subjectively, both activities won't exclude each other in your mind, I guess.

      But, from the standpoint of the objective fact, I am afraid, contesting excludes ordinary conversational QSOs. One of the background for that observation is the article I quoted in the other post.

      I won't intend to provoke any unfruitful debate between contesters and ragchewers. I only hope to search with the others, wheter they are contesters or ragchers, what is going on in the CW world.

      CW is a wonderful mode for communication in face.