Sunday, 31 July 2011

What is the ideal code speed?

Let me make it clear from the outset. I am no expert at CW. I guess I can comfortably work at around 18 WPM during rag chews and up to about 30 WPM at a push during contests.

I know this a futile question to ask, but it might still be worthwhile considering.

This morning I worked Philippe V5/F5JWH with CW on 40 metres. Philippe was using a straight key and exchanged SKCC numbers (pretty rare thing in this part of the world). He was sending fairly slow well spaced CW and it was real easy to follow the QSO without the need to revert to pencil and paper. The QSO was certainly more memorable and enjoyable than most of the high speed DX “599 73 TU” type of exchange we normally engage in.

This got me thinking. Why do we constantly try and push the envelope with regards to our operating speed on CW? Maybe we should consider slowing down once in a while. Just maybe we could attract newcomers to this magic mode in the process.

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