What do I mean about CW, and why does it matter?

What I mean is "the use of CW communications in QRP radio", and no, of course it doesn't matter, it is just a hobby after all!

Many QRP operators prefer the use of CW or "morse" as their mode of choice whilst indulging in their QRP radio pursuits, arguably this is the best "bang for buck" mode at QRP power levels.

This little piece was prompted by the difficulty I experienced a little while ago whilst trying to have a QSO with a fairly newly-licensed holder of an M3 (foundation) callsign.

The said operator clearly knew the Morse code, and had no difficulty in understanding my own transmission, but I had one heck of a job in understanding him because of the quality of his "fist" - and the main problem was not the formation of the characters but the spacing, or rather lack of spacing between letters.

I have heard this phenomenon many times now, with operators of all vintages, license class using both hand and automatic keys and have come to the conclusion that some operators would clearly benefit from a little self training.

So, to reduce the risk of my being "hoist by my own petard" I had better do something about making sure my own CW was up to scratch, and therefore potentially be able to set a good example.

To help me to do this I concluded that the old-fashioned method of using random letter (or figure) groups would fit the bill, and so I sat down with Microsoft Excel for a few minutes and concocted the little spreadsheets here.

Letter Code Groups





The main intention was to be able to produced nicely formatted groups on the printed page, in sufficient quantity to make an exercise of reasonable length











Letter Code Groups Print Preview










See the screen grabs for the VDU and the printed appearance.













Number Code Groups





and also for figures













Number Code Groups Print Preview




With practice you should be able to send the entire contents of each sheet at one go without making many (or any!) mistakes.

The chances are you will find some of the combinations of letters or figures rather awkward - this is probably due to your mind getting ahead of your fingers.

If you find problems like this, have a little break and then try again. After a little practice you may well surprise yourself at the improvement to your own ears on your sending technique.

You can download the Excel spreadsheet here

Page Updated :- October 7th 2011

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