[AMRadio] Radio Operators

Larry Szendrei ne1s at securespeed.us
Sat May 2 16:25:59 EDT 2015

On 5/1/15 1:08 PM, Donald Chester wrote:
> Hi Larry.
> Enjoyed talking to you from Al W1VTP's QTH during my recent visit to NH and
> Cape Cod to attend family get-togethers. It's not very often that I operate
> a station with a class E transmitter and Flex SDR for receiver.
I enjoyed talking o you too, Don. Since I'm usually not on much at 
night, there's seldom propagation to Tennessee on 160M and 80M during 
the day, we don't get to chat very often.
> I like to say that 95% of  my operation is on AM and the other 5% CW, but
> lately my actual amount of CW operation is probably  less than 1%. The
> reason is that most of the CW contacts I make over the air can be described
> in one word: uninteresting or should I say boring!
For my type CW operation, it's more about "the hardware" than the 
content of the QSO. When on CW I'm typically running something very 
crude - a free-running LC oscillator (Hartley or TNT) or a single-tube 
xtal rig feeding the antenna directly - all homebrewed - along with a 
regen receiver. I'm happy to be communicating with ANYONE under the 
circumstances! :-) If I want to engage in a long ragchew, I'd rather be 
on AM anyway.
> Every now and again a CW QSO ends up as an interesting ragchew.  Maybe it's
> an old timer describing his earlier  homebrew station, a former teacher who
> enjoys exchanging war stories from the days before retirement, maybe someone
> who has travelled abroad talking about the adventures of youth, or someone
> describing the joys and frustrations of home ownership, maintenance and
> restoration. Occasionally the op has or does work(ed) AM and that becomes
> the topic of conversation.  But between every one of those QSOs interesting
> enough to make me willingly spend one-half to several hours operating the
> bug, are the dozens of rubber-stamp QSOs described in the previous
> paragraph. This gives me less incentive to switch over to CW and re-tune the
> rig and antenna to the CW frequencies in the first place. I have no interest
> in contests, traffic nets nor chasing DX, since DX contacts tend to be even
> more rubber-stamp than domestic ragchews and signal  reports are often
> meaningless 599 even when the signal is barely perceptible.
Yeah, I know what you mean about the lack of meaningful QSOs these days. 
More often than you may think, though, I'll run into someone who 
understands and has an appreciation for what I'm running, and an 
interesting QSO results.
> Do you know of any specific CW frequencies on 160-80-40 where vintage and
> homebrew operators hang out, kind of like the AM Windows/Ghettos on the
> lower frequency bands? I have repeatedly heard for years that such
> frequencies exist, but I fail to find them.
I'm afraid I don't. But Kim N5OP posted a list, which I'm saving. Like I 
had said, I'm on AM the vast majority of the time anyway, so CW isn't 
really a priority. It's just that in the winter time ("radio season" for 
me), I get nostalgic to occasionally put some time into using the most 
primitive mode and equipment that's still legal.

Sorry for the late response, but I was at NEARfest all day yesterday.


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