On This Day, from Alan Millhone

October 28, 2012 |

 Friday October 26th in 1861 the Pony Express made its last run as the telegraph was established

Made me think back to my Boy Scout years and i had to get a message thru and learned Morse code.


Jeff Watson writes: 

Believe it or not, we still use a lot of CW(Morse Code) on the amateur bands. For the past couple of years, I've seen an influx of real high speed operators, all with perfect form and perfectly even spacing between the dits and dahs. The thing about them is that they are fakes, just guys who use computers to crank out Morse Code. They use the same kind of program that deciphers(CW) up to 120 words per minute. No human can send that fast, only a computer. There is no personality, no individual style with the fakes either.

An average "real" CW operator on the amateur bands is about 50-85 years old. Some of those old guys can copy 60+ words per minute in their heads. They can also send 60 with a good keyer. They are all, to a person, very unique individuals. It takes a bit of craziness to still use CW, and do it well.

Old time CW operators are very humble about their skills and will admit to copying CW to 35-45 words per minute. Like golfers, old timers sandbag a lot. One is officially considered to be an old timer if they have been licensed over 25 years and active in the hobby. Everyone knows who the real old timers are.

Fakes, on the other hand are quite boastful about their abilities on CW. The average "fake" CW operator is in his 20's-30's, very computer savvy, and could care less about learning the craft of CW. I don't know why those fake CW ops play with computer generated CW when there are so many easier modes of communication. They do brag in a conversation about being a CW op, but drop the ball when questioned by a real CW op.

If I'm seeing a decline of traditional skills in the noble hobby of amateur radio, what does that say about the rest of the world? Are other important skills in other areas eroding? Does the speculation community have a similar decline of skills? Are computers making us stupid?

I wonder what percentage of today's speculators cannot do very quick, accurate math in their heads without a calculator? Quick, accurate math was a primary job requirement for both speculators and bookies in the 1900's. There have always been many tricks and shortcuts to doing quick math in your head. Have computers replaced traditional short cuts in out minds?

As an aside, I suspect that the extremely pleasant and humble Mr Milhone would make a great CW operator.



WordPress database error: [Table './dailyspeculations_com_@002d_dailywordpress/wp_comments' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_post_ID = '7803' AND comment_approved = '1' ORDER BY comment_date




Speak your mind


Resources & Links