Watch out for the fire storm in Ham radio to start

Categories: Ham Radio
Comments: 7 Comments
Published on: February 20, 2006

QRZ is running store on how the FCC is highly likely to drop the CW tests for entry into the HF bands of Armature Radio
I will say watch out for the Holy Wars on CW to start, I am thinking I might not want to go on the air for a while; it is bound to get very heated. For those of you that are not ham radio people but are Linux people here is something that will let you know how heated it can be, just think about how heated the Emacs vs. VI holy wars.
If you head over to QRZ to look at the story, look at the comments, they seem to be tame this time around, but I am sure if the FCC drops CW there is going to be a bit of a backlash against no-coders. Oh well, time moves on things change, and anger will eventually get soothed over.

  1. Sean says:

    Now can it really be as bad as all that? As bad as the emacs vs. vi holy wars? I mean, that’s extreme. After all, vi is the spawn of Satan and emacs is the One True Faith! 😉

    Not being a ham, there’s probably a lot I don’t know or understand about the issue. But complete and utter ignorance has never stopped me from commenting on topics before, so here goes…

    It seems like, in this day and age, “normal” or “non-emergency” people should be able to get by without CW. But maybe… maybe… a higher level of tests and certification should be there for emergency personnel, etc that does have that requirement. But as I said, I’m completely ignorant in this area. To me, “code” is something in perl, C/C++/C#, java, ruby, lua, etc. 🙂

  2. Rob says:


    It won’t be as bad as emacs vs. vi. It will be far worse.

    If you are to become a guard in a Turkish prison, you have to be tortured. That way, when it comes time to torture the prisoners, you think “That’s ok to do because I was tortured.” When they tried to stop that nonsense, the old-time guards objected. “I had to be tortured to become a guard, so these new guys should be tortured, too!”

    Same song, different verse with being proficient in Morse code.

    In theory, in an utter disaster, CW (code) is useful because it requires the least equipment and the least power. Had the Professor wanted to get everyone off the island, a simple transmitter and antenna would have been constructed and an emergency message sent in CW. Obviously, the Professor did not know CW, and that’s why we all know about Gilligan and the Skipper and the rest of that ragtag bunch.

    In reality, I can’t name the last time someone actually used CW in an emergency. Voice and digital modes are far superior.

    If we ever wind up in a situation where CW is needed at a natural (or unnatural) disaster, you can pretty much write off civilization as a whole, and whoever is receiving your CW can’t do squat to help you anyway. Well, they can give you companionship while you die, but that’s about it.

    For what it’s worth, I could do CW at about 15 WPM. If I’m receiving CW, I connect the radio up to the computer and use the CW like any other digital mode.

  3. Well I agree with you on Emacs, but in reality, the fight is more bitter on the CW or no-CW then the Emacs vs. VI.

    As to the need for CW? (Mind you I don’t know CW take that grain of salt with it) CW will get though when nothing else can get though, But for local work UHF and VHF voice will work in most (if not all) emergency and non-emergency times, but for the HF band, the only thing that I will say will get though no matter what is CW, voice can not be depended on in all conditions. And one of the reasons for Ham radio is to help the Feds out in emergency situations. I don?t care one way or the other on the keeping or dropping it, but I will say that we do need a pool of people that know it, and I don?t think dropping the requirement will make that pool disappear, the ARRL has certs that people can get on CW performance (I think they have a 15wpm and 20wpm certs) and there are those out there that want to collect as many certs from the ARRL as they can and to get these certs you need to be able to do CW, so I don?t think we will lose CW operators.

    But for me, I don?t see me using it, I don?t really have the bug to get on HF, I rather do repeater work with local people, that is the great thing about Ham Radio there is something for every one, Sean let me try to convince you to get on Armature radio, you might be like me and just want to do repeater work, or you might find you like CW, or you might want to play with PSK32 (computer communication over Armature radio) or you might find you like to do DX work (long distance, low power communications) you might find you like contesting (I find contesting boring, but I think Rob over at unspace likes contesting) etc, etc, etc, etc if you can think about it you can probably do it on ham radio.

  4. I should say the test for Tech class is not that hard, and getting a licence can be fun, you can find all the info you need online try and for the info you need

  5. What kind of software do you use to recive CW? And is that lagit? do you still send by hand, or do you send via the computer?

  6. Rob says:

    It’s an old DOS program from about 6 years ago. I’ll have to boot up the DOS machine it’s on to find the name.

    I learned CW sufficient to get my General license. Beyond that, no one cares how I do CW. I could, in theory, hire another person to translate CW for me!

    By hearing CW and getting an instant interpretation, I’m learning CW the same way I learned CW to begin with.

  7. Ok cool thanks for all the info, I was just courious about it (I guess it is a good thing I am not a cat 😉 )

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