An anatomy of a CW QSO

If you would like to make a QSO on CW, it is not all that different to completing a QSO on SSB. Here are some ideas as to how to proceed.

First, try 7120 or around in there. You may find some experienced hams on 7114 that will be ready for a QSO. One other thing: we almost never use periods or commas, but instead, we use what is called a double-dash ( _..._ ). In the following, when you see "--" that's a double-dash.

Calling CQ

Before doing anything, check by listening and see if your chosen frequency is clear. Then you can say, "QRL?" which means, is this frequency in use. If you don't get a response, then proceed with your CQ.

CQ CQ CQ de W4GAL W4GAL CQ CQ CQ de W4GAL W4GAL W4GAL K
That's enough... no longer than that. If you don't get a response in 10 seconds, do it again.

When you are called by AF4Z after your CQ:

W4GAL DE AF4Z AF4Z K
If you didn't get the call of the station calling, say QRZ DE W4GAL K

Back to Don

AF4Z DE W4GAL RR TU -- UR RST 579 579 -- QTH MELBOURNE FL MELBOURNE FL -- NAME GARY GARY -- HW? AF4Z DE W4GAL K
That's enough.

Don comes back:

W4GAL DE AF4Z -- RR GARY -- UR RST 589 589 -- QTH MELBOURNE FL MELBOURNE FL -- NAME IS DON DON -- HW? W4GAL DE AF4Z
That's it. New people tend to rattle on a bit, but you don't need to until you come back the next time.

AF4Z DE W4GAL -- RR DON SOLID COPY -- I AM NEW TO CW -- TNX FER UR UNDERSTANDING -- then you can say whatever comes to mind... You might find that the other person will say AGE IS 42 -- BEEN A HAM FER 26 YEARS -- etc... as well as comments about the weather.

After your initial start, you can be honest and say whatever you like.. I AM NEW AND I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY -- TNX FOR QSO -- 73 ES CU AGN -- AF4Z DE W4GAL SK (that's S and K run together). Also note that there is no apostrophe in "don't" because it's not needed.

All of the rest of the QSO is "winging it" as you see fit. ES by the way is the shortened version of "and."

You will catch on quickly, and you will find that your speed will increase nicely when you are "forced" to copy as best you can. You can also ask the other operator to slow down. PSE QRS.

Above all, know that it's unnerving in the beginning, but very quickly, you will feel better about it and then have fun.

---------------------------------

If you thought I was abbreviating things with the above material, it could be even shorter. I have talked with hams who said something like this:
W4GAL R3ABC R 569 MOSCOW MOSCOW VLAD VLAD W4GAL R3ABC K
He knew that I knew what was coming and the other words were not necessary. You'll notice that even the DE words are missing. One other thing, some hams in other countries don't speak English. They know enough English to complete a QSO like the examples above, and they will say 73 at the end of the second transmission. If you say anything or ask a question, they may not respond to it because they don't understand. Be pleased that you got that much since you probably don't understand Russian or Arabic either.

73,

Gary




W4GAL / VK6GAL