I am delighted to be part of CWops. Thanks to CWA and the wonderful group of advisors who are helping many of us like me to enjoy the art of CW.
Thanks to Roberto IK1HGE, Keith G0HKC, Chris G0JPS & Tony VE2KM for their guidance, patience and advice. What started off as a lock-down activity, has now helped me better my CW skills.
I got interested in electronics when in school in the early 1990s, soon this interest turned into something special and I got hooked onto Amateur Radio. A Morse test was mandatory to get a licence in India and I started learning CW (yes, counting dits and dahs). It was enough for the need at that point.
First licensed in 1996 as VU3HPF, I was mostly active on 40 meters with my homemade QRP, CMOS Keyer and a paddle made of old relay contacts. I had to make a 100 CW QSOs before getting phone privileges, so most of the activities were on CW and I was enjoying the CW contacts, even though it was slow and were only exchanging a report, name, QTH and occasional WX.
I moved to the UK in 2006, cleared my foundation license in 2007 and Advance licence in 2010. Being in Europe, I realised there was much more activity on CW than in VU. While I continued to work on CW QSOs and on contests, I was not comfortable with long conversational QSOs.
To improve my CW skills, I started trying out various learning software. Although it helped in increasing my speed, it was mostly typing as I hear. My real experience of a CW pile-up was when I operated A25GR in 2015, it was fun but difficult. After that in 2017, I was part of the VU7T DX-pedition. It gave me a completely different experience with handling pileups and working long hours. I enjoyed every bit of it.
After all these years, I decided to finally push myself to improve head coping skills. It was early 2020, when a friend of mine and fellow ham Ram (VU3RDD) who had signed up to CWA recommended it to me and the journey started.
I started in April 2020 just when the lockdown started, I am glad I did. Lots of exercises, someone to keep pushing me every week and a great group of students. It was during the Intermediate course that I really started a lot more head copy and enjoying longer QSOs. Hours of learning “Words”, “Numbers” & “Sentences” are now paying off.
Without the continued support and encouragement from Adam SQ5VCO, Ben PA2ST, Toby DL5TM and the occasional “GL” during CWT (when I sent CWA), this would not have been possible.
While I can now enjoy CW chats more than before, my quest to improve CW skills is ongoing (and I hope to get to QRQ speeds some day).
I wish all the best to everyone and Hope to work you on air.