Morse Code

Morse code

Prior to 2007, morse code proficiency was required to operate on the HF bands. Morse code, also known as CW for “Continuous Wave”, was also used commercially up until 1998 when the last commercial CW broadcasting station (KPH), not far from San Francisco, was shut down. Each year on the “Night of Nights”  in early July, KPH comes alive again and transmits morse code.

In 2007, the FCC decided that CW proficiency was no longer required for amateur radio licensing. Some people feel this “ruined the hobby” while others think it “saved the hobby”. I don’t really have an opinion either way. 

However, CW can get through when almost any other mode can’t. When band conditions are tough, morse code tends to get through better. Since my home location (QTH) is a 25x75 foot lot in San Francisco, I’m limited by what kind of antenna I can put up, so I’m pretty much a 40-10 meter operator with significant antenna restrictions. It only makes sense then that I’m a fan of morse code. The other significant attraction of CW is it’s historical nature.

I’m a member of the Straight Key Century Club, member number 15858. I’m a member of FISTS CW Club as well, member number 17934. I’m also a morse code key collector and have dozens of keys including vibroplex bugs, straight keys, single paddles, and double paddles.

If you are new to morse code, there are a number of good trainer apps on the iOS and Android mobile devices. Morse Toad is an excellent trainer that I personally recommend.

© Alan W Dye 2021