After ARRL slow code practice tonight (didn’t do bad, but didn’t do great either…) I decided to tune around on 40 meters in search of some slow code that wasn’t computer generated… in other words, I wanted to hear some real operators, talking about regular old stuff, instead of mindlessly copying the ARRL’s QST text.
I ran across a wavering signal around 7.0553. It was slow enough (5 WPM if not slower) for me to copy characters, and it sounded like a straight key. Once he finished his QSO, he started calling CQ. I grabbed my pen and managed to copy a callsign, K5BIZ.
I plugged it into QRZ.com and came up with K5BIZ’s page, a very interesting assortment of radios, and his current setup running on an old iMac (very cool!). Straight keys were prominently featured in every photo.
I listened to his QSOs and I’m reasonably certain I have his call correct. I consider this a mild breakthrough moment. It’s the first instance I can recall where I’ve been able to pick out a callsign from a CQ call.
This is the part of the story where I’m supposed to say I grabbed the paddles and fired off my callsign, thus establishing my very first CW QSO.
But I didn’t.