It's lunchtime Monday and finally I've got a chance to come up for air! Yesterday myself and Brian EI7GVB sat the Morse test at the Phoenix Radio Club rally in Coolmine in Blanchardstown. I suppose it would be a lie to say we weren't both a bit nervous, but the examiner, Dan Lloyd EI3AE, put us at ease by making a bit of banter before the test began.
Thankfully we both passed, and were relieved and delighted. Having passed the morse test, we are now entitled to apply for an 'A Licence' or a CEPT1 class licence, which means we will have a shorter callsign, with a two-letter suffix instead of the current three letters. So we will both be upgrading over the next couple of weeks all going well.
Coolmine was my first rally and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see all the equipment for sale - everything from state-of-the-art HF transceivers to mobile antennas to amplifiers to speakers and microphones to coax and plugs!!
I'd like to express my gratitude to Pat EI2HX for helping me with the morse and for lending me his J-38 morse key which has enabled me not just to practice sending morse, but to make some excellent contacts as well. Thanks Pat. Thanks also to Thos EI2JD who, as I might have mentioned before, is a constant source of advocacy and help.
Sadly, not many amateurs bother with CW any more, with very few doing the test. This is regrettable, especially because it opens up a whole new world in the hobby. No matter what people tell you as an amateur radio operator, CW may be a bit dated as a mode of communication but it is a FANTASTIC way to make contacts on HF.
I have already made DX contacts on CW that I haven't been able to make on SSB, including working Hawaii on 20m on Saturday evening last. So if you're thinking about morse, think no more. Download Just Learn Morse Code and also login at LCWO and start practicing receiving morse and when you get to the stage when you learn all the letters and numbers and some of the abbreviations, grab a morse key and start sending!!
The photo shows myself, Anthony EI8GHB (left) and Brian EI7GVB (right) at the Phoenix Club rally just after passing the morse test. Photo by EI2JD.