First Received Code! (W1AW)

Today, for the very first time, I copied CW that was on the air! Though my morse is still very poor and slow, here’s what I pulled out:

CH?S_  … W1A?… ..HQ STATIONS INQR____SES EXCITEMENT… AND ADDING TO THE INTRIGUE IS THE … _OR. END OF 5 WPM TEXT. QST 1_ DEC…. AG….

What luck! I’d caught the end of a W1AW code bulletin! Pretty neat for the first code I’ve picked out on the air. Here’s how it happened:

I was noodling noodling around putting my Direct Conversion Receiver into a new enclosure (more on that later). The receiver is rock-bound to whatever crystal is sitting in a bit of female header next to the NE602 Mixer. I tend to leave the 7.030 Mhz crystal in there when I’m experimenting – it seems like big-signal stations seem to congregate down in the Extra portion of the CW band, and that extra oomph is helpful when I’m testing a new receiver with an improvised antenna.

After doing a preliminary fitting of the receiver in its enclosure, and a quick repair (yes, it helps to restore all the connections), was I ever surprised when I applied power and my earbuds leapt to life with clear, slow code! Most QRS (slow code) stations seem to be up in the 7.050 to 7.055 portion of the band. What the heck was this very slow, loud station doing so low in the band?

I grabbed a nearby post-it note and started copying, and pulled out the code above. I know I butchered a bunch of it, even at 5WPM, but it was very exciting to (a) hear un-anticipated CW come over the airwaves and (b) to be able to actually copy some of it!

For my own reference (and others’), here are the W1AW Slow-Code transmission times, both in UTC and CST:

Day CST UTC
Monday 4pm 000z
Tuesday 2pm, 8pm 2100z, 300z
Wednesday 4pm 000z
Thursday 2pm, 8pm 2100z, 300z
Friday 4pm 000z

Hear you on the air! But only if you transmit very, very slowly.

73

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