As a new CW operator and very much still in the learning process, I had an amazing time with the ARRL CW DX Contest this year.  I ended up with 63 total contacts across 32 different countries (counting USA and Hawaii).

Probably like many that are new to CW / Morse Code I can certainly send faster than I can really copy, but I find contesting is great real world practice for me given that you only need to be able to copy their call sign, RST, and exchange.  If you listen long enough before calling (like you’re supposed to anyway) you can hear them working other stations.  So take your time to copy their call sign and exchange information ahead of time before you call.  This takes some of the stress off of you knowing what you need to send and copy before you are even called.

It really is quite amazing how fast some can send and even more amazing how fast they can copy, but I have now dedicated myself to learning

my kent cw paddle

and being proficient at this historic and challenging mode.  The CW contest gives me the ability to actively participate and work real stations while putting my skills to the test and perhaps most importantly to those still learning it gives me a bit of confidence and more willpower to continue getting better.

By dusman

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