Deeper Into A New Hobby

Deeper Into A New Hobby

We decided to get into CW QRP (POTA/SOTA) in order to extend out our love of hiking. This basically is about using Morse Code with ultralight, portable ham radio equipment to make contact with other amateur radio operators while we are out hiking parks or enjoying mountainous areas, especially the Sky Islands of Arizona.

We passed our amateur radio technician exams and will take our general exams when we return to southern Arizona this winter. Between now and then we will be serving as volunteers in an astronomy program at Theodore Roosevelt National Park were we will also continue to practice Morse Code twice a day.

We have been using Learn CW Online with the plan to add one character (letter, number, or punctuation) a week at a character speed of twenty words per minute. We like starting the week at an effective speed of eight and then bring that speed up to fifteen by the end of the week. We use pencil and paper to write down what we hear. If we are hiking or riding we will listen to some recordings at 20 character / 18 effective words per minute without the use of a pencil and paper.

We are in no rush.  We are certainly enjoying this journey of learning. To that end, each of us picked up an Elecraft KX2 ultraportable transceiver with both a Begali Magentic Traveler Light and Begali Adventure Dual iambic paddles for our Parks On The Air (POTA) and Summits On The Air (SOTA) adventures. Also, just for the fun of it, we got vanity calls (KX2CWB & KX2CWJ).

The other day we listened to two wonderful DitDit podcasts about the Long Island CW Club. Those two podcasts really hit home. We are both already motivated in taking an entire year to learn Morse Code. However, listening to those podcasts solidified our desire to be part of a community that is working towards the same goal and enjoying this experience together.

We consider listening to those two podcasts as having nearly the same affect for us as reading: ‘Zen & The Art of Radiotelegraphy’. This book allowed both of us to find crossroads of enjoyment with science/technology and art/music within this new hobby.

Yesterday, we used Crossover to download G4FON onto our MacBook Pros and we sent our emails of intent to purchase two memberships in the club. We look forward to being a part of this particular group and plan on enjoying the camaraderie of learning Morse Code.

Finally, we have found a pretty amazing group of folks in Arizona participating in SOTA, so we look forward to immersing ourselves in yet another Arizona club beyond astronomy and RVing.

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