Tag Archives: Morse Code Advice

New to Morse Code? Embrace Your “Fist”! A message to budding CW operators

Are you a new CW operator, fresh on the airwaves?

Do you find yourself worrying about what your Morse code “fist” sounds like to others, or about making mistakes on the air?

If that’s you, then this message is for you:

Public Service Announcement: Stop worrying about how you sound on the air!

Several times a month, I hear from new CW operators who I’ve logged during POTA and SOTA activations .

This is no surprise! As I’ve said before, I wholeheartedly encourage new CW operators to get started by hunting stations in these on-the-air activities. After all, CW exchanges in POTA and SOTA are predictable and straightforward, giving you a great opportunity to practice your sending and receiving skills.

More often than not, new CW operators who’ve reached out will apologize for their “fist” or code sending skills. I get it…still…and I mean this is the most positive light possible… 

No Apologies Necessary

Give yourself a break! If your sending isn’t perfectly smooth or machine-like, that’s absolutely fine.

If you stumble and make mistakes, that’s absolutely fine too.

In fact, it’s a beautiful reminder that there’s a real human being on the other end of the signal, someone at their own place in their CW journey.

Yes, we should all strive for a good, readable fist, but especially in the beginning, no one expects you to sound like a seasoned operator.

And remember: every single Morse code operator on the planet has been a beginner at some point. We’ve all felt nervous, made mistakes on the air, and even flubbed our own callsigns. I’m certainly guilty of all three, and, to be completely honest, far, far more than once!

Embrace the Learning Curve

So, who cares if you stumble a bit? I can confidently tell you that most of us on the other end of the contact are cheering you on! We’ve been in your shoes, and we know the thrill of mastering this challenging but rewarding mode of communication.

Instead of apologizing, you deserve congratulations for diving into one of the oldest and most skill-demanding wireless communication modes out there!

Mistakes Are Badges of Honor

Photo from my first POTA CW activation int he summer of 2020.

Be proud of those mistakes! They’re not setbacks, but rather milestones on your CW journey. Embrace them, learn from them, and keep sending.

Your ham radio community is here to support you every step of the way!

73/72, and I look forward to putting you in the logs!

dit dit

Thomas (K4SWL)