Circa 2005
Read something interesting in the January 1941 of QST this week. In 1941 the League was hot on running “Code Proficiency Tests” and awarding certificates for participants, in fact nearly every issue of QST in 1941 had some article relating to CW operations, improving one’s CW speed, or proficiency. After the first tests the staff compiled the scores, notating the copy speed of each submission. Take a look at how they compare the amateur service in 2005.

In 1941:
22.80 % have qualified at 35 wpm
16.65 % “ ” “ 30 wpm
32.05 % “ “ “ 25 wpm
18.5% “ “ “ 20 wpm
10.0% “ “ “ 15 wpm

Thus 90% of entrants have done 20 wpm or better while 71.5% copied 25 wpm or more. No judgment, just something to think about the next time 5 wpm seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Or perhaps a good New Year’s resolution in 2006?

With the cold WX the amateur’s attention turns to things inside the shack. I’d like to mention a few nets and upcoming events which may be interest.

First, the wonderful “Gary Hair Net”. The Gary Hair Net, fear not, one does not need gray hair to belong, is one of the oldest running HF nets, started back in 1953 to promote AM activity on 160 meters. The Gray Hair Net meets every Tuesday night at 2000 HOURS( EST) or 2030 HOURS ( EDST), on 1945 KC +/- 5 KC. To become a member, you must operate in the AM mode and check in 3 times, three weeks in a row or 5 times in a period of 12 weeks. Exceptions being when a national holiday, Christmas Eve or New Years Eve fall on a net night Members receive a handsome certificate. They also receive birthday cards, anniversary cards (OM and XYL) and get well cards. No dues are required, but an occasional donation would be appreciated. Membership is lifetime-but to be on the active list and to receive cards, your participation is requested. See for more information.

Next, the AWA or Antique Wireless Association Nets. Perhaps I should mention the AWA group for they have a number of items which may be of interest the radio amateur. The AWA publishes a bimonthly journal, always a good read on those cold winter nights. The group also hosts an annual Conference in Rochester, NY each fall, the theme of which relates to some subject of radio. The AWA has many nets, the two of most interest are the “Sunday AM PM Net” on 3837 KC at 1630 EST and the “AWA Bruce Kelly HF Net” which meets Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 0930 EST on 3867 KC. See for more info.

I’ll close with one of the more interesting and reward, but simple things which has made my radio operating more enjoyable, keeping a written log. When I first entered the hobby I was most diligent about logging every station which I worked. Then, as time when on and life got busy the log fell by the wayside. I still made plenty of contacts, but rarely logged any more. Last fall, I became inspired to once again start up the log and have not looked back since. I use my log like a journal, and although I enter contacts names and frequencies used, I find more much to note. I like to note the other station(s) equipment line up – always good topic for conversation, occupation, WX at his location and other pertinent information.

Far from keeping inside the logging lines, I’ll now use two or three lines to make such notes; after all there is plenty of room in the log. I’ll also note what gear I am running, my WX, and perhaps something new about the station, “Installed new Collins transmitter today.” or “Fixed antenna, sigs now great.” I derive great enjoyment looking back at previous log notes, and it’s super handy when you meet up with that station again.

A good friend of mine, Herb K2VH, has taken this a step further and actually maintains a “card file” of 3 x 5 “ index cards for exactly the same purpose. During the QSO Herb will note much more than just your name and location. He’ll jot down your gear, job, YL’s name, family info, hobbies, etc. And he updates your cards when you change gear, locations etc. It’s really a special way to create excellent rapport with your fellow amateurs.

That’s it for this month; the hamfest season is right around the corner, so see you at Crystal Falls and Lewiston hamfest soon.

73 Bruce W1UJR