We’re at the two-thirds/homestretch-ish point in the class. The speed creeps up 1 wpm for each the next few sessions, eventually hitting 13. Remember the overall goals are: having fun, making friends, and picking up a new skill for a lifetime. Absent from these goals is “beating yourself up because you didn’t hit flawless 13wpm on the nanosecond the 13wpm session started.”
Learning CW takes time. The CW Academy classes have a very ambitious pace for learning a new skill. It’s rare that everyone lands on the same point. So, relax, relish how far you’ve come(*), and, please, proceed at your own pace. (*If you’d like some perspective, retry the self-assessment tool – scroll down about halfway: and see how far you’ve progressed.)
For Session 11: When I was working on SST, I noticed a lot of the operators were trying to be nice by adding pleasantries and other CW Abbreviations, that could contribute additional anxiety if you were expecting something more akin to the exchange on the web site. We earlier explored CW Abbreviations and Q-codes – three letter abbreviations beginning with Q. Some of them are very useful shortcuts (e.g., TU for “thank you”), others seem odd (because I’ve only been a ham for 5 years) but common enough (e.g., QSL for “I am acknowledging receipt”), and then there are others. Pick three, preparing to send the code, a concise definition, and whether you think it’s useful in the 2020s. (It is possible someone may choose the same one as you; don’t say anything and send your own definition.) For example: QOG means How many tapes have you to send? I do not think this one is useful.
Bonus homework: This weekend are both SST and the Hamcation (Orlando) QSO party. The exchange for Hamcation is your name, state and local expected high temperature. For example, JIM WA 30. If you’re snowed in, see if you can work the event stations running a gigawatt of power. (e.g., K4T Bob FL 82). There is also a CW RTTY contest going on. Have fun!
For Session 12:
Sending in-class: Compose three sentences about your preparation for a session on the air. These could be anything from printing a crisp stack of ICS 213 forms, the beverage you fetched from your gun room, selecting which hex-beam you want to use, checking the reverse beacon to see who’s active on CW, etc. Since we’re doing a round-robin exercise, each sentence should be self-contained and concise. (We’ll probably get two of them done, the third would be a reserved if we have extra time.)
Bonus homework: Go to Wikipedia here and send (to yourself or, optionally, a classmate) at your smoothest rate, one bullet from each of the “On this day” and “Did you know” blocks. For example:
If you mess up a word, send eight dots, pause a letter, then resend that word. (In other words, assume you’re on the air, sans Zoom) But also use your judgement. If you intended to send a long word like “California” but instead sent “Californsa” – just continue, as there is enough context that the other person would be reasonably expected to “get it.”
For Session 13:
Sending in-class: Compose two “Dad Jokes” to send. For example: “Two guys were caught with a stolen calendar. They got six months each.”
Bonus homework: Make two QSOs – some options include your classmates, a student in another class (this group: https://groups.io/g/sked/topics is getting more traffic), SOTA activations or the ARRL Inter DX contest. In a pinch, you can use Zoom.
73, Jim WT8P