An interesting post was made to QRP-L today by Jim NX8Z. I agree wholeheartedly with what he says as I’ve noticed the same trend over the decades – not just on the QRP freqs, but throughout the CW sub-bands.
I’ll post my own thoughts as a comment so consider this a guest post for the purpose of propagating Jim’s thoughts to others who don’t read QRP-L. Tnx Jim.
I wish to make a proposal regarding CW ops that has probably already been
made, and I just haven’t stumbled across it yet. If so, my apologies.
I am a retired ham and can operate on the HF bands during weekdays when
others may be at their day jobs. I am also an incurable CW (and QRP)
buff. My observation is that many times the CW segments are empty and
quiet during the daytime. You are probably thinking that I have lousy
radios and antennas or that I am stuck down in one of those West Virginia
“hollers” and can’t get out. I do get out from time to time. I send good
RST’s and get good RST’s. It just seems like most times, however, no one
I tend to lurk around 7.040, 10.117, 14.040, 21.050, etc., and for much of
the time I cannot hear anything. I can set one of the rigs for an 8 kHz
bandwidth and can’t hear a hint of human life. I posted to the QRP skeds
page before it crashed and never got a single taker.
I am second-life ham. In my first ham life, the HF CW segments were
packed. You could not stick your toe in the water. You always could get a
CQ answered; you could always answer someone. Often there was so much
crowding that you had to listen carefully for the particular tone of your
QSO. I would sometimes get up in the middle of the night just to escape
the crowd. Of course, I had my day job back then, but on days off it was
the same story – no lack of contacts. The CW segments sounded like
seagulls following the garbage barge!
The proposal, humbly offered, is to see if one of the organizations (or
this list) could have some kind of initiative to encourage retired types
and others whose employment allows same to monitor certain band segments at
certain times on weekdays. I know you run into propagation issues, but if
you said something like 7.040-7.045 from 1400Z to 1800Z on Tuesdays, there
could be some people in range that you could QSO with. Wednesday could be
10.120-10.125 day, etc.
Now I know what you are thinking. The contests and sprints draw out a lot
of people. You can hear frantic activity while these are going on. I’m
talking, however, about the ordinary humdrum day-to-day HF life on weekdays.
It is becoming a little discouraging. I have pounded out hundreds (maybe
thousands) of CQs on HF weekdays and gotten nothing (and I believe I am
pounding on bands and at times that should propagate).
With the removal of the code requirement there may be a slow, irreversible
migration away from CW and toward data modes and SSB (and that’s fine), but
surely there are a few CW types still hanging on during the daytime who
would like a quick QSO or a ragchew.
If there is already such a collaboration, someone kindly point me toward
it, and accept my apologies for the bandwidth. If not, could we talk about
it? I would be delighted to work on it and invest some sweat equity in
it. I am a member of most of the mainline organizations: QRP ARCI, SKCC,
NAQCC, and GORC. Thanks all and 73/72!