Conditions have been great on 10 meters lately. So good that last week I did something I haven’t done in a very long time – I spun the VFO dial up to the phone portion of the band so I could hear QSO’s in progress.
Spoken QSO’s, not that dot & dash Morse Code stuff that I love so much.
28.400 to 28.600 was buzzing with activity. Germans and Belgians were working American stations, Americans were working Dutch and French stations.
Bostonians, Canadians, Scandinavians, Texans, Slavs, New Yorkers, Dubliners…they were all in there, mixing it up in dozens of accents. What a hobby!
And it was all in English.
It didn’t take long to realize what I miss by being a CW op. By choosing that mode’s efficiency, I’ve traded away an insight into my QSO partner’s English fluency and, in so doing, have undoubtedly missed what could have been lengthy and fulfilling QSO’s.
On CW I have no quick & easy way of knowing if the OM on the other end will know what I mean if I tell him what I do for a living – or even if he cares to move the QSO beyond the basics.
No such problem on phone - I could instantly gauge a person’s ability to converse in what to him was a 2nd language. Almost everyone I listened to from a non-English-speaking country spoke English incredibly well.
This shouldn’t surprise me - and it didn’t. Instead, it reminded me the truism contained within an old joke:
“A person who speaks 3 languages is called tri-lingual. A person who speaks two languages is bi-lingual – and a person who speaks only one language is American.”
My only choice – and thus my MO – on CW is to let the DX station take the lead and initiate any path into a conversational QSO.
Maybe I’ll invest in a microphone for this rig….someday.