In memory of I5NZR, Silent Key.














IK5YOJ/OK8GG


Giuseppe (Joe)

Settembre, 15th 2021


How to properly conduct a QSO in cw

How to call and how to answer


When I learnt CW it was hard but funny because I believed to have a new language into my brain. And surely it was but I felt like a baby boy just born without knowing how to speak out my voice to let me understand and listen to others OMs.

My teacher was a great friend who unfortunately he isn’t with us anymore: I5NZR

Renzo. After having passed the CW examination I felt like deaf and dumb person who knows the new dictionary but who doesn’t know how to speak. Renzo, upon my request, gave me these following tips in order to let me manage a basic CW qso without feeling shame in front of the other operator.

To thank him of what he did with me, I want to remember him and give him what he deserves publishing a clear and complete structure of a classic CW qso between two amateurs stations.

This article is a vademecum dedicated to all novices who have great willingness to jump into the wonderful world of cw’s comunication winning their fears and their shyness.

I will start first simulating you are the


calling station and then as an answering station to someone else calling.

When you are the calling station first find a free frequency and make sure that that frequency is free. Sometimes we aren’t able to hear one of the two stations which are contacting each others. To check if the frequency is really free you will start to send this message on air:


QRL? QRL? QRL? at 5 sec interval (QRL? means is the frequency free?)


If nobody answers C, YES, PSE QSY or UP, it means that the frequency is free and you can start calling. (If you are a novice try to find a free frequency in the upper part of the CW range which is dedicated to novices as you).

CQ CQ CQ DE OK8GG OK8GG OK8GG AR

(The signs in bold are the so-called Prosigns (Procedure Signs), and constitute the control signals of the QSO; they must be carried out as if they were a single letter, for example: KN _._ _.)

This is the correct and formal way of calling but you might hear also the


wrong one

ending with PSE K instead of AR. In fact K is used only when the QSO has started, there is still no correspondent during a CQ , moreover the PSE is redundant.

If someone answers to you call, he will do it like that:




OK8GG DE G0BUS G0BUS AR

At this point, once the two correspondents have listened to each other, the first station recalls:


G0BUS DE OK8GG GM DR OM ES TNX FER CALL BT

(-…- carried out as a

single letter) (GM good morning, GA good afternoon, GE good evening, GN good night dear radio amateur and I thank you for answering to my call)


UR RST RST IS 599 599 5NN BT

(I am receiving you with a RST 599)



MY NAME NAME IS JOE JOE JOE BT

MY QTH IS PRAHA PRAHA PRAHA BT HW ? AR G0BUS DE OK8GG KN

Note that the CW is very chivalrous and the following rules are always observed:

1. you always go at a speed that does not make mistakes.

2. greetings, thanks and questions are always answered.

3. the speed is always lowered to the slower of the two correspondents, even if 10 characters per minute.

It is good practice to repeat the name and qth three times, while IS and ES can also be removed.

The correspondent then, who has been asked for HW, must in turn provide the RST after the appropriate pleasantries:


OK8GG DE G0BUS BT


GM DR OM JOE TNX FER RPRT BT

UR RST RST IS 599 599 5NN BT

MY NAME IS ALSO JOE JOE JOE BT


MY QTH IS BEDFORD BEDFORD BEDFORD BT


MY RIG IS KX2 KX2 KX2 PWR 5W 5W 5W ES ANT EFHW BT ( EndFedHalfWave)


HR WX IS RAINY ES TEMP 10 C BT

HW ? AR OK8GG DE G0BUS KN


at this point, assuming that the correspondent has not understood something, to ask a question (always PSE) he can abbreviate using the prosign BK, usually used to interrupt his own or others' QSO.


BK DE OK8GG PSE UR PWR IS 5W ? BK

BK DE G0BUS R MY PWR IS 5W BK


if the answer is not understood, you can ask for the repetition of the last message:

BK DE OK8GG ?? SRI QRM PSE AGN BK


(sorry QRM please again) on request for repetition, it is imperative to repeat the main information two or three times more slowly:


BK DE G0BUS R MY PWR IS 5W PWR IS 5W PWR IS 5W BK


after the answer, you confirm that you have understood and continue the QSO:

BK DE OK8GG R R TNX FER INFO VY FB UR PWR ES 5W QRP BK MY RIG ALSO KX2 KX2 KX2 PWR 5W ES ANT WIRE EFHW EFHW BK HR WX IS SUNNY TEMP 15C G0BUS DE OK8GG KN


note that first it is appropriate to thank for the info, which is then returned.

At this point the QSO can close or go on indefinitely, even if most of them close here with the usual greetings and pleasantries:


OK8GG DE G0BUS DR OM JOE TNX FER INFO ES FER NICE QRP QSO MY QSL VIA BURO BK HPE CUAGN 73 GL AR G0BUS DE OK8GG 73 SK TU


usually after the TU you end up with "two bits" that is two final points (dit - dit), then the correspondent reciprocates the greetings.


BK DE OK8GG TNX FER VY FB QRP QSO DR OM JOE MY 73 GL ES GD DX G0BUS DE OK8GG 73 SK TU E E


A note of color and affection towards Italian radio amateurs: many radio amateurs from all over the world greet with a beautiful and absolutely out of procedure CIAO. Absolutely to be reciprocated at the end of the passage.

ANSWER TO A CALL

YOU SHOULD MAINTAIN THE SPEED OF THE CALLER SO IF THE CALL IS TOO FAST, LOOK FOR A LOWER ONE, OTHERWISE YOU MIGHT TRY AS WELL KNOWING THAT MANY CW OPERATORS ADJUST THE SPEED TO THE SLOWEST OPERATO

IF ONE MAKES CALL, MAKE SURE THAT IF EUROPEAN, DO NOT CALL DX WHICH SPECIFICALLY MEANS OUTSIDE HIS CONTINENT, HE COULD ALSO CALL A SPECIFIC ZONE TYPE CQ ASIA CQ ASIA OR SATURDAY AND SUNDAY CQ TEST ... DO NOT ANSWER.

If the operator is making a “general” call then you will answer like that: IW5EIA DE OK8GG OK8GG AR

(in this case AR means: I am waiting to establish contact, once the correspondent says your name, the QSO will start).

Then the QSO will continue as described above.

I hope this will help you to love more and more CW as I do.

73 DE OK8GG SK TU E E

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