The only thing to fear is... well... FEAR
I have been tossing my CW signals onto the airwaves for a bit over a month now after re-learning the code and getting a QRP radio. My first on-air CW QSO was 2015-07-29 with my elmer Paul Stroud AA4XX.
I thought it was time to record some actual QSOs as I'm learning to use my Kent Hand Key. So I threw out my call this morning on 7.055MHz and this is what happened...
This QSO was a-typical in that the calling station cut me off mid-sentance because he wanted to work another station that had just jumped in on our frequency. I thought he was warning the other one off but instead he sent me QRX in the middle of my transmission telling me he'd talk to me later. I haven't had a station do that before. Normally operators are quite polite but this fellow has been a Ham longer than I've been alive so what do I know...
Listen to a recording of your live transmissions
It's humbling to listen to a recording of oneself sending CW and try to figure out what you saidTo be fair, listening to my FIST on this video is a bit worse than it should be because the clicking of the key is so prominent in the audio. The camera was just a couple inches away from the key and the clicking overwhelms the side-tone from the speaker that is farther away. But I believe recording your actual QSOs is a good habit so that you can review your FIST objectively. Everything sounds good in your head when your sending but the recording is honest.
Full Disclosure: Those of you who can copy CW will hear me report my power as 12W. I admit that is NOT QRP power. It's certainly nothing compared to the 300w the calling station was using but it's not QRP 5w or less.
I wanted the video to have a good strong station coming back to me to make it easier to hear their audio. Often when I run QRP power I only get low power stations to return to me and you would have been hearing a bunch of noise. Some operators don't want to dig the QRP signal out, so I'll sometimes run more than 5w when I talk in this SKCC region to make it easier on the station copying. 12 watts is the maximum power this radio can generate without an external amp.So Lower your Power and Raise your Expectations (unless you're recording a video)