That Important Key


The Most Important Key




Today, many HAM Radio operators are missing
one of the most important aspects of amateur radio,
and they may not even know about it.

Alpha Foxtrot Seven Lima Lima
AF7LL ~ Ol Johnny

When wireless radio was first invented, it was invented with and for the code key and Morse code. It was possible for that short spark's transmission to travel a great distance and the Morse Code became the most popular and practical way to communicate over long distances.

It was the Morse code that got me interested in HAM radio more than 65 years ago and learning the code was the most important thing in my life. You learned the code in Boy Scouts and the idea was that you could message in secret. I think the two most important moments in my life were the first time someone responded to my QSL on my 25 watt transmitter and my fifty nine cent code key. And the time my flight instructor said "let me out of this airplane. I'm not going to fly with you anymore, you are on your own" and then he got out of the plane and I made my first solo flight.

It was the amateur radio operator's ability to send coded messages over the air to other radio operators across the United States that made the HAM radio operator so valuable to the government that the government gave them special privileges. They still give automobile license plates with the licensed radio operators call sign at no charge to the operator. When I got my first radio license, I could hardly wait until I would turn 15 so I could get my drivers license so I could drive the old 1940 Cadillac that already was displaying my call sign license plate that I had received free because I was a Licensed HAM radio operator.

When I first got my license about 65 years ago, you had to be able to send and receive Mores code, and you had to prove you knew radio theory. the code was required, but the operators were anxious to be able to send the code over their transmitters.

First of all, it is a lot more fun and requires more skill than just talking on a Mic, but more than that, because of the much smaller band width that code requires as compared to the modulated band width required for voice, you could send and receive over longer distances and dits and daws were a lot easier to understand than voice when the signal started to fade. But that is not the only advantage, even for the beginner, there are frequencies available for code, that are not available for voice. 80 meters, 60 meters,40 meters, and 15 meters all have frequency bands that can only be used for CW aka code.

Now that I am an old man, I am really happy that I learned to use code when I was young. Now that my hearing is almost gone, I have a hard time understanding what people say, but I can understand every word when it is in code.

I think it is a shame that they removed the required code testing for Amateur Radio License because that has caused many radio operators out of realizing just how much CW has to offer to the HAM radio hobby.

I have added several CW, Morse code, learning aids to my websites. If you are not already using CW for your long range communication, I beg you to give CW a try.

AF7LL.com   and   Old Passions.com
The Morse Code
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About the code     Code Chart     Code Practice   (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Interactive Morse Code Chart

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