CW Night

Our regular Wednesday 18 November meeting featured speakers with  an interest in CW.  It was an interesting night about keys, paddles, bugs and thoughts on the future of morse code.

WARC members admiring a Begali key.
WARC members admiring a Begali key. George ZL2AG’s monster 12″ key can be seen in the background.

We welcomed three members of Titahi Bay Branch 42 – Phil ZL2OWL, Max ZL2CVW and Ken ZL2TKY.

Phil and Max brought along their prized Begali keys.   Phil has a collection of over 100 keys, but those he most frequently uses are all Begali keys.  His Begali collection includes straight keys, mechanical bug keys, and single and double paddles.

I wish I had one too!
I wish I had one too!

Ralph Sutton (ZL2AOH) gave a very interesting talk on his introduction to morse code when he joined the navy, and then his continued use of morse when he joined the Merchant Navy.  Ralph joined the ranks of amateur radio operators when he retired in 1990 as a result of encouragement from Trevor King, ZL2AKW, another of our WARC members.  Ralph subsequently initiated the establishment of FISTS in New Zealand when the Morse Code requirement for licensing of radio amateurs was proposed for removal.   New Zealand membership of FISTS peaked at just over 300 members and there are still over 150 members today.

A number of members shared about their own morse code experiences and George ZL2AG and Alex Paterson both brought along unique morse keys.  George’s key was the biggest anybody had seen.  He constructed the key himself many years ago.  Alex’s key was also made by himself as a teenager.  We wish Alex well in the amateur radio examination.