Morse code is no longer a requirement to acquire an amateur license here in Norway. The same is true for many (or most?) other countries. Still morse code, or CW – continous wave as it is often referred to as, has great value. Here are my top five reasons why I am learning morse code.
1 – Excellent propagation
Voices are long gone and all you hear is static. Tune down to the lower end of the band and you will probably still hear dah-di-dah-dit dah-dah-di-dah. When “the bands are dead” as they say, the one thing you can still hear is CW. The propagation abilities are extreme.
2 – Power efficiency
Since all the radiated energy is concentrated in one single tone, morse code is an efficient form of communication with regards to power. This means that morse code is good for QRP use, or even QRPP. Also you do not need equipment that can handle large amounts of power. Thin wires and small components are enough to be heard around the globe.
3 – Easy to build kits
Small currents and simple signals do not need as advanced circuits as single sideband or FM do. There are several circuit diagrams and kits available to build, and many choose to design their own transceivers.
4 – Ultra portable transceivers
Morse code is great for SOTA and outdoor use. Small form factor kit transceivers kan fit in a small tin or plastic box, and other commercial lightweight CW only transceivers are available. When you need to bring other equipment like your tent, sleeping bag, clothing and food it is nice to bring a transceiver that does not add significant bulk and weight to the backpack.
5 – Easy way to get on the air for non-talkers
Many of us are the non-talking kind of person. I do enjoy an occasional rag-chew now and then, especially on the local 80 m net, but for now I prefer the “exchange vital information and move on” kind of style. It seems there are more of this kind of QSOs with CW.
6 – Awesome-factor
Bonus reason: Morse code has this nerdy awesome-factor to it. Morse code is something everyone recognize, but not many understand it. It truly is impressive to watch someone perform high speed CW.