Let me introduce myself, I am Alex, PA1FOX, age 46, living in the east of Holland.
Well, this means it is from across the pond and I suppose most of you won't be received on my limited wire antenna. But since I have the habit of keeping on learning I registered to this forum. I have been licensed for 24 years now, unlicensed active since 1983 (not in CW...)
For getting a Full class license, probably your type 'Extra' license, we need to pass exam at 12 WPM. Back then I found out quickly that copying was far more difficult than sending. After practising for quite a few months with my VIC20 homecomputer I did pass the exam.
But then I built myself a 30M CW transceiver and came on air. After a few QSO's I threw my Junker through the room and decided to never touch it anymore. Because? Hams in those days did not like to slow down, 12 WPM was too slow, QRQ or no QSO. So it was no QSO.
I have been very active with other displines, SSB, foxhunting, amateur television (even while driving car) etc.
But about a year ago during holiday I met a Ham telling be about a simple yet suitable wire antenne covering some HF bands. I did have the rig, I did not have an HF antenna. This triggered my interest for CW again. Back from holiday I set this wire up. I logged into LCWO and started from scratch again to learn through the Koch method. By the end of the year I was quite comfortable with 18 wpm. But then, the thought of getting back on air was bringing back the nerves of 20 years ago. So far I have made some 20 qso's but still find myself overheating as soon as someone responds my CQ.
I hope I'll get over it. I am trying to listen by head and use my MP3 player on my half hour ride to work to listen to stories in CW.
A few weeks ago I made me a Sideswiper key. It is far less tense for the fist then my Junker but needs some extra training. An experienced Ham showed me his Swiper and I played around with it for a minute. He was amazed that I did get quite a good fistwriting within that first minute. He was convinced I did have some sort of Sideswiper talent. I got motivated about the swiper and it has now replaced my Junker.
Due to my limited equipment I won't probably cross my signal to the US, but I decided to register to this forum to read and learn. Sharing stories and meeting other new people to CW might kill the nerves in time, making it more fun.
Currently I am in the process of being able to head copy at about 20 wpm, but is is conscious copying and really needs a lot of energy. The slightest thing will substract me missing part of the sentence. Nerves is one of those things. 20 wpm in real is even far more difficult than 20 wpm from a computer text, since there is no live person on the other side.
So, it was a long introduction, but then you know to whom you say 'HI'.