Arts & Culture Podcasts

DitDit.fm is a podcast celebrating morse code, the CW operating mode and amateur radio. The show is hosted by Bruce Pea, N9WKE, and features conversations with interesting CW operators, offers useful CW operating tips, and encourages amateur radio operators at all levels to get on the air, have fun and enjoy operating CW!


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DitDit.fm is a podcast celebrating morse code, the CW operating mode and amateur radio. The show is hosted by Bruce Pea, N9WKE, and features conversations with interesting CW operators, offers useful CW operating tips, and encourages amateur radio operators at all levels to get on the air, have fun and enjoy operating CW!



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Episode #35 - Mark Tyler, K5GQ

There are a lot of great advisors and instructors who teach Morse Code and CW. I think Mark Tyler, K5GQ, is one of the greatest CW teachers there has ever been! If you ever get the opportunity to take Mark’s class, don’t pass it up! You will become a much better CW operator and the joy you will get from your CW will be compounded beyond your wildest dreams.


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QRQ, When You Want To Go Fast!

Terry Jackson spent eight to ten hours a day head copying Morse code at 50 words-per-minute... and got paid to do it! His job as a Naval Communications Officer was to intercept coded messages being sent from Russian ships during the Cold War. Today, Terry teaches Amateur Radio operators how to send and receive high speed Morse code, or QRQ as it's called by Morse code operators. But what is QRQ? The idea of high speed is relative to each of us. High speed operating can mean 70 words-per-minute to one person, and be 30 words-per-minute to another. No matter what your definition of high speed QRQ operating is, going fast is a lot of fun and can be done by virtually anyone. We invite you to enjoy this very interesting conversation with Terry Jackson, WB0JRH.


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A Conversation With KB6NU

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is a well known CW operator that is not only active on the air, but has been active with numerous organizations and Amateur Radio events over the years. He is the author of a popular series of Amateur Radio license exam study guides and other Amateur Radio and Morse code related books. Dan teaches a popular one-day license exam preparation course, made ten-of-thousands of QSOs, and is a regular speaker at the annual Dayton Hamvention. Join us as we listen to Dan discuss a wide range of Amateur Radio and CW topics.


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The Long Island CW Club

We first heard about the Long Island CW Club back in the fall of 2018. After talking with the club’s founders, Howard Bernstein, WB2UZE and Rich Collins, K2UPS, we featured the club in Episode #23 in January 2019. The club (actually it’s a community of CW operators) is so unique and different in their approach to teaching Morse code and CW we thought we’d check in a year or so later to see what they’ve been up to. In this follow-up episode, we welcome back Howard Bernstein, WB2UZE and two of the club’s former students, Jim Crites, W6JIM and Stan Ferris, K7SBF, who are now teaching Morse code and CW to new club students. The club has grown tremendously in the past year and now offers some of the most unique and interesting CW courses not offered anywhere else. Join us as Howard, Jim, and Stan update us on all that’s been happening with the Long Island CW Club!


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CW Traffic Nets

CW traffic nets have been around for a long time. They operate every day, 365 days a year by dedicated amateur radio volunteers. In spite of today’s digital technologies, CW traffic nets continue to be a highly survivable, efficient, and reliable part of the National Traffic System. CW operators using simple equipment and compromise antennas restore communications to areas devastated during disasters and in other times of great need. Listen as Carl Davis, W8WZ, explains the National Traffic System, how it works with other networks, and why you need to participate as a traffic handler. This is an interesting and fascinating discussion. Carl shares his unique insight, experience, and information on CW traffic nets you won’t want to miss!


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Episode #30 - The Key Maker

There is a long tradition of amateur radio operators experimenting and building gear. Recently I built my own cootie key using an old saw blade and some discarded metal parts I had tossed in a junk box. It fell apart the first time I used it on the air. Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun making it and the whole experience gave me a greater appreciation for the folks who design and build keys and paddles for the rest of us. Steve Roberts, W1SFR, is a key maker in Vermont who produces a unique torsion bar key/paddle. His keys are a delight to the eye and a joy to use. Join us as Steve talks about where the idea came from, making keys, how they are unique, and thoughts about customer service.


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Morse Code Ninja

Kurt Zoglmann, AD0WE, created Morse Code Ninja, a very comprehensive Morse code/CW training program using learning theory and techniques not used in other programs until now. There are more than 979 Youtube videos and over 2000 hours of Morse code teaching content available in Kurt’s course. There is something for everyone in this course. If you are brand new to learning the code this is an excellent place to start. The course will take you from 0 to 15 words-per-minute at your own pace. If you already know the code and are proficient at some level, this is a great program to develop your Morse code/CW skills even further. It will help you increase your speed, get better at head copying, or improve your rag chewing abilities. You could even use it to supplement another program you may be participating in. Morse Code Ninja is free and available to anyone with an interest in Morse code and CW.


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The Ship's Radio Officer

Episode #27 was about the great coastal maritime radio stations that communicated with all the ships around the world at sea. In this episode we hear what it was like to be the ship’s radio officer who depended on and communicated with those coastal maritime radio stations. For decades, ships cruised the great seas using Morse code and a key to stay safe and move cargo from one port to another. Denis O’Brien, N2JJF, served as the ship’s radio officer in the Merchant Marines for fourteen years. Listen as Denis shares his experience of his time at sea, a ship in distress, and the storm he wasn’t sure the ship would survive!


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Coastal Maritime Station KPH

There was a time when the airways bristled with Morse Code. There were commercial radio stations all around the world whose business was sending and receiving Morse Code messages to ships at sea. Coast station KPH, located at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco, is one of those stations. Richard Dillman was there in 1997 when KPH sent it’s last message and closed it’s doors. It was the end of the line for the men and women who had spent their careers sending Morse Code to ships at sea. There was nowhere else for them to go… Two years later, Richard Dillman with a group of volunteers returned to KPH and put it back on the air. Listen as Richard tells us about the future of Maritime Morse Code Coastal Station KPH!


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CW Ragchewing 101

CW ragchewing… the idea makes some CW operators weak in the knees. The good news is it’s a lot easier than most CW operators think it is. Gary Stone, N5PHT, would like you to go beyond the basic QSO and start having more CW conversations. Gary has 170,000 QSOs, 150,000 of those are CW QSOs, and at least 4,000 of those CW QSOs have been ragchews. A CW ragchew is just a conversation or, as Gary likes to say, you’re just sharing a little more of yourself. After exchanging the basic QSO information, instead of saying 73 ask a simple question, “What do you do?”, “Are you retired?” Put your feet up and spend a little time talking. Learning to ragchew adds a whole new level of enjoyment to operating CW!


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Episode #25 - A Conversation With N9EP

Ed Picha, N9EP, is a CW operator who enjoys talking about CW and loves training and mentoring new CW ops. He’s been teaching code classes for 40+ years, while helping and encouraging a whole new generation of CW operators. Over the years Ed has garnered a lot of insight and practical advice about learning the code and operating CW. Listen as Ed shares his experience and ideas on teaching, learning the code, and operating CW!


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World Wide Flora and Fauna

Fresh Air… Nature… and CW… what could be better!?! If you have ever considered grabbing your gear and heading to the great outdoors, then check out the World Wide Flora and Fauna program. In 2016 the ARRL held a year long event called ‘National Parks On The Air’. Amateur radio operators operated from parks all across America for certificates and awards. The event was a huge success. However many HAM operators weren’t aware of another ‘parks’ program they could participate in. The World Wide Flora and Fauna program is the oldest and original parks program. It was started in 2010 and currently has 53 countries participating in the program. According to their website; “The WWFF program wants to draw attention to the importance of protecting nature, flora and fauna. In this spirit amateur radio operators set up and operate their radio stations from designated nature parks and protected nature areas – generating attention for these areas whilst giving the ham radio community an interesting activity to contact. WWFF is an international and non-commercial program run by the National coordinators of a large number of national Flora and Fauna programs.” In this episode, we talk with KA2LHO, Kraig Pritts, W0PHX George Burger, and KD0IRW, Tanner Colvin about the WWFF program, activating parks, chasing activators, why this program is so great for new CW ops, logging DX, “Make Nature Your Shack”, and having tons of fun!


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The New Elmers

Many HAM operators never had the benefit of an Elmer. Most of us figured it out, but there were other times, like the time we were wondering why nobody ever answered our CQs because we didn’t know our code sending was so atrocious. It would have been nice to have someone sit next to us and show us how to send better code… Howard Bernstein, WB2UZE and Rich Collins, K2UPS - the New Elmers - are changing that with the Long Island CW Club. Their method of teaching Morse code and CW is casual and fun. It is a unique experience that has already appealed to more than a hundred students wanting a less structured and more relaxed approach to learning the code. In this episode, Howard and Rich explain how the club got started, their unique way of teaching, and the classes available to anyone wanting to learn the code and have fun.


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Jitters, Anxiety, and your first QSO

‘Key Fright’ - The feeling of anxiety, nervousness, and excessive worry about making mistakes sending and receiving Morse code. Most often afflicting new CW operators immediately before attempting their first QSO. Every CW operator remembers their first on air QSO. Sitting in front of your radio, hoping you’d be able to copy code… and praying the other operator sends it slow enough for you to handle. It was really stressful and really exciting all at the same time! And those feelings of relief, joy, and pride you felt swelling in your chest afterward have rarely been matched since. The anxiety and uncertainty we feel doing something new for the first time is a very common experience. It’s part of what makes us human. It isn’t unique to any particular group of people, nation, or continent… we all get anxious and nervous from time to time. In this episode, I talk with five CW operators spanning three continents about the jitters, anxiety, being nervous and their first CW QSO experience.


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Episode #21 - The North American QRP CW Club (NAQCC)

The North American QRP CW Club (NAQCC) is the world’s largest organization of it’s kind with thousands of members in over 140 countries around the globe. All of the organization’s events are operated QRP and CW mode. Paul Huff, N8XMS, the NAQCC president talks about the club, it’s many activities, events, free membership, and the wide variety of of challenging and fun awards it has to offer. Spend a little time with Paul and discover all the great things this club has to offer!


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Episode #20 - Pay It Forward

Amateur radio has a long tradition of giving back and Elmering new radio operators. Anyone who has ever received the generous and patient attention from an Elmer is ever so thankful and appreciative for that help. John Merkel, AJ1DM, is a shining example of the spirit of giving back and paying it forward. His volunteer activities include teaching tech classes, being a Volunteer Examiner, actively participating in fox hunts and special events, and donating time to introduce kids on Indian reservations to the fun and excitement of Morse code and CW. Amateur radio has much to offer and can be a source of great personal enrichment and fulfillment that can come from giving a little of ourselves to the next generation of amateur radio operators. John Merkel is an inspiration to all amateur radio operators!


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Episode #19 - The Straight Key Century Club

There are several organizations that promote Morse code and the CW operating mode. One of the very best is the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC). The organization officially began on January 2, 2006 and currently has over 18,800+ members worldwide. The SKCC offers one of the broadest assortments of awards, contests and activities available from any organization for every level of CW operator to participate in. Ted Rachwal, K8AQM, is a member of the SKCC board and editor of the "Rag Chew", the official newsletter of the Straight Key Century Club. We spent a little time talking with Ted about the SKCC, the resources and benefits the club has to offer, and why it's no surprise that many of the nicest people you'll ever meet in the CW bands are SKCC members!


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Episode #18 - Gettin' Schooled!

Tom Parish, KB5RF, had the rare opportunity to take all three CW Academy courses in a twelve-month period. He began his Level 1 course hardly knowing anything about Morse code and completed the advanced Level 3 course twelve months later as a skilled CW operator capable of sending and receiving Morse code at 20+ word-per-minute. Listen as Tom shares helpful insights and experiences as a CW Academy student and follow him along on his unusual and intense journey to learn Morse code!


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Episode #17 - Alpha Antenna!

No matter if your operating QRP or QRO, having the right antenna for the job depends on what your target is. In this episode, Steve Deines, N0TES, owner of Alpha Antenna talks about targeted antenna deployment, getting the best out of your antenna, and learning code in the dark!


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Episode #16 - Better Ways To Learn The Code!

There are many ways to learn Morse code. People often take the leap and try learning on their own. That what Roland Simmons, K7FOP, did... until he found a better way! Roland is an avid SOTA activator who had been packing not-so-light gear to peaks in the great northwest. His SOTA partner showed him an LNR Mountain Topper he would be using on the activation they were doing that day. Roland realized he could hold an HF radio, wire antenna, key and battery in one hand, and it was infinity lighter than a pack full of heavy gear! That's when he decided it was time to learn Morse code. Roland began learning the code by himself using computer programs and help from CW operators on Facebook. When he felt he wasn't progressing as fast as he wanted he found other apps that worked better and helped him learn faster. Eventually, he enrolled in a CW Academy course and got on the air. Learning the code on your own can be tough. Roland discovered he didn't have to go it alone. There are many resources you can use that will help you learn the code as quickly as possible. Listen as Roland shares some great advice about learning the code.