After two months of chasing CW DX, where the exchange is sometimes as little as 599, TU or at most, 599 GA Ken, and often at 25wpm, I engaged in an actual honest qso with an American ham, K6OLE this morning.
It was at abt 15wpm and the first thing I notice was that I could copy only parts of the qso because it was more than just the “standardized” and predictable DX exchange. Normally, I shouldn’t have a problem at 15wpm so to me it is a revelation how much one loses fm lack of use or practice. I would call it “CW atrophy.” Atrophy is the wasting away of, say, a muscle, from lack of use.
This happened to me on xmit as well. My sending was, well, frankly sloppy, again due to lack of use. In contest DX especially, I barely touch the paddle. Instead, my call is recorded and so is the exchange, so I just push buttons on the radio. At contest DX speeds, sometimes 30wpm, that’s all I can manage!
Note to self #1: resume practice of CW and resume real actual QSO’s instead of just DX or contest exchanges if you want to be comfortable with CW.
Note to self #2: I will do this after I get my Diamond DXCC (special award for 100 countries worked in 2012) and my 100 countries on ten meters. (I’ve already gotten 100 on 15 and 20m this calendar year.)