More than 10 years ago, I made my first Morse Code contact with a station in Palmer Lake Colorado and I'll never forget my sense of accomplishment as we exchanged our names, locations and signal strength. WOW....that's a long ways away from home, I thought. There are mountains out there nearly 12,000 ft and I talked to this guy from here in West Virginia! (with dots and dashes).
A friend of mine ( SK WD8ODE) loaned me an old Kenwood that had significant power output problems. I think it was only putting out about 15 watts and took some "loading up" and "tuning" to even get a signal out on the air. My antenna was a dipole draped off the roof of the house and ran to a fence post in the corner of the yard about 20 ft off the ground. But I was ecstatic about the contact!
Last night at about 0400z, I heard my call from K5CLC in Austin Texas. (I had repeatedly been calling a station in California but couldn't make the connection). Chris was loud and clear and sent me a 599 report. I was happy about that, but as the QSO continued, it became apparent I was his first 'real' CW contact. (At least for any length of time and meaning).
That made me much happier!
Like me (and my Palmer Lake Colorado contact) he was apologetic about his speed, character spacing, and all those "Q" abbreviations. We talked about our Bio's on QRZ.com, the weather, and how "great" it was to actually converse in CW, at a speed he could follow. He said he was enjoying CW more and more everyday and was encouraged with my patience to send slowly. It's wasn't often that he could copy at the speed most operators were sending these days.
Last weekend I was actually visiting friends in San Antonio, so I mentioned it to him while we were chatting back and forth. I think that really surprised him and I thought it a good conversation item. By the time we finished the QSO, almost an hour had passed, but it seemed like only a few minutes.
I know he enjoyed making that "first" good contact (I also remember mine). But, like mine, I never realized it was such a joy to be on the other side of the conversation until last night.