Re: dx and cw question
No, you do not have to send a call sign really fast. For a few reasons:
First, in contests the DX will generally send faster than he can send.
He will probably be able to copy call signs faster than he can send.
In a contest the intent is to log as many calls as he can. So he
sends CQ fast to cut down the time it takes to get a return call.
However, the DX might also send the exchange rather fast. I'll often
hang around the frequency before calling and after getting into the
log to get the fill on the exchange.
Second, you should get a memory keyer. You can load the keyer with
your call, the exchange, and the like. Then crank the speed button to
throw out the call sign. Works very well.
Third, a QSO a day is a great way to get comfortable with the code.
My DX elmer has suggested this tactic. I remember a board sailor
saying you won't get good at board sailing until you have fallen a
thousand times. Maybe you need a few QSOs in the log before you get
better with code.
Fourth, the code is intimidating. You can get into the novice parts
of the bands where you are expected to work the code with training
wheels. And there are nets designed to help you with code. And don't
forget the FISTS guys can get you a code buddy. I'm beginning to
realize it is much more putting time on the paddles than any other
Fifth, there is a rhythm to a QSO. You know this from the phone
contacts you are already good at. Same with a CW QSO. And especially
when you are chasing DX. I am embarrassed to tell you that my DX
elmer was trying to help me get into the log of a rare DX. I was
totally way off the rhythm. Totally lost. It's a bit better now.
Maybe only a bit, though.
I think the great CW operators are kind and skillful folks who
encourage and support. Very few CW contests go by that I don't marvel
at the "fraternity" of the code. And I'm nowhere near ready to pledge.