RaDAR – South African CW Operators

A recent introduction of RaDAR into the Parks On The Air awards by the Americans (See http://radarops.co.za/index.php/2017/02/20/radar-wwff-kff-radar-award-idea/ ) sparked an inititive to attract new CW operators which are few in South Africa. Something that needs to be done in order to enjoy the outdoors and have a means of achieving similar goals that the rest of the world enjoy. DX is difficult from South Africa if conditions are not that favourable.

The idea is to present CW Proficiency badges to those that fit the criteria which can be worn at get togethers and swop meets etc. promoting the art of morse code.

A few guys got together on Facebook and had a discussion on the topic. Morse Runner came out tops as the testing medium. Note the goal here is to test the operators ability to read morse code in a contest style environment with no real radio parameters which are simply too variable to test.

The guidelines for the CW proficiency badges are :

Morse runner screen shot using “Single call” for 15 minutes allowing only 1 mistake (preferably none) No radio conditions settings, simply pure morse code. Level 1 12 wpm, Level 2 20 wpm, Level 3 25 wpm, Level 4 35 wpm and Level 5 anything above 45 wpm. Of course an acceptable QSO / Hr rate should be achieved at that speed.

A good guideline was submitted by Pierre ZS6A. A good average in my opinion is around 150 QSO’s per hour at an average speed which translates to around 1400 points. That’s an acceptable rate which may, or may not increase at higher wpm rates.


Typical values from test runs done:

12 wpm 096 Q’s / Hr 0529 Points
20 wpm 144 Q’s / Hr 1368 Points
25 wpm 168 Q’s / Hr 1890 Points


It is impossible to achieve this rate at lower speeds and suitable scores need to be determined for lower wpm rates like 12 wpm, the entry level. They are the important group of CW operators, the newcomers to this ancient “digital mode”.


“Real world” QSO’s.

Level 1 10 QSO’s, Level 2 30 QSO’s, Level 3 50 QSO’s, Level 4 100 QSO’s and Level 5 200 QSO’s (They normally can do that in an hour !) The QSO’s will be log entries so style is not important and immeasurable anyway.

The proficiency badge will have an icon and level indicator as suggested by Stephen ZS6SVJ.

Tortoise (<1mph)… interested / unaccredited member / no level yet
Elephant (24mph) Level 1
Giraffe (32mph) Level 2
Rhino (35mph) Level 3
Lion (45mph) Level 4

Cheetah (70mph) Level 5

Now to get the initiative accepted by the South African Radio League that it becomes official and to get sponsorship for the badges. We’re looking at training up at least 40 new operators or even more. The system can work.

Many thanks to all participants in the initial design of this initiative and is highly appreciated!!!

Dates start from the date of acceptance of this initiative by the SARL. It has already seen favourable response.

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE