First Class CW Operators' Club

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FAQs (and other useful information)

How can I join FOC?
FOC membership is open to all licensed radio amateurs who support the Aims of the Club:  Fostering and encouraging a high standard of CW operating ability and behaviour and encouraging a high level of CW activity on the air. Members must be able to operate at a speed of not less than 25 WPM and be able to operate on several LF/HF bands.
You cannot apply for FOC membership:  it is only earned by recommendation by other members.

How do I get recommended?
Potential members need to be recommended by at least five members.  This is best explained by the "Procedure for Election to Membership" section from our Constitution below.

Procedure for Election to Membership
Election to membership shall be on the recommendation of at least five fully paid up members (sponsors) who have been in radio contact using Morse code with the nominee on at least two bands in the preceding 12 months.

Sponsorship requires that:
a) At least one sponsor must reside in the UK
b) Only three sponsors from any one continent shall count towards the nomination. The remaining two must come from a different continent or continents.
c) Sponsors must have been a member for at least one year.
d) Members may not sponsor more than five candidates in a Club year.

It is the responsibility of all sponsors and especially any first or principle sponsor, to ensure that potential new members are able to comply fully with the Aims of the Club, and that they are regularly active on a number of LF and HF bands using CW. The FOC Code of Conduct provides more information on the requirements of members. The sponsors must ensure that the nominee is willing, if invited, to join the Club. A person may be nominated for membership only once in a 12 month period. Nominations, which shall include the full name and address, e-mail address and details of the nominee, including the qualifying QSOs shall be sent to the Membership Secretary.
All nominees shall remain on a single Nominations List for a period of six months. Where a nominee acquires the necessary sponsorships by the end of the period an invitation will sent. If sufficient sponsorships are not received then that person shall be removed from the List. When the nominee is so qualified he will be identified on the List by a star. Members are reminded that an objection may now be raised at any time during the six month period.

Procedure for Objections
Occasionally, an objection may be raised against a potential new member.  Objections should only be made in extreme cases –- the views of the (at least five) Sponsors will normally prevail unless there is some major revelation of new facts.  Grounds for objection in the past have included evidence of poor operating practice, suggestion that the person concerned might bring the Club into disrepute, and blatant solicitation of sponsors either over the air or by direct approach, IE: email or letter.  Any objection must be in writing by letter or email to the Membership Secretary, giving full details and evidence, and will be kept in strict confidence. The Membership Secretary will investigate the objection privately, which may include consultation with the nominee's sponsors, other members, and even the nominee.  The goal is to reduce subjectivity and increase objectivity.  All evidence and facts will be gathered and presented to the Committee, which will then make a final and binding decision.

Why is the membership of FOC limited to approximately 500?
FOC grew slowly to about 500 members.  In the early days, membership was limited to 100 members.  The limit is not about exclusivity, but about practical management limits and the abilities of its members.  The numbers increased as follows: 1956: 350; 1962: 400; 1966: 500.  500 still reflects upon membership as having that "extra something" in their operating skills, but there no funny handshakes and we do not look down our noses at non-members.

How can I find out more about FOC?
Wander among our web site, there is plenty to offer!

What is CW?
It is "amateur radio speak" for Morse Code, aka: Continuous Wave.

What does wpm mean? What does cps mean?
wpm stands for words per minute. A word is standardised to the same length in time and characters as the word PARIS. If you can copy 12 repeats of PARIS in one minute, then you are "doing" 12 wpm. cps stands for characters per second. This means the number of letters in a second (very fast, normally). 12 wpm is about the same as 1 cps. Most FOC members can do 30+ wpm. Many can do 50 wpm. A few can do 80 wpm!

What does HF/LF mean?
HF = High Frequency, typically the bands from 10.1MHz to 28MHz. LF = Low Frequency, typically the bands from 1.8MHz to 7MHz. MF (medium frequency) is generally not used and, if it is, harks back to the days of it meaning Medium Wave, or 500-1500kHz, the AM Broadcast band.

What is a straight key/bug/el-key/paddle/keyboard?
They all different ways of sending CW. Get more information at our Morse Code menu item.

What is DX? What is a DXpedition?

DX means "rare station" - often far away from you (but not always!). A DXpedition is an expedition or trip that made especially to make a rare location available "on the air". Think of the whole thing as being a bit like Bird watchers chasing rare birds, except the people on DXpeditions are the birds.

How do I find out about amateur radio in general?
Our members are spread throughout the world; about 120 in the UK, 200 in the US and others in 50 countries. You can also visit the ARRL website and find information about your country and its regulations.



A wikipedia link to FOC.


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