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Straight Key Night: A Return to the Basics


ARRL Straight Key Night (SKN) returns on January 1, 2015 (0000 to 2359 UTC), offering a chance for many to get back to their Amateur Radio roots. Those operators who began their years in Amateur Radio restricted to CW on the old Novice bands used some sort of manual key to send. Straight Key Night is an opportunity to relive those "brass-pounding" experiences. This 24-hour event is not a contest but a day dedicated to celebrating our CW heritage.

Participants are encouraged to get on the air and simply enjoy conversing in CW, with the use of a straight — or hand — key or bug for sending preferred. Some enhance the fun by using vintage radio gear. No points are scored, and everyone who participates is a winner!

Straight Key Night participants may use all authorized Amateur frequencies, but activity has traditionally been centered on the HF bands.

Call “SKN” instead of “CQ” to solicit contacts, and use SKN instead of RST when transmitting signal reports. These tip off passers-by that you’re taking part in Straight Key Night and may lead to additional contacts. When the event is over, you’re invited to vote for the operator with the “best fist” or sending style (this does not have to be someone you worked) and for “most interesting QSO.” The results will be tabulated and included in the results. Send your information to

Post your comments and interesting photographs from your SKN adventure to the ARRL Contest Online Soapbox.





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