eHam.net - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net



[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Getting Back on HF with Code

from KE7WAV on January 2, 2010
View comments about this article!

I learned code as a boy but left it for years. Then before I got my general this year (2009), out of pride more than anything else, I picked it up again. I even managed to slowly work my way up to about 13wpm. It felt good for the few months I was on the air. Then my wife and I had our fourth child; which was wonderful! A new baby, for me, means a lot of time at home with the radio off. That little baby is worth every minute away from the radio.

After a month and a half I ventured back to SSB but just for a few brief QSOs. There I sat holding a baby in one arm and bouncing up and down (trying to keep her asleep) while holding the microphone and a pen in the other hand. Not the most ideal situation for a QSO let alone tapping out a QSO in Code. Bouncing up and down didn't help my fist on the old straight key!

Well to make a long story short after about four months I tuned up my old boat anchor and decided to break out my key. I had an hour with both hands free and I intended to enjoy it on 40 meters CW. I found a QSO coming in strong and I sat down to copy and maybe tail end for a QSO. Instead what I found was that I had forgotten a lot. I could copy the characters but they were coming way too fast, when only four or five months before I could copy that same speed with ease. It shouldn't have been a surprise but it was intimidating and frustrating. I decided to try and find a slower QSO. No luck. I tried another QSO and still my copy was horrible. I turned the radio off and just look at it. How had I forgotten so much?

For a couple of weeks I just kept to SSB (I was frustrated and embarrassed). Then a neighbor who has been bitten by the Morse code bug called me and asked if I could practice with him. I wanted to help but now I felt a bit of uncertainty. “Sure,” I told him, “you pick the day.” A SKED was set for 7.120 that Sunday night. I went home and got out my ARRL code practice CDs and went to work. I pulled up an old code program for the computer, and put in a little more practice.

Sunday night came and I called my Dad, N3DVI, to join in; that way if I totally lost it my Dad could help my friend. I copied as best I could and it turned out okay. But still my copy was strained and hit or miss. We agreed to meet on air again and for the first few minutes of the next QSO I was wondering if I should just tell my friend I couldn't help. Each character was grudgingly recognized and recorded, but it was a painful experience. Yet by the middle of the QSO something clicked in my brain. Now I wasn't grasping at individual characters but the sweet music of the code was just pouring itself out on to the paper. It felt fantastic!

The point is I learned a few things along the way I thought I might share. I am not some Code expert or authority, but maybe my words will help someone else out there when they are sitting looking at the radio and tempted to hide their key and never go back to Morse Code.

It takes work

Just like most things worthwhile it does take work to learn code. (Or relearn code) A friend of mine once wrote, “Happiness is cleverly nested in the pursuit of predetermined worthwhile goals.” Work hard and have fun, sure it will be hard but keep trying it will be worth it.

A friend goes a long way

If you can work with a friend it makes learning the code easier. Try joining FISTS or SKCC or some other group and work with some of their Elmers. Just talk to somebody both off of and on the air.

Just do it

No matter how many computer programs or CDs you use nothing equals getting on the air. Nothing will increase your speed or your enjoyment more than getting on the air and meeting new people. If you know the characters you have enough to try copying other people. Once you can do at least 5wpm than just get on the air and do it!

If you don't use it, you'll lose it

You have to stay in shape with your brain just like with any other muscle. Use the code and often and it will stick with you.

This is what I learned and I hope it helps someone else. If you are feeling a bit nervous about that first CW contact, or the first one in a long time, remember you're not the first person; I've been there before, and so have countless others no doubt. I hope to hear you on the bands and maybe see your QSL card on my wall with the memory of another great CW contact!

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KE7WAV on September 22, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks KF7ATM for helping me get back into CW.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by QRPNEW on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Having some backup helps as well.

1. Get a Koch CW training program like that from G4FON

2. Use a CW reader like Skimmer or CWGET. Its amazing when you not nervous about missing something how you can relax and copy more with less errors.

3. Practice Practice Practice.

4. Use a Pileup trainer like Morse Runner. Its just like getting on the air. The Pileup training is amazingly effective at boosting your speed.

As the basic minimum, I would recommend 5 minutes on the G4FON trainer, and 5 Minutes of sending practice every day. Even if you just wake up in the morning and just send the whole alphabet and all the numbers just once, its enough to help your keying proficiency.

CW should be like breathing, you should never have to think about doing it. Practicing CW sending and receiving regularly just for 10 minutes a day is enough. With 10 minutes of practice your CW skills will eventually be like breathing where you dont have to think or sweat about it.

Good practice sending lessons are those group sending tables that is used in the HST competitions. When I wake up in the morning I try and send 1 page before going to work.

I had a long absence from ham radio and I got my speed up to 40 words per minute in less than a year.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article and good advice!

A couple more points:

1) Get a rig that's good for CW. That means a 400-500 Hz IF filter, defeatable AGC, and slow tuning rate as a bare minimum. A lot of SSB transceivers aren't really very good on CW, which makes the mode appear harder to use.

2) Some folks like headphones, some like a speaker. Some like a ballpoint pen, some like a pencil, some like a felt-tip. Etc. Try different things and see what works best for you.

3) Set a daily goal: A QSO per day, 15 minutes practice per day, whatever. One of the keys (pun intended) is the every-day use.

4) Whenever possible, have the rig on and tuned in to a CW station. Doesn't matter whether you can copy it well or not, just have it as background music.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K1HC on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the great article! I too was a bit rusty, and I am making efforts to get on CW more. The more practice the better. Keep plugging away!

73,

Dick, K1HC
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WA1RNE on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"No matter how many computer programs or CDs you use nothing equals getting on the air."


>>> Absolutely. It takes the chore out of learning CW, especially if the QSO becomes technical concerning antennas, etc. If you stay with it, next thing you know, your copying speed is double what it was in just a few weeks.


...WA1RNE
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N5IVZ on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
CW brought me back to ham radio. Its more of a challenge than SSB and i feel like i have really done something cool!

I am no speed demon, but it makes ham radio fun!

73 fred
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KW6B on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! I haven't made contacts for the last couple years, and it has not only encouraged me to get back on but to give CW a try again. Thanks for the encouragement!

73's,

- Robert
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K0CBA on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I would like to add a suggestion for anyone getting into or coming back to CW.... my most enjoyable ham radio mode.

Please learn and use the proper prosigns and abbreviations.

For many of us that listen to it as a language, those off the wall, made up on the fly things really throw the copy off.
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N4KAM on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
How refreshing to see an article posted here that is not followed by negative comments. Well done. I'm looking at a Vibroplex that I bought two years ago with the intention of refreshing my CW. Perhaps it's time to plug it in. Thanks.
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K5EAG on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with one of the previous posts on this topic.
"It is great to see such good, positive feedback".
I hate to see so many people responding to articles with negative comments.

It is good to see so much renewed activity on CW again. I always say, "CW may be slow, but it is sure and effective when jamming or intereference knocks out digital modes"

Practice, Practice, Practice.....
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K0CBA writes: "Please learn and use the proper prosigns and abbreviations"

Also Q signals!

Here's a short list of prosigns and abbreviations:

Prosigns (brackets means you run the letters together as one) :

DE - means "from" or "this is" - used before your own call

K - means "over" or "go ahead" - used at the end of a CQ or during a QSO

KN - means "over only" or "go ahead only" - used during a QSO when you only want the called station to respond

[AR] - 1) used at the end of a response to a CQ, instead of K or KN, to indicate that a QSO hasn't started yet

2) used at the end of a formal message, to indicate the end of the message. When followed by N, there are no more messages, when followed by B, there are more messages to follow.

[SK] - means "end of QSO"

[CL] - means "closing down station"


Abbreviations:

ABT - about
ADR - address
AGN - again
ANT - antenna
BCNU - be seeing you
BK - break
BN - between
C - Yes
CFM - Confirm
CK - Check
CUD - Could
CUL - See you later
ES - and, &
FB - fine business, excellent
GA - go ahead; good afternoon
GB - goodbye; glowbug
GD - good
GE - good evening
GG - going
GL - good luck
GM - good morning
GN - good night
HB - homebrew
HI - laughing
HR - hear; here
HV - have
HW - how
LID - poor operator
N - no
NIL - nothing
ND - nothing doing
NR - number
NW - now
OB - old boy
OM - old man
OP - operator; name
OT - old timer
PSE - please
PWR - power
R - received as transmitted (same as voice "roger")
REF - reference
RX - receiver
RIG - rig (station except for antenna)
RPT - repeat; report
SED - said
SIG - signal; signature
SINE - nickname used instead of name
SKED - schedule
SRI - sorry
TFC - traffic
TNX - thanks
TT - that
TU - thank you
TX - transmitter
TXT - text
UR - your; you're
URS - yours
VY - very
WD - word
WUD - would
WX - weather
XTAL - crystal
XYL - wife
YF - wife
YL - young lady
73 - best regards
88 - love and kisses

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
KA5EAG writes: "CW may be slow"

The operative words there are "may be".

Sure, pounding out a QSO at five wpm is pretty slow going.

But once an op gets some speed and skill, the effective communication rate jumps to where it's close to conversational speech.

Listen carefully to how people actually talk, and you'll notice that most people don't really say all that much per unit time. They may talk fast, but there's a lot of redundancy, pausing, "um" and "ah", "y'know", and other things going on too. Voice operating often involves repeats and spelling things out to make them clear.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N4KC on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the good article. I had a similar one published here in 2008, and it got lots of pro/con comments:

http://www.eham.net/articles/19366 or at

www.n4kc.com

I know CW is not for everybody, and no one is less a person or a ham for choosing not to learn it. I just don't want anybody to ever think the mode is not worth the effort to learn. Most can learn it, too.

You're missing a good part of our hobby if you don't, and KE7WAV, N4KC, and others have noted some great reasons why you should at least try.

If you don't care, that's fine. You can lead a horse to water...

73,

Don Keith
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WB0OEW on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don't get me wrong, I love code. My only rig is a K1 after all.

I learned code 45 years ago and I still can't copy faster than about 15 wpm. I don't hear characters, I still count dots-and-dashes really really quick. Frankly, it's mentally exhausting. I've tried Koch, Farnswarth, and just grinding practice but it never gets any easier. I envy folks who hear it naturally but for me it's too late to unlearn what I know.

My point is: learn each character as a unit purely by sound in the first place. Never count dots and dashes.

73, Elwood, WB0OEW
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N0AH on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Eliminating code may have been a huge incentive mistake for amateur radio operators to enhance their DX'ing numbers as well as knowledge about the HF bands.

While I very much agree with today's band plan, just looking at the DX clusters now compared to 5 years ago brings attention to lack of CW now being used compared to other modes. But the good stuff posted still seems to be mostly CW from my perspective.

I discovered when working on my code in 1995 every morning on 40M CW, I cold work more countries and zones than I could in a couple of weeks plus on SSB. (And I was spending a lot more time on phone because I really enjoyed it much more than CW at the time.)

For me, code was the ounce of medicine then went a long way as a cure for me to later reach my goals for 200 5BWAZ. Over 2/3rds of my Q's for this were CW and it was the majority of my 40M and 80M WAZ portions.

You will hear more, work more, talk further, and be much happier as a DX'er with code than without. I still struggle with it. I don't have 10 minute QSO's with it. I typically get in the log, and that's about it. But for me, that is how the mode is used and if I want to talk, I just go the 20M SSB and look around or get on the local 2M repeater.

I feel the time to debate code for a license upgrade is in the past. Hopefully, more articals like this will motivate the DXer in those of you who still are not using the mode. For really seeing what the code's potential is vs. phone, look at the ACE-HF Pro version 2.06. The computer models of what you can do with code vs. phone with a very specific to your set up as to antenna used, power, and solar conditions.

acesupport@acehf.com.

73 es gud DX!
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WN2C on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Sat here today and tried to listen to some cw. Man am I rusty. Are there any cw training freeware out there that I can download to use with Vista? Would love to be able to get back to that point of just closing my eyes and seeing the words forming.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N0AH writes: "You will hear more, work more, talk further, and be much happier as a DX'er with code than without."

Not just DX, either. Same goes for contesting.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N3WAK on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for a nice article! I just recently got my license back after 30+ years away from ham radio, and am dabbling in CW. It's a challenge and it's part of our tradition. There have been plenty of hams willing to match my slow, slow speed, which I really appreciate--thanks, you guys. My straight key, Drake 2-B, and Drake 2-NT really bring back some great memories of being a Novice.

CU on 7.114 MHz. 73, Tony N3WAK
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K7PEH on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Back in the saddle with code and my paddle...

I got back to ham radio in 2004 after being away for 38 years. In 2007 I decided to see if my Novice code skills could be revitalized. Within 10 days or so, without any practice other than listening on the air, I made my first CW QSO in 41 years. Within just a few weeks, I surprised myself to be back almost to the 20 wpm speed I reached as a Novice in 1966.

CW is now my normal mode with a smattering of SSB here and there. I have not made a SSB CQ call in over a year.

CW opens a lot of new doors, like the challenge of QRP.
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by W4VR on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I can't remember the last time I communicated using Morse code. But, I listen from to time to keep in tune. I find that PSK is a little more exciting than Morse. It comes built into the radio that I use and the keyboard comes with the radio. I don't know if a higher s/n is required for PSK reception, but I do know that signals can be in the noise and you can get perfect copy...similar to CW...and only a few watts is required to make a contact. Long live Morse Code, but there are other data modes out there make more sense.
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KI5BC on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you. I've needed the encouragement.

I struggled to get to 13 wpm when I passed General and Advanced all those years ago.

I put a cpo in an old Motorola metal speaker this year with a Vibroplex key on it. Then promptly got covered up at work, and covered the set with a book.

I'm gonna get it down, and put it to work today! Thanks again for the "push" to excel.

de....Rynn
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KD8KCH on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Try G4FON Koch Trainer that's what I am using to learn with
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by W8AAZ on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hows come I can look at a text and send it really fast but my receiving is much slower? Some sort of CW dyslexia? It is just like a big green POTS sign that is keeping me from pursueing CW, anymore. One of these days I will get the nerve to work one of the QRS stations I hear from time to time on 40. But I have to work to slow my sending speed to accomodate him, and then sweat the copy. As soon as I can get around to restoring a couple novice type boatanchors I have, I will be pretty obligated to go to it. I guess I can use the excuse of no xtals to use below 7.1
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WA0ZZG on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Morse code is there to be enjoyed at your own time and pace. The reason you can learn it is because you don't have to.
Dave...
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
W8AAZ: "Hows come I can look at a text and send it really fast but my receiving is much slower? Some sort of CW dyslexia?"

No, not at all.

Sending and receiving Morse Code are different skills. Although related, and learning one helps the other, it is common to be able to send much faster than one can receive. I actually learned to send first, and could pound out 15 per on the straight key before I could copy worth a darn.

One reason is that when you're sending, you know what the message is, and control the pace.

W8AAZ: "It is just like a big green POTS sign that is keeping me from pursueing CW, anymore."

You need to practice receiving more, that's all.

W8AAZ: "One of these days I will get the nerve to work one of the QRS stations I hear from time to time on 40. But I have to work to slow my sending speed to accomodate him, and then sweat the copy."

Practice copying other hams. W1AW, the stuff from the G4FON simulator, etc. 15 to 30 minutes a day, every day.

Soon it will be no sweat at all.

W8AAZ: "As soon as I can get around to restoring a couple novice type boatanchors I have, I will be pretty obligated to go to it. I guess I can use the excuse of no xtals to use below 7.1"

No excuse!

Xtals for the low end are available from a number of sources. Google AF4K for one. Yes, they're more expensive than 40 years ago, but when you adjust for inflation they're not bad.

Or build yourself a VFO. Here are two designs I've built and used that worked well:

1) QST for February 1962 has "An Easy To Build VFO" by W1ICP. I built one years ago using an ARC-5 plate tuning capacitor (with dial). Worked great, plenty of output. The only really rare part is the Miniductor in the oscillator section, you can wind your own coil for the buffer/multiplier.

2) Go to

http://www.mines.uidaho.edu/~glowbugs/arc5pages.htm

and click on

#6

to download the book "Command Sets" in PDF. It's 15 Mb and has lots of info.

On page 87 is the "Low Cost VFO" by W2EWP. Although he used a 3.0 to 4.0 Mc. tx, it's a simple matter to use a 4.0 to 5.3 Mc. one and add padding capacitance to bring it down to 3.5 Mc. at the low end. I made one some years back and it's well worth the effort. I used a 12SK7 and had plenty of output to drive a 6AG7/807 MOPA.

Command set transmitters that have been hacked up go pretty cheap.


73 de Jim, N2EY

 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WB2WIK on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article.

To operate with a new baby in the house, wait until the baby's asleep!

I raised four of them and was never off the air (mostly CW). My operating schedule often revolved around babies' sleep cycles.

My almost-19-year-old (today) when she was a baby could never get to sleep without a rocking motion...this lasted for about a year. Simple solution: I'd latch her into the baby car seat and go for a drive, even at 2 AM or whenever it was. The motion of the car would put her to sleep, and I'd operate mobile.

There are people on at that hour, and I worked some great DX!

WB2WIK/6
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by AB7KT on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The older I get, the more I realize that I am not a person who likes change. Case in point: I started off in ham radio as a novice. My first rig was a TenTec Century 21 and a Nye Viking Master Key. Even after I upgraded through the ranks and bought different radios, real ham radio (to me) was CW using a straight key. I never even really learned to use a keyer and have probably only worked a handful of contacts using a keyer to this day (30+ years later).

Throughout most of my adult life I have not lived in situations that lent themselves to ham radio. So, the vast majority of my activity has been very sporatic portable operation. However, unlike you, I have always been surprised at how much code I retain. It just seems to come back to me even though I was never a high speed op.

Something that really helps me keep current is this program: http://www.rufzxp.net/ Check it out. I have always wanted to be a much better CW op and occasionally start trying to train using this program. It usually only lasts a few days (my training) but it seems to at least allow me to remember the characters. The thing I think is good about this program is that it helps you to recognize the characters without having to think about them. I have found that the less I think, the better my scores. If I just type and don't think about what I am typing, I amaze myself with how well I do.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY just HAD to comment on January 2, 2010:

"KA5EAG writes: "CW may be slow"

N2EY: "The operative words there are "may be"."

No, the REALISTIC words are "it IS slow."
................
N2EY: "But once an op gets some speed and skill, the effective communication rate jumps to where it's close to conversational speech."

Only in your imagination.
................
N2EY: "Listen carefully to how people actually talk, and you'll notice that most people don't really say all that much per unit time. They may talk fast, but there's a lot of redundancy, pausing, "um" and "ah", "y'know", and other things going on too. Voice operating often involves repeats and spelling things out to make them clear."

Perhaps in an office environment where speed in anything is seldom invoked.

Your problem seems to be considering only two environments, amateur radio and common non-radio conversations.

You get a scanner and tune in aircraft radio communications between 118 and 137 MHz. There are many along the east coast. Listen to a TRACON controlling an airways hub area. FAST, EFFICIENT VOICE, done by pilots who have a whole aircraft to control in addition to talking/listening to their radios. Of course, it helps if the casual listener has some idea of the jargon involved since aircraft and airways flying has considerable. As an aside, consider that FAA controllers on the ground, the directors of flight paths, are NOT REQUIRED to hold pilot licenses.

Normal airways voice communications can average out at least 150 WPM, peak at 200 WPM for short bursts. [estimated] Rate depends on airways traffic, weather conditions, area, proximity of other airports, etc. Except for a light-traffic time "good day" from controller of an aircraft leaving a radar departure zone, it is fast, efficient, to the point. Very very little wasted time in talking. Yes, they use phonetic alphabets for some things such as aircraft "tail number" IDs or, for air carriers, the carrier corporation flight number. Saying "November-Two-One-Whiskey" as a "tail number" takes very little time. Anyone can compare it by sending "N21W" on OOK CW at 20 WPM rate. Easy to understand by voice on radio. Same as tower-to-aircraft "cleared to land one-six right, you are number 2 to land," meaning one is cleared for runway 16-right (there is a 16-left, shorter) and there is one other aircraft in the pattern ahead of you." On turning final (lining up on the runway ahead) and you hear "Two-One Wiskey go around!" it is immediately apparent that one aborts a landing since there is some obstruction on the runway or will be quickly. It becomes reflexive to abort, push on more power and climb. Been there, done that.

A scanner can also allow listening to police department radio communication (if a "trunked" receiver is available in areas using trunking) which gets hairy during a pursuit situation on city streets. The partner is calling out intersections to keep the controller aware of their position, advising on his car's condition and the vehicle being pursued, traffic conditions. Gets crowded when other car units are brought in, whether someone ahead has a spike-strip laid and WHERE. It is all rapid-fire VOICE at high rates, clear and concise. Oddly enough it works well and much, much faster than OOK CW. Been there via radio, heard that. It's more interesting (in L.A.) at the Piper Tecnical Center, but you, as so very cognizant of Los Angeles city already knew that, didn't you? :-)

What must be great fun is a telecopter pilot. They have to be aware of FAA air traffic control, have an ear on PD transmissions (different band) and also their TV station engineering radios (another band), glancing at the images from the back-seat cameraman, and talking to the studio live via the TV engineering radio link...all the while using both feet and three arms and hands full with flying a helo and observing everydamnthing close to him in the air. They don't waste any time with "ummms" and "ahhhs" but are clear and concise and fast with voice. It is NATURAL with them...with hardly any special training.

Ah, but that is with OTHER radio services, NOT involved with AMATEUR radio where just anyone can pretend to be faster than a speeding QSO, able to leap tall pile-ups in a single bound! Superham! Code key to the rescue! Doing nothing but exchanging formal info of callsign, WX, and signal strength, maybe some minor data on equipment can be done quickly with hundreds of past repetitions (but not at 80 to 100 WPM). Think about TRUE emergency situations (not a FD contest) where one has to send IN CLEAR some medicinal names CORRECTLY. Some are spelled close to other, different medicines and it could be dangerous to a patient to mix them up. Think that can be done "quicker" by OOK CW than voice, especially in voice done by those who commonly work with such long and involved medinial names...or equipment...or whatever else medical folks use? Hmmm?

Amateur radio is whatever the users want to imagine it is for emergencies. Such as a nice summer day in the park with an outdoor CONTEST station all set out and a cook who has read a QST "field day fuel" recipe double-truck feature. :-)

Oh, yes, I have to remember that "CW" is the "universal language!" Anyone can call East Hamtrailia in southern Asia for emergency assistance via the English-based Morse-Vail International Code! Calling an emergency unit in the next county by VHF voice is soooo mundane.

In 1955 the ICAO mandated English voice as standard on civil airways worldwide with the "NATO" phonetic alphabet to be used for aircraft ID and all cases where pronunciation was required for clarity. That is still the standard 55 years later. Seems to work out just fine. The ICAO doing something wrong? Better let them know what the "REAL universal language" is, right? :-)

AF6AY (indifferent to OOK CW mode and tired of all the morse-forever tirades)
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N4KC wrote on January 2, 2010:

"I know CW is not for everybody, and no one is less a person or a ham for choosing not to learn it. I just don't want anybody to ever think the mode is not worth the effort to learn. Most can learn it, too."

Well, Don, I've not heard any NEW reasons there. Come to think of it, I haven't heard any NEW reasons for about a half century...and I've read a LOT of literature on radio communications from 1952 onwards. <shrug>
...............
N4KC: "You're missing a good part of our hobby if you don't, and KE7WAV, N4KC, and others have noted some great reasons why you should at least try."

From what I've seen on a lot of different amateur radio forums, that "ANYONE who doesn't 'know' code just doesn't have the "right" attitude that THEY have." I've been told "I don't belong" with them. <shrug> Whoooo...is that a NEGATIVE inducement or what?

I've "learned" to use OOK CW twice and both times I didn't much care for it. See, I don't have the "right attitude!" :-)
..................
NK4C: "If you don't care, that's fine. You can lead a horse to water..."

...but you can't make them think?

Others wish to substitute "ASS" for 'horse' in your phrase. :-) Lots and lots of other hams have implied that. I've been told that directly on ham bands. One reason why I seldom turn on my Icom 746Pro and go HF these days. I'd rather turn on my scanner and idly monitor airways traffic in this urban area. More interesting to hear/follow/visualize than to listen to one-sided net groups about their health problems or nothing but amateur subjects.

"Work 'CW'?" Let those who LOVE it play with it. I'm not stopping them. I still think it is "Back to the Future" and uninteresting to me. Neither do I like recreating the past over and over again. Nothing new comes from that. Went to one Rennaisance Pleasure Faire long ago, got tired of that quickly. The only thing good was that the Faire goers had better personal hygiene than the real folks of way back then did. Food of today is a couple quantum jumps better and safer, too. <shrug>

Some of the anti-anti-code crowd are itching to KILL in print on what I've said. :-) Standard Operating Procedure on long-timer ham forums! :-) Must be a LOT of frustrations brewing out there in hammy land. Maybe OOK CW is a psychologic tranquilizer? There we go! Calms the savage breast! Or beast. Whatever.

OOK CW is NOSTALGIA! Good for old folks to remember their much-younger days and their first radio learning. They IMAGINE they were just oh, so the best, back then, so eager, so all things that others should be. Back to the not-quite-pioneering days of yore (wherever that was). Pull out the paddles and that electronic keyer and "recreate" them! Yes, conveniently forgetting that electronic keyers didn't come along until they were no longer young. :-) But, they are "young" NOW. In their minds. And everyone else is of the same era as they! Not true but we have to humor them...they won't want to humor us. <shrug>

Like I said, let those who LOVE OOK CW enjoy it. I'm not stopping them. But why are they all so dead-set on making me "enjoy" what I don't enjoy?

73, Len AF6AY
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WK5X on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I can't imagine a person attempting to be a serious DXer without knowledge of the code, especially with a modestly equipped station. You can do so much more with the code than you can with a microphone, especially if you're trying to work that elusive JT1 over-the-pole on 160 Meters.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by AB7KT on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"Like I said, let those who LOVE OOK CW enjoy it. I'm not stopping them. But why are they all so dead-set on making me "enjoy" what I don't enjoy? "



You seem to enjoy responding to threads about it.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WB2WIK on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
No reason (anymore) to force yourself to like code.

But it's sure efficient.

Using abbreviations as most of us do, 55 wpm of code is equivalent to about 200 wpm of speech, which is as fast as most people can speak.

Knw wht I mn? I mn CW cn b rly fstr tn mst ppl cn imagn.

In th ARRL CW SS I cn mk more QSOs in ls tim tn I cn on fon, es wid ls pwr.

4 ths who dnt tri it thd hv no id.
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KB2DHG on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article...
It was the winter of 2004 for me, After hearing that no code was here. I decided to break out my key and get back into CW. CW was never my favorate or used mode. I had to learn it in order to pass my exams.
I remember how hard it was for me and being so hard I never wanted to loose it. But I did and in 04 had to learn it all over again. Every year since I was licensed I made a resolution to try or do something new or different in Amateur Radio. In 2004 I vowed to get back into CW. Today CW is my most used mode. I find it exciting and a challenge. I never would have thought that CW would be a passion and love of mine. It is... I really love CW!
A long time agao when I was having trouble learnig the code an elmer explained to me that with time and lots of work one day you will notice that you will no longer be hearing dits and dahs but actual letters and even words. He was right! That is exactly what has happend to me. Now I am not a fast CW operator 10-18 WPM at best but I have many QSO's and enjoy a good CW chat.
I reccomend to ALL amateurs, learn the code and use it. You won't be disapointed.
REMEMBER...
IF YOU DON'T KNOW CW
YOU DON'T KNOW DIT!
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N4KC writes: "a similar one published here in 2008, and it got lots of pro/con comments:

http://www.eham.net/articles/19366 or at

www.n4kc.com"

I remember that one! It was a very good article - thanks Don.

N4KC: "You're missing a good part of our hobby if you don't, and KE7WAV, N4KC, and others have noted some great reasons why you should at least try."

Yep.

There's another side to all this, though.

It used to be that everybody who wanted a US amateur license had to learn Morse Code at least at the basic, beginner level of 5 wpm, sending and receiving, just to get the license. So every ham had at least a basic introduction to the mode. Amateurs who sought full privileges had to learn it at a bit higher level, so they knew its usefulness from direct experience.

But over time that testing was reduced, simplified and finally eliminated. Which meant new amateurs no longer got that introduction.

So it's a natural and good thing that those of us who love Morse Code and want its use to continue will do what we can to publicize and promote the mode. Articles like this one and yours are one way to do that. (I have a list of Ten Ways, which is easily found by googling my call and "Ten Ways").

Throughout the history of amateur radio, folks with an interest in a particular segment of it have done all sorts of things to publicize it and promote it. SSB, FM, satellites, packet, RTTY, APRS, PSK31, SDR, etc., etc. - you name it, and if hams do it, at least some of them are promoting and publicizing it. That doesn't mean everybody has to do it or like it, but at least they'll be aware of it.

Which is a Good Thing.

73 de Jim, N2EY





If you don't care, that's fine. You can lead a horse to water...

73,
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KB2DHG on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The very BEST FREE download CW trainer is
JUST LEARN MORSE CODE.
If you google JUST LEARN MORSE CODE down load it and I garentee you will be operating fine in 2 weeks!
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK writes: "But it's sure efficient.

Using abbreviations as most of us do, 55 wpm of code is equivalent to about 200 wpm of speech, which is as fast as most people can speak."

True enough. But it's only part of the story.

Most people can't *think* that fast. It's one thing to be able to, say, recite a known phrase or read prepared text at a high rate of speed, and a very different thing to think and talk that fast. Record and transcribe people having real conversations without a prepared script and you'll see the communications rate is a lot slower than 200 wpm.

WB2WIK: "Knw wht I mn? I mn CW cn b rly fstr tn mst ppl cn imagn."

R

bt tt tkes sklld ops

What happens when ops get really good is that they begin to *think* in Morse Code. I'm sure you know what I mean - when you hear your call, you don't hear WB2WIK as dots and dashes or even letters. Instead you hear the combination and just know it means you. Same for sending; you don't think about the individual characters or letters, you just think about what you want to say and you just know how to move the paddle to send it.

WB2WIK: "In th ARRL CW SS I cn mk more QSOs in ls tim tn I cn on fon, es wid ls pwr."

Same here. On Field Day, with the local club, our single CW station usually racks up more points than the rest of the operation (typically 3 or 4 'phone stations, plus data). Usually we are pretty close on total QSOs, too.

This is true even though the 'phone folks have newer and fancier rigs, more operators per rig, and typically use both an operator and a logger.

Morse Code is unique in another way: it's a mode that is neither text nor voice. Sending usually doesn't involve a keyboard, and receiving doesn't involve reading a screen.

How many other modes let you have a conversation with your eyes closed and without speaking?

WB2WIK: "4 ths who dnt tri it thd hv no id."

Of course not.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N7KFD on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
There are several online clubs that promote the use of CW. Straight Key Century Club (SKCC), North American QRP CW Club (NAQCC), FISTS and Flying Pigs to name a few. Theses clubs sponsor monthly sprints and other on air activities that are fun and help build your proficiency. If you send a call at 5 WMP someone will answer and match your speed, you won't feel uncomfortable working any of these ops. SKCC has a sched site (http://www.obriensweb.com/sked/index.html) where members log on to setup scheds to make contacts for the purpose of exchanging membership numbers for awards. NAQCC offers prizes for the winner of their on air activities.

If you want to use and get better at CW, and have fun while meeting other hams at the same time, look at one or more of these clubs and start getting active! Tell 'em I sent ya.

Jim
N7KFD
SKCC 3659
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WK5X wrote on January 2, 2010:

"I can't imagine a person attempting to be a serious DXer without knowledge of the code, especially with a modestly equipped station. You can do so much more with the code than you can with a microphone, especially if you're trying to work that elusive JT1 over-the-pole on 160 Meters."

Good point. One exception is that I never had a personal desire to "do DX" or even to "do contesting." :-)

What then?

73, Len AF6AY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK twittered on January 2, 2010:

"Knw wht I mn? I mn CW cn b rly fstr tn mst ppl cn imagn. In th ARRL CW SS I cn mk more QSOs in ls tim tn I cn on fon, es wid ls pwr. 4 ths who dnt tri it thd hv no id."

Hmmm...first the balloon boy thing and now Katz is trying for a Raality Show audition on Jay Leno for another "morse meet"?

Tweet, tweet...
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by QRZDXR2 on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Congrats on getting back into CW.

Several things most don't need to really need... You only need a good radio that has a BFO... today we use filters.. but old radios with BFOs still work as the CW, while only a couple cycles wide, are not that piled up on frequency.

Two.... Old radios work. You don't need the newest and best radio to work CW. Some of the old Heathkits DX 60 or some of the other tube type cw transmitters/recievers will be good rigs.

Three... you don't need a bright new .. complex key...

Four... have fun doing it.. after all its a hobby.. and while most ATTACK... one should really relax and have a great time.. as one can still build transmitters... etc which will work world wide. (but remember QRP is low power... and takes more time)
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WD9FUM on January 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I've tried just about every mode and I still enjoy CW because IMHO, it's just plain fun.

For those of us who enjoy CW, fine. Let's continue to enjoy it.

For those who enjoy other modes, let them enjoy other modes.

Happy New Year to all and enjoy amateur radio.
 
Online Resources for Morse Code Ops  
by N2EY on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
All links found by Google; all work:

CW Operators Club:

http://www.cwops.org/

--

International Morse Preservation Society, aka FISTS:

http://www.fists.org/

--

Straight Key Century Club, aka SKCC:

http://www.skccgroup.com/

--

G4FON site:

http://www.g4fon.net/

--

Art and Skill of Radiotelegraphy (electronic book, free for the download):

http://www.qsl.net/n9bor/n0hff.htm

(there are several other download sites)

--

Vibroplex:

http://www.vibroplex.com/

--

Morse Express:

http://www.mtechnologies.com/

--

73 de Jim, N2EY


 
RE: Online Resources for Morse Code Ops  
by KA5ROW on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I earned my General license 13 WPM. But l learned the code for the sole purpose to use phone on HF, and I have not used it sense. It served it's purpose for me and gave me the privilege to talk. I do believe that a requirement of at least 5 WPM should have been kept just to keep out the undesirables mostly CB'ers who have brought there bad habits into ham radio.
 
RE: Online Resources for Morse Code Ops  
by KB2DHG on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I also agree with keeping a code test. My Idea is to make the code test 8-10 words per minute for the EXTRA CLASS.
Being a ham for over 25 years and an SWL for longer. I do see a decline in courtious Operators... I don't contrubute it to CB'ers as much as we all have become less courtious these days. I pride myself as a good courtious operator and hope that we all will try to be better citizens not only on the air but when abroad in everyday life.
Lets all make it a better life to live.
As far as CW goes, I happen to love it but no matter what mode you choose to use or what ever you do in Amateur Radio, the bottom line is keep the bands alive and simply enjoy this wonderful hobby!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
QRZDXR2 writes: "You only need a good radio that has a BFO... today we use filters.. but old radios with BFOs still work as the CW, while only a couple cycles wide, are not that piled up on frequency."

Yes, you can use a very simple setup for CW. I know, I've done it, from the two-tube regenerative set upwards.

But if someone is going to use a "modern" rig anyway, it's a very good idea to invest a few more dollars in a good IF filter.

Remember that in this sunspot minimum bands like 80 and 40 are likely to be very busy, making a selective receiver more necessary. The non-phone parts of those bands were recently reduced in size, crowding the CW ops, the data-mode ops and the foreign-phone ops into less space.

QRZDXR2:"Old radios work. You don't need the newest and best radio to work CW. Some of the old Heathkits DX 60 or some of the other tube type cw transmitters/recievers will be good rigs."

Yes, they will. For example, the Heath HW-16 transmitter-receiver does a very good job, has all the needed features and no frills.

I suspect that one of the real reasons some folks don't use CW is that they've tried it on rigs that didn't do the mode very well, which made it a lot harder than it needs to be.

CW with a rig meant for the mode is a very different experience from CW with a rig not really meant for it.

QRZDXR2: "you don't need a bright new .. complex key..."

Very true - but you do need a good one! How it works is more important than how it looks.

(I'm still using my 1974 Vibroplex Original Standard, and my WW2 surplus J-37)

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WK5X on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I wonder if AF6AY's mommy used to beat him with a straight key when he was a little boy. This thread began as one amateur expressing the enjoyment he derives from using the code. Others followed with their stories of learning and enjoying the code. No one, in any way, bashed anyone who chooses not to communicate via Morse Code. I wonder how much sleep this guy loses every night, afraid that someone, somewhere, might be using and enjoying the code.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KE7WAV on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry I wanted to thank kf7atl for helping get back into CW. Tnx fer all of the great feedback everyone!
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N4QA on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the great article and for the civil discourse you guys.
I'll wager that *no one* ever picked up a telegraph key for the very first time and became instantly proficient in its use. So, take heart...if anyone can do it, *anyone* can do it!
Say, who opened the DX faucet on 20m today?
Using my old Lionel J-38 straight key and running 2 watts CW from the Small Wonder Labs DSW-20 to one of our home's downspouts, worked SKCC special event station K3Y/KL7 on 14049 KHz this afternoon. Big signals from Alaska!
Also heard S9+ 20m CW signals from 9J2BO in Zambia and JQ2GYU in Japan.
So what if this winter's severe wx took down my main antenna?
Conditions are looking up, my friends. ENJOY!
72,
Bill, N4QA
 
RE: Online Resources for Morse Code Ops  
by WB2WIK on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
>Online Resources for Morse Code Ops Reply
by N2EY on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
All links found by Google; all work:
Art and Skill of Radiotelegraphy (electronic book, free for the download):

http://www.qsl.net/n9bor/n0hff.htm<

::That's a really good one. I contributed to that book and regaled readers with a real-life story about my own nephew who went from zero to 20 wpm code proficiency (including sending very well, and making thousands of CW contacts) in just a few weeks, despite having Cerebral Palsy. I was his "trainer," and it was the easiest job I've ever had.

I brought Rob to Field Day with the Conejo Valley ARC years ago and he worked one of the CW stations...to death...making hundreds of contacts with no logger, no help, just him. The next FD rolled around and everybody in the club asked me, "Can you bring Rob again?"

I encourage anyone with the slightest interest in code to read this book, and it's "free."

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WK5X, personally offended, wrote on 3 January 2010:

"I wonder if AF6AY's mommy used to beat him with a straight key when he was a little boy."

My mother, God rest her soul, never beat me with anything. She died in early 2001 aged 93.
...............
WK5X: "This thread began as one amateur expressing the enjoyment he derives from using the code. Others followed with their stories of learning and enjoying the code. No one, in any way, bashed anyone who chooses not to communicate via Morse Code."

Tsk, tsk, tsk, If my post "bashed" anyone then all they have is a wounded ego, isn't it?

Conveniently forgotten is thousands of CW-lovers BASHING those who did not care for the morse code test for a USA amateur radio license exam for YEARS in various amateur radio venues prior to December 2006. It is well documented.

I've said in 1998 as well as 2008 that those who enjoy OOK CW radiotelegraphy should continue to enjoy it. [that is also documented] I still feel that way in 2010. Where I draw my line is about all those who insist that OOK CW radiotelegraphy *IS* amateur radio and that all licensees in the USA amateur radio service "should" know it. A few have demanded it. Many have been strident about it.

The matter of code testing elimination from USA amateur radio service regulations was discussed in detail on Comments and Replies to Comments on NPRM 05-235. The official period of commentary ended on 14 Nov 05. [anyone can find a tally, week by week, of comments on an exhibit sent on 25 Nov 05 under docket 05-235] By December 19, 2006, the FCC issued Memorandum Report and Order 06-178 that announced all USA amateur radio code testing was eliminated, effective date to be announced in the Federal Register. That date was published as 23 Feb 07.

If you wish to "counter-bash" me on my comments about NPRM 05-235, they are all there for public access at the FCC ECFS (Electronic Comment Filing System). Just use the new ECFS search and enter the docket number (05-235) and my name (Leonard H. Anderson) in the appropriate boxes, then click on the search button. All those documents will appear in a list and you are free to choose any or all for viewing. You can even download them or anyone else's for archival purposes as you wish; they are all in Adobe Acrobat PDF but the FCC provides a link for obtaining a FREE Acrobat reader.

But, I'm not going to argue the PAST documents that are on public view. That's already been done ad nauseum by others. That would have no purpose except to satisfy certain angry egos over the code test issue. The FCC has made its case in R&O 06-178 with detailed explanations of the how and why of decisions arrived. One thing made perfectly clear by the FCC was that International Morse Code operation by ANY radio amateur was free and OPTIONAL to any licensee wherever allocated. Morse code operation REMAINS the widest-allowed mode on all USA amateur bands with the exception of the five channels in the "60m band." Virtually NOTHING was "taken away" from USA amateur radio insofar as operation of OOK CW radiotelegraphy by FCC 06-178. OOK CW radiotelegraphy remains in-place as of 3 January 2003 just as it was the year before or the year after that.

There were three Petitions for Reconsideration made and published on docket 05-235, the latest being the "Mancuso Petition." All were denied by the FCC as not fitting their regulatory purpose. Those are also available on public view. ANYONE, licensed or not, is permitted to submit another Petition for Reconsideration on FCC 06-178. If your case is good (i.e., present your points clearly and effectively), the FCC will consider it and put it up for public comment. That is any citizen's OPTION. In United States government, "Option is not a failure" (to paraphrase NASA flight director Gene Kranz).

However, in the MINDS of many long-timers in USA amateur radio, there are NO OPTIONS. Everyone MUST
do as they say and enjoy what they say one should enjoy. I consider that wrong and dictatorial. Is
that "wrong?"
.................
WK5X: "I wonder how much sleep this guy loses every night, afraid that someone, somewhere, might be
using and enjoying the code."

Absolutely none.

I feel that ANYONE who is licensed in a radio service should enjoy whatever OPTIONS they are given in that radio service's lawful regulations. USA amateur radio service gives many, many, many OPTIONS that can be freely exercised by every licensee. I think that is excellent, one more good reason to be an American.

I no more "lost sleep" over that allegation than I have over the insistence of certain amateur long-timers that I "should" do what they say or "not be a 'real' ham." I am a legally-licensed USA radio amateur and so declared by the United States government. I have also been a legally-licensed
Commercial operator since 1956 (54 years ago come March, now Lifetime), a casual electronics experimenter since 1947, a veteran of voluntary enlistment in the United States Army (1952-1960),
and a career electronics design engineer, retired only from regular hours. I can supply several other bona fides of radio-electronics experience but, from the attitude you presented, you probably just dismiss them as "non-applicable to amateur radio" even though the Laws of Physics are the same for all radio. :-)

As to what N2EY often asks (in a challenging way) "Did you ever TRY it?" :-) Yes, I have, more than once. I found it was not for me.

There is a curious "Love-Hate" relationship that many USA long-timers have about their radio hobby: One has to have an absolute love of "CW" or one must have an absolute hate of "CW." I do not see that nor embrace either. Since USA amateur radio yields its licensees many, many OPTIONS on modes and modulations, I am of the opinion that any licensee can use whatever they want at their own option. Or do you think that is just "too much" for us "dumb, ignorant, newcomers" who supposedly "traded cereal box tops for a radio license?" Hmmm?

One test session cost $14 in 2007, the amount of an ARRL VEC test fee...no "box tops" were accepted
(the VE team leader said so), but I digress. :-)

Happy New Year to all who wish to enjoy their radio hobby as they personally see fit,

Len, AF6AY
 
Signal to Noise Ratio  
by N2EY on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The online environment sometimes emulates radio in that the signal (good discussion) is mixed with noise and spurs (trolling posts). The key is to identify the noise sources (trolls) and filter them out.

A classic troll-move is to post something that seems plausible but is inaccurate, misleading or just plain untrue. Those who know the facts then correct the mistake, the troll responds with more inaccuracies, arguments and insults, and the cycle continues. Usually the bait is subtle but obvious to those who know the facts.

However, the troll doesn't care about the truth at all. What the troll cares about is attention and the opportunity to insult and anger others. The responders DO care about the truth, and keep trying to set the record straight and concentrate on the facts. Which is exactly what the troll wants, and it keeps the game going.

The troll will use various logical fallacies to keep the responses coming. Common ones are the Appeal to Authority, Presuming the Conclusion, Opinion as Fact, Ad Hominem, Argument from Verbosity, misquoting, and various semantic games, but there are many others.

The solution in all cases is to simply ignore the trolls completely and not take the bait. Filter out the noise and concentrate on the signal.

You can tell when a troll is getting desperate when the inaccuracies turn to flat out lies that are easily disproved and the insults become personal and obvious.

A classic case of troll-desperation is when a troll falsely claims that someone else said or did a certain bad thing. Or that the troll did a certain good thing in the past. No proof is given, no links, no verifiable evidence, just the claims, which are of course false.

Someone will usually respond with some variation of "Prove it!" or "Post a link!", knowing that the troll cannot prove an event that never happened. The troll then ignores the response, mocks it, and/or makes more false claims, all of which keeps the game going. Remember, the troll doesn't care about the truth at all, only about the attention. The "Prove it!" response is attention, which is exactly what the troll wants.

The only way to win is not to play. Then the online environment becomes a pleasure. I've learned a lot here from non-trolls by concentrating on the signal and ignoring the noise.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Another online resource for Morse Code ops  
by N2EY on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Just found out about this one (TNX K0HB)

http://www.morsecode.nl/index2.html

Lotsa info, links, downloads, and more.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Another online resource for Morse Code ops  
by QRZDXR2 on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
yEP Yep... I would like to see the ARRL/FCC set aside a section of at least the 40 mtr band for low speed CW.. i.e newbies... as it was when they had the novice section.

It would be the playground for all new hams wanting to start out learning CW.

Also I think it a good idea to also have set freq's for the QRP and QRP DX CW ONLY. (AS ALSO SHOULD BE FOR THE RTTY/OTHERS. (you get real tired of some guy trying to use PSK right on top of a QRP CW DX... It could be a set frequency with a +/- 5kc.

Ok I'll quit whin'n now. but, it would be nice to have some freq set aside for the use only of identified frequencies.

Then again everyone knows that CW is not a valid reqirement any more, even though the US army and rest of our services are now going back to teach it. ( Pilots need to know code to have positve identification of the electronic nav aid. <grin>

73's DX on...
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by W8LGZ on January 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
AF6AY said:
Good point. One exception is that I never had a personal desire to "do DX" or even to "do contesting." :-)


Well Len (or whoever you are), per the FCC you are not allowed to do ANYTHING on the amateur bands. As of the time of this post, the call AF6AY is not issued to anyone. Here is copy & paste from FCC search site:

Specified Search
Call Sign like AF6AY
No matches found To try again, you can perform a new search or refine your existing search.

You know what I get tired of? I get tired of folks with NO call coming on here trolling.

Jim - W8LGZ
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K9ZMD on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Anderson, Leonard H, AF6AY (Extra)
10048 Lanark St
Sun Valley, CA 91352
Licensee ID: L01253990
FRN: 0003717469
Issue Date: Mar 07, 2007
Expire Date: Mar 07, 2017
Date of last Change: Mar 07, 2007
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WS4T on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the article.

The ARRL has a huge amount of code resources online if you need to practice:
http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/morse/Archive/

I'm also trying to work on higher speeds so I'll be ready for a sprint. I found this page and it is useful for high-speed practice:
http://www.kkn.net/~k5tr/audio/sprint_practice/
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Last night I fired up the Southgate Type 7 on 40 and answered a CQ. 4th CW QSO of the new year for me.

Had a great chat with a ham in 1-land. We were both running homebrew rigs and wire antennas, both were 599 solid copy. Didn't go fast, maybe 25 wpm. (Vibroplexes don't have speedometers). With the usual abbreviations, a good conversational speed.

Can say a lot in 30 minutes when you don't use ten words to do the job of one.

Nothing earth-shattering or revolutionary, just a good QSO.

And I made a new friend. That's what it's really all about.

How many good QSOs will you have in 2010? How many new friends will you make?

73 es BCNU de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KG4TKC on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks to KE7WAV for a nice well written article about his personal experiences. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Also thanks to N2EY for the links to websites,especially the last one,as that was a new one for me. It seems like a really fine one. Also many thanks for the post on internet noise and noise filtering and signal passing when using the internet,that is a must read,,:) It should be posted on several of the discussions on eham,,:)

73 es GL-KG4TKC
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KC2TKD on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The biggest problem I have copying code is someones call sign. For some reason many of us may send at 15WPM and then send the call at some blazing speed or send all of the letters together with no apparent spacing. I have to admit that I am guilty of that myself sometimes.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K7GLM on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Seems there is an apology in order from someone here.

Man enough?
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K9ZMD posted on 4 Jan 09 in regards to an alleged "invisible" callsign:
-----------------------------------
Anderson, Leonard H, AF6AY (Extra)
10048 Lanark St
Sun Valley, CA 91352
Licensee ID: L01253990
FRN: 0003717469
Issue Date: Mar 07, 2007
Expire Date: Mar 07, 2017
Date of last Change: Mar 07, 2007
-----------------------------------
Thank you very much, Gary. You know how to use the ULS search function properly.

For the benefit of others, the FCC website is not designed to serve only amateurs, but rather ALL licensees of all radio services. Going to the little search box at the upper left of the screen of any Bureau page and typing in just an amateur callsign will return the "nothing found" prompt. I did that with "W8LGZ" and got the same thing. :-)

Going FURTHER on search into the ULS results in a multiple-kind search entry box OR a selection of radio services such as "amateur." Clicking on the blue callsign displayed in that lasting gets into detail of licensing history at the FCC for that call. Example:

Spragg, Jimmie J. W8LGZ (Extra)
14180 State Route 37 East
Sunbury, OH 43074
FRN 0003244076
Group C
Previous callsign KA8LGF (modified 05/05/2009)
------------------------------------
While the FCC was created in 1934, its on-line Internet information on ALL radio service licenses is not a complete history before about 1990. That varies depending on the amount of internal FCC updating work alloted and for various radio services. However, the ULS is convenient for checking any current or pending changes and will display that to anyone accessing the system. Log-In is not required for such access but IS required to change anything on a specific FRN-with-password registration...just for that FRN number associated, individual licensee or trustee of a club call.

As an example of past history, I looked up the status of my General Radiotelephone (Commercial) license and it is in the ULS as of 1985 but it is Lifetime requiring no renewal. [it began in 1956 as a First Class Radiotelephone (Commercial) license] I retain all received licenses from the FCC and have digitized them for backup safekeeping and for the instances in newsgroups and forums where someone says I am "lying." :-) It is surprising that a very few will still should "LIE" after I've sent them a copy in private e-mail as an attachment! :-)

As to checking anyone's bona fides none of us can be absolutely, positively certain about anyone over the Internet without certain other safeguards such as PGP keys or the information retained by banking institutions, some of which requires verification on each log-in. My wife (and also my high school sweetheart) knows me, at least a hundred other high school classmates knows (and knew) both of us even 50 years later, the FCC databases used by the ARRL, QRZ, and Hamdata all have me listed there, AES and HRO both have records of my purchases of amateur equipment, even e-ham should have records of the fact that I was a paying member for two years, also the ARRL for the same period. The QRZ website aerial photo can show my house...except that the service doesn't point to the correct one that I've lived in for almost 47 years. :-)

I can name many other data sources and agencies of governments for verification just off the top of my head, even the FBI! They won't have data on my amateur radio license grants, though a full background check might inquire of the FCC or the FAA or a number of alphabet soup agencies. Using just a radio, any mode, ANYONE can try impersonating another and using a phony callsign. That can't be verified unless the other end of the circuit personally knows that callsign user. Its been done. I've been accused of that twice on the air, both times by those who didn't realize that a call beginning with an "A" was legitimate! Made me skeptical about this USA amateur radio service. :-)

Back to the glorification of the morse code mode...

73, Len AF6AY
 
RE: Another online resource for Morse Code ops  
by K6LHA on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"QRZDXR2" (a definite invisible pseudonym) posted on January 3, 2010:

"Then again everyone knows that CW is not a valid reqirement any more, even though the US army and rest of our services are now going back to teach it. ( Pilots need to know code to have positve identification of the electronic nav aid. <grin> "

Wrong. Old information, no longer valid.

In USA civil radio regulation territory, the only radio services allocating morse code are the amateur radio service and the maritime radio service. In maritime radio the use of OOK CW is required only on specific bodies of water such as the Great Lakes. Ports, harbors, inland waterways require VHF voice. [argue all you want with any harbormaster, but that is what is required]

Years ago the maritime community adopted SSB voice and TORs (Teleprinter Over Radio) for long-distance deep-water communications on HF. OOK CW skill is no longer required for the International Distress and Safety frequency of 500 KHz since the maritime community uses GMDSS (Global Marine Distress and Safety System) communicating on microwave with Inmarsats. The US Coast Guard ceased monitoring of 500 KHz back in 1999. The FCC does have several licenses explicitly for GMDSS operation, a system that does not require any radiotelegraphy skills. See Part 2, Title 47 C.F.R. for details.

Unless there has been some very special news in the Signal Corps "Communicator" magazine or in the AFCEA journal (Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association), tactical and strategic communications in the United States Army does NOT teach OOK CW at the Signal School in Fort Gordon, GA. There is only one school for morse code cognition and that is for Military Intercept operators at Fort Huachuca, AZ. M.I. Intercept operators do ONLY PASSIVE, receive-only operation for the purposes of intelligence gathering about others (not an NSA directed task). Fort Huachuca is also the center for all US government teaching of morse code. Commercial computer program training is used in classrooms. Other military branches have a few remote sites for that, all under the Army M.I. command structure.

As of 1984 the only manual radiotelegraphy equipment or radio equipment capable of being used with OOK CW were all old-inventory types, kept because they had not yet been declared obsolete and put up for surplus auctions. As of then, all shown in FM 24-24, a descriptive catalog of Signal equipments, the fabled "behind-the-lines" radios in current inventory used VHF-UHF sets with data or voice, scrambled or in-clear (selectable) terminals. One had the "chiclet" keyboard for data mode for compactness, well before the first appearance of civilian thin notebook computers. Present-day land forces radios use the SINCGARS family (frequency-hopping digital voice/data) for small-unit operations, higher-power mobile and fixed field SINCGARS-compatible for larger units. That applies to both USA and USMC field operations, includes the big-3 of infantry, artillery, and armor, all with air support as needed.

On civil airways, morse code cognition was NOT required for general aviation pilot licenses as far back as 1963. I passed my written exam and have the FAA reply indicating that. At that time all "sectional" and "enroute" aviation charts (Maps) had radionavigation information printed on them alongside their radionav ground station locations. On sectional charts the info box included the dot-dash pattern of the audio tone ID for VORs (Vhf Omnidirectional radio Range), the primary radionav aid on civil airways. The pre-WWII "A-N" beacons had become artifacts at the end of WWII; why they are still found (as some claim) nowadys is a mystery to me. Almost a half century ago, navigating by VOR and its simple direction indicator in the cockpit was THE standard taught in flight schools. The audio tone ID is still there in USA VORs and VORTACs but only because the clever design of VOR systems allows a simultaneous voice transmission by a nearby tower, all without disturbing the bearing information...and the ultra-simple ID keyer is so long-lasting (even as an artifact that could be removed without loss of function). When a tower transmission is used over a VOR or VORTAC, the ID goes silent since the ID is also in the controller's speech.

Reptitions of old, obsolete information does no good to spur interest in OOK CW radiotelegraphy. Concentration should be on the hobby use in amateur radio, for some to have fun with it if they so choose.

73, Len AF6AY (a real, bona fide amateur radio licensee since 7 Mar 07)
 
Which is faster?  
by N2EY on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Couple of years ago, when Jay Leno was on late at night, he did this test of texting vs. Morse Code:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80519289/

Some things to note:

- The young man doing the texting was the *world record holder* at the time, and is in the Guinness Book of World Records. (Look him up in wikipedia).

- The Morse Code ops were going less than 30 wpm, which is only about 40% of world-record speed.

- None of them are actors and there was no fakery of any kind.

- Anyone familiar with the text world-record speed would know that it does not approach the Morse world record speed, and that good Morse ops could easily defeat any texter. Jay Leno knew this too, but does not tip his hand.

- The Morse Code receiving op wrote the message down, the texters didn't.

- Neither Morse op seems to be in a hurry or under any pressure, yet they were done before the texter was finished sending.

- The Morse Code ops did not use any abbreviations; every letter of the message was sent, received and written down. They difference would have been even greater had they used common abbreviations (I jst svd a bnch of muny on mi car insrnce"

- Most of all, the audience and the lady Jay Leno picks are so sure that the texter will win, probably because their inexperience causes them to think Morse Code is "slow". The truth is quite the opposite.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Which is faster?  
by N0NB on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
For those looking to learn or improve their Morse skills, there is no need to install or buy software. An excellent website for just that purpose is:

http://lwco.net

Best of all, it's entirely free and available from any Web browser. Have fun!

- Nate SKCC 6225
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N0NB on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Mention was made in the comments about wanting the FCC to set aside a specific segment for slow speed code on 40m. There is really no need for any sort of action like this (besides, what is slow to one may be blazing fast to another) as half of the old 40m Novice band is still there waiting for you to use it!

The segment of 7.100 to 7.125 MHz still has some slow code activity. SKCC has chosen 7.114 MHz as its "Elmer" frequency and other SKCC activity can be found in that segment as well. However this segment isn't limited to straight keys or slow code. These days it is mostly devoid of broadcasting and the digital ops didn't even venture above 7.100 MHz during the recent RYRU. With few others using this segment, use it!

40m is one of our better all-around bands and this segment is available to all US licensed amateurs, so enjoy it.
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NG9D on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Bug + QRP kit = CW fun

http://www.youtube.com/user/NG9D#p/u/0/w0-eX9iZrdk

73 . .
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by W8LGZ on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
My apologies, Len. However, I've never had a problem with not finding a call in the FCC database before. No hard feelings?

For K7GLM: Yes, I am thank you.

Jim - W8LGZ
 
RE: Which is faster?  
by K6LHA on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY once again thinks the Tonight Show is 'reality,' writing on January 4, 2010:

"Couple of years ago, when Jay Leno was on late at night, he did this test of texting vs. Morse Code: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80519289/"

That had to be at least 3 years ago, judging by the amount of black in Leno's hair versus now. :-)
That video clip is exactly 1 minute and 31 seconds long based on a full clip taken directly from a Tonight Show recording. It was NOT some "test" AS IF it was a "real" test. :-)

Reality check: The Tonight Show (with Jay Leno or the late, beloved Johnny Carson) was about ENTERTAINMENT. EVERYTHING about the content of that show is done for that specific purpose. EVERY act is 'scripted' for time and all entertainers are timed literally to the second during their rehearsal run-throughs. Timing is everything so that all paid-for commercials get their full purchased time...which pays the network (NBC at that time) and the production corporation... standard broadcasting operating practices then and now.

Note: The CWOPS were wearing identical costumes, white shirt, black bow tie, sleeve garters, eye shades, black vest, black pants. The Texters were in casual wear (jeans, ordinary shirt). I've never known a single CW Op to wear those COSTUMES while sending/receiving code in any radio service of the last several decades...unless it was for "show." That was visually obvious to emphasize the OLDNESS of the telegraphy mode (USA commercial telegraphy began in 1844, 166 years ago). TV is primarily a VISUAL medium hence the COSTUMES and placement of the CWOPS towards the audience.

The setting on the studio stage was just two tables with the CWOPS using what looked to be small VHF transceivers with short covered antennas; it could have been a pair of QRP sets although that belied the short antenna. On the video clip there is not enough detail to tell the exact make or model. The Texters had NO equipment, not even paper pads or pencils as had the CWOPS. Of course with modern cell phones of 3 to 4 years ago, incoming data is stored internally, can be read out quickly, don't need any external memory storage things.
....................
N2EY: "The Morse Code ops were going less than 30 wpm, which is only about 40% of world-record speed."

Irrelevant. This was not a "test," it was an entertainment exhibition done primarily to show up Texters who were considered fadists and generally objects of derogatory fun to many comedians 3 to 4 years ago. It was the usual Leno brittle 'fun' often used to spotlight things he (as boss of the show) thought were 'fun.' In the entertainment industry, Letterman (on CBS) is considered even more caustic and 'brittle' about many things; that may be why he was only #2 in Nielsen ratings for the 11:30 starting time slot for the both shows then. The Tonight Show usually "took air" at 11:35 PM local in the old format.

Now, all things considered, Texting is NOT done commercially to carry real information. Texting is done for fun for those who do it, primarily by adolescents. It has spread to young adults and morphed into "Twittering." There was absolutely NO comparison on the old Leno format Tonight Show, NO "testing" OF ANY WELL-KNOWN DATA OR VOICE MEANS OF COMMUNICATION. It was entirely to compare, for entertainment purposes, the OLD morse code as sent/received by costumed fifty-somethings (by appearance of faces) versus casually-dressed young twentysomethings.

From the bad audio of the video clip I have, the "test" sentence was as follows:

I could have saved a bundle on my car insurance.

That is what I understand from the CWOP receiver, reading from his notepad. The TV cameras did not focus on the notepad NOR the paper that supposedly had the "test" sentence. Using the seconds display of our smallest radio clock, I timed the start and end of "testing" at 21 seconds. That was from Chip Margellli's (K7JA) fingers beginning to twitch on his bug paddles to the receiver holding up his hand.

Speaking the same sentence in a clear, distinct voice took me only 4 seconds.

Slow to moderate keyboard typing the same sentence took me 18 seconds. I can touch-type in cruise rates of 40 to 50 WPM, burst type at better than 80 WPM equivalent.

Since our only cell phone here has no alphanumeric keyboard, I could not repeat any "Texting" test.
.........................
N2EY: "None of them are actors and there was no fakery of any kind."

GET REAL, Jimmie. The Tonight Show was ALL ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT. Such shows are STAGED and TIMED (and usually rehearsed) to fit EVERYTHING into the show's time slot. It may LOOK to the casual viewer as unrehearsed and ad-lib, but hardly any of it is so. That is the illusion of show business. Had you ever attended a Tonight Show, you would have seen at least one of the line producers talking to audience guests (all along aisle seats, by the way) before taping, requesting them to say certain words prior to Leno going up into the audience for those 'spontaneous
interviews.' Those are PLANNED ahead of time.
........................
N2EY: "Anyone familiar with the text world-record speed would know that it does not approach the Morse world record speed, and that good Morse ops could easily defeat any texter."

In your fevered imagination. :-)

N2EY: "Jay Leno knew this too, but does not tip his hand."

BS. Jimmie, I've personally known two different staffers on the Tonight Show (for Carson's and for
Leno's early late-night period). I live only 3 to 4 miles away from NBC West Coast Hq and studios on Alameda Avenue which crosses Hollywood Way. Check your Mapquest. Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world. With the movement of aerospace corporations to other states (for better income tax benefits), the biggest single industry in the L.A. area IS entertainment.

Those staffers didn't mention a single thing about "Jay Leno knowing that about McElroy's world-record anything." Jay Leno know AUTOMILES and MOTOCYCLES. He is an avid collector of both. What
probably happened is one of the producers (there are several) thought up the so-called "test" to make fun of Texting several years ago. It wasn't researched in detail. When a staff has to come up with FIVE hours of entertainment every week, very little is planned in historical detail.

Chip Margelli, K7JA, is presently a Vice President for Amateur Sales at Heil Sound. Whether or not he was hired by Heil Sound at the time of this so-called "test" is unknown. On the other hand, I've
never known a SALESMAN to NOT act when pushing something. This was a good opportunity for Chip at
the time and he sold someone at the Tonight Show upper echelon that it would be good. Margelli was just doing his job of convincing others to 'buy' it.
.........................
N2EY: "Neither Morse op seems to be in a hurry or under any pressure, yet they were done before the
texter was finished sending."

ONE SHORT SENTENCE is the WHOLE of this so-called "test." The whole video clip is only a minute and a half and the sending-receiving time is under 22 seconds. What I surmise happened is that one line producer rhearsed with the texters first, timed them (probably under the guise of checking program timing), then passed that along to the cwops who could adjust their rate to better it. That way the ending would have been fixed and Leno's "interview" in the audience prepared.
..........................
N2EY: "The Morse Code ops did not use any abbreviations; every letter of the message was sent,
received and written down. They difference would have been even greater had they used common abbreviations (I jst svd a bnch of muny on mi car insrnce"

You do NOT know this. The radio sounds are muted on stage. Although the studio has overhead cameras, none were used for that minute-and-a-half gig. While at least two cameras have lenses that can focus closely (always done with the old "Monday Headlines" feature), NONE were doing so on the cwops receiver notepad. Note: the studio has FOUR video cameras minimum and more can be rolled in if need be. For a TRUE test, an audio feed could be arranged to send it to the broadcast audience, not the studio audience. That wasn't done.

The NBC West Coast Hq is a HUGE complex employing many, many people of pretty good technical ability. Lots of old hams worked there. Bill Amidon (of the Amidon toroid resell-in-small-quantity fame) retired from there (he lived not far from the studios). There's enough morseaholics to have been working there 3 to 4 years ago when this so-called "test" was taped. OF COURSE they were happy that "CW won." But was it a REAL test? NO. It was just for entertainment purposes.

Want to send and receive alphanumerics at 100 WPM rate for hours on end, tirelessly, not needing any potty breaks? Use the last of the Teletypes with a p-tape reader, now considered obsolete. Those will work just fine on the beloved low-HF bands in "data" mode. MUCH faster character rate is possible on VHF and above, but the ARRL doesn't care about supporting data on HF or much of any other spectrum space. The ARRL didn't even mumble about PSK-31 until it had been air-tested extensively in Europe. It was inovated in the UK by Peter Martinez, G3PLX.
.....................
N2EY: "Most of all, the audience and the lady Jay Leno picks are so sure that the texter will win, probably because their inexperience causes them to think Morse Code is "slow"."

Jimmie, you are SO naive. Note that the cwops are in COSTUME that relates to western movies most of the audience has seen for years. Texters were in everyday clothes of today. Cwop costumes fit the beginnings of the 1900s. COSTUMES can be ILLUSIONS. It was all just a SET-UP to reach a PLANNED conclusion at the end of a minute-and-a-half. Remember what I said about a line producer selecting an audience member (always on an aisle seat) BEFORE taping begins? :-)
=====================================
You will be better serving morse code mode if you use TRUE examples, not fake ones. NOT ones from a pre-planned entertainment show. Lots of folks enjoy "CW" mode and you should convey that spirit instead of trying to justify what was essentially a comedy bit on a comedian's show.

AF6AY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
W8LGZ posted on 4 Jan 10:

"My apologies, Len. However, I've never had a problem with not finding a call in the FCC database before. No hard feelings?"

None at all, Jimmie. Notice that I did not reply to you directly...:-)

I too have trouble with e-ham allowing all those PSEUDONYM IDs and have expressed myself on that in public. I think that practice should be eliminated.

73, Len AF6AY (all natural ingredients, accept no substitutes)
 
RE: Which is faster? - more info  
by N2EY on January 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
A few things I forgot to include in a previous post:

The story of what actually occurred, in detail, can be found at:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/05/16/3/?nc=1

The two Morse Code ops were K7JA and K6CTW. Their exact words are quoted in the article.

The texter was world-champion Ben Cook:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Cook

Ben Cook was the world champion texter at the time of the broadcast, lost the title, then regained it and still holds it.

His current world record is 41.00 seconds for a 160 character text that is known beforehand. The text count includes spaces as characters. At the time of the 2005 broadcast, Cook's world record was 57 seconds.

160 characters in 57 seconds. = 168.42 characters/min. At 6 char per word, that's 28 wpm.

160 characters in 41 seconds. = 234.15 characters/min. At 6 char per word, that's 39 wpm.

But that's for a phrase that is known ahead of time.

In the Leno show competitions, the text to be sent was not known ahead of time, and was about 40-50 characters, changing the game somewhat.

(The use of 6 characters per word is to include the word spaces. Morse Code speed ratings typically assume 5 characters per word but do not count the word spaces).

Quoting from the article:

"What the viewing public didn't know was that [K7JA] and [K6CTW] had, in [K6CTW's] words, "smoked 'em every time" during three pre-program rehearsals. Even so, during the real thing, when [K6CTW] raised his hand to signal he'd copied the CW message successfully, Jason's jaw dropped.

"None of the players had any idea of the text they'd be sending."

"Yaesu FT-817 transceivers...using 432.200 MHz as an operating frequency"

"I already knew that 28-30 WPM would easily keep us in front of even the current world [text messaging] record holder"

---

I use both texting and Morse Code, even though I'm not world-class in either, just pretty good. Both systems have their uses. I have found Morse Code abbreviations and skills of great use in texting, too.

However I do find it amusing that Morse Code is so much faster. Of course what makes texting relatively slow is the multiple gyrations needed to select letters on the 12 button keypad.

A good ol' Vibroplex is so much easier.

---

Got 599 from an EA2 last night on 40 CW using the Type 7. Condx were pretty decent.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Which is faster? - more info  
by WB2WIK on January 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I can receive and sometimes send (used to be better when I was younger) about 60 wpm Morse. That's the same speed as RTTY.

But in reality, although the "character rate" is 60 wpm, using common abbreviations it's a lot faster than 60 because most "words" don't need to have five letters.

Kn wt i mn? Usg abrvns spd rmps up es achvs mch hier ovral effcy.

You can use similar abbreviations with RTTY if the other op happens to understand them, but there aren't any such thing for voice operations. As such, 60 wpm Morse is about equivalent to 120 wpm voice for rag chewing operation. Most people speak at 125 wpm. Not much difference.

http://publicwords.typepad.com/nickmorgan/2008/01/how-fast-do-you.html

The biggest difference in overall efficiency how many signals occupy a given slice of spectrum, and S/N which is greatly improved by the narrower bandwidth required for CW.
 
RE: Which is faster? - more info  
by N2EY on January 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK: "60 wpm Morse is about equivalent to 120 wpm voice for rag chewing operation. Most people speak at 125 wpm. Not much difference."

Most people speak slower than 125 wpm because they have to think and talk. (Of course some just talk...)

Your point is still valid; the use of abbreviations and such makes conversational Morse Code a lot faster than those unskilled in its use realize.

WB2WIK:

http://publicwords.typepad.com/nickmorgan/2008/01/how-fast-do-you.html

Great link! THANK YOU! (see end of post for more).

WB2WIK: "The biggest difference in overall efficiency how many signals occupy a given slice of spectrum, and S/N which is greatly improved by the narrower bandwidth required for CW."

In Amateur Radio, particularly on HF, a key figure-of-merit is how many hams can use the same band simultaneously without stepping all over each other. Narrow modes win out over wide modes in that measure!

With a clear channel, no interference, etc., as many VHF/UHF services have, fast talking can work, but with typical HF SSB operation there's often a need to repeat, phoneticize, etc. which slows down the information rate to a crawl.(This is one reason VHF/UHF services have stuck to FM and even AM for voice operations).

That other services do things differently doesn't mean they are "right" and hams are "wrong" - nor the reverse. Each service has its own unique resources and needs. HF amateur radio isn't channelized by regulation and isn't going to be any time soon. SSB is the dominant amateur HF voice mode partly because of its relative low cost, partly because of the enormous installed base, and partly because of its spectrum efficiency.

Morse Code is popular with hams because it's effective and fun for hundreds of thousands. Other services gave up on it because they were more willing to pay for equipment than to pay skilled operators.

Most important is the question of how much actual, effective communication goes on, rather than how many words-per-minute are sent. Talking fast or writing lots of words doesn't mean one is saying more. One of the most effective communicators, both written and spoken, I know is Garrison Keillor. He doesn't talk fast or use three words when one will do.

Take a look at this:
http://publicwords.typepad.com/nickmorgan/2009/12/the-weirdest-public-speaker-youve-ever-seen-4-lessons-from-clifford-stoll.html

(you probably already have)

then watch Cliff Stoll in action:

http://tinyurl.com/djsg9v

If his name sounds familiar, he's also known as K7TA. One of those baby-boomer licensed-as-a-teenager 20-wpm Extras with a 1x2 call so old it's not a vanity.

Enjoy.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Which is faster? - more info  
by K6LHA on January 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY demanded to be forum champion on 5 Jan 10 with:

"A few things I forgot to include in a previous post:"

Forgetfulness may be a sign of a serious side-effect...consult your doctor if you feel bad.
................
N2EY: "The story of what actually occurred, in detail, can be found at:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/05/16/3/?nc=1"

Wow, if the ARRL published it, it must be official and TRUE! :-)

I just downloaded the Wave file from the link provided by Ken Miller on the QRZ site. Better audio on that than the one that was circulating a couple years earlier.
................
N2EY: "The two Morse Code ops were K7JA and K6CTW."

Charles ('Chip') Margelli and Kenneth Miller, respectively. Margelli was sender, Miller was receiver. Margelli's license will be up for renewal in May 2010. It happened on 13 May 2005, roughly 4 1/2 years ago. On a late-night TV entertainment show featuring a comedian as host.
.......................
N2EY: "In the Leno show competitions, the text to be sent was not known ahead of time, and was about 40-50 characters, changing the game somewhat."

That's what you WANT to believe. WE in the audience have NO confirmation of that. <shrug>
.......................
N2EY: "Quoting from the article: "What the viewing public didn't know was that [K7JA] and [K6CTW] had, in [K6CTW's] words, "smoked 'em every time" during three pre-program rehearsals. Even so, during the real thing, when [K6CTW] raised his hand to signal he'd copied the CW message successfully, Jason's jaw dropped."

AHhaaaa! So, you admit there were REHEARSALS. :-) THREE, no less!

Riiiiight, where "CW" is concerned EVERYTHING is on the up-and-up and HONEST. :-)

N2EY: [quoting Ken Miller] "I already knew that 28-30 WPM would easily keep us in front of even the current world [text messaging] record holder"

Soooo...this so-called "test" was rather PRE-ORDAINED to come out in favor of manual telegraphy!

Wow, yeah, that really "proves" something, doesn't it?

On a late weeknight ENTERTAINMENT show hosted by a COMEDIAN we've got a (pre-ordained) "test" of a (then) 160-year old communications method versus a (then) new fad for young people using the (hated) commercial infrastructure cellular telephone.

So, here it is about 4 1/2 years later and "Texting" is a common practice among cell phone subscribers. According to some news services, at least 85% of Americans use cell phones now. How many radio services are using OOK CW modes for communications now?

Well, I guess we should all keep tuning in Jay Leno (probably on ABC network by Fall) for the very LATEST news on the "newest" radio communication methods complete with TESTS! Yawn.
==============================
I'm reminded of an earlier Tonight Show hosted by the beloved Johnny Carson, so far back in time that it was one of his last shows televised from New York City. A retired engineer showed off a Powered Unicycle! It had electronics under the seat to keep it stable and was powered by a gasoline lawn-mower engine, the kind started by a pull rope. The inventor tried to start the engine for a demo but it wouldn't start. Carson helped yank on the pull-rope...and the rope came off in his hand! The inventor was apologetic and Carson made an on-air promise to have him back on the show when the problem was fixed. Applause from the studio audience.

The inventor came back later, was able to start up the engine, and rode all over the stage in a demonstration of this Powered Unicycle. No problems, it performed as claimed. If I remember right Carson declined to ride on it. This was well before the first PR on the Segway (all-electric, has two wheels not just one). Good entertainment for the audience, much applause. I doubt if there was any "interest" generated in the audience about wanting their own Powered Unicycle. <shrug>
===============================
To gain interest among radio amateurs in regards to learning/using OOK CW, it would be better to stop the (false) insistence on so-called "tests" done for audience entertainment purposes. It would be much better to just espouse the joys of morsemanship for itself...and not because YOU want to "convert" everyone to whatever you personally love. <shrug>

73, Len AF6AY
 
RE: Which is faster? - more info  
by K6LHA on January 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK posted on 5 Jan 10:

"I can receive and sometimes send (used to be better when I was younger) about 60 wpm Morse. That's the same speed as RTTY."

RTTY was 60 WPM (internally governed) back in 1952. In the mid-1960s the majority were at 100 WPM (also internally governed). In 1953 it was not uncommon to time-multiplex four TTY circuits over one FSK RTTY; using the same bandwidth, the overall effective speed was 60 x 4 = 240 WPM. Used the same bandwidth then with 850 Hz Spread.
................
WB2WIK: "But in reality, although the "character rate" is 60 wpm, using common abbreviations it's a lot faster than 60 because most "words" don't need to have five letters."

In reality, the ITU has defined a "word" as five characters and a space. That came from the practice in the 1800s for wired telegraphy, specifically for international communications. A common word is the name Paris, which has five characters. That serves as an example for both character count and technically for the on-off rate essential to determine bandwidth occupancy.

Teleprinter characters all take the SAME length of time to transmit. PSK-31 is sort of that way but a modification.
...............
WB2WIK: "Kn wt i mn? Usg abrvns spd rmps up es achvs mch hier ovral effcy."

Tsk, "abrvns" take six characters. :-)

If all you are doing is conversing with a native-English-speaker, then you can get away with that. Now try it with a foreign language speaker and see how it goes, especially with one who is NOT conversant with English. To a non-English person it would appear as gibberish, just NOISE.

It is very common to have EACH 'foreign' language speaker think THEIR language is 'universal.' It is fallacious (and rather egotistic) to think that International Morse Code is "the universal language." The CCITT (predecessor to the ITU) picked the English-based morse-vail code as a STANDARD, not for its "universality" but rather for its use in international telegram communications over a century ago.

On-off keying of a communications circuit is over 164 years old, done mostly for commercial and government communications uses where accuracy of communications is an absolute must. What you will not see is many references to the civil court cases in the USA where a communications service made a mistake and sent faulty data in a telegram. That was prarticularly true when commercial users had code books, such as Bentley's Commercial Codes (published over more than two decades), to protect their information from competitors. Early radio picked up on the mature but technically-primitive method of keying a radio on and off because it was the only practical means to effect communications on those primitive radio transmitters. That was NOT because on-off keying was "superior" OR "quicker," just the only known (then) way of making communications by early radio.
.................
WB2WIK: "You can use similar abbreviations with RTTY if the other op happens to understand them, but there aren't any such thing for voice operations."

IN REALITY, every single radio service in the USA has ITS OWN abbreviations, jargon, phrases...for voice or data or any other mode allowed. It isn't for "speed" so much as to effect clear communications. For example, flying students at VNY (ICAO 3-letter identifier for Van Nuys Airport in the center of San Fernando Valley of L.A.) doing "touch-and-go" landing practice would be asked to "report the brewery" on entering downwind leg. "Report the brewery?" For what? :-)

Back in the 1960s an Annheiser-Busch Brewery was located near VNY and just across the runways (16L and 16R) from the VNY tower (the old one). The Brewery was distinctly visible from the air. When a plane was alongside the brewery the pilot would call in that they were "at the brewery." The tower would acknowledge that, see the aircraft, gauge its relationship to other aircraft in the circuit and report "you are number two to land" (if there was a plane ahead) or "clear to one-six-left" if none were ahead (rarely did we get the longer runway - one-six-right - with little two-place Cessna 150s then). Definite flying jargon used. Pilots, ESPECIALLY student pilots, would have their hands and feet full trying to control an aircraft, didn't have a lot of time to play with radios. Since I was then quite used to operating radios with clear, concise, no-time-wasted speech, that let me concentrate on the primary task of keeping that little aircraft under control.

A case in point is filing or amending a flight plan from an aircraft. A great deal of voice abbreviations are used by both pilot and controller, the controller generally requiring a "read-back" for accuracy. Pilots learn to abbreviate the abbreviations and to understand them, even without having full comprehension of English (the ICAO standard language for civil airways). That is especially true in this L.A. locality in the midst of some restricted flying areas plus mountains plus airways that can branch off in the next sectors.

Listening to PD frequencies will demonstrate a number of PD-specific jargon used in speech such as common municipal codes (legal kind) ID for various reasons to "roll on a call." [a radio roll call is very rare, seldom done] The 10-codes used so much in condemnation of others by long-time amateurs appears to have started with state police and other remote-from-urban center police forces. Phrases used aren't familiar to lay people, NOT to make them 'secret' but to effect efficient communications among law officers. Fire departments are the same, so are ambulance services, taxi services, even motion picture radio services (many here in Los Angeles), any other radio service one cares to mention.
.....................
WB2WIK: "As such, 60 wpm Morse is about equivalent to 120 wpm voice for rag chewing operation. Most people speak at 125 wpm. Not much difference."

Keep working on that example, Katz. Who knows, you might even work up "CW rag-chewing" to 240 WPM or Higher! :-)
.....................
WB2WIK: "The biggest difference in overall efficiency how many signals occupy a given slice of spectrum, and S/N which is greatly improved by the narrower bandwidth required for CW."

Claude Elwood Shannon's classic 1947 Laws apply even to OOK CW. That faster one sends OOK CW, the more bandwidth it will occupy. It is the law. To be "efficient" one needs an optimum setting within a transmitter for the transition times from off-to-on and from on-to-off. Even the ARRL agrees with that! Why can't everyone else agree? :-)

A common misconception with radio amateurs is that "CW doesn't use any bandwidth since it is just on and off." Not in REALITY. EVERY OOK CW transmitter has sidebands, double sidebands at that! A simple exercise with some elementary Fourier Analysis will prove that to verify what can be observed on a GOOD spectrum analyzer. Trying to limit an OOK CW bandwidth too much and one gets (what some say) as a "mushy" sound. Allowing too much bandwidth will make "clicks" and other artifacts audible.

Agreed that common amateur radio OOK CW bandwidth is relatively narrow - compared to other forms of allocated communication modes. The "spread" (frequency difference between Mark and Space) of a TTY used with simple FSK is broader in bandwidth although it is decreased from 850 Hz of 1950s to a quarter of that in this new millennium. MODEMs are interesting since they SEEM to "violate Shannon's Laws" in data rate. Take the common internal modem supplied with PCs, used on POTS dial-up circuits. That Plain Old Telephone Service subscriber equipment is rather limited to just under 3 KHz bandwidth. It was designed for anything wider. The common modem of today can send and receive digital data up to 50 KHz. How does it do that?

A modern modem for a telco line uses BOTH amplitude and phase modulation of an audio carrier, with the aid of separating the 8-bit byte data into bit groups. ICs and the fact that all TTY/ASCII characters had equal length in time make that possible. The end result is that ACTUAL input and output rates are about 20 times the rate possible with simple, singular modulation schemes. Does it violate Shannon's Laws regarding bandwidth/errors/noise? NO. A telco doesn't care as long as the bandwidth is within 3 KHz, neither does the T-1 line between telco exchanges, nor the long-lines carrier. That 20-times-faster I/O makes it possible to send/receive HUGE files, images, whatever that would take too long under the simple Bell 300 WPM system used as late as the beginning 1970s.

I've got no complaint about any radio amateur using OOK CW for their own fun. But quit trying to rationalize, boast, beat chests about it being so "efficient" and "fast." It is neither. That is reality.

AF6AY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
KG4TKC writes: "Also thanks to N2EY for the links to websites, especially the last one,as that was a new one for me."

You're welcome. All credit for that last one goes to K0HB, who pointed it out to me.

KG4TKC: "Also many thanks for the post on internet noise and noise filtering and signal passing when using the internet,that is a must read,,:) It should be posted on several of the discussions on eham,,:)"

You're welcome - I'll do what I can...

Another method of troll-detection is to look at what the suspected troll wrote and ask two questions:

1) Would the suspected troll say those things to a bunch of people in person?

2) Is the suspected troll behaving like the kind of person you'd want to spend time with, or like the kind of person you'd try hard to avoid?

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N6CIC on January 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for a very encouraging article which has enlisted many interesting replies. I still struggle with CW and I am always trying to find slower operators. But I think it is a much better way than SSB to contact DX stations and to just have an interesting ragchew. The problem with SSB, IMHO, is the large number of high power stations with towers and huge antennas, especially on 20 meters.
So with encouragement from this thread, I will try at least one 15 min. CW QSO every day!
73, de N6CIC, Scott
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KE7WAV on January 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N6CIC

I am glad this helped a little thats why I wrote this article. If you ever want to try a slow QSO on 20M pls send me an email and we will setup a SKED.

73
KE7WAV
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by OLDEPHARTE on January 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Jim (N2EY) posted the following:

"Another method of troll-detection is to look at what the suspected troll wrote and ask two questions:

1) Would the suspected troll say those things to a bunch of people in person?

2) Is the suspected troll behaving like the kind of person you'd want to spend time with, or like the kind of person you'd try hard to avoid?

73 de Jim, N2EY"

Jim, suspected trolls also have the characteristics of having to have the last word and they must always be right. They crave attention, they must always have the last word and they must always be right even if they are wrong. The most effective way of dealing with such pests is to avoid answering their posts, no matter how tempting. They are very adept at drawing out their victims to get a reply. If you fall into their trap, you will be in for a never-ending debate. They thrive on this. Trolls usually destroy the threads they post to.

If you could rate every code-hating ham, AF6AY would be at the very top. He is king of the hill of the code-haters. This man obviously has been wanting a ham license for at least half a century. Instead of biting the bullet and learning code, he chose to hold out until the code test was eliminated. He chose to forgo the codeless Tech license. It was all or none with him. It was no-code Extra or nothing.

Once code testing for General and Extra was lowered to 5 wpm, there was really no excuse to hold out. One month of study was all it took to obtain the Extra since 2000. Instead, this individual elected to wait another 7 years to get licensed.

I remember all his comments and reply comments to every proposal that the FCC received in 2003-2004 pertaining to code testing and the license structure. All the time and effort that he put in working toward getting the code test eliminated could have been better spent to just learn 5 wpm code and get his Extra back in 2000. For someone who wanted a ham license as bad as he did, I can't think of a greater fool than him.

AF6AY has such a hatred for Morse code that he expends time and effort to destroy any and all threads on this Site that have to do with CW. Leonard, you are a sick puppy. Why don't you get on your radio and use your cheapened privileges that you hardly worked for and enjoy jabber-jawing on Silly Side Band instead of harassing those who have a love for CW and wish to express it on this Site? Although you will never admit to it, it is YOU, not the code test that kept you from getting a ham license all these decades.

Lenny, don't waste your time responding to me. I have multitudes of much more important things to do than to frequent this site and have perpetual debates with the likes of you. It has been a year or more since I posted anything on this Site. It will probably be another year or 2 until I return to eHam. The Great Recession has made it necessary for me to focus my time and energy on bringing money in so that I and my family don't wind up on the street. I have no time for my ham hobby or this Site.

I've wasted too much time already. I have to get back to work.

73 DE OLDEPHARTE
 
RE: Which is faster? - more info  
by K6LHA on January 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY posted on January 5, 2010:

"... HF amateur radio isn't channelized by regulation and isn't going to be any time soon."

Did you forget the five channels on the "60m band?" :-)
...................
[on Clifford Stoll]

"If his name sounds familiar, he's also known as K7TA. One of those baby-boomer licensed-as-a-teenager 20-wpm Extras with a 1x2 call so old it's not a vanity."

The name Clifford Stoll is FAR more familiar to the public as the author of "Cuckoo's Egg" published in 1989-1990 about his 1986-1987 effort to trace a German hacker (Markus Hess) trying to break into the UCB computer system (University of California at Berkeley, the Berkely Lawrence Lab side, not the classified work done on the Livermore Lab side). That real-life adventure was produced by WGBH as the 1990 NOVA episode entitled "The KGB, the Computer, and Me."

Stoll is also the author of two other books, "Silicon Snake Oil" (1995) and "High Tech Heretic" (1999). All three are available through Amazon. I would recommend the first ("Cuckoo's Egg") as an engrossing documented REAL cybernetic detective story. I have it in hardcover; Amazon has it in softcover. Either format is an excellent story and doesn't need to be computer-tech-savvy; the time line began 24 years ago when 1200 Baud Modems were considered "high speed" and 5 years before the Internet went public and Personal Computers were much simpler than today.

Clifford Stoll is also the proprietor of "Acme Kleinbottles" run out of his garage at his home in Oakland, California. Anyone can go to www.kleinbottle.com" and get a HILARIOUS product description and scientiific miscellany, all written as humorous (but scientifically correct) spoofs of modern product advertisements. He really makes glass Klein bottles for cash, wide selection too. If you don't know what a "Klein bottle" is, Cliff explains it on his website.

Stoll, who was born in 1950 (he's said that on interviews and in his books) does have the callsign K7TA but the only FCC data has his renewal grant of Amateur Extra. The www.qrz.com data has a "previous call" as WB2PSX but that can't be verified at the FCC. On-line FCC license data on amateurs seldom goes earlier than 1990. WHEN Stoll got his first USA amateur radio license is not precisely known, but it might be approximated by a thorough search through his three books and numerous interviews...or a pain-staking search through many old printed callbooks.
Stoll is a self-described Hippie (in his first book) who thoroughly enjoyed the rather free-style life at UCB and was "happily designing telescope optics" when his hacker-hunter adventure began at UCB when he was 36. He later moved to another academic position in the northeastern USA, presumably acquiring his doctorate (I did not search through my available literature, just what I remember from earlier times after reading Stoll's first book). Note the "7" callsign area and the "2" given by www.qrz.com data. California is the most populous state for amateur radio license calls; it is difficult (if not impossible) to get a "6" call here in 1x2 or 2x1 for the first license.

Clifford Stoll has a high intelligence quotient but is also a free-thinker and with a marvelous sense of humor. If he was first licensed as a teenager, I wouldn't doubt it, but then so many long-timers were first licensed as a teen-ager that I view those who trumpet that are just trying to ride coat-tails of notables. <shrug> As one who is obviously at ease with mathematics, he probably has lots of internal humor at all radio amateurs who think Ohm's Laws of Resistance is 'high-tech rocket science.' :-) That humor content of his is so high that some get rebuffed by some of his comments. I enjoy his humor but then I'm an independent thinker, not a Hippie, and don't fantasize that my hobby is nationally-important or needs regimentation a la business or the military. Been there, done all of that. :-)

AF6AY (all natural igredients, accept no substitutes)
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6LHA on January 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
OLDEPHARTE did his smelly gig on January 6, 2010:

"Jim, suspected trolls also have the characteristics of having to have the last word and they must always be right. They crave attention, they must always have the last word and they must always be right even if they are wrong. The most effective way of dealing with such pests is to avoid answering their posts, no matter how tempting. They are very adept at drawing out their victims to get a reply. If you fall into their trap, you will be in for a never-ending debate. They thrive on this. Trolls usually destroy the threads they post to."

Really now, Oldepharte, was that nice? Describing Jimmy exactly like that?

Take some Beano for a year and don't let your boss know you've been web-surfing on company time.
 
What is left?  
by DL3ZM on January 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
AF6Y wrote: "One exception is that I never had a personal desire to do DX" or even to "do contesting.
What then?"

Good question Len, what is left if you dont like CW, dont like DX and dont like conteting?

Not much i think.

Best Regards
Hans-Georg (DL3ZM)
 
I'M HERE LEN  
by PLANKEYE on January 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
THIS IS LEN:

To gain interest among radio amateurs in regards to learning/using OOK CW, it would be better to stop the (false) insistence on so-called "tests" done for audience entertainment purposes. It would be much better to just espouse the joys of morsemanship for itself...and not because YOU want to "convert" everyone to whatever you personally love. <shrug>

73, Len AF6AY

_________________________________

THIS IS PLANKEYE:

Len, you suck the thinkin parts of folks away, and they post back to you out of emotion.

If you want to debate some of these issues.

I'M HERE LEN!!


GO!!



PLANKEYE
 
RE: What is left?  
by N2EY on January 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
DL3ZM: "what is left if you dont like CW, dont like DX and dont like conteting?

Not much i think."

Sure there is!

First off there's ragchewing - just having conversations. There's also public service communications of many types, plus experimental transmissions.

There's also homebrewing, kit building, modifying, converting and repairing stuff. We hams have the advantage that we can put almost anything on the air as long as it meets certain basic technical requirements. Doesn't matter if it's 1930 technology or 2010 technology or anything in between, as long as it sounds decent.

All of the above things can be done using Morse Code, of course. Many of them, such as homebrewing, are most easily and efficiently done if Morse Code operation is primary. But Morse Code isn't an absolute necessity for any of them.

It's interesting, however, that when it comes to Amateur Radio and HF, so much homebrewing, kitbuilding and such results in rigs capable of Morse Code operation - frequently *only* Morse Code operation.

As for modes, we have CW, AM, FM, SSB, FSK RTTY of many types, PSK of several kinds, AMTOR, PACTOR, SSTV, other digital modes like Olivia, SSTV of various kinds, and much more. Not to mention Echolink, Winlink, etc.

And that's just on HF!

But this is supposed to be a thread about getting on HF with Morse Code. So here's what I've done with that mode this year - so far.

On New Year's Day, I hooked up the old WW2 surplus J-37 and had a few SKN QSOs. Straight Key Night (SKN) isn't really a contest, but a friendly operating activity, and I had some good chats.

After SKN I went back to the Vibroplex and have done a mix of DXing and ragchewing, on 80 and 40 meters. Isle of Man, northern Spain, Cuba, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida and a couple other places. All with my homebrew 100 watt CW transceiver (Southgate Type 7, picture on QRZ) and homebrew inverted V.

The Isle of Man QSO was a particularly good catch. I was just tuning around the low end of 80 meters when I heard the tail end of a CQ by a station with a rather unusual prefix. Remembering the Barracuda Rule of DX (work 'em first, sort 'em out later) I gave a quick buzz and he came right back. Getting across the pond on a winter night may not be the best DX ever done but to do it on 3502 kc. with 100 homebrew watts and a wire was a bit of fun. Nice quick QSO and he was off to other things.

So I went to the computer to look up the call and left the rig tuned to him. No sooner had he signed with me than 3 stations called him, and he began to work them DX-style. As I looked him up on qrz, the pileup calling him grew and grew.

Right place, right time, gotta luv it.

As to how to promote the use and enjoyment of Morse Code in Amateur Radio, here are

Ten Ways:

1) Use Morse Code on the air. For ragchewing, DXing, contesting, traffic handling, QRP, QRO, QRS, QRQ, whatever floats your boat. If your favorite band is crowded, try another and/or get a sharper filter. If you contest, even a little, send in your logs, photos, soapbox comments, etc. Our presence on the air is essential.

2) Work on your Morse Code skills. Got a Code Proficency certificate?

But Morse Code skill is not just speed. Can you send and receive a message in standard form? Can you do it faster than someone on 'phone? Can you do both "head copy" and write it down? How about copying on a mill? Ragchewing? Contesting? Being able to have a QSO at slow as well as fast speeds? All are forms of proficiency.

3) Find a local club that does Field Day and go out with them, particularly if they have little or no Morse Code activity on FD now. Help with their Morse Code efforts however you can - operating, logging, setting up, tearing down, etc. FD is one way to actively demonstrate 21st Century Morse Code *use*. Talking to people about Morse isn't nearly so effective as showing them.

4) Set up a Morse Code demo at a local hamfest/club meeting/air show/town fair/middle school etc. Not as some sort of nostalgia thing but as a demonstration that Morse Code is alive and in use today. Have handouts and audience-particiaption if possible.

5) Conduct Morse Code training - on the air, in person, over the 'net, whatever. Help anybody who wants to learn. Could be as simple as giving them some code software, tapes or CDs, or as involved as a formal course at a local community center.

6) Elmer anybody who wants help - even if they're not interested in Morse Code at all. Your help and example may inspire them.

7) Write articles for QST/CQ/Worldradio/K9YA Telegraph/Electric Radio/your local hamclub newsletter etc. Not about the code *test* nor about Morse Code history, the past, etc., but about how to use Morse Code *today*, and how you are using it. How about an article on what rigs are best for Morse Code use, and why? Or about the differences between a bug, single-lever keyer, iambic A and iambic B? Your FD experiences with Morse Code? (QST, June, 1994) Yes, you may be turned down by the first mag you submit it to - but keep submitting.

8) Get involved in NTS, QMN, ARES, whatever, and use Morse Code there. The main reason so much emergency/public service stuff is done on voice is because they don't have the people - skilled operators - to use any other mode.

9) Join FISTS & SKCC and any other group that supports Morse. Give out numbers to those who ask for them even if you're not a contester/award collector.

10) Use the online environment to its fullest. The online training idea is excellent. Another is to post Morse-Code-centric videos on YouTube (one fellow did it with guitar lessons, why not Morse Code lessons?).

"The test" is long gone and FCC won't bring it back. FCC won't preserve our standards and values - we have to do it.

And our attitude is a key part of that (pun intended). If we're seen as a bunch of old grumpy gus types, not many will want to join us. But if we present ourselves as a fun-loving, welcoming, young-at-heart-and-mind, helpful group with useful skills, people will want to join us.

IMHO

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"The most effective way of dealing with such pests is to avoid answering their posts"

The only way to win is not to play.

"Trolls usually destroy the threads they post to."

Only if others let them.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: What is left?  
by K6LHA on January 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
DL3ZM wrote on January 7, 2010:

"AF6Y wrote: "One exception is that I never had a personal desire to do DX" or even to "do contesting. What then?""

DL3ZM: "Good question Len, what is left if you dont like CW, dont like DX and dont like conteting?
Not much i think."

There is much, Hans-Georg. N2EY has already posted many of the areas of possible interest. Thank you, James. <tip of the hat>
.............
Minor correction: USA amateur radio callsign AF6Y is granted to Dario Beyza located in Sunnyvale, California (mid-state) while AF6AY is granted to myself in Sun Valley, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles, (southern California). Our postal addresses are greater than 644 km apart.

73, Len AF6AY
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N1FDX on January 8, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the article. I've been playing around with some computr programs and ponding away at the key but have not gone live. I think I'm scared. Played with every part of this hobbie but CW. Learned it to pass the exams.
Your article helps all that are sitting here saying I think I can.
I would like to see CW stay alive, It's an important part of Amateur Radio
 
BUDDY BONNEVILLE  
by PLANKEYE on January 8, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY:

The most effective way of dealing with such pests is to avoid answering their posts"

The only way to win is not to play.

"Trolls usually destroy the threads they post to."

Only if others let them.

73 de Jim, N2EY

_________________________________


plankeye:

You don't avoid them Sir, you engage.

Good gracious brother, think before you speak.

DUDE?


PLANKEYE
 
RE: What is left?  
by WA2JJH on January 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Lots of CW hams are still "pounding brass". I have to use my 300hz filter in some extra segments. If you thought SSB pile-ups were bad, CW has it's moments.

Besides CW is an INTERNATIONAL Launguage. If you know the Q signs and a few other CW abbrieves, a whole world of DX oens up with only 100W or less.

One can build a CW rig for under $75.


I remember back say 30 years, when your SSB QSO QSBed, both parties finished the QSO in CW. All hams knew basic code to finish a dead SSB QSO.
That is dedication to the hobby.
 
Not sure what you mean..  
by N2EY on January 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
PLANKEYE writes:

"You don't avoid them Sir, you engage."

I'm not sure what you mean, OM....

Are you saying one should not avoid trolls, but instead should engage them?

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: What is left?  
by K6LHA on January 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH on January 9, 2010:

"Lots of CW hams are still "pounding brass"."

With at least 340,000 USA amateur radio licensees (as of 9 Jan 2010 statistics) in their 10-year active license period, generally HAVING to test for that radiotelegraphy skill yes, "lots" of CW-TESTED hams MIGHT be pounding brass. :-)

The word "lots" is a nice subjective (numeric) word which doesn't signify anything except that the writer wants to become part of a particular group. It can also be said that "lots" of hams have also put aside their manual telegraphy apparatus, a few burnied or burned their keys in little ceremonies).

The whole purpose of this article was to induce those NOT using OOK CW to try it. It is perfectly legal for ANY licensed amateur to use ANY allocated mode/modulation for their license class.
.................
WA2JJH: "Besides CW is an INTERNATIONAL Launguage."

NO. International Morse Code is a STANDARDIZED REPRESENTATION of an alphabetic language based on English. It was STANDARDIZED by an action of the CCITT (predecessor to the ITU) for international telegram exchange by manual telegraphy early in the previous century. The ITU adopted this old standard for use on radio circuits. For several years the FCC used the old CCITT standard in its Part 97 Definitions of terms...AFTER the ITU-R had already renamed the CCITT standard and re-issued it under ITU nomenclature. :-) [that was eventually corrected by the FCC after 1998]

Its a common (egocentric) minnomer by native English speakers to assume their common language is some kind of "international" thing. All radio amateurs of other nations having ideographic written languages (and syllabic constructs such as Japanese and Chinese) or syllabic languages (such as the many dialects of Arabic) to be REQUIRED to learn PARTS of English-based morse code to pass tests for their administrations' amateur radio licenses. In essence, THEY would have to learn enough parts of a SECOND language just for their hobby activities. There were/are many different dialects of "European" languages which use alphabets that are quite different (such as Cyrillic) or have more letters than the English 26 (such as Spanish or Portuguese).

The ITU-T standardization was more based on the most common language in telegrams way back in the early 1900s and the European-centry CCITT, namely English. A century later after many magnitudes of change in communications technology, the standards were bound to be required to change. The international civil aviation spoken language for civil airways traffic control was English under an international agreement of the ICAO in 1955. At that time, the majority of nations on the winning side of World War II were English and American pilots along with aircraft of many types. In the past 55 years that has changed considerably but the polyglot of languages of the world needs ONE standard to keep order on international aviation routes.

Had world politics taken a different turn after 1945, the ITU might have been re-standardized to use OOK CW codes based on Cyrillic. No doubt the ARRL, if allowed to exist in this different universe, would have kept on insisting that English is still standard and DEMAND use of English-based OOK CW coding! [that assumes that a suburb of Hartford had not been toasted to a crisp when World War III had broken out...:-)] It could have been worse if mainland China had taken over and all English speakers on radios had to learn a representation of, say, Mandarin. ["gung ho, fat boy" might have been a greeting on voice]
....................
WA2JJH: "One can build a CW rig for under $75."

...and it will be featured as an article of technical/innovative excellence in 2008 by QST...ONLY for HF. Yawn.
....................
WA2JJH: "I remember back say 30 years, when your SSB QSO QSBed, both parties finished the QSO in CW."

Back 30 years ago would be 1980. WARC-79 had been the year before with new HF bands allocated for amateur radio use. It would take the FCC another year to implement those for USA amateurs. HF transceivers and transmitters were not immediately compliant, required modification kits to enable using the new "WARC bands."
....................
WA2JJH: "All hams knew basic code to finish a dead SSB QSO. That is dedication to the hobby."

All USA radio amateurs had to TEST for International Morse Code to get their amateur license. This does NOT mean that USA radio amateurs "knew" it or cared to use it. Private key-burning or key-burial ceremonies had already begun in 1980. Voice communications on HF had already been going on in USA amateur radio since before WWII; "SSB" voice was a distinct improvement in re amplitude modulation's halving of bandspace beginning in the 1950s, 30 years before the 1980s.

The HOBBY (of amateur radio) has many, many OPTIONS allowed under USA amateur radio regulations. It is difficult to be "dedicated" to ALL of them. Typically, this "dedication" centers around ONE mode or modulation and is generally HF-centric. In the typical case of amateur radiotelegraphy it is typically practiced by older amateurs who had the aptitudes and abilities to use the most simple of all modulations. All those who could 'master' the skill then developed the egocentric attitudes of being "better than other amateurs" and that attitude continues today.

A "dedication" to one particular mode, radiotelegraphy, is not required under USA amateur radio regulations. In fact, there is nothing in regulations that MANDATES use of radiotelegraphy in USA amateur radio regulations over and above any other allocated modes or modulations. That has existed since 1997 as USA law on civil radio regulation. So, those who insist on "dedication" to the singular mode of amateur radiotelegraphy for ALL are just insisting that all should emulate Their mastership of the skill. That does nothing but show a hypocrisy of "amateur brotherhood" in USA amateur radio...besides egocentrism. There are still two divided groups where consensus is impossible from the attitude of those older "dedicated" amateurs. <shrug>

73, Len K6LHA (who still hasn't upgraded his license, just changed his callsign)
 
RE: What is left?  
by N2EY on January 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH writes: "Lots of CW hams are still "pounding brass"."

You betcha! Whole bunch of them on right now - it's the North American QSO Party. (Yes, I'm one of them - just taking a break now).

WA2JH: "I have to use my 300hz filter in some extra segments. If you thought SSB pile-ups were bad, CW has it's moments."

But a good op with a decent rig can peel 'em apart pretty well. The Type 7 has cascaded 8 pole 500 Hz filters and an LC audio filter (selectable one or two sections).

WA2JJH: "Besides CW is an INTERNATIONAL Launguage. If you know the Q signs and a few other CW abbrieves, a whole world of DX oens up with only 100W or less."

Yup. Not that you'll have a deep discussion of philosophical issues, but for rig/name/report/etc. it will work. Plus no accents to deal with.

WA2JJH: "One can build a CW rig for under $75."

*Well* under! Most bang for the buck.

Here's pictures of a receiver I built many years ago for about ten bucks. See if you can guess what the tuning dial used to be.

http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Jim/jiminfo.doc

http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Jim/SilverRX1.jpg

http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Jim/SilverRX2.jpg

http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Jim/SilverRX3.jpg

http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Jim/SilverRX4.jpg

http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Jim/SilverRX5.jpg

http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Jim/SilverRX6.jpg


Picture of current setup:

http://www.qrz.com/callsign/N2EY

NAQP beckons! Tally Ho!

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
CLARIFICATION  
by PLANKEYE on January 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY:

The most effective way of dealing with such pests is to avoid answering their posts"

The only way to win is not to play.

"Trolls usually destroy the threads they post to."

Only if others let them.

73 de Jim, N2EY

_______

PLANKEYE:


Sir, did you post what is up above?

plankeye
 
RE: CLARIFICATION  
by N2EY on January 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, Plankeye, I did post the part about "the only way to win is not to play"

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NM2K on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article with great suggestions.

N2EY has made some very good suggestions too. Especially the one about tuning to CW stations and using it as background music.

I had a devil of a time learning code and I'm still not the greatest at it. Learning code was so humiliating to my conceited self (who usually passes tests fairly easily), that after finally passing the 13 wpm code test for General, I went on and acquired my Extra Class license, just so I could prove to myself that passing the 13 wpm test wasn't just a fluke. Unfortunately, like most folks, I went to phone and have really slowed down on copying code. I'm slowly getting the station back together so that I can bare down on CW once again. While phone is nice, I liked the camaraderie that CW offered. Hope to hear ya'
ll out there.


Ed, NM2K
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by WA2JJH on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
TNX JIM FER INFO.

Sure, you can enjoy CW for less then $75. One can build a CW station for far less. 5W TX, Direct conversion RX.
Its that you know how it is these days. If a new Ham can't get an fool proof kit, with PC BRD....no way!

Loved UR designs. Check out MINICIRCUITS for multi-octive VCO's and power amp chips that gets you a few watts.
The hyrbrid brick IC's that are in most cable head ends, out 5W 1-500mhz! They are all class A, so bandpass, lowpass filters are easy to design.

RX, direct conversion can be almost as sensitive as a superhet RX.

There was also a Qst ARTICAL called....."Ham Radio for under $35"!

Of course for the $35, the dude made a station out of "boat anchors"

The famous 2 transistor "Tuna-Tin 2" can be built with all Radio Shack parts.

OHHHH no, MR BILL.......It can only be time before "your retired AF6 friend" will mess up this nice CW thread!

73 and lots of laughs DE Mike WA2JJH
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH writes: "TNX JIM FER INFO."

UR WLCM

WA2JJH: "Sure, you can enjoy CW for less then $75. One can build a CW station for far less. 5W TX, Direct conversion RX."

That's one way, there are many others.

WA2JJH: "Its that you know how it is these days. If a new Ham can't get an fool proof kit, with PC BRD....no way!"

Nothing wrong with kits. Elecraft makes some really good ones. A bit more than $75, but when you adjust for inflation, a bare-bones Elecraft K2 today costs about as much as a Heathkit HW-16 did back in 1966.

WA2JJH: "Loved UR designs."

TNX. Southgate Radio is devoted to innovation.

WA2JJH: "Check out MINICIRCUITS for multi-octive VCO's and power amp chips that gets you a few watts.
The hyrbrid brick IC's that are in most cable head ends, out 5W 1-500mhz! They are all class A, so bandpass, lowpass filters are easy to design."

A pair of 807s will give 100 watts of clean CW, too.

WA2JJH: "RX, direct conversion can be almost as sensitive as a superhet RX."

Actually, a direct conversion rx can be designed match a superhet in all measures except selectivity. Some come pretty close, such as KK5B's R2 designs. Of course he designed them for CW...

WA2JJH: "There was also a Qst ARTICAL called....."Ham Radio for under $35"!"

Gotta look that one up.

WA2JJH: "Of course for the $35, the dude made a station out of "boat anchors""

BTDT

WA2JJH: "The famous 2 transistor "Tuna-Tin 2" can be built with all Radio Shack parts."

One fellow built a Tuna-Tin-2-Tube - a *tube* rig on a tuna can. More power than the transistor version...

Did you guess the source of the tuning dial in the pictures of that receiver?

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Pissing Contest  
by N7KFD on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
How about if AF6AY and N2EY create their own post and call it "Pissing Contest" and the two of you can go back and forth at each other for months if you want without stealing another persons post.
 
RE: Pishing Contest  
by K6LHA on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N7KFD on January 10, 2010:

"How about if AF6AY and N2EY create their own post and call it "Pissing Contest" and the two of you can go back and forth at each other for months if you want without stealing another persons post."

AF6AY can no longer do that. K6LHA can. :-)

Now, now, just let it go. N2EY has been badgering me for at least a dozen years now and just won't give up, despite his many errors on the history of ALL radio. I just present a different viewpoint and do some mild corrections where it is needed.

Instead of getting all emotionally disturbed over certain posters, why don't you suggest some NEW methods of "getting back on HF with code?" I've seen the same old ones for half a century repeated relentlessly by many and have yet to be "inspired" enough to go through some glorious epiphany of love of "CW." I've never had to use it for 58 years, nor test for it in the military as either service member or civilian on DoD contract work. It isn't for me.

There's no "stealing of postings." Everyone gets a chance to post here (well, unless some cry to the e-ham webmaster). Times have changed and so have regulations for radio amateurs. Try to live with that, senior. You will become a better person, more tolerant in doing so. <shrug>

73, Len K6LHA (was AF6AY before 8 Jan 10)
 
RE: Pissing Contest  
by KB3IBT on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article. I "learned" the code just to pass for my general at a paltry 5WPM way back in 2002.
I have always been scared of using cw because quite frankly, I suck at it. Until now. So far this year I have managed to have 3 QSO's in CW and I hope to get better.
I'm hoping for some of that cw dx everyone talks about.
Good thing there are many modes to operate, who knows, maybe some of us will never be good at cw so why would anyone be critical towards someone if they chose not to operate a certain mode?? Silly isn't it?
Remember when Joe Walsh was interviewed by CQ magazine a few years ago? Let me paraphrase what he said about hams that don't do cw...."hams that don't use morse code are not real ham radio operators"...it's a shame, all the money I spent buying his records when I was a kid should have gone towards radio gear!
HNY......Dan KB3IBT
 
RE: Pissing Contest  
by WK5X on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations on your CW QSOs. Don't worry that you're CW skills aren't yet what you hope they'll be someday. Tomorrow (January 11) marks 30 years since the day I received my Novice ticket, at the age of 20. Despite the fact that CW is my favorite mode, after 30 years, I'm not that great at it. I can copy 40 WPM in contest exchanges, but in the ragchew mode, I usual miss a lot at even 25 WPM. I often fly by the seat of my pants in a normal QSO. I still get "7"s and "8"s (as well as "2"s and "3"s) confused. I also incorrectly copy "D"s and "B"s more often that I'd like to admit. I find myself trying to copy the number of dits and dahs in numbers, which causes a loss of concentration. While operating in the NAQP this weekend, I called CQ at 27 WPM. I needed more fills than I'm comfortable with, especially with names. In addition, there are times when I have the cursor in the wrong field, or have the F12 key engaged when I don't realize it. Sometimes I sure I sound like a lid during contest when I get the keyboard fouled up; but it's such as blast, despite all of the above. It's a great feeling to copy a contest exchange, and then seamlessly move on to the next QSO.

So don't worry that you might not sound polished to one of us. Just jump in!
 
Getting On HF with Morse Code  
by N2EY on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
KB3IBT writes: "I have always been scared of using cw because quite frankly, I suck at it. Until now."

That's the spirit!

Nobody is born knowing the code, let alone being good at it. All the hotshots you hear were once raw beginners who were pretty awful. The thing is, they kept at it and got good at it.

KB3IBT: "So far this year I have managed to have 3 QSO's in CW and I hope to get better."

Try for a minimum of one CW QSO per day. Work any contest you can, even if it's for a half-hour. Leave the rig on and tuned to a CW station whenever you're in the shack, even if it's just as background.

KB3IBT: "I'm hoping for some of that cw dx everyone talks about."

I got a CT1 earlier this evening on the low end of 40. He was pounding in like a local.

WK5X writes: "So don't worry that you might not sound polished to one of us. Just jump in!"

Yup! That's the only way to get "polished"!

(I know we've crossed paths in contests - TNX for the points!)

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by VE6WR on January 10, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
What is ham radio without CW? The two have been synonymous for as long as I can remember. I got my first license in 1968, and my Canadian Advanced a year later. I don't know where I would have been without all those WN7's and the such to help me build my speed up for my advanced. One particular contact was a G3 that I could barely hear on my HQ-129X. Just the faint signal fading in and out. I was VE7CAB at the time, and lived in Vancouver, BC. As far as I am concerned, there can be no true ham radio without CW. "Ham"'s should be able to communicate with anyone through all types of interference and power restrictions especially during times of emergency.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice advice from the author and WB2WIK, N2EY, and a few others.

Newcomers interested in what is possible for those who know code are referred to this excellent advice from W4BQF: http://sites.google.com/site/tomw4bqf/copyingcwover70wpm

Even at speeds well below 70 wpm, there are interesting conversations taking place involving politics and the state of the economy, as well as the usual radio talk. Morse code communications is like a lot of sports-- it becomes more fun the faster you can go and it takes practice to acquire the speed.

Newcomers are cautioned to ignore the noise in these forums created by naysayers who have never been through the learning curve.

73,
Chuck NI0C

 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NI0C writes: "Nice advice from the author and WB2WIK, N2EY, and a few others."

Thanks, Chuck

Thanks for the link - fascinating stuff!

NI0C: "Even at speeds well below 70 wpm, there are interesting conversations taking place involving politics and the state of the economy, as well as the usual radio talk."

Yup. Just last night while doing paperwork I "read the mail" on some interesting CW rag-chews. I've been in plenty of them myself; they're not rare.

NI0C: "Morse code communications is like a lot of sports-- it becomes more fun the faster you can go and it takes practice to acquire the speed."

And the skills.

Good point, though. Riding a bike, swimming, and many other sports aren't much fun until you reach a certain level of skill.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY wrote:
"Riding a bike, swimming, and many other sports aren't much fun until you reach a certain level of skill."

The XYL and I just returned from a cross-country ski trip to VE2 land, where we got to practice our French, as well as hone our skills on the trails. After about 15 years of skiing together, we're finally getting pretty comfortable on trails rated "intermediate."

I've had some spectacular falls (luckily without injury) in the learning process. All learning requires a certain level of humility. This is definitely true in the case of CW and is, I think, a major stumbling block for adults. We're lucky we learned CW as kids-- it's so much easier for kids to be humble!

Getting back to skiing, we don't get enough snow here in St. Louis to practice regularly. I have to admit-- my XYL is better than I in both skiing and speaking French.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I just found out about a new organization called "cwops," which has its website at:
http://www.cwops.org/index.html

I was perusing TF4M's fine website, and found the reference.

Looks like a fine organization with worthy goals, with lots of good CW operators among its members!

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K3NRX on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I am so glad I have the skill of knowing the Morse Code. I wouldn't have 2/3rds of the countries I have worked/confirmed if it weren't for my CW skills. With my rinky dink set up, I can't get through the SSB pile ups under these horrid conditions (no/few sunspots) and most of you know how I feel about pileups. Case in point. Heard two South African stations on 20 SSB yesterday with decent signals. And naturally there was the usual conglomeration of dx hounds calling and calling and calling as I was part of the fray. After about 10 minutes of calling each one through the annoyance that are the pileups, my patients finally ran out, I gave up and went down to the cw band, found another South African station calling CQ, answered him and worked him without any waiting or any other issues. To all the code bashers out there, I say screw the microphone! I will work my DX using CW until these condtions improve. You guys just don't know what your missing. Learn the code. It's great fun and will reap DX benefits!

Vince P
KA3NRX
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NI0C writes: "I've had some spectacular falls (luckily without injury) in the learning process. All learning requires a certain level of humility. This is definitely true in the case of CW and is, I think, a major stumbling block for adults. We're lucky we learned CW as kids-- it's so much easier for kids to be humble!"

I think it's only a problem for *some* adults. Some kids have a non-humble "addy-tood" problem too.

But in either case, there are some folks who, when they encounter something that takes a bit of effort to master, declare that the thing is not worth learning. This is particularly true when they see people they consider "inferiors" doing well at it.

NI0C: "Getting back to skiing, we don't get enough snow here in St. Louis to practice regularly."

Same problem here in EPA. Running and cycling, on the other hand...

---

btw, over on the CW forum, NU4B noted that the CQ WW DX contest for 2008 received a record number of logs - over 5000 entries!

Not only that, but the number of CW logs received exceeded the number of 'phone logs received.

CQ WW DX is the Big Time when it comes to Amateur Radio contesting.


73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
KA3NRX wrote:
"I gave up and went down to the cw band, found another South African station calling CQ, answered him and worked him without any waiting or any other issues."

Good for you, Vince! I've heard you in the CW pileups a couple of times. You're doing well with your 100 watts and wire antennas.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY wrote:
"over on the CW forum, NU4B noted that the CQ WW DX contest for 2008 received a record number of logs - over 5000 entries!

Not only that, but the number of CW logs received exceeded the number of 'phone logs received.

CQ WW DX is the Big Time when it comes to Amateur Radio contesting."


Another way to look at this is to compare the number of QSO's made by the top scoring multi-multi or multi-single stations in the CW and phone categories. Such comparisons invariably demonstrate that CW is a much more effective use of bandwidth than SSB.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
PLAYERS  
by PLANKEYE on January 11, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, Plankeye, I did post the part about "the only way to win is not to play"

73 de Jim, N2EY

__________________


PLANKEYE:

Sir, how do you win when you are still playing?

You and Len act like school children.

You talk but you don't walk the walk.

Maybe I'm wrong.



PLANKEYE
 
RE: PLAYERS  
by WA2JJH on January 12, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Its Len, that starts many fights with many people.
Very True, however....WE COULD ALL IGNORE LEN. Unless he can respond in a civil fashion. True N2EY has been fighting with lEN for years! (reminds me of a Star Trek episode)

They both have excellent technical backgrounds. N2EY will answer any question with no attitude.
Len will either call you an idiot......Ya should have had the answer! Worse, he will give an answer that is extremely verbose, self promoting, and may throw in a bad joke or an insult.

N2EY is very well published in the Ham communitee.
AE6AF has presented some matterial at the IEEE.


LETS STOP THE INSANITY. LETS START NEW.

I did want to share an RX design, that is my own with N2EY or anybody.

A SIMPLE cw/ssb RX that uses Direct Conversion.
As most know the IF of a Direct conversion RX is demoded audio. I would then gp thru the obligatory op amp filters and amplifiers.
The kicker is that I woud then up convert to an IF 0f 455khz.

455khz filters are cheap and easy to cascade I would then do any DSP at 455khz. The last step is to re-downconvert back to audio. I eould make the rig Ham Bands only by using L/C filters before the pre-amless front end. Front end would be a schoctkey diode bridge fed with a multi-octive VCO.

One last thing. I think Len is driving many new hams to try CW. IT IS ONLY COMMON SENSE. IF YOU RAG ON WHO BAD SOMETHING IS......PEOPLE WILL TRY IT TO PROVE YOUR ANTI-CW IS VALID OR JUST YEARS OF CRAP!!!!!!!

SORRY LENNY...PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE ZEALOTS!!!!

I also think the 2 Years of experience of working only CW, would have made you not so causticly lambastic, demeaning, and a braggart to boot.

I know LENNY WILL HAVE TO STRICK BACK. PROVE ME WRONG! DO NOT RESPOND TO ME AT ALL!!! SHOW THAT YOU HAVE GROWN.

Many have been either lambasted or bored to death by Lenny!!! Grow up!!!!!
 
Direct Conversion?  
by N2EY on January 13, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH writes: "A SIMPLE cw/ssb RX that uses Direct Conversion.
As most know the IF of a Direct conversion RX is demoded audio. I would then gp thru the obligatory op amp filters and amplifiers.
The kicker is that I woud then up convert to an IF 0f 455khz.

455khz filters are cheap and easy to cascade I would then do any DSP at 455khz. The last step is to re-downconvert back to audio. I eould make the rig Ham Bands only by using L/C filters before the pre-amless front end. Front end would be a schoctkey diode bridge fed with a multi-octive VCO."

The problem with that idea is the audio image. How do you get rid of it? Once the signal is converted to audio, further filtering won't do any good.

Direct conversion lets you hear "both sides" of zero beat unless you use the phasing method to cancel out one side. Phasing-type direct conversion receivers have been built and work well (see KK7B's R2 designs in QST for an example) but the unwanted-sideband rejection isn't quite as good as with a superhet. And such designs are more complex because you need an LO that provides both I and Q signals, and an audio-phase-shift network. Both can be done, particularly with modern ICs, but the complexity soon reaches that of a simple superhet and you're right back where you started.

If you want to see a simple yet high-performance receiver for CW/SSB, look at the Elecraft K2. Single conversion, unique low-phase-noise PLL design, low parts count, low power drain. Of course a lot of the complexity is in the software that controls the rig. Audio DSP is available as an option.

Here's how it works:

- LC filters at the input, switched with small latching relays.

- high-performance preamp that can be switched in or out of the circuit (more latching relays)

- diode-ring DBM mixer

- adjustable-bandwidth crystal filter around 5 MHz (based on matched, selected microprocessor xtals)

- IC IF stage

- second two-xtal IF filter.

- Detection to audio; low-noise audio chain.

LO is a PLL with some special features. AGC is derived by converting the IF signal to another frequency so that keeping the BFO out of the AGC isn't a problem.

The manual is online, it's all explained in more detail.

The Elecraft K3 is higher performance but more complex.

Or you could build a receiver like this:

http://g4oep.atspace.com/retro/retro.htm

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Direct Conversion?  
by WA2JJH on January 13, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I own a K2. The grounded base bipolar rx pre-amp, single conversion, cascaded monolithic filters and minimum part count impressed me too!!!


In fact the K2[ is an excellent Rx to study.
It works well as most rmt rigs

Juat wanted to try to design a RX, that gave excellennt performacwe with as few parts a possible

It is a hard act to follow!!!!!
 
EMOTION  
by PLANKEYE on January 13, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
THIS IS WA2JJH:

Its Len, that starts many fights with many people.
Very True, however....WE COULD ALL IGNORE LEN. Unless he can respond in a civil fashion. True N2EY has been fighting with lEN for years! (reminds me of a Star Trek episode)

They both have excellent technical backgrounds. N2EY will answer any question with no attitude.
Len will either call you an idiot......Ya should have had the answer! Worse, he will give an answer that is extremely verbose, self promoting, and may throw in a bad joke or an insult.

N2EY is very well published in the Ham communitee.
AE6AF has presented some matterial at the IEEE.

_____________________________________


THIS IS PLANKEYE:

Sir, these folks post out of emotion, and can't control it. Both of them!!

I see through both of these fellers, and they know it.




PLANKEYE
 
RE: PLAYERS this was a cw post  
by WA2JJH on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The blame belongs to retired SFC anderson.
The Sargent is anti-cw. WTF is he posting in a CW POST!

He is disruptive,rude, and think his "Minute Rice Extra" or "extra in a box"(your own words Anderson!)

Anderson, you retired from the armed forces. Your EXTRA ala Anderson gives you no right to be EXTRA RUDE AND PICYUNE to others.

I have friends in Afghanistan now. As do you.
Indeed many on Eham have served.

YOU, AINT NO LEE EMERY!!!!!!
Lets stop the insanity! Your an old man in my book.
In Asia, you get social status bY age. THIS IS THE US OF A!
yOU ARE NOTHING SPECIAL OR UNIQUE!

PLANKEYE, you are right in one way. N2EH is a good ham and is very happy to help anybody.
The combo of SFC Anderson and N2EH is toxic.
If you simply do not respond back, Anderson will be the only one oblivating!!!!!!
 
EMOTION?  
by K6LHA on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Someone calling herself "PLANKEYE" posted on January 13, 2010:

"THIS IS WA2JJH:
Its Len, that starts many fights with many people.
Very True, however....WE COULD ALL IGNORE LEN. Unless he can respond in a civil fashion. True N2EY has been fighting with lEN for years! (reminds me of a Star Trek episode)
They both have excellent technical backgrounds. N2EY will answer any question with no attitude. Len will either call you an idiot......Ya should have had the
answer! Worse, he will give an answer that is extremely
verbose, self promoting, and may throw in a bad joke or an insult.
N2EY is very well published in the Ham communitee.
AE6AF has presented some matterial at the IEEE."
_____________________________________
THIS IS PLANKEYE:
"Sir, these folks post out of emotion, and can't control it. Both of them!! I see through both of these fellers, and they know it."

So, Plank, you know Craig Brammer of Vallejo, CA, who is an Amateur Extra AE6AF? Sunnavagun! :-)

Not bad for an anonymous troll hiding behind a pseudonym, afraid of showing anything of him/herself. "Plank," WE see right through you, invisible as you try to make yourself. :-)

Some history on the "very well published in the Ham communitee [sic]" for N2EY: Three items came up
on a QST search: A letter to the editor, an article on the glories of Field Day, and an article on Amperite time-delay relays (which could have been cribbed from an Amperite application note of 40 to 50 years ago). In Electric Radio there was a short article on an 'autoformer' reconnection of an old filament transformer to boost or lower 115 VAC primary power voltage. The Electric Radio article subject has been done for years in previous publications, can be found in 1956-copyright textbooks. N2EY has posted duplicate pictures of his circa-1970s multi-chassis low-cost transceiver on several Internet locations. No schematics or detailed technical data, just words and the same black-and-white photos.

I have no idea if Craig Brammer is a member of the IEEE or not. Don't have the Membership List book (it is like a phone book or a call book in general shape and size). That's not necessary for any local Section presentations or talks, nor to be published in any of the special-interest group Transactions.

I could list all the articles I had published in the old Ham Radio magazine under my legal name and sddress, but that would get a number of individuals on here very "emotional." I couldn't list any of the articles I've edited as an Associate Editor for Ham Radio magazine since that is just not done in the publishing business...other than footnotes identified as "ed.-" which is non-specific. See the Ham Radio masthead (list of staff) for its years (1987 to 1990) on the table of contents.

As to my accusation of being "angry" and/or "emotional," that is reading far too much into my simple statement that I've made many times: "'CW' is not for me." :-)

As usual, those that favor amateur radiotelegraphy in extremis have damned to hades all those who wished to remove the telegraphy TEST from USA amateur radio license testing. Yes, I was a proponent of removing the TEST for telegarphy skill, therefore that has been changed (magically) to "I HATE CW!" :-) Now THAT is an extreme emotion. It is also untrue for myself. "CW" is not for me. Simple straightforward declaration, no emotion, just a statement.

Examples of EMOTION are revealed as mis-spellings of words, callsigns, names when the poster is upset
by things...or past events. WA2JJH is a classic example. That can also include a sporadic disjointed subject-to-subject flow of words. That's just from observation of his messages, similar to some past forum and newsgroup postings by other rather obvious emotional individuals.

"Character Assassination" is a common ploy in forums/newsgroups in order to attempt shutting up certain individuals by emotional insults into their personal thoughts, life, and anything else they can come up with in their rage. The old USENET newsgroup rec.radio.amateur.policy newsgroup went into chaos and 'meltdown' over five years ago, resulting in the organization of the rather severely-moderated moderated group rec.radio.amateur.moderated. Since the moderators seem to be proponents of OOK CW in the main (N2EY was/is one such moderator), one MUST post in a manner 'acceptible' to those OOK CW proponents or be summarily kicked out.

For the record: I've never been "against amateur radiotelegraphy" in anything except the singular TEST for it for any class license. Further, if I see any obvious distortions, 'sins of omission' or untruths (especially technical) in postings, I simply comment on them. Or not.

I cannot abide the "anony-mousie" who jumps out from under her troll bridge to toss nasties over some subject. Usually I don't bother to respond, but this "plank" individual was getting too close to character assassination about myself.

Len K6LHA (Amateur Extra class with a Vanity callsign whose original call was AF6AY)(Life Member IEEE)
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6ATT on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
This article may compel me to get back into CW. I copy at about 10 wpm and that's been my maximum for a few years, even though I've tried G4FON, listening to W1AW, and listening on the air. Having a CW QSO requires all my attention and it's tiring. Most code on the ham bands is considerably faster than I'm able to copy. But maybe I'll give it another try. Thanks for the article.
 
RE: PLAYERS this was a cw post  
by K6LHA on January 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH had a meltdown on January 14, 2010 with:

"The blame belongs to retired SFC anderson."

Posner, you have to be more specific on this alleged "SFC anderson" [sic].

As I've told you before, I was never any Sergeant First Class and I did not "retire." I was Honorably Discharged in 1960, 50 years ago come April.
...................
WA2JJH: "The Sargent is anti-cw."

Is he? Just where is this "SFC anderson" [sic] posting?

I am NOT against OOK CW use. I was only against the telegraphy TEST for any USA amateur radio license. The USA amateur radio telegraphy TEST was eliminated. Try to live with it.
...................
WA2JJH: "WTF is he posting in a CW POST!"

Because IT IS POSSIBLE TO DO SO COURTESY OF THE E-HAM NET ESTABLISHMENT. I thank the e-ham.net for that.
...................
WA2JJH: "He is disruptive,rude, and think his "Minute Rice Extra" or
"extra in a box"(your own words Anderson!)"

Poor baby...Michael Posner doesn't like me...therefore everyone else should not like me! :-)
...................
WA2JJH: "Anderson, you retired from the armed forces."

WRONGO. I was Honorably Discharged, thus fulfilling my voluntary obligation. That will be 50 years ago. [why is that such a spay-shul thing with you?] "Retirement" would be after 20, 30, or 40 years of military service (give or take) plus a pension (details available from the armed forces).
...................
WA2JJH: "Your EXTRA ala Anderson gives you no right to be EXTRA RUDE AND PICYUNE to others.

That's Amateur Extra to you, Posner, and I did all tests in one testing session at age 74. It was good enough for the FCC, good enough for the ARRL, but somehow not good enough for Mikey Posner, WA2JJH. <shrug> Oh, and the word you wanted is spelled "picayune." Look it up.
...................
WA2JJH: "I have friends in Afghanistan now. As do you."

Wrong again. I know of no friends of mine in Afghanistan. My grand nephew returned from his Army tour in Iraq several months ago, is stationed in the eastern USA.
...................
WA2JJH: "Indeed many on Eham have served."

I salute them! Did Michael Posner serve any USA government service military or civilian?
...................
WA2JJH: "Lets stop the insanity!"

Why are you mentioning the title of a TV show hosted by a crew-cut blonde lady doing exercises?
...................
WA2JJH: "Your an old man in my book."

The USA government thinks so, the California state government thinks so, the Social Security folks think so, AARP thinks so, my primary physician knows so, at least a hundred of my public school classmates (high school class of 1951) think so. :-) <shrug>

E-ham.net has NO restrictions on age, neither does the FCC! :-)
...................
WA2JJH: "yOU ARE NOTHING SPECIAL OR UNIQUE!"

On the contrary, I think EVERY HUMAN BEING is unique and special. <shrug>
===================
Mikey, you got the attention you think you deserve. I hope that pleases you.

K6LHA
 
RE: Direct Conversion?  
by N2EY on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH writes: "I own a K2."

So do I; built it in 2001.

I think the K2, K1 and KX-1 have demonstrated that ham radio isn't quite how some folks depict it.

First, those rigs are all kits. Thousands have been sold, built and put on the air (K2 numbers alone are well over 6000).

Second, they're all from an American company, and sold at a competitive price. In fact, for the performance you get, they're less expensive than imported rigs.

Third, they're all either CW-only or CW-centric. All have a sharp CW filter, QSK, built-in keyer and other CW features. The K2 can transmit SSB if the optional board is installed.


WA2JJH: "In fact the K2[ is an excellent Rx to study."

And to use! The K3 is reportedly even better, but I've never seen or used one.

WA2JJH: "It works well as most rmt rigs"

I'm not sure what you mean by "rmt" there.

WA2JJH: "Juat wanted to try to design a RX, that gave excellennt performacwe with as few parts a possible"

I know what you mean!

WA2JJH: "It is a hard act to follow!!!!!"

Yep. About the only things I don't like about the K2 are:

1) It's in a small box, with small controls and displays

2) The IF filter is good, but I'd prefer a selection of fixed, packaged filters

3) The optional DSP is at audio, not IF.

All those things were fixed in the K3.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N4ZAW on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"A friend goes a long way" for sure. I have been a ham for 20 years, so I HAD to learn 5WPM. Back then, I was a CBer who, along with a couple CB friends, got on our HR-2510's and sent CW to each other. After we went to the Orlando Hamcation and passed our tests, my friends all moved away,so after I got my "tech plus", I put the key away. After all, 13WPM is a far cry from 5WPM.
I didn't have (and still don't) anyone to QSO with that I knew had no problem with my terrible fist and copy.
But don't get me wrong -- I am VERY interested in CW,even to the point of using all my "toy-funds" to buy a pretty Bencher iambic and an MFJ-464 "keyerreader" (which is really kewel)...
But I guess you could call it "key-fright"? Outside of those one-way ARRL practice broadcasts, how many 5WPM QSO's do you hear out there? Not many. Perhaps someday, when I retire and have radio time, my "playing with the keyerreader" will pay-off. But I think I need a bud to begin at 5WPM -- at least, for a few weeks or so.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K7PEH on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
To N4ZAW -- I hear slow code about 3 or 4 times a week. Certainly that is merely the times that I happen to hear it -- I bet you can find something that is 5 to 8 wpm every day.

I have worked a number of guys at 5 wpm. I have my straight key plugged in and ready to go all the time. Sometimes I will use my paddle with the speed set around 15 but space out my letters much more. Whatever works.

But, I suggest that you start listening to CW on the air and pick out on-going QSOs that are faster then you can copy but not too blazingly fast. Even if you only pick out every 4th letter this is a good way to practice and get your ear used to the "sound" of faster code. I think this is a good way to learn.

As for me, I am comfortable around 18 to 20 wpm but I still work to increase my speed. One way I have found that is easy is to do CW contests. Those guys are slow at 30 wpm and some are up to 40 wpm or maybe even faster. However, all you really need to do at first is get their call sign and even with some practice picking out a call sign is easy to do because it is repeated so many times in a contest. Sure, you may not get it the first time but you probably get the prefix and number. Next time around, focus on the suffix. After a while, you are picking up the call sign on the first go around at 30 wpm!

The exchange is usually easier to copy because if you know what the contest exchange is (e.g. serial number and state) you kind of know what to expect and numbers should be easier to copy at faster speeds.

And, if you want to participate in the contest, you do not need to send as fast as they are.
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KF5AHV on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
n4zaw, i hear lots and lots of 5wpm qso's on and around 7.055 and 7.114. your not listening well enough! ;+)
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by KF5AHV on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
n4zaw, i hear lots and lots of 5wpm qso's on and around 7.055 and 7.114. your not listening well enough! ;+)
 
Getting Back on HF with Code  
by AB8O on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I am back in ham radio after a 30 yr lapse. I learned code for my Novice ticket at age 15 in 1970.

Now I do mostly digital but I must admit...
CW DX is the most exciting. Hearing a faint CW DX sig on a good receiver and making that tenuous connection in such an "old school" way is very rewarding.

It may not be logical, but after finishing a CW QSO, esp. a DX one, I feel more like a "real" ham.

I agree, 10 minutes a day will make a big difference. I leave a CW station on (sometimes W1AW) while I check my email, etc. I begin to pick up words, even phrases without even trying.

See you on the bottom of the bands!

John
AB8O
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I second K7PEH's and AB8O's comments. They're right on the money!

Learning Morse Code has many similarities to learning other skills, such as how to ride a bike, how to play a musical instrument, how to swim, etc. It's a learn-by-doing thing.

One resource for slow QSOs is FISTS. (www.fists.org) Their Code Buddy program may be worth looking into.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NA7I on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Freeware:

I use 'Morsecat2.exe' from www.morsecat.de.

All the practice I need for receiving.

Sending is a different story.

Dick Chaffer / Bozeman, MT NA7I
 
cw  
by NA7I on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
A truly great article, built a fire under me to get back on cw.

A lot of highly informative comments as well, especially those of n2ey.

k6lha's rants, on the other hand, are those of someone who could not hold a pleasant conversation with most people in person - much less on SSB. If he truly was a noncom, he's one who gives the Army a bad name.

'We would all be better served', Lenny, if you went someplace else to rant.

NA7I Dick Chaffer / Bozeman MT
ex Ranger, Vietnam Vet
Ham since 1971
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NA7I writes: "Sending is a different story."

One trick for sending practice is to set up code reader software (CWGet?) and send to it. Gives an immediate indication of weak spots.

NA7I: "A truly great article, built a fire under me to get back on cw."

That's great. Hope to hear you on the air.

NA7I: "A lot of highly informative comments as well, especially those of n2ey."

TNX

One more suggestion:

For many people, a key element of success is visualization - imagining themselves actually doing the thing. A sort of mental rehearsal to build up confidence. If a person doesn't really believe/imagine they can do something, they have an extra barrier to doing it. Seeing others do it can be inspiring as well.

Of course simply imagining and watching isn't enough. One has to actually practice, train and do the thing, whatever it is.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NA7I on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY:

"One trick for sending practice is to set up code reader software (CWGet?) and send to it. Gives an immediate indication of weak spots."

What a great idea. I should have thought there would be some solution like that. I'm downloading it now from DXsoft.

My fantasy is to become good with a straight key, but I'm finding it is tiring and difficult to (re)learn. Thanks for the tip.

Dick NA7I
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NA7I writes: "What a great idea."

As Durante useta say: "I got a million of 'em!"

NA7I: "I should have thought there would be some solution like that. I'm downloading it now from DXsoft."

Glad to help.

NA7I: "My fantasy is to become good with a straight key, but I'm finding it is tiring and difficult to (re)learn. Thanks for the tip."

You're welcome - and here's another:

QST for November, 1957, has an article by W1ICP about "How To Adjust A Key And Send Good Code". I was lucky enough to come across it 40+ years ago, and it saved me lots of effort.

For the first 7 years I was a ham, a WW2 surplus J-37 was my only key.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: "Rants"  
by K6LHA on January 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NA7I posted on 16 Jan 2010:

"k6lha's rants, on the other hand, are those of someone who could not hold a pleasant conversation with most people in person - much less on SSB. If he truly was a noncom, he's one who gives the Army a bad name."

Ahem...that isn't a great inducement to do anything in USA amateur radio, is it? :-)

My rant: "CW is not for me." NOT a "rant," just a simple declaration.

Sorry but I will keep my 1956 DD-214 that says I got a Good Conduct Ribbon. :-)
...................
NA7I: "We would all be better served, Lenny, if you went someplace else to rant."

Thank you ever so much for those nice orders, "Mr. Ex-Ranger" but no thank you, I will continue to look in here. <shrug>

73, Len K6LHA
Veteran, US Army, 1952 to 1960, Honorable Discharge April 1960
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 19, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Getting back to the topic under discussion, IK0YGI recently made an excellent posting under eHam Forums, CW, titled: "Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy."

There is a link to an English translation of Carlo's book by the same title-- available for free download as a .pdf format.

It looks interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 19, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NI0C: "IK0YGI recently made an excellent posting under eHam Forums, CW, titled: "Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy." "

Here's the link:

http://www.qsl.net/ik0ygj/enu/index.html

That's ham radio for ya - guy writes a book, translates it, and makes it available *free* for the download.

73 es TNX de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by K6PS on January 21, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I loved this article. I have not even been listening. I am going to dig out a keyer.

Thanks for the jolt to get back. Sort of a Reverse 12 step program to get back into CW.

FB OM es cu on 40m. 73 K6PS

Now what is the official term for that deal where one station would at the end of the qso go

" dit ditty dit dit "

and then the other station, almost like in a Warner Brothers Carton, would go dit dit.

I think it was a form of nonsensical communication that would get you an OO report (Official Observer) . I do remember getting one of them.. are they even still around ??
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 21, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
K6PS:
I think the "official term" you're searching for is: "shave and a haircut" -- "two bits."

I don't hear it much on the air anymore, but I heard it a lot in the Novice bands years ago. Some people even used it as a shortcut type of unidentified "cq." This was illegal, of course, which is why the OO's might send you a card.

Of course, the "dit dit" part is frequently used to mark the end of a QSO; I've heard some contesters use this quite effectively.

Yes, the ARRL does continue the OO (Official Observer) service.

73,
Chuck NI0C

 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
NI0C writes: "I don't hear it much on the air anymore, but I heard it a lot in the Novice bands years ago."

I still hear it at the end of ragchews sometimes. Usually just the "dit-dit", because of CW ops' skill at brevity.

NI0C: "Some people even used it as a shortcut type of unidentified "cq." This was illegal, of course, which is why the OO's might send you a card."

Why was it illegal? Seems to me that as long as someone identifies, it would be OK, although less effective than a CQ.

One thing I hear quite often is a simple "didit - dit" as a way of asking if the frequency is in use. Less of an interruption than "QRL?"

All just tricks in the CW ops' bag.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by NI0C on January 23, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY asked:
"Why was it [the shave and a haircut routine] illegal? Seems to me that as long as someone identifies, it would be OK, although less effective than a CQ."


What I heard in 1959 during my months as a Novice was a few people who would sit on their crystal-controlled frequency sending: "e s e" without identification until they got a response: "e e." Only then would they identify by de and their callsign.

It was lid behavior, and illegal as well, but I wish that were the worst on the air behavior we had today!

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Getting Back on HF with Code  
by N2EY on January 23, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
To NI0C:

Well, I never heard that sort of thing on the air. But I was a Novice in 1967-68, so the OO program must have had some effect!

Yes, it was both lid behavior and illegal due to lack of ID. Like you, I wish it were the worst thing heard on the amateur bands today.

---

Back in 1956 there was an article called "Your Novice Accent" that spelled out a lot of dos and donts. A classic that is still useful today.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

Subscribe!
My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Other Editorial Articles
Funny SMPP App Note