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Author Topic: Feeling overwhelmed, and really old and stupid....  (Read 4531 times)
WD0EGC
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Posts: 10




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« on: September 23, 2017, 03:13:14 PM »


Hi, I got my Novice license in the early 1970s (wn0mxz), got my General about 40 years ago (wd0egc).  I've been inactive for the past 30 years, but I never let my license expire.  I am approaching retirement, so I joined the local club and dug the old station out of boxes.  The Tempo 2020 turns on, but doesn't have any audio.  The HW-8, amazingly, still works, so I guess I'm starting out on QRP-CW.

So much has changed.  Remember, I haven't listened to the CW bands in 30 years.  The CW bands sound different, of course.  A lot of strange noises, and it ain't RTTY....some sort of digital data, I'm guessing???  Also, my guess is that more than a few people are using Morse code interpretation software and keyboards, because, come on....nobody had fists and ears THAT good, back in the day, lol.  Smiley

I recently joined ARRL and got my first QST since 1973.  So many terms are unfamiliar to me.  JT65, JT9E, FT8, RBN, SDR, etc.  To look at the face-place of a new transceiver, with literally dozens of controls, few of which I understand, is overwhelming (heck, I never understood half of the knobs on my Tempo 2020).  I'm just glad that I remember how to operate the HW-8. 

So, I'm just going to start out with my HW-8, my old manual key, and a 600-ohm ladder-line balanced-feed dipole.  My goals are modest, maybe some easy single-hop QSOs on 40 and 80, when the bands aren't so busy.  I hope to be back on the air in a week or two. 

Just writing to say, if you're a single hop from Fargo, and hear some really slow CW, on 40 and 80, put out with a really rusty fist, it's probably me. 

Wish me luck, friends!!!

Jay

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KS2G
Member

Posts: 732




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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 03:26:48 PM »

Welcome back, Jay.

Bring yourself up-to-date:

ARRL Operating Manual 11th Edition
http://www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Operating-Manual-11th-Edition/

ARRL Handbook 2018 (Hardcover)
www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Handbook-2018-Hardcover/
or
ARRL Handbook 2018 (Softcover)
http://www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Handbook-2018-Softcover/
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N7EKU
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Posts: 705




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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2017, 03:42:10 PM »

Good luck Jay!

I'm sure your CW will all come back to you soo enough --  like riding a bike eh?

Just remember which side of zero-beat to tune the HW-8 to!

73,


Mark.
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Mark -- N7EKU/VE3
KC1BMD
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Posts: 608




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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2017, 04:12:56 PM »

Welcome Jay! I went through (actually still going through) something very similar. Novice ('68) and General ('69). The difference is that I stupidly let my license expire and sold my old Heathkit/Hammarlund equipment. I was out of the hobby (why?!?!?) and decided to get back in 45 years later. So I studied and dragged myself to a local club and took my tests - Technician and General in the same session and Extra two years later. Still a lot to learn and my code is slowly coming back but not up to 13wpm yet. I'll keep an ear out for you and please do the same. We two old guys might just have a fun CW QSO some day. Smiley
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WD0EGC
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2017, 04:20:42 PM »


Just remember which side of zero-beat to tune the HW-8 to!



I've forgotten a lot, but not that.  I worked 40 states with the HW-8 in the late 70's with a random wire antenna.  Always tune from high to low!!!   
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WD0EGC
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2017, 04:30:24 PM »

We two old guys might just have a fun CW QSO some day. Smiley

I've already made a post-it note for the station with your call-sign on it! 

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KC4ZGP
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Posts: 1637




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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2017, 04:40:20 PM »


Jay,

I'm Tim Kraus,

You aren't stupid, old and certainly not alone.

I myself am getting back to Morse. I'm kind of worn out with the PSK-31 stuff.

I was going phone for the last few months but since 160 season is upon us, I'm
going to Morse it on cold Winter nights. I spent Spring and early Summer climbing
trees and roof to erect my 500 plus feet of wire for my 160 meter horizontal loop.

Twenty meters is my other band.

Let's get on the air and dit dit for a tic. Our copying skills combined with
horrible fists should make for interesting _____ for anyone listening.

Someone said it's like riding a bicycle. Nope! Both tires are flat here
and the chain keeps slippping.

Say hey to the family.

Kraus
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K0UA
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Posts: 1362




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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2017, 05:19:27 PM »

Jay, I will look for you, I hope you have fun.. Yes there are some people using keyboards, but most of that high speed CW you hear is copied in peoples heads.  Not me. But some guys are really really good.  We can help you get on the digital modes later if you get a new rig.  One with CAT control.  Most (all) newer rigs have it.  No, you really can't control cats that well, but CAT is Computer Aided Transceiver. 

The ability for a computer to change frequency, enable Push To Talk, and read frequency, and of course many many more functions.  While you can operate some digital modes without CAT control, it is like a day without sunshine.  Best just get a new rig when the time comes. In the meantime have fun with what you have.  Yes a lot of things have changed since you and I were novices in 1971.

 We may have worked each other "back in the day".  I have kept up pretty well, so it all seems pretty easy for me. If you are even moderately computer literate, you will most likely want to explore the digital modes at some point.  If you are not, you probably wont. Note my callsign, and contact me if you have any questions, or there is anything I can help you with.  Seriously. My email is on QRZ.com  And if you need one on one telephone help, I can do that too.  73  James  K0UA
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KH6AQ
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Posts: 7718




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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2017, 07:34:39 PM »

Sunspot cycle 24 is winding down and there aren't many sunspots. To me 40 meters is the band to work and some power helps. I suggest buying a modern 100 watt transceiver rather than QRP.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 6312




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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2017, 07:37:05 PM »

Jay:  I don't want to rain on your parade so please take advantage of this time before your retirement and as much as you can afterwards.

I planned for retirement for 15 years and shortly after calling it quits for work my plans started to slip and didn't materialize.  Now is the time to go for the brass ring Jay.....and I hope you have a great retirement.  

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DL8OV
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Posts: 756




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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2017, 04:13:36 AM »

Welcome back Jay, see you at the CW end of the bands.

Peter DL8OV
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WD0EGC
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2017, 07:33:35 AM »

Jay:  I don't want to rain on your parade so please take advantage of this time before your retirement and as much as you can afterwards.

I planned for retirement for 15 years and shortly after calling it quits for work my plans started to slip and didn't materialize.  Now is the time to go for the brass ring Jay.....and I hope you have a great retirement.  




Thanks for all of the encouragement and helpful suggestions.  I'm glad I found eHam.net. 
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K6LO
Member

Posts: 263




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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2017, 08:03:10 AM »

Welcome back Jay!  Straight keys on CW are still welcome.  Around about 7050 Khz or 14050 Khz (us OT's still use kilohertz lol) are great places to find hand sent CW.  Hope to hear you soon.

73 - Luke - K6LO
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K4SAV
Member

Posts: 2386




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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2017, 08:55:12 AM »

Yep straight keys are still good, but most of the CW you are hearing is generated by electronic keyers, most using iambic paddles.  I recommend you get one of those and practice with it.  I think you will have a lot of fun doing that.  You can send all day long with a keyer and never get tired.  Try that with a straight key or a bug.  The CW those keyers generate is much better that most people can do with a straght key or bug.  Give it a little practice before putting it on the air.  My bug is now just an interesting decoration at my station.

Some of the very high speed guys are using keyboards.  It becomes difficult to send more than about 45 wpm with a keyer and paddle.  There are a few guys on the bands that run 60 to 70 wpm.   A computer can copy CW sent by keyboards pretty good but computers aren't very good at copying CW sent by anything else.

There are bunch of digital modes now that never existed before. Those modes can be copied using a computer hooked to the audio output of your rig.  Nearly all the programs to do that are free.  That is something else to play with and it doesn't cost you anything to do it.  I find setting all that up and getting it to work to be fun but I had much rather be on CW when operating.  Try it for yourself to see if it interests you.  Hey, you don't even need a 4 ft high army or navy surplus RTTY teletype machine to copy RTTY any more.

Jerry, K4SAV
been doing it for 60 years now
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K0UA
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Posts: 1362




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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2017, 10:39:26 AM »

 
Quote
Hey, you don't even need a 4 ft high army or navy surplus RTTY teletype machine to copy RTTY any more.


My first RTTY machine was a Model 15.  Big ugly black oily, and highly complex machine.  A marvel of 1920's engineering.   Of course it is just another mode of hundreds now that my PC does.  My old TU was a homebrew 567 PLL board. Not a very good TU, but it worked.  Now my "interface" is just a built in sound card inside the radio itself.  Hooked to the PC with nothing more than an USB cable. It doesn't get any more basic than that.
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