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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: Icom 718 & CW for new operator  (Read 6908 times)

Posts: 61

« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2009, 05:32:07 PM »

HI, LESTRY KI6LGX. I to am a new ham at 72 years old. I got my tech license a few months ago, and have been studying morse code every day. I still have trouble with numbers and punctuations. I use "Just learn morse code" and G4fon koch trainer. also FISTS club has a great cd with good training. Keep up the good work, don't get discouraged and keep practicing. Hope to work with you someday. I'm also looking at buying an ic 718 in the future. Right now I have a MFJ- 9040 5 watt 40 meter rig with  dipole.

Posts: 61

« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2009, 05:34:17 PM »

Boy, Did I screw this up or what.

Posts: 28

« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2009, 07:40:51 PM »


S'O.K., thanks for the encouragement.

It could be a while before I come up on
the air, but I'm working on it.

Posts: 187

« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2009, 08:12:28 AM »

You are going to fall in love with your 718! I'm a couple of years ahead of you, learning morse and and putting a 718 on the air.  Riding the continuous wave with our little Icoms is a great way to go. Don't worry about the lack of filters at first, its rarely a problem, and running wide open makes you a better operator anyway.
  As far as learning the code, it is a great pursuit, it's very empowering, and will remain a touchstone for the rest of your life. It impresses the hell out of the civilians, and oddly enough it earns respect in the strangest places, among young and old alike.
  I'm going out on a limb here with  a little heresy. If you can't seem to catch learning the code with a free program (like myself) don't be shy about spending a few bucks for Code Quick. Contrary to the naysayers it's a great way to learn. It doesn't put a "look up table" in your head. It's like having a personal  morse teacher. It had me copying W1AW at 13 wpm before I ever sent a dit. Read the reviews here on E-HAM. More heresy- Don't be afraid to write down what you copy. It teaches your hand to write with a magic pencil, you'll look down at your paper and be able to read what you never could have copied in your head starting out, especially poorly sent or mis-spaced code. These methods won't poison you, after several hundred ragchews you'll be copying in your head anyway.
  I'm speaking from experience, a very warm welcome is waiting for anyone who makes the effort, and joins the ranks of the radiotelegraphers.
Take very good care, I hope to catch you on the air soon. 73 de Tom, AB9NZ, Mount Prospect Il.

Posts: 28

« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2009, 07:36:53 PM »

Tom AB9NZ,

Thanks for the encouragement and for having the nerve
for a little heresy, which I respect.  My concentration is
a bit impaired, seriously slowing my progress, but a little
every day regardless.  I'll take your suggestion in time if
I must.

I've an antenna tuner and a power supply, but it looks
like I may have to operate like a gypsy, not out the comfort
and space of my own home.  Can I safely avoid  elaborate
ground system(s) if I'm operating low power and or battery?

Thanks again, to all.

Posts: 2808

« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2009, 08:56:11 PM »

At low power, "RF in the shack" isn't much of a problem.

If you get something like an FT-817 (5 watts), and run it off a battery on a picnic table, and connect it to a dipole antenna (vertical or horizontal), a "ground system" isn't necessary (or even meaningful).

OTOH, if you're running a long-wire antenna, or a vertical (non-dipole), you _will_ need an "RF ground" to balance the antenna.  This usually means one or more radials, spread out on the earth around you.

At 100 watts, things get a bit more complicated.  Ferrite chokes on _everything_ will save you from a lot of grief.


Posts: 30

« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2009, 09:45:59 AM »

K2 has no general rx coverage. So it's not the typical swl rig. 718 will suit you better I think. Welcome to cw!


Posts: 4

« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2009, 08:18:09 PM »

Voltaire said, "The best is the enemy of the good."  Don't be so preoccupied with CW perfection that you never get on the air.  On-the-air practice is what makes you good.

I have a thought -- it just came to me and I'll probably use it myself in about two weeks after I re-learn the Gordon West CW tapes.

First, to overcome microphone shyness (I can't remember what it's usually called, but it's common), try calling in a phone frequency range something like "CQ CQ CQ this is new ham KI6LGX looking for a slow-code CW mentor."  If someone answers, just tell him "It's my first QSO and I don't know what to say -- will you please walk me through it?"  I'll bet you'll get some patient takers who will schedule on-the-air practice sessions with you.

Here's my idea -- practice on the air with cell phone backup so you can discuss off the air, in real time, what's going right and wrong.  And since it's a friend, it'll be OK if you miss some numbers or letters.  (I'm about to practice this way with my dad.)

Phone (radio phone, that is) contacts can help, though.  It'll help by making the conversation part second nature so you can concentrate on code practice.

Finally, the IC-718 is superb.  It's way better than anything you need for a whole lifetime of CW pleasure, and it isn't so complex as to distract from your experience.  CW is a minimalist mode and you only need the most basic equipment to have fun with it.  Your rig is much, much better than the most basic.  You do not need a new or different rig.

Don't talk yourself out of having fun.  Just find a way to get on the air.


Posts: 69

« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2010, 05:38:08 PM »

I have a Mac too.  I used AA9PW (with the earphones so as not to bug the XYL) to get to about 6-7 wpm.  Then I decided it was time to quit stalling and get on the air.  I'm glad I did.  Almost all of the ops that I've QSOed with have been great.  They are willing to slow down and repeat as needed so that I've had a very positive experience.  No doubt about it, getting on the air has helped me improve more than anything.  Sure, the first time was scary, but it was worth it, and it gets a little easier every time.  CW is a fun mode, and after only a few months I use CW for about 95% of my contacts.  

By the way, I use an FT-450.  It is an entry-level rig similar to the IC-718.  It works just fine for CW.  There have only been a couple of times that I could have wished for a narrower filter.

Welcome aboard, and hope to hear you on the air!

Garth, KF7ATL
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