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Author Topic: Does anybody zero beat a QSO anymore?  (Read 33306 times)
N4OI
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2013, 03:56:37 AM »

The refferences to the Novice requirement for crystal control are nostalgic for me - yes, but, have little to do with the equipment one 99% of contacts today being significantly off frequency.  .... 

And not just Novice equipment -- some of my QRP radios, such as the Rockmite transceiver and the Hendricks TwoFer transmitter, are rock-bound or just allow a slight frequency movement.  Regardless, I will point my half watt to any CQs I can hear in my very wide passband!  Amazingly, a lot of folks find me for a solid QRP QSO.

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI   Grin
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W7ASA
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2013, 06:36:09 AM »

I Love my RockMite too!  The receiver is rockbound with the slight off-set as well as the TX, though.  What this other fellow was reffering to was back in our Novice days, you would only have a couple of crystals ("Rocks") and so after calling CQ, we would tune up/down the Nocive band searching for stations responding to your call: not an easy task with a beginner's code speed of  5 words per minute!  ha ha

That RockMite really is amazing though. I regularly enjoy ragchews at 800-1000 miles with it's 'mighty' half Watt. The receiver -as you pointed out- is wide open, but very sensitive. The best filter is still between the operator's ears.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._
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HAMNCHEESE
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2013, 08:11:54 AM »

I can't believe how incredibly lazy hams have become.

I, myself, have struggled with myopic hams who demand calling them ON and ONLY ON their frequency. There have even been some who advised me I was "off frequency." Off frequency? What is this, a channel? There is no such thing as "off frequency" iin amateur radio unless you are out of band.

Years ago, before they created give-away licenses, hams called CQ and then would tune up and down ACROSS their transmit frequency. It was just good operating practice. Now apparently we have morphed into a group that would better be suited to CB.

Tuning 10 kHz up and down on each side of a transmit frequency is evidently more energy than some wish to expend to participate in the art of radiocommunication. I must concede that those operators have already endured the rigors of plugging in their rig and turning it on.

I wish we could get back to real radio operators and not those who wish to operate their equipment like a vending machine.
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K0OD
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Posts: 2520




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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2013, 09:05:50 AM »

Quote
There is no such thing as "off frequency" iin amateur radio unless you are out of band.

Actually there is. On 60 meters. Or on some digital modes. You don't want to be off the calling frequency on VHF/UHF when looking for weak signal DX. Meteor bursts. 

Not every radio has an RIT or two VFOs. Some RITs have limited range.

Responding off frequency may indicate an alignment or drift problem that should be corrected. Often it simply means an RIT was left on.

If you call a station on CW or digital more than a few hundred Hz off, you may not be heard. I usually use a brick wall 200 Hz filter in contests. Sometimes 100 Hz or even less.

It's about context. Being way off is acceptable in the QRP or boat anchor "windows."
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AC2EU
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2013, 09:48:50 AM »

I can't believe how incredibly lazy hams have become.

I, myself, have struggled with myopic hams who demand calling them ON and ONLY ON their frequency. There have even been some who advised me I was "off frequency." Off frequency? What is this, a channel? There is no such thing as "off frequency" iin amateur radio unless you are out of band.

Years ago, before they created give-away licenses, hams called CQ and then would tune up and down ACROSS their transmit frequency. It was just good operating practice. Now apparently we have morphed into a group that would better be suited to CB.

Tuning 10 kHz up and down on each side of a transmit frequency is evidently more energy than some wish to expend to participate in the art of radiocommunication. I must concede that those operators have already endured the rigors of plugging in their rig and turning it on.

I wish we could get back to real radio operators and not those who wish to operate their equipment like a vending machine.

Well Hamncheese,
I guess I would respect your point of view more if you used your call sign. Do you have a call sign?

Anyway, rigs have progressed a long way since the spark gap transmitter and coherer that you were using. In case you are unaware, they are now illegal to use due to "RF pollution".
So far, I haven't seen anyone here ( except you!) indicate that a 20KHZ BW is a reasonable target area when responding to a calling station. The consensus seems to be 2.5Khz BW is more than enough... and it is!

Yeah, I may be an "EXTRA lite", warmed over CBer or whatever you choose to call guys who haven't been HAMs for more than 50 years, but I DO know how to operate my radio in numerous modes. I even home brew some of it. Imagine that!   Shocked

I started this post to better understand the art of CW and why some folks zero beat, some miss by 150HZ or so, others are way off. ( again, I'm not talking about splits).

It's not so much a matter of laziness, but if the calling station is using 500HZ, 1000HZ or 2.5KHZ filters, and you don't try to at least get close to the frequency, you may not be heard. Who's being lazy? The calling frequency picked the frequency, so why  not use a little skill to "find it" before responding? Besides, why use more BW for the QSO than you have to?

After reading the responses (thanks all!),there seems to be two schools of thought on this subject. Those who ZB and those who let the calling station "chase" them with the RIT. Bottom line, I gather that both are acceptable practice when the bands aren't crowed...  Huh






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ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2013, 04:04:19 PM »

Yeah I just dont get it either. I hear people call who can be us much as 800hz off zerobeat. When I hear their equipment they using modernn radios with the ability to easy zerobeat or automatically zerobeat.
There must be some misunderstanding of how to zerobeat a signal and have a CW QSO. Sometimes I suspect its someone using digital programs that are using audio generated CW and they working CW on SSB.

The best CW operators for zerobeat are homebrew QRP radio types, they know how to do it and are always spot on.  Why guys with modern radios cant do this is also beyond belief.
A lot of JA stations on 7mhz also seems to be off zerobeat, I dont know if they doing this because of QRM and birdies or what.
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K1DA
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Posts: 460




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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2013, 08:23:55 AM »

The old "C" Line has a nice zero feature.
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KF7DS
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Posts: 174




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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2013, 09:49:44 PM »

Not only is 0 beating good practice, you also get the most out of your filters. It is a necessity in close-in quarters in contesting.

Don KF7DS
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K9ZMD
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Posts: 169




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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2013, 11:54:13 PM »

Granted, there are circumstances when an op replying to a CQ cannot tune his TX frequency to match the CQing station (equipment limitations).  There are also circumstances where Zero Beating is a poor operating practice (for example, ZB on a DX station who is "listening up"), or frustratingly ineffective (multiple ZB replies to a CQ will QRM one another).  However, under normal circumstances, if station equipment is capable of tuning to a CQ frequency, then it is poor practice to haphazardly answer 500 Hz or more off the CQ frequency.  If the op knows how to ZB, but doesn't do it, then that's where laziness is the proper appellation.  If the op doesn't know how to ZB (or even understand the need), then that's the time for some Elmering to be applied.

Write this down: The CQing station sets the QSO frequency and should normally never change TX frequency to match a reply.  That is the convention, and doing it any other way often leads to rudely chaotic hopscotching around the band.  I'll acknowledge making one exception; namely, if I learn a replying station is rock bound, then I will move to his frequency.  Keep reading to learn the practical reasons to do so.

Under good band conditions, if a station replies within 100 Hz of my CQ, I'll always hear the signal and work the op.  No big deal.  RIT is a valuable aid to me under those circumstances, and both halves of the QSO are generally close enough to keep that little patch of spectrum clear of QRM. 

I also hear & answer stations that reply 500 or so Hz from my CQ, but that proves to be dicey on some bands.  Stations local to the other op may hear his frequency as a clear spot and jump on it.  Even if they first send QRL?, my quick QRL or C is so far off frequency that it is likely to be ignored, if even heard.  The ensuing "doubling" results in difficult copy for me.  Same for stations local to me; they may only hear my frequency as an invitingly quiet spot for their own CQ, so the op I'm trying to work is suffering QRM.  All could have been avoided if the replying op had only made a little effort to move his TX frequency somewhere near to my CQ.   Personally, I'd be ashamed if I couldn't get within 50 Hz of a CQ in less than two seconds, just by ear. (Actually, a station with CAT control & some sort of spectrum display - even as simple as HRD or MixW - can perfectly ZB a CQ in less than one second with just one mouse click.)

I have also heard and answered replies to my CQ that were over 900 Hz off my frequency (yes, I keep the band pass open while CQing).  If I then learn that the other op has a modern rig, my request for that station to tune to my signal is very reasonable.  Let's avoid the potential for QRM from another op who can't hear either of us, and let's leave one of those two widely separated frequencies free for someone else to use.

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WB6DGN
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« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2013, 08:38:03 PM »

Good Grief!  You can tell you're getting old when your complaints refer to, not how fast another op sends CW but, instead, how fast he SPEAKS!
Really sad thing about this; I'm serious!
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KD8IIC
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Posts: 147




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« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2013, 01:11:13 AM »

Just sounds to me like you are not quite used to what your 500hz CW filtering does OM.Turn off the filter, zero beat the other guy, turn that 500hz filter bk on. I use my RIT on the transceiver but it's easier to use a seperate receiver to do the real work. 73.
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WD8DKB
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Posts: 177




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« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2014, 04:06:11 PM »

On my IC-7200, there is no zero beat feature. I tune to match my sidetone . Or switch in the really narrow filter and tune for maximum signal strength. Another 7200 owner said to switch to SSB and zero beat the received cw signal, then switch back to CW mode. That seems to work well for me. Whether these ideas work on other rigs , I have no idea. Hopefully, I'm zeroing signals correctly at my end. Feel free to correct me if I'm not. Never too late to learn !  Max   
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N6GND
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« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2014, 10:43:41 AM »

On my IC-7200, there is no zero beat feature. I tune to match my sidetone . Or switch in the really narrow filter and tune for maximum signal strength. Another 7200 owner said to switch to SSB and zero beat the received cw signal, then switch back to CW mode. That seems to work well for me. Whether these ideas work on other rigs , I have no idea. Hopefully, I'm zeroing signals correctly at my end. Feel free to correct me if I'm not. Never too late to learn !  Max   

Matching the sidetone works (be sure to be on the correct side of zero beat depending on your bfo setup) and that's the way I usually do it. Switching to USB or LSB and tuning to zero beat also works on my rigs (new method for me). Max signal strength is also appropriate, but probably not as accurate as zero beat or matched sidetone methods.

In the old boat anchor days, zero beating was a more direct experiential process because most receivers had a bfo frequency knob on the front panel. You could tune for zero beat and then adjust the bfo frequency knob to either side of zero beat for whatever sidetone frequency you wanted. At zero beat you would also see your S meter peak (again not necessarily a very sharp indication, depending on signal strength and selectivity).

I think the rigs of more recent decades with their pre-set bfo frequencies have both simplified receiver tuning and also kept ops from experiencing what true zero beat is. Thus so many QSOs which are not really on the same frequency.
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K4KRW
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Posts: 98




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« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2014, 02:34:24 PM »

My 897D has a zero beat indicator that works great.  I have small QRP rigs built from kits.  I wanted the same functionality on those rigs as zero beating by ear was not at all easy. 

I found this:
http://www.wb3aal.com/Pages/K6XX/K6XXCWIndicatorKit.htm

My 2 Wilderness Radio Sierras and my OHR-100A all have one now.  If the rig is properly aligned and this add on correctly installed and configured it works wonderfully.  If you see the light flashing in time with the signal, you are zero beat. 

The instructions are pretty generic.  So, you have to figure out where to tap in for power and for the audio sample.  But, I managed it on two different type rigs without too much difficulty.

I had to buy a bezel for the LED.  Other than that, the kit had everything.

Richard - K4KRW
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K8AXW
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« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2014, 09:02:25 AM »

ASA:  Ray, I'm directing my question to you because I seem to understand your explanations better than most of the others.

It seems that I have been operating CW incorrectly for 57 years or I simply don't know what the hell everyone is talking about with this "zero beating."

My procedure when operating CW is to tune a CW station until it gives me a nice 800Hz tone...and call him.  This seems to work OK and I've never had someone tell me that I was off frequency. 

To me "zero beating" is to tune the received CW signal down to a null which then means I don't hear anything.  Now if my radio has RIT, I of course can bring him up out of the null to a good sounding audio signal. 

However, if my radio doesn't have RIT then how does one properly tune a CW signal?

Ray, I'm sure you've seen confused old people or old people easily confused...... well this is where I am.  All at once I don't understand this simple process, a process that I've use for 57 years as I mentioned. 

I don't know rather to feel that I simply don't understand what is being discussed here or feel like an ass for not using proper procedure for all these years!

Can you simplify this for me?  Anyone?

Al - K8AXW
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