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Author Topic: Learning the Code  (Read 640 times)
HELP
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« on: June 25, 2001, 02:29:40 PM »

I am currently in the  process of studying for my Tech plus code exam. I have been using the ARRl tapes and text which have bee very helpful.
I want to purchase a transciever which I can use to practice code receiving and I would like for this unit not to be limited as my intensions are to go for my General class soon after my tech. I would like some advise on a nice rig and antenna setup from experienced Hams.
Also please be advised that I have no intension of using this equipment with out a proper rating.
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2001, 06:43:36 PM »

Good Idea !

I was going to purchase a s/w receiver then after
reading the forums here decided to use the money towards a real hf rig.

Check out the Kenwood TS-520 series.  Nice radio
for the money and many are available.
After reading boatanchor forum I got one too.

FYI, arrl has the code practice transmissions available in real audio files for download or playback.

73 murray
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KF4BOT
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2001, 10:18:53 AM »

In my opinion, the most effective way to learn the code is with computer software. Software is your only source of unlimited radnom runs. If you use tapes, you will find yourself memorizing the runs after a while. The ARRL code practice transmissions are limited to when they transmit them and how often. I used Ham University software to pass my code test. You can download a free trial of Ham University at http://crick.com/hamu/index.html. You can also purchase it through their site. The demo will provide you with unlimited practice for one week.

I agree with you that it is a good idea to buy an HF rig now. You can get some good used equipment at reasonable prices on eBay. Someone on this forum suggested a Kenwood TS-520. I agree. Its a good radio. I have one for a back-up. It is an all solid state radio except for the driver and finals.

Please keep in mind that the FCC no longer issues Tech Plus licenses. If you pass the Technician exam along with the 5 wpm code test, you are no longer authorized to operate on HF with it. You will have a Tech license with a certificate proving that you passed the 5 wpm code test. The certificate, which is good for one year is then used for proof of passing the 5 wpm code test when you go for the General exam. You will need the General to do any transmitting below 30 MHz. The General exam is not as difficult as some people make it out to be.

Good luck with the tests. I hope to hear you on the bands shortly.

73 de KF4BOT
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KC8ITI
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2001, 11:33:22 PM »

Congratulations on wanting to learn the code. After 33 years of saying that I couldn't learn the code and get a license or pass the test I finally did and I am having a ball. I have taught a couple of technician classes and have used Super Morse to teach with. It is a DOS based program and can run on just about any machine you have around. Again it is a DOS based program so in Windows 95 and 98 you have to restart your computer in DOS mode but it works just fine. I have used Code Quick and I have mixed feels about it. It will certainly get you to 5 WPM to pass the test, but it seemed to me that I had to unlearn some habits before I could get to 13 WPM for the General. I think it's fine to go ahead and get a HF rig to listen in with. I sort of did the same thing when I started. I won a 2 meter rig at a hamfest before I was licensed. Had it setting in the closet to look at everyday as a push to get my license. I must take exception to the advice from KF4BOT about technician license with a CSCE for Morse code not being able to work HF. Part 97.301(e) states that Technicians with proof of Morse code proficiency  have the same privileges as a Novice operator. The CSCE is only good for 365 days for upgrade purposes but the HF privileges are good as long as have keep your license. The burden of proof that you can operate on HF is up to you as the operator in that the FCC no longer keeps records on Technicians with code so hang on to your CSCE in case the FCC comes knocking. Anyway good luck with your endeavors.

Lee Hodges – KC8ITI
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KF4BOT
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2001, 03:33:00 PM »

In response to Lee Hodges KC8ITI, the person asking for help indicated that he is currently in the process of studying for his code exam. Part 97 301 e makes reference to those who already hold Novice or Tech Plus licenses. Since April 15, 2000, the FCC has stopped issuing new Tech Plus, Novice and Advanced licenses. Although those who hold these classes of license retain their privileges, no Technician class licensee who now passes his code test has any HF privileges until upgrading to General. If a Technician passes his code test today and has HF privileges, then that means that he just obtained a Tech Plus license. We all know that this is not the case.
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KG6FJF
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2001, 11:39:05 PM »

MFJ makes a little code-practice doohickey which I found to be very useful. You can program the speed and length of the practice sessions; you can have it send letters, numbers, q-signals, words, randomly-generated qso's, or any combination thereof. It also has the advantage of being very portable. The sound quality is not great (it IS from MFJ, after all) but isn't too bad if you use headphones.
But for me the very best practice is listening to real folks pounding real brass, with real-people quirks. If you're on the West Coast you can listen to W6ADO on 40 meters-he runs a 24-hour code-practice beacon.  W1AW's practice broadcasts are gettable pretty much anywhere in the lower 48.  Or just troll the Novice bands for slow fists.
If you're just listening, you don't need a particularly fancy radio/antenna; if you want to save your money for a "real" transceiver, you might be able to borrow an old-but-functional receiver from a ham in your area. (Check with your local club.) Staple some wire to your ceiling for an antenna and you're in business!  
Best of luck,
Angie KG6FJF
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RobertKoernerExAE7G
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2001, 04:16:56 AM »

"I would like some advise on a nice rig and antenna setup from experienced Hams."

If you scan prior questions in this forum, you will find suggestions for a good first rig (used).

You can have a lot of fun with simple wire antennas that you make -- also coverd a lot in prior postings.

Since ten meters is open, and will be a lot better this winter, you might consider buying a used ten meter beam, or a CB beam that you reconfigure for 10 meters.  These antennas don't need large rotators (expensive)to turn them.

Keep us posted on how you are doing; what rigs you are considering buying; problems you run in to while study for the written test and CW.

Consider letting us know your first name, how old, and what state you are in.

Have FUN
Bob
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AG4DG
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2001, 01:16:15 PM »

http://www.cq2k.net

Morse Code with attitude, not drudgery
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KD5MAW
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2001, 02:29:02 PM »

I looked at the Code Quick demo but passed it up, reasoning that I would not hear very many ops transmitting "dog-did-it" on the bands. {8^) Just kidding - Code Quick may be just the thing for you.
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N5ZQ
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2001, 05:46:41 PM »

Actually, there is not official licence class called Technician Plus.  There is an unofficial class called Technician with HF.  When a Technician passes their 5WPM code exam, they DO receive the same HF priviledges as the previous Tech Pluses and Novices.  The FCC does not issue a new license and their database is not updated, but the HF priviledges do come with passing the code exam.  The licensee has to retain a copy of their CSCE for proof that they passed the code exam.

The big limitation is that the credit for passing the code exam is only good for 1 year, while the priviledges are good indefinately.

If you do not think that this is correct, please do some research.  Call the ARRL and they would be happy to explain this further.  By the way, I am an examiner and am very familiar with the rules.
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PE3TDI
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2001, 05:04:20 PM »

You dont need to listen to the real CW world in order to pass you exam.
As a matter affect you might even feel downted by the sheer speed and sloppy codes you find.
It will be very hard to find slow and clear code you  can practice on. BTW unfortunately most "cw qso's" are all the same.........

I learned a lot from "code quick" 2000 (tapes + software) and "Nu Morse".
Practice at least 2 twice a day for 20 minutes and you will succeed !

On the other hand It aint much use to buy a receive first and trade it in for a tranceiver once u have the ticked.

Its all up to you budget but if possible stay away form the very basic rigs. Pehaps a kit from Ellecraft (K2) would be a exelent option if budget is limited and performance is needed. You can always add a liniar and antenne tuner, DSP filtering later accoring to your needs.

Antenna wise its very much depedinding on what it possible on your qth. I suggest you might have a loog at the GAP Titan DX. And/or pay a visit to the site of Radio Works and take a close look at the Carolina Windom series.

Good luck and have fun :-)

Roger
PA1ZZ (new call since I have my HF ticked but dont know how to change this on eham....)
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