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Author Topic: Semi or full break in?  (Read 12502 times)
KD5OMC
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Posts: 7




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« on: July 14, 2003, 01:00:26 PM »

Just wondering what other cw ops prefer, and also the pros and cons of semi and full break in for cw?

Also, would appreciate some thoughts on delay time.   I have an icom 706mkIIg.  I have not attempted any cw contacts yet, but am trying to figure out a starting point for these settings.


Comments please?

73's
KD5OMC
Tim
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2003, 01:55:09 PM »

Full break-in takes some getting used to, and after 38 years of operating CW, I still don't like it at all.  No advantage for me...I don't care if I can hear the other station between dits and dahs or not, and frankly, it's distracting to hear them.  I much prefer semi break-in.

Semi break-in is the same as VOX on SSB, and the dropout delay should be set appropriately for the code speed you're using.  Since many of my contacts will be at 30~50 wpm, I set the dropout delay quite short, usually about one-tenth of a second or so.  At slower speeds, a longer delay is appropriate.  At 5 wpm, a setting of more than one full second is probably best.  Whatever is comfortable for you!  Experiment with it.

WB2WIK/6

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NI0C
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Posts: 2408




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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2003, 02:24:32 PM »

Good question!  Most seasoned CW ops prefer QSK (full break-in) operation as it allows one to hear transmissions made by others on the frequency between code characters being sent. You probably will want to start out with semi-break-in to help you concentrate on your sending.  The time delay should be adjusted to allow you to complete words before dropping back to receive.  The exact adjustment will depend on your speed and personal preferences.  If the time delay is set too long, you might miss part of the other person's transmission.  

Although I prefer full QSK, the amplifier I use is not QSK compatible, so I've been using semi-break in for several years.

73 & good luck!

Chuck  NI0C
 
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KD5OMC
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2003, 01:24:36 AM »

Thanks for the replies!   I will try the semi brk setting with a 1 sec delay time and play from there.

Thanks again

73's
KD5OMC
Tim
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W5HTW
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2003, 09:14:47 PM »

I agree with Steve.  Full breakin CW is not my favorite method either.  Semi-QSK works fine, and I prefer delay time to allow me to, if I so choose, send several words, perhaps dropping out only at the end of a sentence or a longer pause.  The same, in fact, with SSB VOX, with about the same settings.  At slow speeds, 4 - 7 WPM or so, full QSK actually sounds a bit better to my old ears, but at really slow speeds I prefer to go to manual switching.  

Full QSK, though, is truly a blessing in CW traffic handling, as a quick dash can cut in on the sender and get him to pause and resend something if desired.  For the die-hard DXer it works, too, as it allows you to be calling a specific DX station and hear him come back to someone else before you have completed your call!  So you know you wasted your time.  Which doesn't eliminate the need to contine and ID your station.  

But for casual ragchewing, or normal operations, semi-QSK is just like talking - you don't interrupt the other person in the middle of every word.

73
Ed
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K0RS
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2003, 02:17:58 AM »

Well, you've gotten reponses from several CW ops, and you can see there is a divergence of opinion.  Dif'rent strokes.  Personally, I really like full QSK.  As Ed pointed out, it's great in a CW pile-up.  Normally, in that situation, competing stations call until the DX answers someone, then standby for the next opportunity.  Full break-in allows you to hear the DX as soon as he answers someone, so you can pause.  That gives you the opportunity to tune around quickly to find the station the DX answered.  Then you know the frequency he's listening so you can place your next call correctly.  That maximizes your chances of being heard. Of course, some guys NEVER stop calling, but that's another post...

I like QSK when I'm ragchewing too, especially with guys I know.  I'm familiar with my friends's operating habits, so I can just drop a "dit" in between their words if I wanna make a comment.  The other op will pause, and I can inject a few words.  Makes it very conversational.  Don't try this with guys you don't know.  They probably won't "get it" and may think you're rude.

Some operators find the band noise between characters distracting.  It does take some getting used to.  One of my best friends, an accomplished CW op since the '50's, hates QSK.  Frequently one's opinion of full break-in is determined by how well their equipment can handle it.  There is a wide range of capability.  My TS-850s probably can best be described as adequate, but not stellar.  I had a Yaesu FT-1000mp that really sucked.  It had lots of thumping and popping between elements of characters.  Wasn't just mine either, as that was a frequent tropic of discussion on the Yaesu reflector.  QSK competence is one of my primary considerations when buying a rig, and it was my main reason for selling my '1000mp  I have no idea how well the 706 can cope with QSK.  My old boat anchor stuff won't support it of course, so I use a foot switch with them.  With practice, that is almost as effective...plus you have infinitely adjustable delay!  If you don't want your relays to drop, keep your foot down.  If you want to check the frequency, lift off the switch for a split second...works great with a little co-ordination.

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NI0C
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2003, 06:21:59 PM »

K0RS: In reference to boat-anchor setups, I had a great QSK station in the early 60's using a WRL Globe Chief 90 Tx, National NC-109 Rx, and a W9TO keyer. I used a simple TR switch (a broadband cathode follower) at the receiver input that got biased to cutoff when the transmitter was keyed.  Auxiliary keying relay contacts were used to mute the receiver, while the sidetone was generated by the keyer.  This worked great for DX'ing, traffic-handling and QRQ ragchewing.  It sure was better than my Novice setup a few years earlier that required throwing three switches to go from transmit to receive: a SPDT knife switch for the random wire antenna, big toggle switch to mute the receiver, and a slide switch on the transmitter.
73 de Chuck  NI0C

   
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AF1Q
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2003, 02:49:01 PM »

One does not need to use full break in QSK to appreciate the full benifits of CW operation. Using QSK is somewhat distracting especially when the band is noisy.
Using semi QSK is also an excellent way to use CW and most experienced CW operators can use it and still allow enough time for one to break in by simply pausing and allowing the reciever to recover long enough to listen.
Keeping transmissions short with brief pauses of a second or two by adjusting the semi break in delay so that it does not break during normal word spacing. One can adjust the delay so that it opens only when an intended pause slightly longer than a word space is being made. It does not take long before one catches on to this technique and becomes very comfortable.
Also, most transcievers today incorperate numerous relays that work during the full break in mode, also cooling fans or often keyed on and off during full break in. Some manufactures use PIN DIODES to do the rapid QSK switching, Ten Tec and Elecraft are two that I know of. Jim AF1Q
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KT8K
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2003, 01:52:56 PM »

I'm surprised to hear so many ops in favor of semi-breakin.  Maybe it's because my first rig was a Tentec, which handles full QSK beautifully, but I am passionately addicted to it, and would have a hard time buying a rig without it if I intended to operate with it very much.  I really like hearing what's going on between dits and dahs.  Is he losing me to QSB and starting to send before I am done?  Is the DX station already calling someone else?  Is someone tuning up on top of me?  I love it, but then, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool CW nut and make more than 90% of my QSOs using it.
73 de kt8k - Tim
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W8MW
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Posts: 326




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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2003, 12:16:12 PM »

Agreed, it is a matter of personal preference.  Preferences are often guided by the equipment we've had exposure to. There is a wide range of performance variables in QSK-equipped transceivers, anywhere from poor to excellent. Ten Tecs always outperformed any other equipment I've used. My ICOM 756PRO receiver sounds nice in QSK but the transmitter chops code characters.  I can compensate for that by running heavier weighting on the keyer.  

On the other hand, all transceivers I've ever had do a clean job in the semi break in, vox-keyed mode.

Reagrdless of which switching scheme someone uses, it is possible to make CW contacts more interesting and interactive by making short exchanges with frequent back and forth.  It's refreshing to be in a QSO that's a conversation and not a series of marathon one-way transmissions.
   
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W7VP
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2003, 07:39:25 PM »

There are as many opinions on this subject as there are operators.  Stil, I like full QSK.  But emember that if you get used to it you may have to deal with the amp question if you decide to use an amp.  In order to continue using QSK I built an external QSK switch using two vacuum relays and then put a fast relay in the amp (4-1000A) to switch the grid bias from idle to transmit.  It works well as the taps on the switch show on the scope.  But unless the amp you buy has that capability you will be stuck with a slower switching mode.

Bill
W7VP
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2003, 01:19:09 PM »

Full Break-In, by  ALL  means !!!   The trick to 'enjoying' it, though, is to turn off the  AGC, and run your RF gain control by hand.  When guys gripe about Break-In, it is usually  because when they hear between their characters, the receiver RF gain is WIDE OPEN [from no existing received signal coming in].  If you set your audio at around half, and run your RF gain by hand, you can set the ROAR to not BE  a roar, and enjoy your QSK..... 'Wouldn't  operate without it...at any time.

73

"DM"   N 7 D M
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