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Author Topic: CW speed with a flashlight  (Read 435 times)
N7IOH
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Posts: 116




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« on: August 28, 2005, 07:08:41 PM »

Hi all, I came across an old test flashlight that has a 1/4" jack in the back for testing for shorts and open circuits.  I was just wondering if anyone here has played around sending CW using a light and what was a good speed to send at.  I thought it might be fun to play around with maybe using one of those new LED flashlights.  I'm not really into CW but thought I would get my speed up and try a little CW, on the air.  The light for right now is just for playing with.  

          Thanks, Al, N7IOH
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12986




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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2005, 06:29:26 AM »

Signalmen used to send Morse code from one ship to another using a flashing light. I seem to recall that the top speed was somewhere around 10WPM. They left the bulb on continuously and interrupted the light with a set of mechanical shutters. I suppose that was because the size of the bulbs they needed were slow in turning on and off.
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HA5RXZ
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Posts: 380




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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2005, 10:41:17 AM »

10WPM using the old Aldis lamps is about right. The biggest limitation on sending speed is that the lever used to rotate the shutters was about a foot long. The bulb used in these units takes about half a second to come to full brightness, it was also VERY bright.

HA5RXZ
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KA2JIZ
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Posts: 105




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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2005, 04:02:35 PM »

Agree with AA4 and HA5
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N7IOH
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Posts: 116




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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2005, 05:22:42 PM »

Thanks guys, I was kind of guessing in the 5-10 WPM range.  I had forgotten about having to wait for the filiment to get hot.  I may try and home brew something with some LEDs for the fun of it.  

             Thanks again, Al, N7IOH
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2825




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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2005, 09:08:53 AM »

I was a radioman in the Navy, but I stood some signalman watches from time to time.  10 WPM was a good "average" speed.  A "fast" speed would have been around 12-13 WPM.  The chief criterion was that you didn't "bang" the shutters on the searchlight.  Takes a bit of practice and getting used to the large swivel motion your wrist must take, rather than the short up-and-down motion when using a J-38.  But I bet I can still do 12 WPM on flashing light!  Or maybe more.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
WB4M
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Posts: 122




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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2005, 08:14:04 PM »

Many years ago when I was in the Boy Scouts (c. 1960-62), we earned our "Signaling" merit badge by demonstrating the ability to both send and receieve Morse Code.  We had to send using sound, light, one flag, and with 2 flags!  Can you imagine the uproar if we had to do that to get a ham license?  And all we got was a small round merit badge!
Back then, flashlights had a small button on the ON/OFF switch, and we'd use it sort of like a straight key, and send Morse Code that way.  We used to have fun on camping trips, flashing our flashlights between campsites, sending messages to each other.  As for the speed, I would guess it was not fast, probably 10 WPM max.  
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KL7IPV
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Posts: 984




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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2005, 07:17:34 PM »

WB4M,
   I did that in 1951 and THAT has always stayed with me. It has been my "downfall" with CW ever since. I can "cruise" along at 20WPM and hear a letter like I did in 1951 and my night is screwed from then on. That training NEVER leaves you. I wish now that I didn't earn that signalling merit badge.
73,
Frank
KL7IPV
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