Author Archive

Perfect Straight-Key Morse Code? Can It Be Made Without Machines?

What is the proper (and most efficient) technique for creating Morse code by hand, using a manual Morse code key?
Ham radio operators find Morse code (and the CW mode, or Continuous Wave keying mode) very useful, even though Morse code is no longer required as part of the licensing process.
Morse code is highly effective in weak-signal radio work.  And, Preppers love Morse code because it is the most efficient way to communicate when there is a major disaster that could wipe out the communications infrastructure.
While this military film is antique, the vintage information is timeless, as the material is applicable to Morse code, even today.  This film has the answer to the question, “Can a person craft perfect Morse code by straight key, without the help of a computer or machine?
The International Morse Code (sometimes referred to as CW in amateur radio jargon because a continuous wave is turned on and off with the long and short elements of the Morse code characters) is a type of character encoding that transmits telegraphic information using rhythm. Morse code uses a standardized sequence of short and long elements to represent the letters, numerals, punctuation and special characters of a given message. The short and long elements can be formed by sounds, marks, or pulses, in on off keying and are commonly known as dots and dashes or, dits and dahs. The speed of Morse code is measured in words per minute (WPM) or characters per minute, while fixed-length data forms of telecommunication transmission are usually measured in baud or bps.
Why is it called Morse code? This character encoding was devised by Samuel F. B. Morse, the creator of the electric telegraph. This Morse code came in two flavors, in the beginning years of its usage. One was in use by the railroads of America, and is known as American Morse Code. And, there is a unified, internationally-used version (adopted by radio operators), now known as the International Morse Code. Now, when most people refer to Morse code, or CW, they mean, International Morse Code.
Currently, the most popular use of Morse code is by amateur radio operators, although it is no longer a requirement for amateur licensing in many countries. In the professional field, pilots and air traffic controllers are usually familiar with Morse code and require a basic understanding. Navigational aids in the field of aviation, such as VORs and NDBs, constantly transmit their identity in Morse code.
Morse code is designed to be read by humans without a decoding device, making it useful for sending automated digital data in voice channels. For emergency signaling, Morse code can be sent by way of improvised sources that can be easily keyed on and off, making Morse code one of the most versatile methods of telecommunication in existence.
More about Morse code, at my website: http://cw.hfradio.org
73 de NW7US dit dit

Weekly Propagation Summary – 2020 Aug 31 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2020 Aug 31 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2020 Aug 31 0137 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 24 – 30 August 2020

Solar activity was very low for the highlight period. No spotted regions were present on the visible disk. There were no Earth-directed CMEs observed during the period.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at normal to moderate levels on 24-29 Aug. High levels were observed on 30 Aug with a peak flux of 2,800 pfu observed at 30/1845 UTC.

Geomagnetic field activity was at quiet levels on 24-26 Aug under a nominal solar wind environment. Activity levels increased to unsettled on 27 Aug as a positive polarity CH HSS moved into a geoeffective position. G1 (minor) storm levels were observed on 28 Aug with unsettled to active conditions observed on 29-30 Aug, all due to positive polarity CH HSS influences. During this period of activity, solar wind speeds reached a peak of 530 km/s at 29/0631 UTC, total field reached a maximum of 11nt on mid to late 28 Aug while the Bz component reached a maximum southward extent of -8 nT during that same time frame. Phi angle was in a mostly negative solar sector through about midday on 25 Aug when it switched to a predominately positive orientation through the remainder of the period.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 31 August – 26 September 2020

Solar activity is expected to be very low for the outlook period.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at moderate to high levels on 31 Aug – 07 Sep and again on 26 Sep due to recurrent CH HSS influences. The remainder of the period is expected to be at normal to moderate levels.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at unsettled to active levels on 31 Aug – 02 Sep, unsettled levels on 18-19 Sep and unsettled to active levels on 23-26 Sep, all due to recurrent CH HSS influences. The remainder of the outlook period is expected to be at quiet levels.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at: http://SunSpotWatch.com/

Live Aurora mapping is at http://aurora.sunspotwatch.com/

If you are on Twitter, please follow these two users: 1. https://Twitter.com/NW7US 2. https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Be sure to subscribe to our space weather and propagation email group, on Groups.io

https://groups.io/g/propagation-and-space-weather

Spread the word!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Links of interest:

+ Amazon space weather books: http://g.nw7us.us/fbssw-aSWSC
+ https://Twitter.com/NW7US
+ https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

Space Weather and Ham Radio YouTube Channel News:

I am working on launching a YouTube channel overhaul, that includes series of videos about space weather, radio signal propagation, and more.

Additionally, I am working on improving the educational efforts via the email, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and other activities.

You can help!

Please consider becoming a Patron of these space weather and radio communications services, beginning with the YouTube channel:

https://www.patreon.com/NW7US

The YouTube channel:
https://YouTube.com/NW7US

..

Weekly Propagation Summary – 2020 Aug 24 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2020 Aug 24 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2020 Aug 24 0151 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 17 – 23 August 2020

Solar activity was very low for the highlight period. The largest flare was a B3.9 on 19 Aug from Region 2772 (N18, L=296, class/area Cro/30 on 19 Aug). There were no Earth-directed CMEs observed during the period.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at normal to moderate levels for the highlight period.

Geomagnetic field activity was at quiet to unsettled levels during the period with weak influences from coronal hole high speed streams.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 24 August – 19 September 2020

Solar activity is expected to be very low for the outlook period.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at moderate to high levels on 02 – 09 Sep due to recurrent coronal hole high speed stream influences. The remainder of the period is expected to be at normal to moderate levels.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at unsettled levels on 24 – 26 Aug, 28 Aug – 02 Sep due to recurrent coronal hole high speed stream influences. The remainder of the outlook period is expected to be at quiet levels.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at: http://SunSpotWatch.com/

Live Aurora mapping is at http://aurora.sunspotwatch.com/

If you are on Twitter, please follow these two users: 1. https://Twitter.com/NW7US 2. https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Be sure to subscribe to our space weather and propagation email group, on Groups.io

https://groups.io/g/propagation-and-space-weather

Spread the word!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Links of interest:

+ Amazon space weather books: http://g.nw7us.us/fbssw-aSWSC
+ https://Twitter.com/NW7US
+ https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

Space Weather and Ham Radio YouTube Channel News:

I am working on launching a YouTube channel overhaul, that includes series of videos about space weather, radio signal propagation, and more.

Additionally, I am working on improving the educational efforts via the email, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and other activities.

You can help!

Please consider becoming a Patron of these space weather and radio communications services, beginning with the YouTube channel:

https://www.patreon.com/NW7US

The YouTube channel:
https://YouTube.com/NW7US

..

Software-Defined Radio: Try Before You Buy? You Might Like It!

Sure! You don’t need to have a software-defined radio (SDR) before you start learning how to use the technology; there are a few different paths you can take, exploring and learning about SDR.

One way to gain some experience with SDR without spending a dime is to install a free software package for the very popular, non-Linux, operating system (that starts with ‘W’), and give SDR a test drive. If you like it, you might consider getting your own hardware (like the SDRplay RSPdx, for instance), and connecting it up to your computer and running this software, too.

Why I Dived Into SDR

I have always loved radio, ever since the early 1970s, when I discovered shortwave radio. In the last couple of years, I’ve had an increasing interest in the world of SDR. When I am working, but away from home (remember those days, before Covid?), I want to sample news and programming from around the world, but through shortwave. The way to do that, I found, is by using the various SDR options which allow a person to tune a remote receiver, and listen.

I also find working with the waterfall of a typical SDR-software user interface rewarding because, instead of blindly searching for signals in a subband, I can see all of the received signals on the scrolling time representation of a slice of frequency. Simply select that signal on the waterfall, and the radio tunes right to it.

I often connect to different SDR radios around the world, to catch all manner of shortwave signals, from maritime, military air, trans-oceanic air, or coast guard radio traffic, or other interesting HF communications including amateur radio CW and SSB signals. Occasionally, I also check out VHF and UHF signals from around the world. All of that, while instead an office building that is not suited for shortwave radio reception.

I’ve now decided to give back to the community; I’ve added my SDR receiver to the collection of receivers located around the world on the SDRSpace network of SDR radios.

My new SDRplay RSPdx software-defined radio receiver is live, via http://www.sdrspace.com/Version-3, using the SDR Console software (Version 3).

The receivers are online whenever I am not transmitting and when there are no local thunderstorms.

Antenna Port A is connected to a wire antenna (a horizontal 100-foot wire that runs out from my house’s chimney to a tall tree; about 10 feet of that wire is oriented vertically, where the wire passes through a pulley and then is weighted down so it can move with wind-driven tree movement), while Antenna Port B is connected up to a VHF/UHF discone.

Both antenna systems have an AM Broadcast band notch (reject) filter reducing local AM Broadcast-Band radio station signals by about 30 to 40 dB. I need to use these because the very close KLIN transmitting tower is just miles away and those signals overwhelm the receiver. When I use the signal filters, the local AM Broadcasting signals no longer overwhelm the receiver.

In the following video, I first explain my SDR setup, and in the second half of the video, I tune around the radio spectrum, using the software to control my SDR receiver.

A Couple of Questions

After watching this video, WO9B wrote an email to me. Michael asked of me two questions, summed up as:

1. Your SDR window has the IF screen on top. How is that accomplished?

2. Your AM Broadcast filters; more info, please. I live in the area of mucho broadcast stations and that looks like something I could use.

In the following video, I demonstrate how I changed my layout of the SDR Console software. And, I mention the AM Broadcast Filter for SDR Receivers (the hardware filter is found here: https://g.nw7us.us/3kU5SJN).

To Use My Receiver

Download the latest version of SDR-Console from https://www.sdr-radio.com/download – there is a 32-bit and a 64-bit Windows installation package.

The 64-bit installation package may be downloaded from one of these three sources:

1. Googlehttps://g.nw7us.us/3auBq44
2. DropBoxhttps://g.nw7us.us/310ooIG
3. Microsofthttps://1drv.ms/u/s!AovWaZDu7Hrd3U-yqK1bs3wuaFw2?e=o4nKeh

The 32-bit installation package can be downloaded from one of these three sources:

1. Googlehttps://g.nw7us.us/3iLasrZ
2. DropBoxhttps://g.nw7us.us/3g4VcVc
3. Microsofthttps://1drv.ms/u/s!AovWaZDu7Hrd3U4mJiiRtI9lm70s?e=HDG4ZX

Install the SDR Console package according to the directions given. Once you have the software installed, you will want to add my server. It takes some work to get familiar with the software, but there are online FAQs on how to begin.

One guide on how to add a server to the list from which you can pick may be found, here:

https://www.sdrplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/SDRConsoleV3-ServerGuide1-1.pdf

I worked on getting all of the bugs worked out of my installation before making the video. It did take some work, and reading up on things. But, the software is solid and a good contender against SDRuno, and HDSDR, and, this way I can share it online with you.

My server is known as, ‘0 NW7US‘ — it will be online when I am not using my antenna systems for transmitting. It will be offline during thunderstorms, or during times when I must use the systems for transmitting.

Look for the 0 NW7US server.

Software-defined radio is a great way to hear all sorts of communications, from local AM broadcast stations, FM stations, VHF Air Traffic, to shortwave radio stations including amateur radio HF communications.

Thank you for watching, commenting, and most of all, for subscribing; please subscribe to my YouTube Channel: https://YouTube.com/NW7US Also, please click on the bell, to enable alerts so that when I post a new video, you will be notified. By subscribing, you will be kept in the loop for new videos and more.

73 de NW7US

.. (yes, this is an expansion of an earlier post… forgive the redundancy… thank you) ..

Weekly Propagation Summary – 2020 Aug 17 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2020 Aug 17 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2020 Aug 17 0158 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 10 – 16 August 2020

Solar activity was at very low levels on 10-14 and 16 Aug. Low levels were observed on 15 Aug due to a C2 flare from Region 2770 (N23, L=24, class/area Cso/70 on 07 Aug.

Coronal dimming near S30E30 was observed in GOES-16 SUVI 195 imagery around 16/1700 UTC. An associated CME signature was observed in LASCO C2 imagery at 16/1812 UTC and in STEREO-A COR2 coronagraph imagery beginning at 16/1824 UTC. Analysis of this event remains underway at the time of this writing. No other Earth-directed CME activity was detected during the period.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at high levels on 10-11 Aug due to coronal hole high speed stream influence. The maximum flux of the period was 2,950 pfu observed at 10/1550 UTC. Normal to moderate levels were observed on 12-16 Aug.

Geomagnetic field activity was at quiet levels throughout the period.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 17 August – 12 September 2020

Solar activity is expected to be at very low levels throughout the period.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to reach high levels on 01-07 Sep due to recurrent coronal hole high speed stream influence. Normal to moderate levels are expected for the remainder of the outlook period.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be unsettled to active on 30 Aug, unsettled on 19-20 Aug and 29, 31 Aug-all due to recurrent coronal hole high speed stream influence. Quiet levels are expected for the remainder of the outlook period.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at: http://SunSpotWatch.com/

Live Aurora mapping is at http://aurora.sunspotwatch.com/

If you are on Twitter, please follow these two users: 1. https://Twitter.com/NW7US 2. https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Be sure to subscribe to our space weather and propagation email group, on Groups.io

https://groups.io/g/propagation-and-space-weather

Spread the word!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Links of interest:

+ Amazon space weather books: http://g.nw7us.us/fbssw-aSWSC
+ https://Twitter.com/NW7US
+ https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

Space Weather and Ham Radio YouTube Channel News:

I am working on launching a YouTube channel overhaul, that includes series of videos about space weather, radio signal propagation, and more.

Additionally, I am working on improving the educational efforts via the email, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and other activities.

You can help!

Please consider becoming a Patron of these space weather and radio communications services, beginning with the YouTube channel:

https://www.patreon.com/NW7US

The YouTube channel:
https://YouTube.com/NW7US

..

Check Out My New SDRplay RSPdx Software-Defined Radio Receiver – Live!

My new SDRplay RSPdx software-defined radio receiver is live, via http://www.sdrspace.com/Version-3, using the SDR Console software (Version 3).

The receivers are online whenever I am not transmitting and when there are no local thunderstorms.

Antenna Port A is a wire antenna (100′), while Antenna Port B is a VHF/UHF discone. Both have an AM Broadcast band reject filter, reducing local AM Broadcast signals by about 30 to 40 dB. I need to use these because the very close KLIN transmitting tower is just miles away and those signals overwhelm the receiver. When I use the signal filters, the local AM Broadcasting signals no longer overwhelm the receiver.

Let me know what you think. Enjoy!

To use my receiver:

Install the latest version of SDR-Console which can be downloaded from https://www.sdr-radio.com/download

Install SDR Console according to the directions given. Once you have the software installed, you will want to add my server.

It takes a little to get familiar with the software, but there are online FAQs on how to begin.

My server is known as, ‘0 NW7US‘ — it will be online when I am not using my antenna systems for transmitting. It will be offline during thunderstorms, or during times when I must use the systems for transmitting.

Software-defined radio is a great way to hear all sorts of communications, from local AM broadcast stations, FM stations, VHF Air Traffic, to shortwave radio stations including amateur radio HF communications.

Thank you for watching, commenting, and most of all, for subscribing; please subscribe to my YouTube Channel: https://YouTube.com/NW7US Also, please click on the bell, to enable alerts so that when I post a new video, you will be notified. By subscribing, you will be kept in the loop for new videos and more.

Video:

73!

 

Weekly Propagation Summary – 2020 Aug 10 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2020 Aug 10 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2020 Aug 10 0329 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 03 – 09 August 2020

Solar activity was at very low levels on 03-07 and 09 Aug. Low levels were reached on 08 Aug as Region 2770 (N23, L=023, class/area Cso/070 on 06 Aug) produced an isolated C1/Sn flare at 08/0349 UTC. This was the first C-class flare observed since 29 May. No Earth-directed CMEs were observed.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at moderate to high levels. Moderate levels were observed on 03-04 Aug. High levels were observed on 05-09 Aug due to coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS) influence. The maximum flux of the period was 2,815 pfu observed at 05/1630 UTC.

Geomagnetic field activity ranged from quiet to active levels. The period began with the onset of a positive polarity CH HSS. Total field reached 10 nT at the beginning of the period and solar wind speed reached a maximum of 754 km/s at 04/0516 UTC. By early on 05 Aug, solar wind speed was in decline and nominal background levels returned by 07 Aug. The geomagnetic field responded with quiet to active levels on 03-04 Aug and quiet conditions on 05-09 Aug.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 10 August – 05 September 2020

Solar activity is expected to be very low levels with a slight chance for isolated C-class flares through 15 Aug. Very low levels are expected for the rest of the outlook period.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to reach high levels on 10-11 Aug and again on 01-05 Sep due to CH HSS influence.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be reach unsettled levels on 29-31 Aug with active levels likely on 30 Aug due to recurrent CH HSS effects.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at: http://SunSpotWatch.com/

Live Aurora mapping is at http://aurora.sunspotwatch.com/

If you are on Twitter, please follow these two users: 1. https://Twitter.com/NW7US 2. https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Be sure to subscribe to our space weather and propagation email group, on Groups.io

https://groups.io/g/propagation-and-space-weather

Spread the word!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Links of interest:

+ Amazon space weather books: http://g.nw7us.us/fbssw-aSWSC
+ https://Twitter.com/NW7US
+ https://Twitter.com/hfradiospacewx

Space Weather and Ham Radio YouTube Channel News:

I am working on launching a YouTube channel overhaul, that includes series of videos about space weather, radio signal propagation, and more.

Additionally, I am working on improving the educational efforts via the email, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and other activities.

You can help!

Please consider becoming a Patron of these space weather and radio communications services, beginning with the YouTube channel:

https://www.patreon.com/NW7US

The YouTube channel:
https://YouTube.com/NW7US

..


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  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor