Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].
In my last blog post I was searching for software I could load on my home PC that would allow me to use my Iambic key to interact with contest software. I was wanting to become more familiar with sending code with my key and not the keyboard. Most if not all the software I came across only used the keyboard to enter QSO information. There is nothing wrong at all with that and I have found these programs to be a great benefit at speeding up my keyboarding skills. I was wanting software that would take me in a new direction using my key. One of my blog readers alerted me to really the only contest simulation program out there that tailored to my request and the program is called Iambic Master. This program allows me to enter contest details with my Iambic key. I gave it a go and it works very well, there are only 2 contests (Sprint and Sweepstakes) this program simulates but that is just fine. Iambic Master presents you with a typical contest response that you have to enter with your key. You are allowed to move on the next line if you….
- Pound out all the letters and numbers correctly.
- Each group of letters and numbers have to flow smoothly…..for example if the sample text is as follows “ NA4K 49 MIKE ON VE3WDM” and you are a bit slow with a letter or number and your text reads “NA4K 49 MIKE O N VE3WDM” you will not be able to go to next letter group with the space between “O N” You have to repeat the whole line again with correct spacing.
Getting the numbers and letters to flow nice and smooth is where I need the practice and I did email the author of the program to thank him for creating such a program. He did mention to me that it would be mastering the flow that would try my nerves. He was right it can get a bit crazy when you are “tapping” out the code and almost done and then you slow the flow down and that’s it you have to start your line over again!! The only other issue I had was my antivirus software blocked the program, once I added an exemption all was good.
I had some 30 years of interruption as a ham. Now I started again and realized that I quickly remember the CW code and I am able to straight key it somehow. Having problems with the elbow I started to use my iambic paddle with a WinKeyer. I found Iambic Master and got hooked. I learned much about my temper and it sometimes drives up my adrenaline. The closer I get to 10 the more time it takes to complete a line. It is horrible! But I think it makes me a better CW guy. And I see some progress. 73 de AA0JR Jakob
Great to hear from you Jakob, welcome back to ham radio and it’s super that you are able to remember the code after being away for some time. Yes the speed can get frustrating but as you stick with it things will come along. It is excellent that you did not have to relearn the code that it came back to you.
73 and have a great weekend,