Posts Tagged ‘Cw morse code amateur radio’
Getting hot under the collector/base junction
My Elecraft W1 power meter has been absent from the antenna chain for a while due to a jumper cable shortage when I last reconfigured my shack. But now the W1 meter is back in the chain and it revealed something a bit worrisome about the 1Watter transceiver...
The Elecraft W1 power meter is a nice, inexpensive QRPp to QRO meter because it measures from 150 watts all the way down to 150mw.
|Power meter in background showing 500mw by the end of the first QSO|
Heat is the enemy
The maximum power output available from a power transistor is closely linked to temperature, and above 25°C falls in a linear manner to zero power output as the maximum permissible temperature is reached.
But the real moral of the story is...
|Band conditions on the evening of this QSO|
So as I sat here wondering why my 1 watt radio was only producing a 1/2 watt now, I reminded myself that I was having extended QSOs using a (now) 500mw radio with other QRP operators (5w and 2w). I was also using my attic antenna, not some multi-element beam on a tower. Band conditions on 40m were also a limiting factor tonight (see snapshot at right).
But it's times like this with my 1Watter that keeps reminding me to lower my power and raise my expectations.
There's more to using Morse Code than Learning Morse Code
How to practice for a ragchew
THIS IS COMMUNICATION with Morse Code and it is different than anything else we are familiar with so treat it as learning a new skill.
Next stepsAfter you've practiced with machine sent top 100 or top 500 words you'll still need time copying actual QSOs because more often than not, most operators you will communicate with have lousy spacing and run their words together or use so many abbreviations that you'll have to learn to hear the abbreviations as new words. When I work an operator who runs things together I'll first try to really exaggerate my word spacing during my exchange to give them a hint and if that doesn't work I ask them put more space between their words. Some will comply, but some folks just don't seem to know how to leave space so I'll catch what I can, politely respond to what I could understand and then move on.
So if you're getting discouraged when you reach a wall of comprehension, try the steps above and with time I think you'll find your comprehension during a ragchew improving and it will take you to a new place in the hobby.
That's all for now
So lower your power and raise your expectations... and put extra space between your words!
Update 11/7/2016:KA8BMA pointed me to a nice reference created by W0XI for the top 100 "Ham Words" used in QSOs... check it out most common ham words
Listen more than you send
Listen more than you talk because God gave you two ears but only one mouth
Listening to on air CW QSOs using your own HF radio...
Find conversations that are at different speeds for your practice copy. In my experience, when I only practice copying higher speed CW for a time, my ability to recognize slower CW gets rusty so practice copying all speeds. I was worked by a station some months back when I was sending at only 13wpm who came back on the second exchange and replied that I was too slow to copy and he quit the QSO. I don't want to be like that.
Along with copying QRS stations, practice copying stations that are well above your comfortable copy speed in order to stretch yourself. You will likely miss much of the conversation but your ability to start recognizing common words and abbreviations will increase. Another side effect I find is that when I listen to a 25wpm (well above my present copy speed) exchange between two operators who have equally strong signals, I'll usually copy one station better than the other. I try to figure out why that's the case. Something about that operator's style is easier to copy and when I discern why that is, I try to emulate it.
I want to be able to copy all speeds of CW; both to encourage new QRS operators and ragchew with the QRQ old-timers.
Web SDR stations are accessible from http://websdr.org and allow you to listen to CW anytime you have access to the internet. Web SDR stations are available from around the world, potentially from countries you haven't been able to regularly hear from your QTH. So it allows you to hear different sending styles from around the world.
|Web SDR station|
Listen to machine generated CW
|Morse Trainer app for Android|
Sights and sounds
I'm always on the lookout for useful tools to help increase my copy speed and enjoyment of CW/Morse Code. Training applications for beginners that teach letters and letter groups are great to get started but after you're making QSOs and copying at useful speeds those apps get a little stale.
I recently wrote about using the "Morse News" RSS reader application for PCs. What I liked about Morse News was that it would send the text of news articles as CW. I found it useful as a natural language trainer but I didn't like being tied to my PC during training.
I wanted a similar application for my smart phone.
Just the mobile ticket to CW training
I'm not sure how I missed the "Morse Trainer for Ham Radio" app up to now but I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and really find it useful.
|Morse Trainer in QSO Text Mode|
I keep the speed higher than I can comfortably copy so I'm missing some of what is sent. There's nothing like reading an action novel where you're missing half of what's going on. Did Tex get shot or not? I missed that word, hehe.
I have no affiliation with the maker of this application. I just wanted to share.
That's all for now
So lower your power and raise your expectations
Vibroplex Bug QSO
|The key lineup with the Bug in the center|
|Ten-Tec Eagle 599|
|Morse News interface displaying a "Top 100 words" feed scrolling at the bottom|
For instance: you can listen to Morse the way railroad and Civil War telegraphers heard it via the clacking Telegraph sounder, or the early 20th century spark gap transmitters.
As with all software downloads from an untrusted source use your own best judgement whether to install this software and protect yourself from malware. I haven't detected any malware from my install but that doesn't mean it's not there.
Here's the link: http://sourceforge.net/projects/morse-rss-news/files/Morse%20Code%20Tools%203.2/MorseTools32Setup.exe/download
The 1Watter 40m #551 -- Lives
|The 1Watter 40m on it's inaugural QSO|
|Inside the enclosure|
The 1Watter is a kit from kits and parts dot com
- 1 mighty watt of output
- Good selectivity from the 3 crystal filters
- A VCXO tuned frequency range for the 40m band from approximately 7,020 kHz through 7,039 kHz
- A built-in full functioned keyer with provision for adding a speed pot and messages
- Included command button accesses the functions of the electronic keyer
- Natural sounding sidetone (nicer than my Ten-Tec Century/21)
|SMT and through hole caps are supplied|
|using through hole capacitors rather than the SMTs|
|some of the bits and bobs|
|build is progressing|
Learning from problemsBeing the first person to build a particular version of a kit brings its own set of challenges, especially when you're as new to kit building debugging RF problems as I am. However I'm actually glad the kit didn't work right at the initial build.
The process of debugging the board, was a great learning process. I studied the schematics and learned, as best I could, the function of each circuit so that I could better understand how to test it. During the debugging process Diz instructed me that although RF signal generators and scopes are useful you can tell a lot by touching a RF component with an inductive metal object and listening for a buzz or hum from the BFO.
So all-in-all, even though the bug in the board was not due to a error on my part, I'm glad it occurred. I understand more about superhet radio design than I did before and more than if the kit had worked right off the bat.
On the air
|Frequency control pot on the left|
|Volume control, output jack, cmd pot and paddle input|
For this first on-air excursion I was using it at the default startup 15wpm keyer speed. You can default the speed higher with a different resistor value.
I have a resistor shrink wrapped and connected in-line to the blue-white wire coiling above the radio connecting to the speed pot terminal. In essence fixing the speed at 15wpm until I add the speed pot.
|Ready to transmit|
|On the air... I was using my paddle out of the photo to the right of the Bug|
First On Air QSO
Just imagine. This little $50 single band kit has good selectivity, a nice built-in keyer with a natural sounding sidetone, and lest we forget... You get a MIGHTY 1 WATT of OUTPUT. What more could a QRP ham need.
|!Watter installed in a case|
|cap fix for LM386 oscillations|
|1Watter in enclosure with all the proper connectors for the case|