Posts Tagged ‘CW Morse’
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
|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
Another portable test of the BLT+ tuner
|KX3 operating on internal battery. What a fantastic portable rig.
I took the BLT+ balanced line tuner out to the Excalibur antenna site to try it out on the doublet antenna that we put up last Saturday. This was the first test of that antenna (40m and 80m using a common feedpoint).
|BLT+ connected to open wire line (under the gloves) going to ta 40m Doublet at 65ft
I used the BLT+ to tune the 40m/80m doublet. Balanced line antennas perform better with a tuner designed for balanced line and this was a good test for both the tuner and the new antenna.
|Portable shack, courtesy of three plastic chairs
I quickly matched the doublet using the BLT+ using the lowest impedance setting which is also the most efficient. I was glad to see that the BLT SWR LED indicator is bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight. I was wondering about that but you can definitely tell when it dims even in direct sunlight.
AA4OO sitting back and listening to the QSO
The Doublet's feed line has not been brought to the shack yet so I was just sitting under the antenna. The open feed line is running along the ground for a bit which certainly didn't help the signal but we haven't installed the posts to carry the feed line over to the shack and I was too lazy to move the chairs far enough away to keep the feed line in the air.
In the foreground is some saw-grass common on the NC coast. I'm not sure why it's growing this far inland.
|Portable shack at the Excalibur antenna site... The Doublet is 65 feet above my head
|Waiting my turn in the QSO... holding the Palm Single Paddle. BLT+ tuner in the chair to the right
Behold… mechanical beauty
|N3ZN ZN-QRP Iambic Paddle (sporting my new call sign)
I re-entered the amateur radio hobby in the summer of 2015 after a bit of a hiatus. To get my General license in 1996 a Morse code proficiency test was required. At that time I had purchased a cheap MFJ practice key and a used version of the ubiquitous Bencher BY-1 paddle. My Bencher was in reasonable shape but I just never became comfortable with it. It always felt a bit imprecise to me and I wasn’t happy with the width and size of its paddles.
You can't always get what you want, but you try sometimes...
|Key lineup... Palm Single (paddle), Vibroplex Bug (circa 1970s), Kent Hand key
It only seems pointless until you try
|1 mighty watt
My assumptions are often incorrect
CW QSO speed statistics...
|I was a kid in the 1970s when Speed Racer was a popular cartoon
The need for speed
Statistics show 25wpm is the magic number
So based on those calculated CW speed statistics from RBN data if I can reach the point where I am comfortable in a 25wpm ragchew I should be content (for a while)