Posts Tagged ‘QRP’
Why would an amateur radio operator be interested in space weather? Is it worth the time and resources to forecast propagation, in the daily operation of a typical ham radio station?
Gary, host of the popular ‘Ham Radio Now’ video podcast, talks with Tomas Hood (NW7US), propagation and space weather columnist for CQ Amateur Radio Magazine (and in the late ‘Popular Communications Magazine’ as well as ‘CQ VHF Quarterly Magazine’) and The Spectrum Monitor Magazine. Gary discusses with Tomas how scientists forecast space weather, and how the average ham radio operator can also make predictions, and what propagation forecasting can bring to the daily operations of an amateur radio enthusiast.
Watch on YouTube: ‘Ham Radio Now’ Episode 156: Propagation…
Are you looking for some aids on learning Morse code, or to increase speed and skill? Let’s look at some great information and some software aimed at making your efforts successful.
(Note: I am not associated with any of the software. I just want to help you…)
I encourage you to look at the time-proven Koch method of learning Morse code. Below, we’ll look a little closer at this method of learning and honing your Morse code skill. In the meantime, if you just wish to skip the details, here are some software links for learning tools using the Koch method:
+ For the PC, I prefer the G4FON Morse code ‘Koch Trainer‘. It is a slick program that is set up to help you learn and enhance your skills with Morse code: http://nw7us.us/g4fontrainer – and his web site is at: http://www.g4fon.net/
+ For the iPad and iPhone: On these devices, I use the ‘Koch Trainer’ by Nick / N3WG, found in the store here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/koch-trainer/id405137883?mt=8
+ For the Android: I use the same software as for the iPad and iPhone, the ‘Koch Trainer’ by Nick / N3WG, here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.n3wg.kochtrainer – however, note that it is not compatible on the S4.
+ Some other Android possibilities that I have not tried:
Again, I have not tried those last few.
Now, let’s talk about the Koch Method of Morse code training!
From my page on the Koch method (text was used by permission from the author):
Koch’s method is a simple, direct way of building reflexes. However, it requires either a computer and Morse software or a personal trainer. That’s why it was overlooked for so many years. Now that computers are commonplace, it should become the standard Morse training method. Here’s how it works:
You start out by setting up your computer (or a microprocessor-based code tutor machine) to send you Morse characters at 20 wpm and at an overall sending speed of at least 15 wpm. You then get out your paper and pencil and have the machine start sending — but only two characters. That’s right, for your first sessions, you’ll only have two choices. Copy on paper for five minutes, then stop the machine and compare what you copied with what the machine sent. Count characters and calculate your percentage of correct copy.
If your score is 90 percent or better — congratulations! You just learned your first two characters, and, importantly, you learned them at full speed. You’ll never have to learn them over again. If you didn’t make 90 percent, practice some more. As soon as you can copy the first two characters with 90 percent accuracy, add a third character to your practice. Your accuracy will drop as you work on assimilating the new character, but it will rise again to 90 percent or better. Then you add the fourth character, and so on.
This method does not allow you to build that lookup table in your brain. To copy at full speed, you must build the reflexes in order to achieve 90 percent accuracy. And that’s what you’re spending your time doing — building reflexes. Think of it as a parallel to perfecting a tennis swing or mastering a gymnastic routine; you’re practicing until you get it right. The Koch method of building code proficiency character-by-character is similar to standard methods of teaching touch typing, another skill that must be reflexive.
While the Koch method is the fastest method of Morse training, speed alone is not its principal advantage. Its principal advantage, and a major difference from other methods, is that it provides you with constant positive reinforcement. This begins with your realization, after mastering the first two characters, that you can copy code at 15 or 20 wpm, because you just did it. After that, each new character mastered is further proof of your progress. Contrast that to slowly trying to build speed up from 4 or 5 wpm, then hitting the plateau at 10 wpm and seeing no progress for a long time. With the Koch method, frustration is at a minimum.
Constant testing is necessary to ensure that you maximize the effectiveness of the Koch method. You must copy on paper, so you can grade yourself. Remember, if you score 90 percent accuracy or better, add another character. If you score any less than that, try again. By constantly testing yourself on continuous copying of at least five minutes, you know exactly how you’re doing and exactly when you should add another character. This results in the fastest progress possible.
As you proceed toward your goal, remember that some days are just going to be better than others and some characters will take longer to assimilate than others.
(Read the entire article: the Koch method).
Again, here’s the PC software link: http://nw7us.us/g4fontrainer
And, here’s a web-based way to learn Morse code.
Good luck! If you have questions, please share them – I’m @NW7US
Recently, a number of hobby radio magazines have either retired, or have merged into a digital mix of several. Filling that void is the new The Spectrum Monitor, a creation of Ken Reitz KS4ZR, managing editor for Monitoring Times since 2012, features editor since 2009, columnist and feature writer for the MT magazine since 1988. Ken offers this digital, radio communications magazine monthly. The web site is at http://www.thespectrummonitor.com/
Ken, a former feature writer and columnist for Satellite Times, Satellite Entertainment Guide, Satellite Orbit magazine, Dish Entertainment Guide and Direct Guide, is also contributing editor on personal electronics for Consumers Digest (2007 to present). He is the author of the Kindle e-books “How to Listen to the World” and “Profiles in Amateur Radio.”
The Spectrum Monitor Writers’ Group consists of former columnists, editors and writers for Monitoring Times, a monthly print and electronic magazine which ceases publication with the December, 2013 issue. Below, in alphabetical order, are the columnists, their amateur radio call signs, the name of their column in The Spectrum Monitor, a brief bio and their websites:
Keith Baker KB1SF/VA3KSF, “Amateur Radio Satellites”
Past president and currently treasurer of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT). Freelance writer and photographer on amateur space telecommunications since 1993. Columnist and feature writer for Monitoring Times, The Canadian Amateur and the AMSAT Journal. Web site: www.kb1sf.com
Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY, “The Longwave Zone”
Reporting on radio’s lower extremes, where wavelengths can be measured in miles, and extending up to the start of the AM broadcast band. Since 1991, editor of “Below 500 kHz” column forMonitoring Times. Author of Listening to Longwave (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/books/0024u.html). This link also includes information for ordering his CD, VLF RADIO!, a narrated tour of the longwave band from 0 to 530 kHz, with actual recordings of LW stations.
Mike Chace-Ortiz AB1TZ/G6DHU “Digital HF: Intercept and Analyze”
Author of the Monitoring Times “Digital Digest” column since 1997, which follows the habits of embassies, aid organizations, intelligence and military HF users, the digital data systems they use, and how to decode, breakdown and identify their traffic. Web site: www.chace-ortiz.org/umc
Marc Ellis N9EWJ, “Adventures in Radio Restoration”
Authored a regular monthly column about radio restoration and history since 1986. Originally writing for Gernsback Publications (Hands-On Electronics, Popular Electronics, Electronics Now), he moved his column to Monitoring Times in January 2000. Editor of two publications for the Antique Wireless Association (www.antiquewireless.org): The AWA Journal and the AWA Gateway. The latter is a free on-line magazine targeted at newcomers to the radio collecting and restoration hobbies.
Dan Farber ACØLW, “Antenna Connections”
Monitoring Times antenna columnist 2009-2013. Building ham and SWL antennas for over 40 years.
Tomas Hood NW7US, “Understanding Propagation”
Tomas first discovered radio propagation in the early 1970s as a shortwave listener and, as a member of the Army Signal Corps in 1985, honed his skills in communications, operating and training fellow soldiers. An amateur Extra Class operator, licensed since 1990, you’ll find Tomas on CW (see http://cw.hfradio.org ), digital, and voice modes on any of the HF bands. He is a contributing editor for CQ Amateur Radio (and the late Popular Communications, and CQ VHF magazines), and a contributor to an ARRL publication on QRP communications. He also wrote for Monitoring Times and runs the Space Weather and Radio Propagation Center at http://SunSpotWatch.com. Web site: http://nw7us.us/ Twitter: @NW7US YouTube: https://YouTube.com/NW7US
Kirk Kleinschmidt NTØZ, “Amateur Radio Insight”
Amateur radio operator since 1977 at age 15. Author of Stealth Amateur Radio. Former editor,ARRL Handbook, former QST magazine assistant managing editor, columnist and feature writer for several radio-related magazines, technical editor for Ham Radio for Dummies, wrote “On the Ham Bands” column and numerous feature articles for Monitoring Times since 2009. Web site: www.stealthamateur.com.
Cory Koral K2WV, “Aeronautical Monitoring”
Lifelong air-band monitor, a private pilot since 1968 and a commercial pilot licensee since 1983, amateur radio licensee for more than 40 years. Air-band feature writer for Monitoring Times since 2010.
Stan Nelson KB5VL, “Amateur Radio Astronomy”
Amateur radio operator since 1960. Retired after 40-plus years involved in mobile communications/electronics/computers/automation. Active in radio astronomy for over twenty years, specializing in meteor monitoring. Wrote the “Amateur Radio Astronomy” column for Monitoring Timessince 2010. A member of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA). Web site: www.RoswellMeteor.com.
Chris Parris, “Federal Wavelengths”
Broadcast television engineer, avid scanner and shortwave listener, freelance writer on federal radio communications since 2004, wrote the “Fed Files” column for Monitoring Times.http://thefedfiles.com http://mt-fedfiles.blogspot.com Twitter: @TheFedFiles
Doug Smith W9WI, “The Broadcast Tower”
Broadcast television engineer, casual cyclist and long distance reception enthusiast. “Broadcast Bandscan” columnist for Monitoring Times since 1991. Blog:http://americanbandscan.blogspot.com Web site: http://w9wi.com
Hugh Stegman NV6H, “Utility Planet”
Longtime DXer and writer on non-broadcast shortwave utility radio. Former “Utility World” columnist for Monitoring Times magazine for more than ten years. Web site: www.ominous-valve.com/uteworld.html Blog: http://mt-utility.blogspot.com/ Twitter: @UtilityPlanet YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/UtilityWorld
Dan Veeneman, “Scanning America”
Software developer and satellite communications engineer writing about scanners and public service radio reception for Monitoring Times for 17 years. Web site: www.signalharbor.com
Ron Walsh VE3GO, “Maritime Monitoring”
Retired career teacher, former president of the Canadian Amateur Radio Federation (now the Radio Amateurs of Canada), retired ship’s officer, licensed captain, “Boats” columnist and maritime feature writer for Monitoring Times for eight years. Avid photographer of ships and race cars.
Fred Waterer, “The Shortwave Listener”
Former “Programming Spotlight” columnist for Monitoring Times. Radio addict since 1969, freelance columnist since 1986. Fascinated by radio programming and history. Website: http://www.doghousecharlie.com/
Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL, “World of Shortwave Listening”
Founder and director of the charity Ears To Our World (http://earstoourworld.org), curator of the Shortwave Radio Archive http://shortwavearchive.com and actively blogs about shortwave radio on the SWLing Post (http://swling.com/blog). Former feature writer for Monitoring Times.
We’re getting ready to hit the road for vacation. It’s been a whole year since KD2CHE and I tied the knot on a cliff overlooking Lake Tahoe.
We’re not going to be heading back there yet, but wandering through New York’s North Country a bit. I’m expecting to get a little portable QRP operation in as we poke around up there. In anticipation of the trip, I picked up a spare power supply from my brother a few weeks ago to use with the Xiegu X1M, and any other 12V items I have or may acquire when I’m not near my main setup. I decided to assemble the “motel room” version of my QRP setup here to see how it works. I have the Xiegu, my Emtech ZM2 tuner, mic, the spare PS, and a small amplified speaker sitting here on the couch. A string of 2 alligator leads is running from the ZM2 to the feed-thru from my random wire up near the window. Everything powered up, and tuned up, so I decided to answer a couple of calls on 15M.
I made USB contacts with UT7UJ in Kiev, and S51ZZ in Slovenia from my test station on the couch here in Long Island. Not bad for 5 Watts. This little rig is full of surprises. I also just found out from Ed at Import Communications through a post to the Xiegu X1M Yahoo group that he is going to be offering upgrade kits for the earlier X1M to upgrade the front panel and display to the newer version, as well as a strong possibility of a firmware upgrade that will cure many of this rig’s little issues. The firmware upgrade has already been released for the newer model.
Now, time to pack it back up, and hit the road. 73s de Neil, W2NDG
This is an article I wrote for LIMARC here on Long Island, and also posted at my blog Fofio!. Some of it is targeted to beginners in the hobby, so I apologize for the elementary nature of some of it. Many of the kit references can also be found at my list of radio-related kits RadioKitGuide.com
Most of my portable setup is relatively Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been to this creepy state park several times since moving to Long Island. Why creepy? Mostly the abandoned buildings from the previous tenant on
this property; The Kings Park Psychiatric Center. So, crumbling scary buildings, and a great view of the Nissequogue River Inlet? Is there a better place for a Sunday afternoon QRP outing? I think not!
While I was here last time, I spotted a great spot for a QRP setup. At the top of the long hill, and past the courtyards is a nice grassy area that terminates at a fence at the top of a Read the rest of this entry »
My Buddipole Antenna, Configured as a 2 Element Yagi for 6 Meters
The ribbons are to keep me from poking my eyes out on the end of the whips.
Here, I’m trying the antenna out in my driveway before I take it to the beach.
Kx3 QRP Radio
Six Meter Summer!
This pavilion is my favorite operating spot at Hagen’s Cove.
It overlooks Dead Man’s Bay, on the Gulf of Mexico in Perry Florida.
I’m going to spend the summer playing around with my Kx3 on 6 meters. The antenna here is a Buddipole, configured as a 2 element Yagi. Its easy to assemble in the field, so I’ll take it to the beach (Hagen’s Cove) and try to make some contacts with it. I’ve been a ham for 22 years but have never done much with 6 meters. This will be a 6 meter summer for me. Join me, I’d love to have a ham radio buddy to share the adventure with.
de AA1IK, 73