HAM radio

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by Tarheelpilot, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I wonder how many people know Mnemonics starts with an M. LOL. ;)
     
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  2. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Heck, I wonder how many even know "Julio" starts with a J...
     
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  3. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Or that he hangs out with Paul Simon down by the schoolyard. Paul probably has a van painted up with “Free Candy”... LOL.
     
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  4. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Probably.

    But Paul can count on the radical priest to get him released.
     
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  5. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    I can’t believe my good fortune. I got lucky today and worked Japan on 20m RTTY.

    For you guys that still use QSL cards do you do them yourselves or use a bureau ?
     
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  6. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I send you QSL 100% via the burro.
     
  7. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, 20 meters was pretty open today. At one point I was listening to both sides of a QSOs between a ham in Japan and another in Germany.
     
  8. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    The guy I talked to in Japan made a contact with a station in Everett Washington after me and I was able to copy both. It was a fun day.
     
  9. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I’ve always done QSLs direct but it gets expensive.

    As far as working Japan goes, there’s so many Japanese hams it’s always a famine or feast. Once a band opens to Japan, you’ll usually fill three pages of logs with JAs. Haha.
     
  10. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    What’s the opinion of logbook of the world from arrl?
     
  11. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Love it for confirmation. Sad it kinda ruins getting nifty postcards from all over the world. Best thing that ever happened to contesting is electronic logs, though. I don’t need cards for contests. That gets horribly expensive and annoying fast.
     
  12. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    To quote a friend, "It depends".

    No kidding. There are times when working JAs is like shooting fish in a barrel.

    I use it. Works great. But I don't complain about paper, either.
     
  13. Paulie

    Paulie Line Up and Wait

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    Used to work with a guy that used the HF radios on the DC-10s at work to chat. On the gate on graveyard shift.
     
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  14. Don Fritz

    Don Fritz Filing Flight Plan

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    There is a program for HRD called Pocket RX-TX. It works local or remote. There is also an Echolink conference called Aerolink that I monitor a lot. Anyone with echolink check it out.

    N8BZN
     
  15. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Ham radio ... ?

    Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 7.34.46 PM.png
     
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  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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  17. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    Ok here is a loaded question for you guys

    Recommend a key to learn CW on...
     
  18. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Vibroplex? :D

    Seriously, it depends. Are you looking for straight key or electronic keyer?
     
  19. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I recommend the key of C-major. Keep it simple. ;)
     
  20. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    Based on my research I’m leaning towards a single paddle. Also seems that iambic keys and bugs would be to much for a rookie.

    Have seen a split opinion on benefits of starting with a straight key or paddle. Not sure about any of my conclusions at this point since I have no cw experience.
     
  21. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'd recommend starting with a straight key and practicing until you get the dit and dah time ratio, and dit-dah, character, and word spacing nailed. Then you can get a bug or electronic keyer.

    I've used surplus J-38 straight keys for over sixty years; they're well built and reliable. I also use electronic keyers and external paddles with internal rig keyers.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  22. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    I find beginners have enough to worry about, so my advice would be to avoid a straight key, and let a paddle/keyer take care of the spacing for you...its pretty easy to master, especially at the speeds you will be using at first (5 wpm is sooooo slow at first that sending will be no problem; copying, on the other hand, will still be a challenge for a rookie).
     
  23. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    Sounds like I’m on the right track avoiding bugs and iambic paddles. Still on the fence between straight key and single paddle.

    Here was what I read that caused me to move away from iambic paddles.


    http://www.morsex.com/pubs/iambicmyth.pdf
     
  24. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    There is no reason at all to avoid dual-lever paddles. You can very easily use a dual-lever paddle exactly as you would a single lever paddle. I have only dual lever paddles, but almost never use iambic keying. In fact, I think the only time I really ever use "squeeze" keying is when I'm debugging new keyer firmware. I used to have a Vibroplex single lever, but got rid of it once I found my Kent paddle.

    The only reason I can see to use a straight key is if it's what you're already used to, or for the nostalgia value. If you're a die-hard "when all else fails" bare wire keying guy, then by all means go for the J-37. If, however, the assumption is that you don't really need to worry much about what to use with your tube gear after The Big One hits, get yourself a little keyer -- I'm partial to the Ultra PicoKeyer for obvious reasons -- and a decent paddle, and go to it. You'll learn from Day 1 what proper Morse code sounds like, and not pick up bad habits that you will inflict on other operators for the next 20 years -- even if you later decide to switch to a straight key.
     
  25. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    If I’m not interested in squeeze keying how are dual paddles better than a single paddle?
     
  26. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    I wouldn't say they are inherently "better". They do give you options in case you find you do like using squeeze keying, for one thing. They're generally easier to find if you're looking for used paddles. I'm just saying, there is no real reason to avoid them.

    If you really can't decide, just man up and buy a Leonessa. :) It's cheap by aviation standards!
     
  27. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    That’s out of my price range but it’s a work of art..... one day perhaps. Seems a little bit much for a guy that only knows T E & A .....
     
  28. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    It's way out of my price range too. :) So... first time at Dayton, I was exhibiting my new whiz-bang totally awesome keyer. The day before the show opened we were setting up the booth, my wife and I came back from a break to find this guy standing there looking at my stuff. Really nice guy, it turns out he's Piero Begali (with his equally nice daughter Bruna). He saw my Kent paddle and shook his head in dismay, told me to hide that thing. Came back a couple minutes later with a Begali Stealth, a Pearl, and a Graciella, on loan to use to demo my keyers during the show. They are truly magnificent paddles, just amazingly smooth and beautiful. My non-ham wife said if I bought a Graciella or Pearl it was going in the living room for display. I ended up not buying one, because... well... they're crazy expensive. But really gorgeous, and sending Morse with them is like connecting your brain to the keyer, the paddle almost disappears from the equation.

    Anyway... after trying a lot of paddles, I settled on the Kent. I'm not a fan of the Bencher or MFJ, but a lot of guys swear by them. It's very much a matter of personal taste. Buy something relatively inexpensive (used is good) to start out, while you figure out what you like. Don't be afraid of trying dual lever paddles or iambic keying -- both work just fine, nit-picky arguments from N1FM aside. I truly don't "get" his argument. Iambic keying costs you exactly nothing. Any modern keyer does it fine, and I can tell you with some degree of authority that the whole "timing gate" thing is nonsense with respect to (at the very least) any PicoKeyer since the original from 2003, and any other that I've played with over the years. I don't know how the ancient Curtis based chips did it, but really -- who cares? You either like squeeze keying, or you don't. When I send Morse, I may or may not use it -- it depends on my mood, the speed and how sharp I am feeling that day. Point is, there is no disadvantage to a dual lever paddle, or to iambic keying.

    End of rant. :)
     
  29. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My favorite "go-to" QRP CW rig is an Elecraft KX1 with internal battery, automatic antenna tuner, iambic keyer and paddle, and 80, 40, 30, and 20 meter band coverage. The key/paddle jack is used for either the dual lever paddle or a straight key.

    Truly great bang for the bucks. Sadly, it has been discontinued in favor of the more sophisticated KX2 and KX3, both of which operate in both CW and SSB modes.

    [​IMG]
     
  30. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    You want to sell it?
     
  31. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sorry David, but it's a keeper. I've seen them come up on ebay as owners "upgrade" to a KX2 or KX3, so you may want to check there from time to time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  32. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    Lol thanks for being polite but I was joking. You shouldn’t sell it.
     
  33. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Religious debate in 3... 2... 1... hahaha.

    My first key was some POS straight key that wouldn’t stay in adjustment and I almost took Loctite to it multiple times. But it worked and I learned what I like for settings. It didn’t last long as any sort of daily driver but it’s still on the shack bench somewhere.

    Bought a simple Bencher and operated on that forever now. No plans to change it. I like the thing to have the tiniest gap for a tiny click feel on both paddles, and well, I still suck at CW so if I get in a CW mood the computer is on standby for using the keyboard since I can touch type at 80 WPM or so. I don’t purposely try to do iambic keying but sometimes with a small gap the paddle stays depressed on one side as you “swing”. As long as the keyer (external or in the rig, don’t care) behaves itself with my slow thumbs, I’m cool.

    Only interest in bugs and other mechanical paddles is historical and listening to someone really good on one on-air. I like their sound when set up right, but no desire to torture myself and learn how to use them. Double paddle and some sort of electronic keying for me, and if there’s no keyer, I’ll hang on a straight key but I won’t truly enjoy it.

    I think I can count the CW contacts over the last few years on two hands that I actually cared about. I use it to plow through bad band conditions on VHF contests, maybe break out the straight key on straight key night on Jan 1 if I’m not out at a much more interesting party somewhere, and generally just don’t find CW super enjoyable. I like CW but not enough to do it very often.

    I’d rather fiddle with some new digital mode or something like all the WSJT variants for weak signal stuff. But when things are working well in the shack I’ll have CW on in the background sometimes. I like listening to other people ragchewing on CW when super bored, but I haven’t had that kind of time to sit in the shack and listen like that in ... forever it seems.

    The plan is sometime after the CFI stuff is all buttoned up to start figuring out how and when the tower is going up, but I suspect I’m second in line for disposable income for that project behind some house renovations the resident female wants to do first. So the tower lies in the backyard and the hardline is in big coils in the garage mostly in my way.
     
  34. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    CW is the only way to get some of the rare DX contacts. For a variety of reasons. Many folks don't realize that.
     
  35. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    Opinions??

    WWW.UR5CDX.COM

    I’ve narrowed it down to a vibrokeyer, bencher single paddler, Kent single paddle or the one from yuri at the above link.

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I find it all most helpful
     
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  36. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is embarrassing. I really like the German Gerhard Schurr (DH2SAA) keys, and own both a Schurr MMK hand key (straight key) and Profi 2 paddle. Checking availability for this post, I see Herr Schurr is a silent key (he died in 2011 at age 80) and his keys are no longer available. Damn! These solid brass keys are beautiful and functional; a real pleasure to use.

    [​IMG]
     
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  37. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    This is what I bought. Finally just said to heck with logic and bought the one I liked aesthetically.

    93128AF4-23B9-4332-A766-A240BF27A54E.jpeg
     
  38. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude

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    That’s a beautiful key Stan. I ran across some reviews of his keys while researching. Sounds like you have a fine piece of equipment.
     
  39. RalphInCA

    RalphInCA Cleared for Takeoff

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    Uh oh... after reading through this thread I feel a new hobby coming on…

    What is a good website/forum/Facebook page/book that I could start reading through to start getting a feel for current state of the art and how to get started in ham?

    I honestly thought ham was dead before reading this thread. Silly me.
     
  40. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    I think you definitely should get into it. I think the perfect setup for you would be an classic Kenwood TS-850SAT, with a few matching station accessories. Trust me, just buy it. I have one for sale if you decide to take my totally unbiased advice.

    Seriously, though... ham radio encompasses everything from guys with home-built, minimalist battery powered transmitters sending Morse code by hand, to microwave data communication via satellite, and pretty much anything imaginable in between. There are a few things that discourage most people... no commercial use allowed, and for most aspects you actually need to learn some technical things. As you can imagine, there seems to be significant overlap between hams and pilots.
     
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