Tag Archives: cw

Since my year will be full of a lot of traveling (a lot more than in prior years), and I still want to get into actually using CW, I decided it would be smart to have a quick reference of QRS nets to help me out.

I haven't verified that any of these exist, and I'm quite certain there's a few more out there.  But here it is: html ical xml .  If I missed any, please let me know in the comments or via email at ke8p .--.-. ke8p .-.-.- us


Category: Operating
Tags: , ,

Last Saturday was the Georgetown Hamfest held by the Grant Amateur Radio Club.

I noticed that during the CQWW contest, I could only get a response from others if I yelled into the mic.  I'm sure my wife didn't care too much for that, and it isn't good for me, either.  So naturally, I went to the hamfest looking for a good mic.  I stumbled on a Heil Pro.  This is a very small mic, but since it will eventually be attached to an arm, that's no big deal.


So now I have a mic with a 4-pin XLR connector and need to take it into a 1/4" stereo jack.  I have to deal with impedances (possibly the problem with my current mic, so I may not have truly fixed anything by buying a new mic).  Fortunately, I have some known devices to get an idea from.  Expect that next week's blog post will talk about this more in detail.

In the meantime, the mic smells like cigarrette smoke, so I've got it sitting in a container of baking soda and will do more later in the week.

First CW QSO... Almost

The big part of getting into the shack Sunday was to do my first CW QSO with another SKCC member that is hunting the prefix award. I couldn't hear him at all, and he couldn't hear me. After checking multiple times, I had my daughter hold down the key and I listened on my truck's radio. I didn't hear a tone (though I did hear a carrier) and I didn't see my on the Reverse Beacon Network, so I feared the worst. I checked some of the voltages in the Omni, and finding nothing amiss (and after talking to a few on Twitter about it), I put things back together and looked at things via the Softrock SDR. I was greeted by the sound of a tone, so I guess things are working okay and there was probably another perfectly valid reason why my truck's radio wasn't making the tone.

Incidentally, one of the big things I WAS concerned about was that the sound of my rig on the air would be poor, mostly due to the fact that the sidetone generator on my rig is generating a sawtooth (see the video below) instead of a sine wave.  Looking at things in SDRSharp put that fear to rest.  Hopefully next weekend.

Category: Equipment
Tags: , , , ,

I wouldn't say I feel a lot like the Grinch at the end of the movie (where his heart grows 3 sizes in the matter of 30 seconds... which is probably a pretty painful experience, even if you aren't the most belligerent asshole in all of Whoville), but I feel a change going on.

When I started back into amateur radio a few years ago, I already had a lot of respect for the QRP guys because they did more with less.  However, I had little interest in going down to low power.  I felt as if I should stick to my barefoot 100W, and I've been contemplating getting (or more likely building) a 250W amp.  Not really QRO, but more QRO than QRP.

In the past many months, I have been making progress learning CW.  I also keep seeing things out of several twitter friends and blog posts where they're out having fun doing things like QRP Foxhunts and other QRP-only contests.  Heck, even just some of these people getting out to a park or something and operating for a few hours looks like fun (and some of this stuff I could do on my lunchbreak).  And if the past 2 years in amateur radio have taught me anything about myself, it is that my favorite operating mode is CONTESTING!  I don't care about winning, but I really enjoy the rapid-fire exchanges the battle against QRM, QRN, and my knowledge of how to use my equipment.

I will say that it helps the QRP cause when I see twitter updates along the lines of "I really had fun in the QRP Foxhunt last night" and I see others blogging about the fun of doing some of the sprints, or even just people sharing pictures of operating in remote locations.

So I've decided that my next rig will be a QRP rig.  It isn't going to be soon - I don't have the money to spend on it and I'm still learning CW.  But it isn't going to be in 10 years, either, since I very well could just build me one (and I probably will since I'm just about broke).  I'll probably become a member of some of the QRP groups out there sometime.  I'm a new member of NAQCC (#6570) and SKCC (#10489).

I'm not getting rid of my '706, though.  I will still maintain the capability to run some power for various reasons, and I may go through with building that amp one day.  But my priorities are set, they're really set on fun and joining the friends I've made via twitter on the air.  Mostly having fun.


Category: Operating
Tags: , , , ,

There was a conversation going on via Twitter related to learning CW.  I saved all of these to Evernote and came back and added them via Storify.  Twitter doesn't have a great way to save these for the future, so hopefully being published in a Storify Story will keep these golden nuggets of advice around for a long, long, long time.


A note on the last one - it doesn't look like CW advice, but it most certainly is.  It is actually a little bit more, but it is well within the subject of this blog post.

Me?  I'm currently sitting at being able to do around half the alphabet.  I've been extremely busy for the entire month and haven't even had much of a chance to open the lid of the laptop except to prepare for a class I teach at the University of Cincinnati.  Things are starting to die down and fall into place now, so hopefully I can get some time to sit down and bring up lcwo.net.

Have any additional advice?  Leave it in the comments below!


Category: Operating

Some of us in the Cincinnati area (well, so far, we're all on the east side, but hopefully we'll get some more in the area) have decided to learn CW.  We're going to start a net (of sorts) to help get us rolling.  We don't know exactly where on the bands, but probably in the Tech voice portion of 10 meters in the evenings or somewhere on 2 meters.  Yes, I know it says "SSB Only" on the 10 meter band plan for techs, but CW is one sideband and a suppressed carrier!  This allows us to be able to talk and send.

Right now, there are three of us involved, one general and two extras.  If you happen to live in the Cincinnati area and want to get involved, please jump over to the TriStateHams website and answer the poll.

If you follow me on Twitter (@KE8P) or Google+, you may have already seen my 'redneck code practice oscillator' video, but if you haven't...



Category: Operating
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