First CW QSO Confirmed

Today I received my first reply QSL card. And for a CW QSO, no less!   On March 7, 2018, during my lunch break I set up my mobile 40m hamstick in the office parking lot and surfed around the CW frequencies of 40m (i.e. 7.000 to 7.125 MHz). It was mostly me calling CQ and with no replies, but toward the end of the lunch hour, I heard someone coming in pretty loud, and slow enough that I could (mostly) make out the characters. By the second callsign send, I could visualize: AB6ET. I hoped I was getting it right. When AB6ET finished, I sent out, “AB6ET DE AD6DM… Read More

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Choosing the Next Rig

In my quest to find the next portable rig (I already decided), I made a comparison sheet with stats about the various rigs I was considering. Here is my portable rig matrix (including handhelds). Hopefully this list could be of help to others.  Bear in mind, I had specific goals in this rig evaluation: Portability of station setup Ease of use in multiple modes CW practice wherever I was Expansion of my amateur radio capabilities into other modes, e.g. APRS, packet, digital HF, base and mobile antenna improvement Versatility and integration with my existing setup While I was dead set on getting the Elecraft KX3 fully loaded, I decided… Read More

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Wiring a CW Paddle

Many HF transceivers use a stereo jack for the internal electronic keyer. Some have a 1/4″ jack, others have a 3.5mm jack. This is a note on how most of these are wired to a CW paddle. On a TRS cable (tip ring sleeve 3.5mm) Red: tip (left, dit) White: ring (right, dah) Yellow: sleeve (common ground) (this wire could also be black) If you’re right-handed, use the left paddle for the dit, which would go to the tip of the plug which would be the red connection. The white connection is the dah (right paddle) which goes to “ring” on the plug, adjacent to the tip. The common ground… Read More

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More CW Practice

Merry Christmas! Today I landed upon a video by KJ4YZI Eric of HamRadioConcepts (https://youtu.be/Jls-PiR-dBI) entitled “How I learned Morse code fast and easy”. I found the title suspect because CW is neither fast nor easy, but he did help me a lot with this simple video. He learned with the help of an Android app called Morse CT that allows him to practice by tapping the alphabet and numbers on his phone. It never occurred to me that I could tap on my phone screen to learn sending. I have been so slow going because the Koch method is tedious and very hard in the beginning. I was thinking I… Read More

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Being a Ham Means Figuring Things Out

A setback day today, as I finally received a USB audio cable for my attempts to use fldigi with my mac laptop (one of the few SDR programs that works on macOS). I was so looking forward to CQ’ing on my available bands with CW in an automated sense, but no luck. The USB audio cable I ordered (manufactured in Greece, no less), doesn’t seem to work. It is quite frustrating to wait forever for the requisite parts only for me to once again face the world of failure and non-support on Apple Mac computers. The ham software world is very driven by Windows software, something hams really need to… Read More

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Ham Code Guide

Spurred by the previous post, I’m using the Koch method for learning Morse code (CW). I’m attaching here a document I made back when I first became a ham in 1999 that is a quick reference for prosigns and Q-Codes. Morse is also there, but I do not recommend CW by sight, has to be reflexive by sound. A good iOS mobile app for this is Ham Morse by AA9PW. Here is my reference document: Ham Code Guide by KF6UJS.

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Found a Beacon on 2m

I briefly heard someone on 10m single-sideband (SSB) saying goodbye to his QSO friend, and that he was going to tune around on 2m SSB. Although I knew 2m SSB existed, never occurred to me that now that I have an all-mode rig, I could also tune around there instead of being bound only to FM by a handheld radio. I started sweeping from 144.100 MHz and started hearing morse code at right around 144.282 MHz. I switched to CW mode and tuned further to 144.282.23: I recorded it, and was fascinated. Note, this was received while connected to my 10m dipole antenna that is pretty poorly mounted against a fence… Read More

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