Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Having Fun with Morse, Getting Started with CW & Getting on HF Bands with Any License

The mode of Morse Code in Amateur Radio is commonly referred to as “continuous wave” or “CW”. (This name was chosen to distinguish it from the damped wave emissions from spark transmitters, not because the transmission is continuous.)

Morse Code, No Fun! Why?
Before 1990 all Amateur Radio licenses required at least some code and up until 2007 Code Proficiency was required to have most Voice HF radio privileges. It was something you had to do.
Many learned just enough to get their license but never used it on the air, they really just wanted voice privileges. Or worse yet, they got frustrated and lost interest in Amateur Radio. Now there is no code proficiency requirement for any level of Amateur Radio license.
Fun with Code- Maybe?
So the goal of this document is...
  • To get you on the HF bands as soon as possible.
  • To help you get on the air using code
  • To learn how it can be a fun and effective way to make contacts on HF
  • No testing or shaming of your code ability

Fun with Code- Yes!
Morse Code could be Fun and Useful:
  • Gets you on HF now!
  • More efficient in getting contacts than SSB (especially with QRP- low power)
  • Lower cost equipment & simple kits
  • A very popular contesting mode
  • No one knows how old you are, your gender or your accent
  • Doesn’t bother spouse or other nearby (with the shouting of voice contacts)
  • Did you realize you already have HF privileges with just a Tech License? Using CW- You Already Have HF Access!
    • You can use CW with your Tech License!
      • 80 meters    3.525 - 3.600 CW
      • 40 meters    7.025 – 7.125 CW
      • 15 meters  21.025 – 21.200 CW

Want to Work 6, 10 or 12 Meters But No Sunspots? Don’t Miss Your Chance with Summer E Skip and FT8.

You may have heard the doom and gloom about being in the depths of the 11 Year Sunspot Cycle:
  • “No propagation above 20 Meters”
  • “Ten is dead!”
  • “Might as well sell the radio”
  • “The sun will never return”
  • “It’s 80 & 160 Meters only for the next few years”
  • “#$@&%*!”

Well, the idea to concentrate on 160 and 80 Meters is a good idea, but not until late
fall or winter. In the meantime, there is a way to make contacts on 6, 10 or 12 Meters
most days of the week by taking advantage of the summer enhanced E Skip season
and the new mode of FT8.

Typically during high sunspot activity (solar flux) ionization of the F layer of the
atmosphere facilitates refraction of signals on higher HF bands allowing
worldwide communications. The E layer is below the F layer and is responsible
for a propagation type known to abnormally effect VHF and higher HF frequencies
called Sporadic E or E skip.  This happens went ionized particles appear in the
E layer of the ionosphere. Sporadic E as the name implies occurs sporadically
throughout the year and is not dependent on 11-year sunspot cycle.
In the Northern hemisphere, sporadic E activities are more frequent during the
summer months.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

FT4 a New Mode!

FT4 a new Digital Mode, similar to FT8 is here!
With even shorter transmissions (4.48 s, compared to 12.64 s for FT8), FT4 is designed for contesting.
Click here for details. Here is also a video of Joe Taylor announcing it- link
Download the software here (scroll down to Installation packages for WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc5)and get in on the inauguration of this new mode. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Using PSK Reporter Website as Propagation Tool

PSK Reporter,, is a powerful tool for monitoring your
FT8, JT65 or PSK signals around the world. But, even if you are not transmitting on any
of these modes it can still be a great propagation tool for determining which bands are
open and to where in the world signals from your area are being heard.

Here are some instructions with screenshots to get you started:
  1. Go to the PSK Reporter website-
  2. A map of the world will appear.

Don't Miss My Other Resources

  • connects all my sites & blogs, but focuses mainly on Amateur Radio, Cooking, Trains & Maps
  • Resources for Students, Educators & anyone interested in learning something new.

If you are a new ham, just getting started on HF or looking to increase your country and state count this presentation is for you. Learn some Top Secret Techniques to WAS & DXCC. Includes tips for winning operating and contesting awards for the average ham.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Increase your Amateur Radio Fun by adding CW to your operating modes. I just put together a new presentation for a local licensing class and I am sharing it here for those that might be interested in getting started with CW. As usual, my presentation is more of a reference piece so it will stand on its own without me for you to read.