CW (Morse Code)
A new website to learn and practice Morse telegraphy has been launched:
http://lcwo.net/ - Learn CW Online
There are already hundreds of training programs, MP3/CD courses and practice
aids available, but LCWO follows a radically different concept: While sticking
to well-proven methods for learning and practice, all you need for using LCWO
is a web browser!
This gives the user the liberty to practice CW wherever an internet connection
is available, always retaining the personal settings, scores and statistics.
Currently the site, which is available in 27 languages offers a complete
Koch method Morse course, code group practice, callsign- and plain text training
modes and also allows to convert random text to Morse MP3s.
A high score list is available to compare results with other users, personal
statistics help to track training progress.
LCWO.net is a non-commercial project. Creating a free account only takes a few
seconds, and you can start practicing CW right away!
Fabian Kurz, DJ1YFK
It has a decent layout and after making an account, it will track your progress. I’ve used this site many times. My favorite part being the Morse Machine which is the same as this piece of software
Now maybe I should learn Morse Code…. Some day!
I decided to participate in CQ Magazine’s World Wide CW (Morse Code) contest. It’s one of the, If not the biggest CW contest of the year.
I have been trying to learn CW off and on since the summer so I needed some help if I were to even make one QSO on CW. I setup N1MM logging software for the contest and used DM-780 that comes with Ham Radio Deluxe to decode and encode the CW.
Since I never participated in a CW contest before I wanted to see how it worked so I can configure my macros to work with the contest. I was very impressed on how fast contacts and exchanges are made. It’s way faster compared to SSB, RTTY and PSK31 and I felt even more compelled to learn CW after playing in this contest. I worked the contest off and on so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed about the activity. I started off searching and pouncing (S&P) on only the strongest signals. I would wait until I have their full call and exchange before even attempting to contact the station. N1MM does help out by looking up the CQ zone which came in handy a couple of times. After establishing contact I would get the typical 599 and zone exchange. After the first night working the contest. I have learned what my new call sounds coming back to me and phrases like “TU”, “TEST”, “?” and some of the shortcuts ops used to make a faster contact like instead of a RST of 599, it will be 5NN and A5 would be zone 15. I went to bed with code buzzing around in my head. I woke up the next day to play again. I’ve managed to make 100 contacts even though I know for a fact that I can make more. I just wanted to see what it was like to play in a CW and I liked it. Nothing like just jumping right in with both feet and absorbing everything. Once you learn the key terms in code the contest went much easier. I would encourage ops who want to learn CW to work in a contest. After learning what some of the stuff sounds like, the only trouble would be on decoding the call sign. I just hope that the people on the other end got my call right.
This now leads me to my rant. I lurk around on a lot of Ham radio related forums and also hear it by ear. I see a lot of people saying something along the lines of “These No-Coders are going to ruin HF” and “Amateur Radio is going to be just like CB” because the FCC dropped the Morse code requirement years after many other countries dropped the requirement. Now all these “Techies” or Technician license holders are upgrading to general and/or extra without passing a Morse code proficiency test.
After spending a couple of years on HF I have not seen much (or any) evidence to support this claim that has been spewing out of the elders mouths for over 4 years now. A lot of the Issues I see have a lot to do with elder hams. For example, when it comes to contacting a DX station I see a lot of things happening. Things like after the DX station acknowledge someone, there are still people trying to crowbar their callsign in because there is a second of silence. I also hear 1KW amps tuning up RIGHT on frequency of the DX station then spew out their call (like we don’t know who you are when you’re 40+ on my meter). Then you got those that see a massive pileup trying to contact the station and when acknowledged, will try to strike up a rag chew session by describing their town and the weather and their medical ailments even though there are 100′s of people waiting. And if the DX working split… FORGET ABOUT IT! They endlessly send their call even though you have a bunch of people telling him that the DX is listening 5KC up. Try listening to the RX Frequency of the DX station working spilt. Wholly crap there are a lot of people who don’t even come close to following the DX code of conduct. I’ve jotted a bunch of these calls down and looked them up on QRZ to find out that a majority of them are elder hams (By the age of their call and station setup).
For a Hobby that is so-called “Dying”, I wouldn’t spend much time complaining about those who are actually trying to stay interested in Ham radio. Not only should you welcome these “No-Coders”, you should thank them for showing interest. Because with that negative attitude you will drive away the young Hams that are genuinely interested and you will see a truly dead hobby. After a couple of years on HF and thousands of contacts, It’s rare that I run into someone around my age (28). I basically think that those who bitch and moan about it are just jealous or feel that they are “A class of their own” because they had to pass a 20wpm (or 5wpm) CW proficiency test. The funny thing is that since I’ve upgraded, I wanted to learn CW more than ever so I can make even more contacts farther away.
This is just my personal opinion, I could be wrong.
This year I participated in Field Day with the Hampden County Radio Association. Instead of dropping by a site and using their equipment, I decided to offer up my equipment for use as the “HF DIGITAL” station. Other than a couple of software issues, the Digital station was a success with over 170 contacts.
Here are the pictures I’ve taken from Field Day
Check out Hampden County Radio Association’s Website for information about Field Day.
Since my recent purchase I’ve been back into digital. In the past couple of say 20M in the afternoon has been really good to me
I made contact with the following
RK9AN – Anvar -Asiatic Russia
RN3AJK – Artem – Euro Russia
DK9WB – Jakob – Germany
CT2FPY – Leonel – Portugal
M0NPQ – Nerijus – England
DL5MGH – Armin – Germany
IW3SGT – Alessandro – Italy
IZ3LEF – Emiliano – Italy
IW6NBX – Antonio – Italy
SP5GRU – Wlodek – Poland
EA3BJW – Joan – Spain
US5CCO – Vlad – Ukraine
UA3ON – Antoly – Euro Russia
RD3WW – Vladimir – Euro Russia
IN3NHZ – Roberto – Italy
KE5AQD – Roger – USA
W3CRR – Craig – USA
9A4A – Zlatko – Croatia
I have been noticing lately that after sending CQ and acknowledging someone that people are still trying to contact me. I like pileups for me but it’s hard in the digital world. It gets annoying because I’m unable to make out the first half of the conversation because of QRM. I figured like on SSB, once someone acknowledges someone else that everyone else on the frequency remains QRT until the exchange ends??? – END RANT
I also got work K2TPZ on CW. I still have trouble receiving so I cheated and used the computer to receive his CW and used the touch pad to send. I hope by engaging in CW more and more that the dits and dahs will automatically turn into letters and words
I had a chance to get started on fabrication of my code keyer.
It’s nothing much but it’s a start. The vertical keys are spaced 0.75″ apart. I do not have easy access to 3/4″ Material so I’ve made the spacer out of 3 1/4″ Plates of steel. If I waited I could have used two pcs of 3/8″ But I designed it using 1/4″ blocks and the
opportunity was there.
I am not going to post for every part that gets made but when it’s assembled and painted I will talk more about it.
I purchased a CW Touch Key Kit which came in on Friday. It was easy to assemble and I have it taped to my desk using drywall ceiling buttons as code keys. My plan is to design and fabricate a Code key.
So far I’ve manage to design the key around the Touch kit. Here are some of the drawings
The plan is to have two sets of keys. I am not sure what style I wanted so I figured I’ll do both. The base and vertical stand will be laser cut using 3/8″ Steel plate for weight. The enclosure will be 16ga (.062″) Steel with welded corners and the keys will be punched out of 16ga brass. The vertical keys will be secured using extruded plastic washers to prevent any contact with the other keys and it’s metal base. The Horizontal keys will appear to be floating. However they will be inlayed into 1/4″ Plexiglas. I plan on using a DPDT Switch to activate one set of keys while disabling the other set. The only issue I see that the wires are sensitive to the touch and the switch might cause an issue.