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Messages - vwflyer

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Hi Phillip,
Suggesting a first rig for someone is hard to do. Of course you know the answer will be ďit dependsĒ. Iím partial to the Yaesu ft-450D as a starter rig to go in oneís shack. It is one of the best bangs for the buck with a good selection of filters and DSP. You can get one for under $500 like new. To get an icom with a similar set of features youíd have to spend almost twice that. It also has a surprisingly low current draw on receive for a 100 watt rig. Itís not that big and so can work well as a field day rig but itís a bit too big for real portable ops. I think a KX3 is about as big as I would go for a rig to go in a backpack. For ultra portable I like my MTR-3B. Itís CW only but boy is it small.

Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / Re: Got my 1st CW rig
« on: May 22, 2018, 09:03:42 PM »
That sounds like an awesome nab. If youíre like me, youíll be nervous as hell on that first CW QSO but the rush will be well worth it.

Morse Code / Re: Can Morse Code Still Save You?
« on: May 22, 2018, 03:08:48 PM »
Gil, youíre a very eloquent writer in English. Much better than I and English is my first language. No typos or grammar errors jumped out at me but I should let my wife read it if you want a better editorís eyes. Engaging intro and great points throughout.

Morse Code / Re: XXX
« on: May 21, 2018, 12:52:08 PM »
SOS recognition by skimmers would be very useful indeed. Itís a shame itís not implemented. With the miniaturization of HF rigs and subsiquent popularization of portable ops including popular activities like SOTA and POTA  more and more people are taking radios to isolated areas these days. This has also lead to a renewed interest in CW among hams. As good neighbors and safety conscious hams, we should see CW as a valuable and viable way for the growing number of portable operators to call for assistance. Skimmers should be made to recognize distress calls and perhaps some skilled and charismatic writer should campaign to revive the awareness of X X X. An article in QRZ magazine, on their webpage, on some popular CW, portable ops, and general ham radio podcasts. Spread the awareness and make X X X a useful tool in the portable operatorís toolbox.

Morse Code / XXX
« on: May 20, 2018, 11:35:53 PM »
No, this post is not about Vin Diesel or adult movies. Rather, itís a question concerning the old practice of sending X X X in CW for Pan Pan, which is a call for assistance in non-life threatening situations. As a pilot Iím familiar with Pan Pan and I was curious if there was a way to call it in CW. So I googled it and discovered it was three xís sent as distinct letters. Iíve been messing around in CW for a few years now and never have come across this yet so it is not common knowledge like SOS is. I got to thinking about it as I was driving through a really isolated stretch of mountain roads last week, miles from cell service and thought that a way of getting the attention of a ham on the CW bands would be real handy if I had a breakdown and needed to have a ham relay a message for me to my wife to let her know about it and send some help if needed. I know SOS would bust a pileup and get a dozen of willing helpers in seconds. Do you think sending X X X would have any affect at all or am I better off just calling CQ HELP or something like that?

Technical Corner / Re: New QRP Labs 5W CW Transceiver Kit.
« on: May 10, 2018, 09:33:12 AM »
Great! Thanks Gil!

Technical Corner / Re: New QRP Labs 5W CW Transceiver Kit.
« on: May 09, 2018, 08:16:57 PM »
Hey Gil,
Did you find a good enclosure for your 80 meter rig? I've almost got mine done but I don't want to put on the components that poke out until I settle on a case.

Digital Modes / Re: FT8 digital comms mode
« on: April 15, 2018, 11:35:54 AM »
What's needed in a prepping digital mode is something that can be left unattended and save messages...
Here's my limited understanding of store and forward systems. If somebody wants to correct me or expound, I'm anxious to learn.
Every store and forward needs a running radio connected to a server. Most of them these days use servers on the internet so when the internet goes down so does the server. Some have local servers, like many Packet radio repeaters designed to work without the grid or internet. Winlink and APRS can use local servers as well but to my knowledge, most use internet servers. In any case a grid down situation is going to require a powered radio with a local server that can run without grid power. Having someone else do that for you can be convenient in that you don't have to leave your computer and radio running all the time. But then the success of you getting the message depends on someone else's setup working.
For keeping messages locally at my own QTH, using my own radio and computer, I would currently go with FSQ. It's designed for this. Messages can be sent directly to you and give you an alert when someone tries to contact you. The messages are stored so long as the software is running.

General Discussion / Re: Merry Christmas!
« on: December 26, 2017, 12:32:13 PM »
Merry Christmas guys!

Good on you Ray. Awesome Christmas present!

On the top of my Christmas presents this year was: solder smoke filter fan, hot air gun, and a flat earth T-shirt; because everyone knows that if the earth were actually round HF signals wouldn't get past my front stoop ;)

Looking back at it now, it sounds like all I got this year was a lot of hot air.

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 31, 2017, 09:53:13 PM »
I wonder if any of the coast guard crew tried to start the engine. It might have turned right over.  ;D

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 31, 2017, 01:08:56 AM »

This article says they had "a new VHF radio, a ham radio, a weather satellite and a radio telephone. She says none worked, and they apparently had a communications failure with their new antenna.
They also carried a satellite phone that she said never seemed to connect.
She says they had six ways to communicate with multiple backups, and none functioned properly.
That, she said Friday in an interview from the ship, "exceeds Murphy's Law."

I agree with her. That does exceed Murphy's Law. Sounds more like operator issues. You don't lose six means of communication along with multiple backups by having a "communications failure with their new antenna".

Perhaps this story will prove to be an object lesson to preppers who think that they can buy some comms gear and never get a license to learn how to use it and then blame Murphyís law when nothing works for them after dooms day.

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 29, 2017, 10:47:54 AM »
usually are leaving your boat and most possessions behind. The EPIRB is designed to save human lives.
Did you see a picture of their boat? The hull looked to be in real bad shape along the water line. Was that just normal water damage? What caused that? The girls said they expected to sink in the next 24 hours. It would be interesting to see if itís still afloat out there since they did just leave it to sink. I guess weíll have to wait for the hour long History Cannel re-enactment to get the fascinating details. The problem is, the History Channel is as bad about getting its facts straight with recent history as it is with ancient history. 

General Discussion / Re: Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 28, 2017, 01:49:08 PM »
I don't think we can fault their navigation at this point. For all we know, they had a working GPS and/or sextant and knew exactly where they were the whole time. They were adrift and at the mercy of the ocean currents for at least three of the five months which is why they wound up so far off course. Their engine swamped during a storm and they couldn't restart it. My guess is that they killed the battery trying to restart the engine and had no way of recharging the battery. As Gil pointed out, they lost communications around the same time, so I'd bet that if they did have an HF radio they killed the battery that runs it trying to start the engine rather than using the battery to put out a distress call. After failing to restart the engine they decided to try and sail the rest of the way, but damage to the mast made maneuvering the vessel difficult, according to one report. I'd say impossible if they drifted aimlessly for 3 months. So if the mast was unrepairable and made sailing impossible we can't really fault them on their sailing skills either. I'm not a sailer, but where they appear to me to have failed is in underestimating the importance of communication and planning with sufficient backups. A way of recharging their battery, perhaps, without the aid of the engine, a spare HF antenna, spare HF radio, and if nothing else, a GPS emergency beacon. The last one should be standard equipment in all sea going vessels today. From what has been written so far, all we can be fairly sure of is that they started the trip with a sat phone (which fell in the water) and a VHF radio. They brought a water purifier and lot and lots of food so they were planning ahead. But like so many preppers, they seem to have overlooked the importance of comms prepping. Two is one and one is none.

General Discussion / Lost at sea 5 months without comms
« on: October 28, 2017, 01:16:16 AM »
My curiosity is killing me and itís probably too early to get all my questions answered by the news. But I know that there are some sailors in this group so maybe there are some good theories among you. How did these two ladies wind up without comms at sea?  Iíve read several news stories looking for the answer. Several said their comms died shortly after losing the engine. Sounds to me like maybe the battery died because the generator was engine driven. Would that be right?  Do many sail boats not have solar power so that you donít have to run the engine to charge the battery? It is supposed to sail after all. Even so, would they not have made the distress call on the HF  before the battery died?  Is it possible they didnít have an HF radio on board? Are they not required on ocean going vessels? One article said they lost the sat phone overboard the first day out. Does having a sat phone on board qualify for comms requirements at sea and thatís why they didnít use HF?  Many articles stated that they made distress calls for 92 days but were too far out for anybody to hear them. From this I surmise that their VHF radio still worked. Perhaps an HT which is why it still had juice. If so that HT battery has good life. So many questions, Iím afraid Iíll have to wait for more interviews from them. Glad they made it. I imagine theyíll do a few things differently the next time out.

Net Activity / Re: Radio Vacation and Update.
« on: September 16, 2017, 11:29:08 PM »
On our C-206s we use a random wire running from the top of the cabin to the top of vertical stab to one wingtip. An Icom auto tuner is used for matching. It works pretty well even on 60 meters. I'm sure the altitude helps too.

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