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Messages - gil

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Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / Re: Got my 1st CW rig
« on: May 23, 2018, 05:27:39 AM »
Lucky I didn't see it before you!

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Morse Code / Re: Can Morse Code Still Save You?
« on: May 22, 2018, 03:25:10 PM »
Thanks. I went to college in Florida, lived in Sarasota for 22 years ;-) In many ways I feel more American than French.

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Antennas / Field Expedient Antenna Systems.
« on: May 22, 2018, 01:57:42 PM »

Antennas / Re: Random wire antennas and tuners
« on: May 22, 2018, 07:06:53 AM »
What's weird is that it seems to work in tune mode... Look at the circuit diagram and what happens when you flip that switch...


Morse Code / Can Morse Code Still Save You?
« on: May 22, 2018, 07:00:32 AM »
Hello. This article is intended for Eham. I would like you guy's opinion before sending it over, corrections, etc.? Thanks.



Jack Binns was awakened by a tremendous crashing sound, screaming metal and a shudder that ran through the ship. As the wireless operator, Binns knew immediately what to do. Fortunately his long-wire antenna was still up and he had backup battery power. Jack started sending CQD on his spark-gap transmitter, ultimately saving four thousand lives from his ship, the Republic, and those of the Florida, the vessel that hit them in the fog. It was on January 23rd, 1909, and the first significant use of Morse code to save a great number of lives at sea. Can Morse code still save you today?

By 2000 Morse code was officially retired by most nations and in 2007 the FCC dropped the code requirement for amateur radio operators. Since then the amateur bands have been booming with code on the lower part of most Ham bands.

The proliferation of cheap and small CW transceivers, often offered as kits, and activities like SOTA and other “On The Air” groups has sprinkled the RF landscape with dits and dahs. Kits like Hans Summer's QCX sold and are selling by the thousand. Nary a week goes by without hearing someone mentioning their CW kit by Steve Weber or Dave Benson. Why not? Morse code is very efficient and doesn't require a computer or tablet. Radios are ultra-light and sip current, often using less on transmit than most modern rigs on receive, all the while outputting a comfortable five Watts. You can power them with eight AA cells or three 18650 cells, again very light. Amateur radio is no longer confined to the shack, or at least, portable operations are much easier today.

How long before someone calls for help in Morse code on an amateur band? Is Morse code a viable option and are we listening? If you have stories, please share them here.

I'll be honest, I use a satellite two-way system at sea or while hiking where there is no cellular phone coverage. Although I have never pressed the SOS button, the position reporting works pretty well. I also carry a small CW radio as a backup. It fits in a little tea tin can, including batteries, antenna, key and earphones; covers 20/30/40m. I would bet my life on it. I have no doubt any operator hearing the proverbial SOS pro-code would jump on it like a bear on honey. Five Watts into a full size antenna pretty much guarantees that someone will hear you somewhere. The recorded message looping function of most small CW rigs is a great asset in that regard. Not everyone can spend a few hundred dollars for a satellite handheld plus a monthly subscription...

What would you do if you heard an SOS, aside from answering of course? Do you know how to send a “Pan Pan” (non life threatening emergency) in Morse? It's XXX.

I once asked the Reverse Beacon Network if their CW skimmers detected SOS calls. The answer was no. I really would like to see this implemented, just a few lines of code, to listen for SOS and XXX.

A small CW QRP radio should be part of every Ham's collection. It might just get you off the couch and operating outside, climbing hills even. It could be very useful when stranded somewhere without phone or Internet. It can also spark interest in people meeting you. We need fresh blood in this hobby, and it won't happen without some efforts to increase visibility.

My opinion is that Morse code is still a viable means of calling for help, given the performance of new frequency-agile tiny portable transceivers. Until we get new exotic battery chemistries and integrated tablet transceivers, CW will remain the mode of choice for hikers and adventurers, even if only by a few dedicated amateurs.

New To Radio / Re: What do I need?
« on: May 22, 2018, 06:55:33 AM »
FB. That antenna surprised me... It does work really well. Good work on it and the tuner. I use the Tri-Band antenna all the time now. It's so easy to set-up. Let's try to make contact when you get your call sign!


Antennas / Re: Random wire antennas and tuners
« on: May 22, 2018, 06:48:13 AM »
To avoid hanging your tuner directly to the wire, you get an 9:1 unun to feed the random wire from tuner to coax, is that correct?

It does help in that regard, but the main goal of using a 9:1 UNUN is to lower the impedance of the random wire so that the tuner can tune it. Some tuners are good enough to tune a random wire without a UNUN, but not all of them. I also like the UNUN option because it lowers the impedance for the coax, and thus lowers cable losses. The best of course would be a Tuner/UNUN combination; QRPGuys have one.

I would suggest contacting QRPGuys about your tuner, something is definitely not right there...


Morse Code / Re: XXX
« on: May 22, 2018, 05:03:01 AM »
perhaps some skilled and charismatic writer should campaign to revive the awareness of X X X. An article in QRZ magazine

Doing it now.


Morse Code / Re: XXX
« on: May 21, 2018, 05:04:30 AM »
I don't think many people know about it.. I knew there was a "Pan Pan" in Morse but didn't remember what it was. Morse now being mostly a hobby, its value as a serious safety tool has been practically forgotten. I once asked the Reverse Beacon Network if they detected any possible SOS, the answer was no. It would be so easy to add a few lines of code to all those Morse skimmers to raise an alarm on detecting SOS or XXX.

I wouldn't count on it, but what else can you do? Sending an SOS would definitely draw LOTS of attention, but you might not need nor want that. I'd say use it and hope someone remembers... Otherwise, they might just answer your CQ to get a contact, no harm in that... Well, unless they give you a 599/73 and disappear!


Antennas / Re: Mounting Antenna for NVIS vs DX operation ?
« on: May 19, 2018, 04:13:22 AM »
That uBitx will serve you well. Keep us posted!


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Technical Corner / Re: Modding MTR4b for 13.8 volts..... possible ?
« on: May 19, 2018, 04:11:26 AM »
The 7812 is not adjustable.. I did the diode thing once but the drop was more like 0.4V 1N4004..

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Technical Corner / Re: Modding MTR4b for 13.8 volts..... possible ?
« on: May 18, 2018, 05:24:30 AM »

You could use a 7812 voltage regulator, make a car adapter with it.. Otherwise, three Lithium Ion cells will give you 12.6V max, which works. You put that little 7812 in a little plastic box in your car and you're good to go. You could even put it inside the MTR4b with a switch and add a DC input jack for higher voltages...


Antennas / Re: Random wire antennas and tuners
« on: May 17, 2018, 02:08:26 PM »
I am not sure and pretty clueless if the tuner is maybe malfunctioning.

Probably. I would re-check your wiring, there has to be a mistake in there somewhere...


General Discussion / Re: Remove old private messages please.
« on: May 17, 2018, 05:30:35 AM »
Thank you. It is no longer an issue now. I added lots of space...


Antennas / Re: MR100 Cheap Chinese Antenna Analyzer Review.
« on: May 16, 2018, 01:11:51 PM »
I have this Mini60S is this similar to yours Gil?

Hi, I think it is similar, just a different box...


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