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Messages - gil

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 188
General Discussion / Re: Looking for Survival Camp Ideas
« on: June 14, 2018, 02:00:20 PM »
I suggest not using words like "Mayday" or SOS in Morse... Even for a simulation, and even with a warning.


General Discussion / Re: Looking for Survival Camp Ideas
« on: June 14, 2018, 01:23:53 PM »
Morse code with flashlights! Then have them try to decode slow code on the radio...


Digital Modes / Re: I tried FT8 last night!
« on: June 14, 2018, 07:54:15 AM »
I have had some luck on 80m and 2m USB... Otherwise it's 599-73, sad indeed.

Sent from my SM-G928F using Tapatalk

Antennas / Re: Random wire antennas and tuners
« on: June 14, 2018, 06:56:12 AM »
Try a clamp-on toroid choke and slide it on the coax for best SWR...


Antennas / Re: Random wire antennas and tuners
« on: June 14, 2018, 06:14:57 AM »
You might want to try a different wire length for 40 and 80m. Also, try a different coax length and maybe a counterpoise. Random wires can be a pain, but they do allow multiple bands...


Digital Modes / I tried FT8 last night!
« on: June 14, 2018, 05:01:34 AM »
Sure won't do that again! :o

I knew it probably wasn't for me, but with all the hooplah, I had to give it a try, at least to know what I'm talking about if ever that conversation pops up in good company... I even made one contact. For me, it's like watching paint dry, utterly useless and uninteresting. I'm not bashing FT8 users or even FT8 here, but it just isn't for me, by a very long shot.

I used the same software however for WSPR, to see my antenna radiation pattern, very useful, got Venezuela on 40m 2W. Of course with WSPR you don't put anything in your log, but I couldn't care less about my log. I actually only input contacts maybe half the time, when I don't lose my notes, forget to write the date or call signs...

Radio for me is about human interaction if only to ask what antenna someone is using... A few words about the weather, even a simple FB, exchanged between two people, make my day.


New To Radio / Re: New to HAM Community What is a good beginner rig?
« on: June 14, 2018, 04:20:16 AM »
Sure, and you're doing great, so keep at it :-)


New To Radio / Re: New to HAM Community What is a good beginner rig?
« on: June 13, 2018, 06:12:52 AM »
Current draw is my pet peeve, so I'll add my $0.2 here... I really like the 817 too. 350mA isn't too bad; more than my KX2 or my RT-320, 175mA, but you can run an 817 for some time on reasonably sized batteries. Now take a Weber MTR4b, 20mA current draw! That means it will last 17 times longer than the 817 with the same battery, 50 times longer than a QRO rig. A battery that will power your big Icom or whatever for a couple hours will run the MTR non-stop for four days ! Let's that sink in for a moment... Yes, a small CW rig beats everything else.


Morse Code / Learn How To Increase Your Morse Code Copy Speed.
« on: June 11, 2018, 10:30:35 AM »


Antennas / Re: MFJ 971 vs LDG Z-817
« on: June 11, 2018, 10:12:02 AM »
Pretty much...

It's hard to decide. I use both. With the T1, I just press the button and bingo! It will take upwards of 30-40W. It's quick and small... With my ZM-2 or 4S, tuning is safer for the radio's finals, a bit slower, but it works as well, and I don't have to worry about the battery being dead.

All in all, I'd say a small manual tuner with a bridge is better. Of course, we all like to just press a button...


Indeed, not the place to discuss politics here. I hear you though... Same thing in France, the media is VERY biased. There is MUCH more going on than the media portrays. One more reason to be prepared.

We'll leave it at that...


Antennas / Re: MFJ 971 vs LDG Z-817
« on: June 08, 2018, 12:32:30 PM »
The LDG is pretty big... I like my Elecraft T1 but it is expensive, and when the antenna is tuned, it doesn't matter then if you have an auto or manual tuner, the radio doesn't care! It can however see very high SWRs for short periods from an auto tuner... So better use an SWR bridge with resistors. A good manual tuner like the 4S or ZM-2 does everything you need. The one you have should be sufficient, but of course we never have enough QRP tuners...


Antennas / Re: Random wire antennas and tuners
« on: June 08, 2018, 12:28:33 PM »
Very nice. I would try to keep the wires as short as possible.


Morse Code / Re: Can Morse Code Still Save You?
« on: June 06, 2018, 02:20:35 PM »
Thanks. I submitted this one:

Can Morse Code Still Save You? By Gil, the Radio Prepper on YouTube.

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. Waiting for the captains' order to send the call must have been the longest minutes of his life. 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 fifteen hundred lives from his ship, the Republic. The Florida, the vessel that hit them in the fog did not sink, but nine hundred passengers were transferred to the Baltic. 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, somewhat defiantly in the face of its announced early demise.

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.

I recently watched a video about a 66-year-old who got lost on the Appalachian Trail. She tried texting her husband but was out of range. She wandered for almost a month, unable to contact anyone, and only a couple miles from the trail. Her body was found two years later. This perfectly illustrates how a seemingly safe hike on a marked path can end in tragedy when our usual mean of communication fails. We all know the story of Aron Ralston, who had to cut his own arm with a pocket knife after getting stuck in a Utah canyon. Whether he could have deployed an antenna is debatable, but his ordeal is also a perfect example of a nice day gone wrong.

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?

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. Most people who roam the countryside or even the world do not know that Amateur Radio is an option and that capable rigs are no bigger than a pack of cigarettes.

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.

Batteries & Solar / Re: Kingsolar Panels -- Any good for emcom?
« on: June 06, 2018, 01:06:08 PM »
Presumably, it's less reflective, thus more efficient...


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