Bitcoin donations to: 1CE9UfWJcHBYkWPns7iqBqZgKhd5xfqEaM thanks!
Buy Bitcoins easily by clicking HERE!


Use coupon radiopreppers for 20% off on the above site.Become a Patron!

Author Topic: Starting the Morse Code Board.  (Read 11394 times)

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2912
  • SMeter: +77/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Starting the Morse Code Board.
« on: September 03, 2012, 02:10:26 AM »
Hello,

I am creating this board based on my opinion that Morse Code might be the ultimate communication mode when it comes to prepping. Sure, Morse Code is hard to learn (for me anyway) and somewhat slow compared to other modes (though that can be argued..), but it has many advantages...

- Morse code can be used not only with radio but with visual signals such as light, laser, sound, touch, the detailed list would be long.
- Morse doesn't need a lot of power to cut through the ether.
- A telegraph system is easy to set-up using new or existing wire infrastructures and insures privacy.
- Is is inherently more private than voice modes.
- CW-only radios are cheap and small, with low current drain.
- With an appropriate key and earphones, it allows to transmit messages silently.

Feel free to add more...

I use two training tools to learn Morse Code: The ham Morse iOS application, and http://lcwo.net. There are many more.

In my opinion, Morse Code should not only be preserved but promoted in the prepping community at large as a great emergency communication mode.

Gil.

Sunflower

  • Guest
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2012, 02:44:14 PM »
Thank you. BTW, why do they call Morse Code "CW"?

I like the Morse Code diagram I have seen before. Half way seriously thinking about painting the schematic on the wall - using flourescent green paint. If I paint it on the back side of the stairwell door few will see it and my husband won't flip out. I figure I will need to extra help in the dark. Just a wild idea of what to do with some green paint I saw online at clearance. Can't recall the site right now, but it got me thinking. Incorporating critical prep info as part of the decor makes sense to me.

Here is a sample of visual diagram I was referencing:
http://www.learnmorsecode.com/
« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 02:47:46 PM by Sunflower »

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2912
  • SMeter: +77/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2012, 03:12:40 PM »
Morse Code and CW are not the same thing. You use CW to send Morse Code... You could use a flashlight to send Morse Code... CW is the radio mode, like FM or AM...

Gil.

ConfederateColonel

  • Guest
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2012, 03:17:14 PM »
Thank you. BTW, why do they call Morse Code "CW"?

I like the Morse Code diagram I have seen before. Half way seriously thinking about painting the schematic on the wall - using flourescent green paint. If I paint it on the back side of the stairwell door few will see it and my husband won't flip out. I figure I will need to extra help in the dark. Just a wild idea of what to do with some green paint I saw online at clearance. Can't recall the site right now, but it got me thinking. Incorporating critical prep info as part of the decor makes sense to me.

Here is a sample of visual diagram I was referencing:
http://www.learnmorsecode.com/

Gil is correct, but we tend to get sloppy linguistically and refer to "CW" when we really mean Morse Code.

CW is an abbreviation for Continuous Wave. Unlike a voice signal in which the the signal is modulated (it changes in either frequency [FM] or amplitude [AM]), morse code uses an unmodulated radio wave. It sends out either a full power, continuous wave or nothing - it's either ON or OFF.

While those diagrams are interesting, I would strongly encourage you to NOT use that to try to learn code. You want to learn how to use CW in real life, not just understanding what letter uses what combination of dits and dahs. You want to learn the sound of the letters. You want to hear _._. and think "C". You do NOT want to hear dash dot dash dot, compare that to a diagram, and then write down "C". That is way too slow to use in real life. Those who are fluent in CW (and I am definitely not at that point) will tell you that it is like listening to music. CW is an auditory language, not a visual language. It flows naturally when you use it correctly.

Scott

  • Guest
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 12:36:18 AM »
Minor chime-in -- CW over FM is called MCW - "modulated carrier wave."  It just refers to the imposition of an audible tone on the FM carrier to represent the dit and dah characters.

blah blah nitpick blah blah.  Aren't hams annoying??  :\

Sunflower

  • Guest
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 09:42:24 PM »
Minor chime-in -- CW over FM is called MCW - "modulated carrier wave."  It just refers to the imposition of an audible tone on the FM carrier to represent the dit and dah characters.

blah blah nitpick blah blah.  Aren't hams annoying??  :\
Thanks for the info. Are you suggesting that it is possible to piggy back on a FM wave to transmit morse code via Continuous Wave (CW)? Thank you.

Sunflower

  • Guest
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 09:49:44 PM »
Maybe I need the book - HAM for Dummies. This forum and all your help is sure appreciated. You make this so much more approachable. Thanks everyone for educating me on these basics.

I am real new with listening to Morse sounds - dah-dit-dah. At first it was like one long sound. It was amazing how quickly my ear picked up on the pauses. After a while, I noticed that the first 5 sets came a lot easier than the second five. I was kind of like my ear/brain got tired after 5. Maybe learning Morse Code is like using a new muscle.

Not sure if I will have time to fit in some Morse code learning tonight. I would like to keep up with it. I use to be good at learning foreign languages in my youth. There is that saying: What you don't use - you lose. Well its true.

cockpitbob

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1180
  • SMeter: +39/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 10:23:41 PM »
About 2 years ago I started learing Morse code.  It's just like learning a new language, and I believe them when they say it's easier when you are young.  I've only put in a part-time effort but on a good day I can now do 10wpm.

Two things that really helped are:
1) the G4FON training software (www.g4fon.net).  It's free and generates code for you to copy from the computer's speakers at whatever speed you want.  It will display the text of the code on the screen as it sends, or delayed so you can look up and check your work.  You can even paste pain text for it to send as code.  I put several pages from a book in it.  It will also save to an audio file, so I have a lot of CW in my iPod to listen to.

2) Learn CW Online (lcwo.net).  This is web based and has some neat features.  Copying words is easier for me because if I miss a letter in a word I can usually guess knowing the words around it.  But copying random stuff like call signs is hard.  It has a call sign trainer with a neat but cruel feature.  It sends a call and you type it in at your own pace.  The next call comes in 1wpm faster or slower depending on if you got the last one right or wrong.  It always keeps you sweating, but I've learned really fast with it.  It also keeps statistics on you so you can see a chart of your average copy speed over the past weeks.

Personally I'm not sure how good CW is for preppers.  The QRP gear is perfect for preppers, but what percentage of hams, much less people know CW...er Morse?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 10:26:31 PM by cockpitbob »

RadioRay

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 784
  • SMeter: +44/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 11:57:42 PM »
oh!  A couple of points here:  The G4FON program is excellent and as for finding someone else who knows Morse code...

The ham bands are FILLED with Morse code - worldwide!  I've been tuning around and talking with guys from a hundred to thousands of miles away using Morse - depending upon which band and time of day I select.  Advantages of Morse QRP rigs are tremendous, it's much simpler, smaller/light weight & less expensive equipment with the ability to cut through noise with very low power.  Low power means that it consumes MUCH less power and the transceiver batteries are therefore much easier to recharge. QRP rigs are generally small enough to fit into a rucksack along with all of your other stuff, rather than instead of it! I've done a lot of wilderness operating and QRP worked VERY well as long as I set up a dipole (wire) antenna and that's also simple, inexpensive and reliable.

Yes, Morse and QRP are a natural combination for someone wanting to keep a station operating during field conditions or difficult times.  Even when it's NOT a hard time, it's a lot of fun.


>Ray ..._ ._
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 12:00:36 AM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

Scott

  • Guest
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 01:13:08 PM »
Minor chime-in -- CW over FM is called MCW - "modulated carrier wave."  It just refers to the imposition of an audible tone on the FM carrier to represent the dit and dah characters.

blah blah nitpick blah blah.  Aren't hams annoying??  :\
Thanks for the info. Are you suggesting that it is possible to piggy back on a FM wave to transmit morse code via Continuous Wave (CW)? Thank you.
Well sure.  FM is great for playing music, high-fidelity voice, etc.  One could just as easily simply play audible tones that represent Morse code.

"CW" usually refers specifically to the method of switching a transmitter's output off and on to represent the code's characters.  One could just as easily play Morse code on a guitar, by touching someone's eyeball with your finger, or arranging patterns of spent shell casings on a table.  For anything audible, like a simple electronically generated single pitch, one would simply play it through an FM transmitter microphone.

You can use whatever medium you want to carry the code.  The switching of transmitter power amps on and off is just one.

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2912
  • SMeter: +77/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2012, 04:22:19 PM »
Using FM for CW, hum... Like making high pitched noises with your voice or verbally saying ditditdah... LOL  ;D

Gil.

WA4STO

  • Guest
Morse during/post SHTF?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2012, 12:10:40 PM »
I'd like to offer some commentary about the use of CW.  But first let me explain that I was last "clocked" at 61 words per minute while handling traffic (zero errors allowed).  I was a professional ship-to-shore CW and radiotelex operator at one point in my life.  So, yes, I love CW.

But times change.  Luckily for amateur radio emergency communications, the newer times have brought us a large number of digital modes which -- most importantly -- often have built in error correction protocols.

So there are perhaps some additional "cons" to the use of CW.  Remember, I love the stuff!!

1.  As ham radio progresses, the number of operators who are proficient at letter-perfect CW is dwindling quickly.  Thus, unless you've come up with a cadre of operators in advance that you KNOW will be available to handle CW messages during SHTF, well, you get the idea...

2.  There is zero error-correction with CW.  What you send is not necessarily what you get.  Thus "Our EOC requires 15 units of O+ blood" might be received as ... well... what IS the Morse equivalent of a "plus"?  Would the receiving operator know?

I'll never stop using Morse.  It's big-time fun. But during a "situation", I'll always bank on Olivia, MFSK-16 and NBEMS to get the messages through. At that point, we're WAY past "fun"...






gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2912
  • SMeter: +77/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2012, 12:17:18 PM »
My smallest CW radio fits in my shirt pocket  ;)
Can't beat that!



Gil.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 12:19:08 PM by gil »

RadioRay

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 784
  • SMeter: +44/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2012, 01:27:04 PM »
The use of Morse or any other 'tool' is dictated upon what problem(s) we're trying to solve using radio and then applying the appropriate technology (if available).  For sending a list of refugee names, their medical needs, next of kin and etc. : use digital IF ABLE.  Zero question there, and that's how we set-up our Emergency Operation Center for my surrounding counties.  OTOH, if the problem to be solved is checking in with people,  situation reports, advisories and etc., withOUT the overhead of a computer, then Morse (CW) fits quite nicely.  Basically as pointed-out, if it requires basic communication, or even passing short messages (think SMS texting on steroids) under rough conditions, then Morse is a great tool when/if you require the minimum of Size, Weight & Power consumption.

If I were in my house, I absolutely use WINMOR (e-mail over radio) and some of the modes in the FLdigi program, because I can keep a laptop alive here.  I did the same when I was a sailboat cruiser, using e-mail over radio and etc. for my corrospondence as well as my weather (with back-ups).  However, if you do not have commercial power and/or if manpacking, or even vehicular mobile, CW beats voice (we all know that) for reliability and saves me having to keep a laptop alive.

Different tools for different jobs.

Again, lists, files and imagery - all handled by WINMOR and other digital modes.  JIC, primitive, but easily supportable in the field:  Morse.  Everyting that I have a computer glitch, or an MS update that causes a problem for my laptop and etc. I realize that I am glad that I am conversational in Morse.

>>>  As WA4STO can EASILY testify (I am not qualified to speak for him) being able to handle message traffic is a skill to practice on TOP of basic Morse fluency. There are specific methods for handling message traffic which takes it from casual -doing a Buddy a favor- to professional quality, correcting errors ('getting fills') and etc. which the average ham has never used and probably never even heard of.  A maritime Morse operator would be an expert in such things.  These traffic handling methods can be learned.

Nothing like having a good Sparkie ashore or aboard whether it's digital or Morse. 

ZUT de RadioRay ..._ ._

STO STO STO DE WASA WASA WASA QTC 01 CK023 QSS DWN 345  OK IMI   .   . 
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 04:24:34 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2912
  • SMeter: +77/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 03:44:48 PM »
One thing I am going to do after I get the Morse pat down is learn to send a receive a radiogram... I can see how useful it would be for a hiker on a week-long hike away from any cell phone tower... Just to send short reports to family and friends...

Ray, I can't believe you were a sailor. I used to own a 32ft. steel ketch, but never finished the restoration because it was ransacked and everything of value stolen from it, including all ten bronze ports.. I plan on building a smaller boat, 18ft... http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/jw/swaggie/index.htm But that's for another forum  ;)

Gil.

Radio Preppers

Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 03:44:48 PM »