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Topics - Luigi

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General Discussion / The joys of living near Canada
« on: December 26, 2014, 08:29:06 PM »
Oh how great it is to live near Canada. I am picking up a contest in SSB on 7075 kHz. At first I though some idiot was not a quick study of the digital and voice portions of the 40 meter band. After listening, it was determined that the station calling CQ is in Canada. There is a section of the band  7050 - 7080 kHz that allows cw and ssb for RAC. Unfortunately this is right on top of the well used psk-31 7070 kHz slot. Many olivia users are found around 7075 kHz. Thankfully the radio user was not transmitting on 7070 kHz.

Odd but very legal.


I hope you all had a great Christmas.

Morse Code / Get on HF with a tech license
« on: November 16, 2014, 04:24:57 PM »
I like the fact that the technicians can get on hf with cw. This gives them a chance to see if they want to go for the general exam.
I just had a nice cw ragchew with a novice on 15 meters who has been an amateur longer than I have been alive. His code a excellent. Anyways, it is great that limited sections are available for all licensed users to use.
Propagation has been kind this afternoon.

Morse Code / CW anyone? Sked
« on: November 08, 2014, 09:40:24 PM »
It is nice to be back on HF. I too prefer the CW route. Less is more. Is anyone out there interested in a qso in the upcoming months?
Today, I was able to carry on a nice conversation for a while until the contesters descended upon the frequency. QRL is a nice way to start a tx.

If anyone is interested in something other than 599 73, let me know. We probably will settle on one of the WARC bands.


General Discussion / Lost my radio muse or is it a seasonal thing?
« on: July 16, 2014, 04:45:38 PM »
I am not sure what it is, but I have lost my radio muse for a while. I have not been on HF for a while. Occasionally, once a week I check my winlink account for email. Other than that, the equipment sits idle. Perhaps this is the effect of summer? Being outdoors, going to the gym, and living out the most of these long days makes sitting in front of a radio seem like the least interesting thing to do. I find that reading the posts here and helping with test sessions is fine, but getting on the air seems uninteresting right now. This is an odd situation.

Please do not get me wrong. I like the Amature radio service and find that it is an excellent utility for being prepared for an emergency. I just cannot get myself to use it lately. The only reason why I do use the radio lately is to practice for a situation when I would really need it.

Is anyone else getting to this point? I suspect during the fall and winter months, the radio will be more interesting when the days are shorter.

Tactical Corner / Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« on: June 18, 2014, 05:18:56 PM »
With all of this radio discussion, I know that most here practice using their radios and they have a process that is pretty solid. There was some discussion about GPS degradation and the use of a sextant for location calculations. That was a pretty inspiring thread.

Don't forget the other areas of being prepared in areas of our basic needs. Practice makes tasks easier when you really need them.

One summer, I used a propane camping stove and a small 1 gallon refillable propane tank to cook all of my meals for an entire month. At the end of my month, I refilled the tank. Only 25% of the fuel was used. It cost $3.00 to fill it at the beginning of the month. My total cooking cost over the month was $0.75! All of this was practice for a family camping trip. It is amazing what you can cook with a small pressure cooker pot and a camping stove. By the time we were camping, we had some really nice meals and the best coffee ever. We took a wok, and a steamer to use as outdoor "microwave oven" to reheat items, or steam a washcloth for washing our faces at the end of a day.

One Thanksgiving, we lost power. We ended up cooking a turkey on the grill as a result of the power outage. Cooking a turkey for a few hours outside in freezing rain with a propane grill will teach anyone how to maintain a constant temperature on a grill at a very low fuel flow rate. Many people operate gas grills on high, when they should be run a lower fuel flow rates.

Someone here asked how long could you go without power. In a grid down situation, several fuel types and stoves are vital if you need a way to sanitize water and cook food. Optimal fuels to keep on hand are propane, butane and kerosene. Have all three if you can. Rather than powering things, the concentration should be on food, sanitation and heat. Electrical items are low on the priority list. Email (Winlink) becomes a thing checked 2-3 times a week rather than several times per day.

Attached is photo a small butane stove that I pull out every now and then. Today, I made a cup of cafe mocha using a hand operated coffee grinder, a mocha maker and a simple butane stove. I am using a butane canister that I have had for a few years. The fuel goes a long way if the stove is used correctly.

Dependence on others is the current way of life. Our energy grid is pretty fragile. Current EPA regulations will strain it more. Politics aside, stay on top of your other needs.


Morse Code / CW 10 meters
« on: June 02, 2014, 11:02:04 AM »
I got onto 10 meters for the first time. The antenna length is pretty reasonable. My original intention was to try to connect to a repeater. I have always been interested in FM on HF especially using a repeater. Beware, a lot of the repeater listings for 10 meters are outdated. No luck there.

I started to look into thew CW area. I heard a numerous beacons very clearly. callsign/b is the method. That took getting used to. Other than the beacons, there was no activity.
Has anyone made good contacts on the 10 meter band?

Morse Code / Heliograph - License Free Solar Telegraphy
« on: May 24, 2014, 05:58:24 PM »
Heliograph: is a device that can be used to send messages using reflected light (
From time to time I get old hard drives from my company that need to destroyed. I usually end up keeping the magnets from the drive because they are useful for other applications. The rest of the components are usually discarded. Today I kept the hard drive platters. The platters are highly reflective and very durable.

I think these platters can make an excellent signalling mirror. While not technically radio, it is sending messages using electromagnetic waves in the visual part of the spectrum. No license is required. The durability is much better than a standard mirror.

All that is needed is a tripod, a mounting system and a way to cut/move the beam. In a few minutes on a sunny day, you can signal others and maintain radio silence.


Morse Code / Hour of cw and an hour in the gym
« on: May 09, 2014, 03:02:22 AM »
I had an hour long cw qso today followed by an hour in the gym lifting. I think reading cw was harder of the two. I am at that point where I can hear the letters and know them by the sound. I like chatting with people who use a keyer. The straight key is pretty hard to make out. Thanks to all here for inspiration to try cw. It is a fun challenge.

Phew. Time for a cold one.


Morse Code / Morse Code QSO
« on: April 19, 2014, 11:08:54 PM »
I have been working with someone over the phone to train me in CW. My mentor is 375 km from me. We work on 40 meters because of the distance. Anyway, I an using a magnetic loop antenna, and my wattage is a as low as I can go on my radio (5 watts). He it using a possible beam antenna and running at a much higher wattage.

He could hear me very clearly as tapped out cw. I could not hear him at all until he pushed his power up to 400 watts. By then I could barely make him out above the noise level.
I think he was using a beam antenna with a low takeoff angle. My antenna radiates in both upwards and out towards the horizon when it is vertically aligned. The antenna is very directional in vertical mode. I worked with him before and my antenna was horizontally mounted (null facing up and down) and we both could hear each other. He still had to use high wattage.

I suspect takeoff angle has a lot to do with it. Anyone have a similar situation? For closer contacts I would say that NVIS is a better way to go. I think his signal was overshooting me. Perhaps someone int he middle of the pacific ocean was hearing him. Thoughts?


Morse Code / Iambic keyer
« on: April 19, 2014, 06:18:25 PM »
I picked up a PS2 iambic key. This thing is nice. What a difference. I tried someone's bug a while back and felt that the side to side motion is much better for me. The traditional telegraph key was starting to put some repetitive strain on my wrist. This one has a lot less impact for me.
The keyer has magnetic returns, and bearings for the keys. The gap that I set for the contacts is thinner than a sheet of paper. You barely have to touch it.
I probably will not be taking this one on a trip in the backpack. It weighs 1200 grams.

Luigi (.-.. ..- .. --. ..)

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