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Messages - RadioRay

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Morse Code / Guess Who I Heard Today ? //Gil//
« on: October 08, 2019, 03:13:55 PM »
High winds broke the line holding up my 80-10m dipole, leaving it laying in lower tree tops, AND it's pointed the wrong way to hear France.  However, I heard Gil veeeeery weakly while he was in Morse QSO with a German station.  Gil was using his home made magnetic loop on the balcony and MTR - 5 Watt transceiver! Unfortunately, I heard him probably at the end of the band opening, because by the time the Dk/F4 QSO ended, I tried calling him while he was fading fast. Of course, my RF noise level at this little country cottage is extremely LOW. His RF noise level in an apartment in a town  - I do not know, but local RF noise from chargers, displays, power supplies & etc.  can make a huge difference.

5W, homemade magloop on balcony, distance = 4196.5 mi (6753.7 km)

Food for Thought:   the German station Gil had talked with was easily readable, and -technically- could have relayed some short messages between Gil & I pretty easily. That could be handy in a grid down situation.

72 de RadioRay  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Re: Death By Microprocessor
« on: September 27, 2019, 05:34:48 AM »
Aaah Bushy!

Good to hear from you, my old friend.   You'll be happy to know that I too am now a pensioner - never thought I'd see the day ;-) 

Like you, the sounds of Morse is also comforting to me, and I usually have a receiver with a wide filter to hear Morse conversations in the background when I'm in my little shed, working on projects. Your practice process provides you a skill-set for life.  Unpretentious, simple, accurate Morse is a workhorse that can be depended upon, and enjoyed even when I've been down to my last copper.

You Morse regimen sounds quite reasonable. To communicate at an accurate 8-10 words per minute in a robust mode like Morse is far superior to 'sometimes' being able to communicate at thousands of baud > if everything is running correctly  and electrical power is plentiful < ( and IF Windows does not kill the system with an infernal update ;-) As the saying goes: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King."

GReat to hear from you !

> Ray

Ps. I once had a girlfriend who -quite literally- could not open a can of food without electricity...  that didn't last long.

General Discussion / Re: Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 21, 2019, 07:08:21 AM »
The KX2 is a superb transceiver.  The ability to run highly portable at relatively low current drain - well, that's priceless.  Like you, Gil and others have mentioned, having a more 'hardened' construction would be much appreciated, yet, you are correct, the market is very small for such a ham transceiver , with it's extra costs.  Few hams are physically active.  A 100 Watt transceiver drawing many amps, with a huge lead-acid battery, driven by car to a Park for contest/"Radio Sport" style operation seems to be the goal.  Naturally, when grid-down communication is the focus, points and awards are less than meaningless.  I really don't care if I win the Worked-All-Shoe-Sizes award, as long as my actual needs and a few wants are handled.

Related to that is the dependence upon computers. They do a lot of marvelous things, but are generally a significant burden in size, weight and power and are the first to die. As much as I appreciate Winlink, having used it since the AMTOR days, depending upon MS Windows is a REAL problem.  Exapmle: mt laptop just decided that my Windows 7 is not genuine.  Why, after all these years it has done this - and begun the countdown to killing my USB ports & etc. I do not know, but all this began as the last hurricane was approaching... 'nuf said, I'll stick with Morse and to pass formal traffic, use Radio Relay International / NTS nets, of which there are MANY every day. I can't send pictures and file extensions, but health & welfare messaging is their speciality.

Please keep us posted.

73/72 & GL with the KX2/Lab599.

de Ray  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Re: Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 21, 2019, 12:09:13 AM »
Well, I am still waiting for my Hallicrafters Nine-Zillion, from 1962, but I was one of the lucky ones who managed to put down a deposit, so now it's ALL OVER, except the waiting... (image attached)

General Discussion / Re: Lab599 Discovery TX-500
« on: September 20, 2019, 02:40:51 PM »
Yes!  That caught my eye as well.  The receive current drain (critically important for field opns) is a bit over 100 mA , which is superb in a full function, rig and the physical layout and construction is where 'we' really need to be for rucksack radio, because anything can work on a picnic table - which is fun- but robust & survivable is worth the extra expense.   I do hope that this makes the transition from prototype into a retail product.

de Ray  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Death By Microprocessor
« on: September 05, 2019, 10:51:04 PM »
Well, not 'death' actually, more like 'DEAF by microprocessor'. 

We all know that radio communication in voice is quite power hungry, so Watt-for-Watt, digital modes are more robust in tough conditions.  Of course, Morse code sent via CW is extremely robust, yielding between 13-18 dB 'system gain' compared to voice modes, depending upon who's math you're using. 

The timing with this 'deafness' is 'educational':  About the time that Hurricane Dorian , a category >5< HURRICANE was pounding Bermuda and forecast to come up the coast and do the same to us, I received a Windows update, after which my laptop would not operate.  I went to SAFE mode, and it worked for a little while, then nothing....  This is the ham shack laptop with all my cool radio gimmicks on it, including weather satellite software to download my own images - directly, WINLINK (for emergency status checks with family and friends) & etc.  Windows is still deader than a bag-of-rocks to this day, until I have time to reload Windows from disc & all the software , then reconfigure it all.  I am in no hurry.

Why am I NOT in a hurry to fix my laptop so that I can communicate? Because my straight key and my 1939 McElroy 'bug' work flawlessly, cannot be virused, dDOS'd , have no 'back-door' vulnerabilities, and never have updates and yet work well below the noise level, require ZERO power, leaving only my transceiver(s) with their many battery back-up systems, which I am well prepared for. I have to ask myself:what would I do, if I had never learned Morse, and had to DEPEND upon a computer to communicate for me? If we loose power for the long term  , and iI decide to send 'health & welfare' messages to key friends, I can easily do that in Morse code, either casually through random hams outside of the area, or as formal message traffic via the various National Traffic System / RRI Morse traffic nets. And I can do it with very little power in CW - very, very little power.

A skill like Morse code will serve you for life. Skills take-up no room in your rucksack, weigh nothing and can be enhanced with a cup of coffee,

and brother, do I love good coffee!

Fortunately, Hurricane Dorian has dropped to a -still dangerous- category 2, and it's track indicates that it will only offer this area a glancing blow as it heads-out to sea. At least, that's the forecast. I'll know more tomorrow when I'm looking at it, or not.

de Ray  ..._ ._

We have a MAJOR Hurricane approaching (It's a CAT 5 right now)  .  If you ever wondered how difficult it is to capture weather satellite images without the internet, it's not difficult, but does require the software and a bit of practice. There are MANY YouTube posts with excellent instruction about this, so I will not repeat what they've done. 

Here is an image received within the hour using an inexpensive SDR and no automatic satellite tracking or LNA: (attached)

de RadioRay

General Discussion / Re: Hello! (again)
« on: August 27, 2019, 07:50:30 PM »
WooHoo!great to have you back.  Btw I am back home on the Southern Bay , so an easy 80m shot for CW.   PERHAPS WE CAN MEET ON THE AIR to discuss whether I am “the other Ray” or you are ??

73 de Other Ray ( provisional )

Morse Code / Re: west coast, beginners CW practice group?
« on: August 26, 2019, 11:22:00 PM »
Hi Brian,

I don't know whether you know about the group, but Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) hangs aboud 7055'ish and they are desicated to using straight keys, 'bugs' and other non-electronics keying, SOOOO they are a  prime place for slower code with an emphasis on having fun while practicing.  I have several conversations around their hang-out frequencies.  I'm not much of a 'joiner' but I joined SKCC early on, because I like their way of doing thing and how they serve as a platform for people to improve their on the air Morse skills.

73 de Ray  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Re: Hi from the Baltimoron
« on: August 26, 2019, 11:16:11 PM »
"...sail and play radio..."

That sounds familiar.  No more sailing for me, but I have to say, that on the hook in some little out of the way place on The Bay, I could hear EVERYTHING !  I remember being over on the Eastern Shore listening to two station in Africa while they had a regional conversation on 40 meters - not so local for me.  I didn't transmit, just enjoyed hearing them.

Also, there's something reassuring about knowing that you can cast off lines, and run self contained for a very long time - and distance.

73 de Ray  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Re: Hello from North Carolina
« on: August 01, 2019, 06:16:31 PM »
Hi Greg,

Yes, Florence was originally set to hit us, before it veered southwest. We were in the mandatory evacuation zone along the southern Chesapeake Bay until that happened. Water storage along with rechargeable battery powered lights and radio (and at least one fan ;-) make a huge difference if there is a significant weather problem.

73 de Ray  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Re: Hello from North Carolina
« on: July 29, 2019, 08:07:18 PM »
Welcome aboard.  There is a deep cache' of radio information here, and well worth the digging.  Good move on the general class ham license.  There is a lot of utility there, especially in hurricane country, as was proven last year and it's a great way to learn many new skills.

73 de Ray
..._ ._

Morse Code / Re: CW Operators needed...
« on: April 30, 2019, 12:37:16 PM »

Radio Relay International is awesome.  It's real communication, and reading through the after action report from the Cascadia Rising exercise produced by the U.S. Federal government , it put a smile on my face to see Morse operators juuuuust slightly win over the excellent PACTOR network.  Another factor in this exercise was to simulate the depletion of fuel reserves used for powering ham and municipal generators, which took some of the heavy data centers off the air, as would happen in an actual disaster of this size. The energy efficiency of low/medium powered CW with trained/experienced operators handling traffic really became extremely useful.

Remember: If you can't power your communication equipment, you cannot communicate.

73 de RadioRay  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Re: Update and The Necessity to Educate People.
« on: December 29, 2018, 05:55:59 PM »
Congratulations on the Toyota Land Cruiser!  Those are great vehicles. Once your are more settled-in, viedos of exploring your new home region should be quite interesting.

73 de Ray  ..._ ._

Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / Re: Got my 1st CW rig
« on: December 20, 2018, 08:01:56 PM »
1st - IT's been a few years and though that is how I remember it, CHECK YOUR MANUAL. The radio you save will be your own ;-)

2nd - If VWflier reads this, he can answer, because he bought it from me.

73 de Ray ..._ ._

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