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Messages - RadioRay

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 53
Morse Code / Re: Yaesu CW Filters
« on: July 10, 2018, 12:06:50 PM »
I work CW almost exclusively and had the narrowest (250Hz) filter in my FT817s through the years. It made the 817 into a very good CW transceiver.  I highly recommend it for CW operators.

RadioRay ...- .-

General Discussion / Re: Passed my Intermediate Exam last night!!
« on: June 28, 2018, 09:54:23 PM »
Nicely done, Andy!  I'm very excited for you and have enjoyed your posts.  Radio is a delightful hobby, often a useful tool and once 'infected', an incurable MANIA!

73 de RadioRay  ..._  ._

General Discussion / Gil is a Time Traveler - PROOF! (atachment)
« on: June 18, 2018, 09:50:41 PM »
I KNEW there was something 'different' about Gil.... Now we ALL know!

//Click on attachment to expand picture. //

General Discussion / Re: Hawaii , Alternative Power Source and CW
« on: June 17, 2018, 09:38:39 AM »
That was thirty meters, CW. I like that band very much and will likely enjoy it more once we have returned to coastal Virginia, and my tall trees for antenna support!  CW , like small, seaworthy sailboats, become MORE useful as weather and infrastructure deteriorates:  "Anti-Fragility" in action.


General Discussion / Hawaii , Alternative Power Source and CW
« on: June 16, 2018, 02:03:57 AM »
Once again, I enjoyed a nice chat in Morse with AH6V who lives on Hawaii.  Listening to his previous conversation, he mentioned that he is 45 miles from the volcano, so no trouble. Electrical power is no issue for him, because he has been living off grid for decades.  His antenna is a dipole, high and in the trees and my antenna is not at all good for long range, being a full wave , horizontal 80m loop up only 5 meters at the support poles, sagging to 3 meters at some points in between.  We discussed his large solar power system, which powers even his refrigeration & etc. -vs- my small sailboat sized system and the work shop/ham shack that it powered. 

Radio is simply amazing and the BEST 'communications computer' is your brain.

73 de RadioRay ..._  ._

Morse Code / Re: The article that inspired me to learn code
« on: May 28, 2018, 12:52:55 AM »
Found it on The Wayback Machine -

Pt. 1 -

Pt. 2 -

It's heart-warming to know that these articles helped you. Thanks for mentioning it.

RadioRay  ..._  ._

Morse Code / Re: Can Morse Code Still Save You?
« on: May 23, 2018, 11:28:11 PM »
The RBN "SOS" search and report is a very good idea. It would at LEAST report to some internet 'DX List' to get ears onto it.  L:et's hope that they don't simple send "599 tu" .


Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / Re: Got my 1st CW rig
« on: May 23, 2018, 11:15:44 PM »
I am OFFICIALLY jealous!  Really though, that is a superb bargain and the MTR of any variety is a superb CW rig, especially with your extras in the bargain. Once 'bitten' by the simnple and robust effectiveness of CW, you'll be hooked. This is a station that you can EASILY take with you on outings.

>RadioRay  ..._  ._

Technical Corner / Re: Modding MTR4b for 13.8 volts..... possible ?
« on: May 18, 2018, 09:56:16 PM »
If you simple need a voltage drop (not a current drop!) a couple of garden variety diodes usually give you a 0.9 volt drop per diode.  So, your 13.7ish can RUNNING can have diodes in the power line to drop it below 12 VDC , using your /cigar' lighter/power plug in the car.  I have a bunch of 1N400X series power supply diodes I've de-soldered from junk power supplies, which used for this at no cost.

>RadioRay  ..._  ._

Antennas / Re: Magnetic loop antenna.
« on: April 24, 2018, 09:46:54 PM »
I had FCC add 'narrow band telegraphy' on my marine SSB license many years ago, so was able to talk with Rene' from WLO once, during Night of Nights on marine freqs when I lived aboard.  That was fun. Unfortunately, I received that after they stopped issuing the 4 letter ship's calls to 'voluntarily equipped' vessels, so my call sign in Marine Morse was about a foot and a half long - ha ha.

13.8VDC at 5 Amps = 69 Watts to produce a 5 Watt signal.  Receive current is also too large for real field work., unless you're vehicle mobile or drag it to the nearby operating area , then back to the car. It's a matter of what you prefer, but I prefer portable.


Most (all?) of these WSPR/JT modes require precise time base, which is usually synchronized by  internet or GPS. As long as we have one or the other, it's viable. A canned massage is used in some of the modes, and can be replaced with a message of choice, but limited to (13?) characters.  That is why I did not pursue it: need for external time base for everyone participating.  In fast, there is significant privacy if you could coordinate to use a time offset from the normal start sequence of 00 seconds each minute. I know the arguement that 'You can set it by hand, using WWV" and yes, BT&DT, but it's not as easy as it sounds, considering the lag on a laptop in setting time... there is usually a slight delay and ALL the other station would have to do it as well.  Please understand that I am VERY impressed with anything that operates at -28dB compared to noise, but with proper band/time choice, does that matter?

An asynchronous version of even a dozen letters could have it's use, though dependent on having a computer of some type.

For me, the first question is " what is the goal?".  If' it's Worked All Outhouses on 630 meters, then these modes are fine. If it's the ability for conversation - it's difficult.  If a simple SOS and Lat.Long, they are fine as long as the Size Weight And Power can be accommodated.

One milliWatt output ! This began by using modulation and Forward
Error Correction schemes, from hams who developed the methods to retrieve data from
deep space probes. Talk about QRP 



This discussion has the possibility of creating more LIGHT than heat.... This is good.

Perhaps not now, but discussing the prepper scenarios would be good. They can vary depending upon whether it's a camping trip or a total grid down, continental emergency. That being the case, I prefer Morse, for the reasons you've pointed-out: basically - Morse code is the last to die.

1. Power efficiency = TOTAL POWER CONSUMPTION for the entire system.

"I just talked to Gil using one Watt digital!"

Output         = 1 Watt
Radio weight = 2.5 pound (FT-817)

With power
supply           = 5 pounds (mine is heavier - it's a ToughBook)
Power           = 25 Watts

Spare batteries, chargeing system ...

This means that your system Size/Weight & Power is at least   26 Watts ( not one ) and at least 7 1/2 pounds.

When driving to a park and setting-up your CHARGED laptop and rig batteries, this is not a problem and a lot of fun. On the move, with little spare time for charging - it's tough.  I've done it. Having the transceiver, and computer ON and monitoring for calls eats a lot of precious battery power.

2. What is the purpose for communicating?  If it's as an 'emergency radio' i/e I am inured and need help, but not a grid down situation - use the cellphone.  If you are going to be out of cell range, do as Gil did; use a SPOT or other Personal Distress Beacon. However, there is no chit-chat with those.  You push the button and the orange helo appears overhead. [ Don't use this for ordering pizza. ;-)  Ont he other hand, if it's to send short messages, whether camping or GRID DOWN, then what is needed? plan and practice, based on needs and abilities.

2.1  Skeds/Roundtable Nets - I tell people: "If you're not talking to them now, you will probably not be talking with them THEN".  Friendships develop this way.

3. Expense - I know more than a few survivalist/preppers who have prepared so well for their families, that it caused a divorce and so they lost their families.  If you spend more time and money on preparing than on family life - you might sacrifice the main reason to be prepared.  Have a life worth surviving, and you'll get the family -vs- emergency preparedness ratio right.
3.1 QRP CW radios can be very inexpensive, compared to their tremendous capabilities. The 10 Watt uBITx CW/SSB transceiver is $109!

4. If it's a GRID DOWN emergency, most computer controlled, pan-adaptor wearing, HIGH POWERED hams will probably be off the air. ( No contests - Woo-Hoo!)  I regularly talk with CW stations on battery power, but the last SSB on battery power I talked with was using a uBITx at ten Watts ;-) Copy was 'weak readable', and would have been easy in Morse. (>13 dB system gain for CW compared to voice.)

5. General information gathering. A separate 'plastic' radio for listening to broadcasts and other monitoring.  A 'plastic radio' serves another purpose: it is great fo non-hams to tune around, listening and keeping their 'claws' off of the ham radio - haha  I have a reasonably effective, HF/MW/FM BC - (AM/FM modes only) radio that is smaller than a deck of cards and has a built-in clock/alarm clock (for skeds). Needless to say, it runs a very long time on 2x AA cells.  Few years ago, it cost about $29 and it's eas easy to operate as any radio can be.
5.1 The next 'plastic radio' up in capability is the CountyComm GP-5 SSB.  A true U/LSB receiver, with FM and AM . It's quite good for monitoring all broadcasts and even SSB/digital ham radio (computer not included ;-)  .  I have used the earphone, placed over the mic input on my laptop and/or cellphone to read PSK & etc.  Mine has MiMH rechargeables in it and is easily recharged (it runs a long time) via the USB port and USB voltage source of my choice.

So - I prefer small, highly portable, and very low power drain for my preparedness radios. I have the next level up - My KX2, but that adds more capability, with the cost of a bit more complexity, and the third level is the mini-camper van with solar panes on top, two deep cycle batteries and true sinewave inverter, incase I NEED to play video games - ha ha. There are plenty of steps in between, including the Pelican , solar rechargeable power station I have, but that's TRANSPORTABLE, not something I'd manpack.  A preppers' portable radio station should not be the size of an airport carry-on luggage, though I've seen worse - - -

73 de RadioRay  ..._  ._

Batteries & Solar / Re: Salvaging old Notebook battery
« on: April 12, 2018, 10:19:31 PM »
This is a very good topic. D'oh!  I just remembered an old, beater laptop that may be in my junk box.  Maybe a weekend project??? (Like I ?NEED another 80% completed project... ha ha)


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