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Messages - vwflyer

General Discussion / Re: Another Introduction
January 16, 2014, 11:20:21 am
Thanks Gil.

I have trouble copying stations that are within a 1500 mile radius and are using a lot more power then that. There is just too much QRM and QRN. My radio doesn't have the optional narrow band CW filter installed. It just uses the standard SSB filter when in CW mode. I thought that maybe that is my problem and that with a narrower filter I could copy weaker signals better as the noise floor should be lower.

I looked online for the optional CW filter for my Kenwood and they are going for about $100. If this is my problem and if a dedicated CW transceiver comes stock with a narrow filter I should be able to copy better with it than with my Kenwood.
General Discussion / Re: Another Introduction
January 16, 2014, 12:33:45 am
Thank you for clarifying that Gil. The 5 watts of power, low price tag and most importantly ease of construction is what drew my interest but I was looking for a transceiver. With the RockMite being only $5 more it just comes down to if it is within my abilities to assemble and if 500mw is enough.
General Discussion / Re: Another Introduction
January 15, 2014, 11:29:46 pm
That's a good idea Ray. I've signed up and am awaiting my number. Thanks.
General Discussion / Re: Another Introduction
January 15, 2014, 10:47:22 pm
Well, I see I'm going to just have to bite the bullet, take the plunge, face the music, cross the Rubicon... I appreciate all of your encouragement. I'll start listening around 7.100 and if I come across a signal that meets the description you gave I'll do one of the before mentioned idioms... maybe tomorrow, or the next day :)

I'll take a good look at those keys you mentioned Gil. I don't think my radio has a built in keyer. It's a Kenwood TS-140S but I'll look for the manual to confirm that. I might want to get an external keyer anyway as I'm considering getting a basic CW transceiver kit to build as my first kit like the NS-40 that Rob_ma recently brought to our attention.

Unfortunately, I don't have my own VW powered plane. People call me VW because they are the initials of my last name. Piloting is my ministry and so my newsletter is called the VWFlyer.

General Discussion / Re: Another Introduction
January 15, 2014, 08:44:51 pm
Thanks for the encouragement KKOG!

I'll let you guys know how it goes after I've gotten up the nerve for the first one. I saw one youtube video where the guy videoed his first CW QSO and posted it. I've considered doing that but that would probably just make me more nervous. Plus, I'd have to clean off my desk :)
General Discussion / Re: Another Introduction
January 15, 2014, 07:54:38 pm
Thanks for the warm welcome cockpitbob.

Until a few months ago I didn't even know that paddles existed. I'm still fuzzy on the differences between paddles and bugs and the pros and cons of each. I think that bugs are the ones that I have trouble copying because while the sender may be sending at 10wpm his dits are all run together like they are going at 40wpm so I can't tell how many dits there are.

I guess I should do some more research online and figure out which paddle will be good for a beginner on a budget. I just figured that a straight key would be easier to learn on because they are dead simple in concept (short presses for dits and long ones for daws). I guess I should actually touch a paddle before I form an opinion about them, huh?  Are paddles the fully automatic ones that use a keyer to actually form the code? That means I have to shop for a keyer too right?
General Discussion / Another Introduction
January 15, 2014, 06:40:56 pm
Hi Guys,

I'm John. I've been lurking around these forums and really enjoying them for a few months now and I thought it would only be polite to introduce myself before posting my own questions. I don't usually do that with forum boards but the atmosphere here is different than most other boards. It's more like a gathering of friends than simply a place to pick other people's brains for their knowledge.

I've been a general class ham for almost 10 years. I'll be having to do my first renewal in the next couple of months. I marginally learned CW at 5WPM in order to pass my general exam and then promptly forgot it. I purchased a 2 meter mobile rig and a couple of HTs to play around with but until recently that's all I've done with my license.

The knowledge I gained in becoming a ham has been helpful at work though because until 3 years ago we used to use HF radios at work to keep in touch with our coworkers. Now that satellite internet is so easy to get in remote areas, we have retired all our HF rigs at work. Most of us used single freq. crystal controlled radios because we all used one common freq. around the 80 meter area. One coworker had been using a ham radio though and after he got satellite internet he gave his radio to me knowing I am a ham. Long story short, I've recently started into the world of HF.

It didn't take long to discover though that HF voice is no more interesting than 2 meters, maybe less. So my interest in relearning CW (for real this time) began to grow. Than I found these forums and that sealed it. I had to lean CW! These forums have been a huge help to me in finding CW learning aids and I continue to find great advice and encouragement here in my ongoing struggle to learn CW.

I've been pecking away at it for about 3 months and I can copy 10-12WPM when it is sent by a good fist (computer) without much (any) QRM. I have a $15 straight key I've been practicing sending with but I have yet to make a real contact. A couple of times I've heard people calling CQ at rates I can copy and have been very tempted to answer but when I start to think seriously about answering I get too scared and I don't. I think I may wait until I can copy 15WPM at near 100% with static and everything before I make a contact.

Anyhow, I'm excited to have found a forum that focuses on two interests of mine, radios and prepping. And what makes it completely awesome is the quality of people here.