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Topics - 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 / 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

Morse Code / Someone's Blogpost about Learning Morse Code
« on: August 29, 2018, 12:08:53 AM »
Gil has written about it, I have, others have.  Here is another fellow and he really did a good deed by writing of his recent learning of Morse code.

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 / 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 ..._  ._

General Discussion / Extreme EmComm Guide
« on: October 30, 2017, 10:17:22 PM »
This fellow has a lot of useful information and just returned from a successfl, though 'politically frustrating' deployment to Puerto Rice.  Though a relatively new ham, this is noe very switched-ON person.

General Discussion / Where Ham Radio Shines -
« on: September 22, 2017, 10:36:38 PM »
Dominica (and many other Caribbean islands, including much of Puerto Rico).

Infrastructed destroyed...

Morse Code / Morse using Inexpensive Stations
« on: September 14, 2017, 10:27:15 AM »
Literally the other side of the world; that was this morning.  The operator on the other end is part of a French Antarctic expedition, sending from aboard their ship - FT5XT/mm.  My station is an older Kenwood that a friend found at a truck stop and sold to me for $450.  My antenna is a piece of house wire formed into an 80 meter horizontal loop up only 15 feet. I looks like this contact was 40 meter band long path along the greyline to reach him, 12,717 miles distant.  Not bad for a sub-urban ham with a fairly common station.

Morse/CW is what makes this possible.  SSB would not have made it, signal levels were too low.

Morse Code / Japanese Inspired minimalism and Morse Code
« on: July 06, 2017, 02:10:41 AM »
When I was a boy (shortly after the Earth's crust cooled...) I had the great privilege of studying Judo and later Ju Jitsu under some very good instructors - true masters, before that term became en vogue and horribly over used.

Learning judo, as an American boy steeped in the idea that rage and bulging muscles were everything, I soon learned that quiet, focused power, applied exactly where and when required was far more effective and very efficient.  As a result of a few years of training, back then, I could fight multiple opponents and rarely tire - because THEY were burning a lot of unnecessary energy; not me. Now I am old, so opening a bag of coffee makes me tired, but I don't mind: I love good coffee. As I read more about the origins of Japanese martial arts, Judo in particular, I came across a quote that has stayed with me for life:

"Maximum effect, with minimal effort." - Jiguro Kano

To some people, that's an excuse for laziness : it is not.  To others, it is an 'attack' on their delicate egos, which are tied to things which they bought at great expence in an attempt to have internal peace, no matter how ineffective and/or in efficient those possessions are.  To back woods radio people, this makes perfect sense.  When away from the "FREE" electricity of city A.C. mains, you must be efficient in your use of power. For hams, this is largely seen in proper time/frequency selection and MODE.  It's a well documented FACT that Morse code (CW) is very much more energy efficient than voice, for conveying the same 'intelligence' ; 13-18dB more efficient, depending upon whos math you're using, but at the least, that's 20 times more power needed for SSB over CW. Translate that into batteries, chargers, heatsinks accessories and you'll see that Size, Weights & Power (SWAP) is huge compared to a QRP CW rig with the same relative capabilities , and much more expensive.

Simplicity: I was recently at a demonstration of emergency communication held in a pasture.  There were cafeteria tables, many laptop computers, some networked, A.C. power, cables all over the place and the list goes on.  When I left 24 hours later, the only successful comms as of that time was QRP handsent CW using my KX2 and a low dipole.  All CW skeds were achieved right on time, with very good results.  Naturally, as those laptops were also running NOT on internal batteries, but plugged-in to A.C. power, their RFI ensured that any comms were likely to be unsuccessful.  All that power, software, training experience and MONEY - very inefficient. These were intelligent, dedicated people , many of whom are experts in various professional fields. However, a single band QRP CW rig costing almost nothing, could do much more, for much less and fit into a pocket.

The lesson - do what works, and forget the colorful advertising that tells you that you must be dissatisfied with your life and buying their 'stuff' will make you content, successful and adored by the opposite sex: it's all nonsense.  Use whatever is as simple as possible (but not 'simpleR' than possible) and works reliably. for my experience, that is HF CW. If the 'necessary' accessories like computers, panadaptors, wifi routers, and more are required, then THEY must be added to your calculation s of SWAP.  That's a LOT of Size , Weight and Power to drain your recharging and to carry around, It multiplies the set-up and (trouble-shooting) time , tremendously.  I had two 'wires' coming out of my rig: coax to their antenna and my ear buds - to eliminate their constant yelling at each other.

Like judo: efficiency matters. During hobby times, it's basically stress free. During an emergency; it's essential.

de RadioRay  ..._  ._

I like watching Gil, Julian, Spanish QRP cw, Peter Parker with delightful videos on youtube. They go someplace, set-up a station in a few minutes and then are having fun operating and learning on the air. Enjoyment,  fresh air and into the LOW RFI outdoors: all good.

General Discussion / This WebSite As Compared To Others.
« on: April 20, 2017, 01:42:06 PM »
I'll keep this brief (ooooh, suuuuure, you will, Ray.)

I have noticed a general bitterness on the big name ham websites.  It's not 100% of course, but too many have nothing useful to say, so they do what they know: throw trash and break things. This behaviour is perhaps normal for baboons, but for (mostly) adults in a 'technical hobby/service', speaks poorly of ham radio in general.  On the air, especially in CW and maybe some voice, I find a different type of ham from that found on the internet forums - you know ; actual radio operators.  Other than contests, which are nothing other than an electro-magnetic 'social disease', most CW operators are polite and actually want to communicate. I also find that those who do at least some building and who made the time to actually understand a little bit about how radio works, procedures used , have things they enjoy OTHER THAN HAM RADIO and engage in at least some healthy degree of personal hygiene are more balanced in their conversation , even with opposing ideas.

This website is an enjoyable harbor.

>RadioRay  ..._  ._

Morse Code / QUESTION: Why Do Men Love Morse Code?
« on: March 27, 2017, 10:34:19 AM »

Morse Code / Copying or Guessing ?
« on: September 25, 2016, 02:49:10 PM »
As ham radio is being changed from a technical and communication service to a "radiosport" hobby, many aspects have degraded. One which is being pushed recently is to not really learn to copy Morse but rather to gain speed by quessing what the other station is about to send . I have one word for this : WRONG.  A fellow I know and enjoy his exploits was recently passing this off as good advice , with idea like "if the other station sends MALM... I know his QTH is MALMÖ." And stuff like that   Again , I say wrong.  If contest points is the only point, I suppose it does not matter, because contests are meaningless and by nature; disruptive of actual communication.

I just had a bad -partial- CW contact this morning with a code-guesser . When starting a conversation about the usual weather and plans to go to the park later, he come back with how great my signal is from the park. - uh, you're guessing ,'not copying.  Name - wrong, location -wrong most of these were similar in the first few letters. He was not copying - he was guessing. It was not a conversation .

Nobody outside of a professional telegrapher expects 100% copy.'However, this "guessing is good enough" attitude while perfectly fine in the artificial game world of contests, makes an actual conversation impossible. Fortunately , my transceiver has a button to solve this : the OFF button. I made an espresso and read my book in the sun outside.

Please - strive to copy code. Turn off the code reader "feature"'and use your mind. Morse can be very satisfying, and guessing is not the same as copying.

De RadioRay. ..._  ._

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