Death By Microprocessor

Started by RadioRay, September 05, 2019, 10:51:04 pm

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September 05, 2019, 10:51:04 pm Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 12:59:14 am by RadioRay
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  ..._ ._

"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

Pensioner Prepper

Thanks for that Ray very interesting. I do Morse practice every day when I can. I would not say that I am good in any shape or form but I am good enough to get by with a patient station should I need to.

I have to say I like the sound of Morse, sort of relaxing.
Take good care old friend.


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.
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


Bushy de Ray -...-

How goes the Morse code practice ? Have you tried a first contact? 

73 de Ray
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


I completely agree with you that being able to transmit and receive morse coed by ear is going to be an essential skill that should be developed now whilst there is time.

The problem, I see with manual CW is that it requires the operator to be at the station for some time and this may be risky, it is probably safer to have the message sent and received automatically. For this reason I think we will see automated CW or more likely auto digital modes

I also think that the most likely outcome of a disaster that results in loss of internet will be am RF based internet replacement and its anybody's guess what format will emerge as dominant, Simplicity and reliability and low power will guide the choice but I also think encryption (have posted separately about that) will become critical


Quote from: daedalus on November 05, 2019, 06:45:11 amFor this reason I think we will see automated CW or more likely auto digital modes

The best new mode for this is JS8, with the JS8Call software...

Morse for me will of course always be #1. I can copy 100% at 15wpm with a pen and somewhat successfully (not 100%) head-copy 18-20wpm. I used to reach 25 on a good day but I am out of practice.