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Author Topic: 800 Miles on 200mW.  (Read 6034 times)

gil

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800 Miles on 200mW.
« on: November 29, 2012, 11:40:11 AM »
Yep, you read that right. Yesterday Ray and I experimented on 30m with a 44' wire and 17.5' counterpoise I plugged in my SOTA tuner. All the way down to 200mW and still readable! Another proof that CW is a great mode for emergency communications.

So, ya'll hop on the train now  ;)

Gil.

RadioRay

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2012, 02:26:08 PM »
Maybe we can post audio sometime of stair-step power reduction.  Basically, power is not the key. Antenas and proper time/band selection is. A Simple wire antenna tossed into a tree costs basically nothing (us generic 'speaker wire' from the Dollar General store.) and ouperforms the snazzy, but unnecessarily expensive commercially made antennas.

When talking with Gil or anyonee else on the radio in Morse, you need to know that this is not unusual to maintain good contact ith small, low powered CW transceivers. Most mil/spook radios that I 've used run 5 to 20 Watts and are exected to be heard with antenna much like what White Tiger and Gil have tossed it the trees.

Here is how well I heard Gil from his wire 800 miles away.

14  Watts:    S9     'Loud - readable'
  1  Watt:     S6/7  'Readable'
200 mWatt:  S4/5  'Weak - Readable'


By "Readable" I mean that I could receive formal message traffic from him at that level.  We exchanged questions and answers of a technical type at these power levels, with rapid exchange and excellent ease of contact. Even with low powered, easily rechargeable and transportable radios, you CAN keep contact.  You    m i g h t    be able to do it in voice, you can do it in computer digital at these levels and for those who do not want to be tied to a computer, Morse does do it effectively and more importantly, it will do it with a minimum of hardware, power and is 'low clutter'.



« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 11:04:28 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

cockpitbob

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 10:34:38 AM »
That's 4,000 miles per Watt!  Wow :o

gil

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 06:21:51 PM »
Yep, there's got to be an award for it, but I don't care about that.. What I am happy about is that to me, it confirms that QRO is not required. It's not the first time I talk to Ray on low power before, like using my Buddistick inside the house with 2W output. We did talk for 20mins using 1W with my Mantiz transceiver. So, it's not a fluke. It works fairly reliably when conditions are right, and the correct band is chosen for a certain time of day. That and a tuned antenna. People rely too much on tuners, and that means losses, sometimes very high losses if the antenna isn't resonant.

Gil.

KC9TNH

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 06:25:06 PM »
Congrats on the great QSO!
A Simple wire antenna tossed into a tree costs basically nothing (us generic 'speaker wire' from the Dollar General store.) and ouperforms the snazzy, but unncessarily expensive commercially made antennas.
This was my first HF (and CW) antenna as an amateur, tossed into the maple tree out front. Band choice & conditions, important certainly. All over the globe it seemed with CW and 5w or less - all I had. Funny thing, due to some other constraints the radiator ended up right in the neighborhood of 43-44 ft.

Quote
Now... where the heck's my trigraph...?

Like that message form, cool beans.

RadioRay

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 11:14:42 PM »
Glad that you like the message form.  It's made in MS Paint, just for fun.
-...-
Gil & I are still making contacts and you can hear his already respectable Morse increasing in accuracy and etc.  At this point, he could easily write-out a message and tap it to me and we'd have a better than average chance of getting this message through on the first try. That's actually a VERY big thing!  While chatting in Morse is fun and I do it often, the ability to effectively send/receive a message very efficiently is where Morse over radio really shines.

If you want to learn Morse, use the computer to learn the alphabet/numbers and limited punctuation and then get-on-the-air!  On-the-air conversation is the #1 way to seriously improve your Morse! A daily sked of only 30 minutes per day will turn your basic knowledge of Morse into a skill with Morse. As we used to say in the survival bizz:  "Do It Until You Own Your Skills.".


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

gil

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 11:58:20 PM »
Quote
A daily sked of only 30 minutes per day will turn your basic knowledge of Morse into a skill with Morse.

I can attest to that, already observing a slight improvement after two sessions! More in sending than receiving unfortunately, but I am sure the later will improve soon. Having a good signal to listen to on 30m makes things easier. We tried 20m and 40m, without great success. For some reason, 30m works between us. What allowed that is a slingshot, a fishing weight and some wire.. Very cheap setup. I can also use the slingshot to shoot other things  ::) It could be a silent way to procure squirrel meat in town without getting unwanted attention. I'm not going to try getting any now, but I will practice just in case.

The radios, well, I really like my Mantiz FX-2 dual band transceiver because it is so small! In order of size I use:
(See my post in the reviews board)

  • Rock-Mite (1W). Crystal controlled, CW.
  • Mantiz (3W). Dual band 40/30, CW.
  • K1 (6W). Four bands 40/30/20/15, CW.
  • K2 (14W). Eight bands 80/40/30/20/17/15/12/10, CW/SSB.

Depending on space requirements I can choose any of those.. They all use the same 2.9Ah battery, the same key, same antenna and same earphones. I even have a microphone for the K2, but I used it only once to test the SSB card after building it. CW is really all I need. I love the simplicity of it. No computer and simple radios. Small battery... What else could you put in a bug-out bag? An HT.. That's it. With my Mantiz (which I just shipped out for an alignment) and my Rock-Mite/Key combo, I have two radios that fit in a small pouch, capable of making Worldwide contacts. Not even the FT-817ND is that small and will last as long on batteries. You're talking more than seven times longer on receive! That's why I like to urge all preppers to learn Morse code. Getting to 5wpm is easy. That's all it takes. Though, I would suggest learning at 15wpm... If CW doesn't work, nothing else will. That says a lot. I doubt we could have had a conversation in SSB on 200mW... 14W is QRO for me  :)

Anyone wondering if you should learn Morse, DO IT!

Gil.

White Tiger

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800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2012, 02:11:34 AM »
So...this is what kept you from making a 40m SSB contact, eh?

...no doubt, it is pretty cool...
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

KC9TNH

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2012, 09:08:05 AM »
While chatting in Morse is fun and I do it often, the ability to effectively send/receive a message very efficiently is where Morse over radio really shines.

If you want to learn Morse, use the computer to learn the alphabet/numbers and limited punctuation and then get-on-the-air!  On-the-air conversation is the #1 way to seriously improve your Morse! A daily sked of only 30 minutes per day will turn your basic knowledge of Morse into a skill with Morse. As we used to say in the survival bizz:  "Do It Until You Own Your Skills.".
The above is worth a bump, sage advice. There is no substitute for getting on the air, even just a routine low-speed SKCC-type contact with very basic information exchange to get your feet wet, lose the jitters, whatever - b r e a t h e.  :)

Thanks Ray for what you & gil contribute to this particular slice; we all had someone. I'm indebted to someone who could run his Blue Racer at Mach 3 but enjoyed low-speed stuff with a sk & could pick my few watts out of the air and he was patient with a pretty good sense of humor.

Drive on gents. With the NWS/SKYWARN Spl Events on SSB and being locally socked in with fog I'll do some reading and maybe put the high-end of 40m CW or some 30m music on in the background.

gil

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2012, 09:50:06 AM »
Quote
So...this is what kept you from making a 40m SSB contact, eh?

The string that held my PAR end-fed 40/20/10 broke and the antenna came down...
I need to put it back, hopefully today.  :)

Gil.

KC9TNH

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2012, 11:10:51 AM »
If CW doesn't work, nothing else will.
Gil.
Some may already be familiar with this (certainly any mariners or maritime radio officers). There is a very interesting recording of the MS Prinsendam [SOS] from the 80's. The setting is up in Alaskan waters where survival is measured in minutes. You can get the story here:

http://www.qsl.net/n1ea/

David N1EA was a RO on the super-tanker Williamsburg; check out the story, no spoilers here.

The actual SOS was captured & recorded by a coastal station and was picked up THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS of miles away in the Pacific. (Nice to have a big salt-water mirror.)

Things really get going about 2:10 into the recording; a klaxon sounds first on the old 500kHz distress frequency, long dah's. But the signal is quite copyable. If you think you can really hear the weather & the moving animal that's our atmosphere on 80 & 160m, wait till you give a listen on 500kHz - below the AM broadcast band.

All the fancy SATCOMs and other stuff were out of commission; just an aux radio and CW was left. So what gil says is true. If you REALLY ever need to punch through CW is the way to go. Morse is a skill to have in the pocket - little kids with flashlights know this.

Enjoy the recording (mp3) and the story:

http://www.qsl.net/n1ea/sos_de_pjta_small_file_size.mp3

 8)

I'll have to sit & hawk 30m today off/on; it plays differently up here, different times of the day, but when it's good it's good. Who knows....

gil

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2012, 01:21:12 PM »
Great story, thanks! I downloaded the SOS mp3 file for practice too..

More complicated isn't always better. We have a reliable and simple mean of communication with Morse code, why not use it anymore? I've seen the attitude in other fields: "If it's that simple and affordable, it can't be good." But it often is. We add computers, satellites and other complex machinery, and they often fail. Modern systems of course are desirable when they work, but in this case Morse code saved 535 lives. Closing shore stations that operated in CW was a mistake. I am sure that politics and budgets play an important role in always getting the latest expensive gear, but sometimes you get stuff that at best doesn't improve anything.

From the article:
Quote
The Commanding Officer of one Coast Guard Communications Station (Boston NMF) said that the maximum range of Morse Code sent on the distress frequency of 500 kHz was 100 miles, maximum.
Isn't that unbelievable or what?

Has anyone noticed that your satellite-fed TV stops working in a rain storm? A satellite emergency system might not work either. It will get through eventually, but soon enough? If you break your leg in a remote canyon on a warm summer day, you could wait a bit. If your ship is sinking in a storm, you don't have much time, and something has to work RIGHT NOW!

I could send an SOS on my K1 and record it at the same time. If I choose the auto-repeat option, the message will be sent every-so-often until the battery dies, which can take a long time. Even if I'm unconscious, the radio will keep repeating my SOS.

Morse code is great because it is an "organic" skill. It can be used with anything from a radio to a flashlight or banging on a pipe. I can't put a PSK3  or SSB transceiver in my shirt pocket and power it for days on a handful of AA batteries, but my Rock-Mite or Mantiz can do that.. They will work in a heavy downpour too.

Every Ham/Prepper should learn Morse, because you might have to evacuate some day, maybe on foot, and what are you going to save? The family photo album and five gallons of water or your 15Lbs Icom and it's 25Lbs battery? I can carry a complete CW radio station including battery and antenna in my cargo pants pockets!

Gil.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 01:24:33 PM by gil »

KC9TNH

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2012, 02:21:01 PM »
Great story, thanks! I downloaded the SOS mp3 file for practice too..
Cool! Glad you enjoyed it; a modern story of the efficacy of Morse.
Now, that's not to say that anyone of the ODAs in A'stan after 11 Sep had a big problem because of some lack of this contingency called CW, but remember the big monolith has (owns) lots of birds just for them. I like all the tools and will use the most efficient for the job at hand. But I'd never toss any radio in the bag without some 18ga speaker wire and one of my J-37's.

However, your comment RE TV dish stuff had me LMAO. I had a good friend living out of town (not on the edge like me) who couldn't wait for the CATV folks to come.  "Why, you've got a dish?"
Him:  "Sure, it works great. Except when it rains, snows, or the wind blows...."

Quote
Morse code is great because it is an "organic" skill. It can be used with anything from a radio to a flashlight or banging on a pipe.
I'd go you one better but a great hero already did it. For those who perhaps don't recall, Google sometime how Cmdr. Jeremiah Denton communicated on camera to the world that NVA prisoners were being tortured, all while doing an on-camera interview when they trotted him out for the world to see what "humane" creatures the North Vietnamese were.

I wonder if someone's already taken a green IR-friendly light & done the equivalent of "smoke signals" to someone with a pair of NVGs a couple of mountain-tops over. Organic; well said.
 :)

Back to my 1957 edition of TM 11-459 and some group practice 'soon as I get some decaf made... some typical chilling drizzle coming so tonight should be a good radio night.

And I'll leave a couple more Christmas hints around the house that, really folks, a Chelsea radio room clock, a real one with the extra band for when coastal monitoring of 2.182 came along, would be just the thing to finish off the interior decorating. "Yeah, guys, right there on the wall over the receiver, between the Restricted Area sign and the (dummy) WP grenade. Promise, I won't hang it till Dec 25th..."


gil

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2012, 03:45:22 PM »
Quote
some typical chilling drizzle coming so tonight should be a good radio night.

PM me if you'd like to try a QSO later. I'll probably have my 40/20/10m end-fed back up. I do have my 30m wire up though..

Gil.

gil

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Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2012, 05:06:46 PM »
My antenna is back up! I now can do 40/30/20/10m. Now I need something for 80m...

Gil.

Radio Preppers

Re: 800 Miles on 200mW.
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2012, 05:06:46 PM »