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Messages - RadioRay

Thanks Sparks.

Interesting article. Yes, people need to know that Telegraphy was not replaced because it did not work: it worked VERY well, and for over a century.  It was replaced to eliminate the need to pay for for the trained telegraphers in both salaries and training time.  If anyone can push a button to send a message, then companies don 't need to hire the highly skilled radio officers aboard ship, or on shore stations and others.  The 'legend' that 'its too hard to learn Morse code' is untrue as proven by the MILLIONS of children learning basic Morse code in their teens and before. The militaries of the world and radio schools of all stripes taught the code to millions for over a century.   As a child in my very early teens, I taught myself Morse code using LP records, sitting in my room. Later the Army really polished my Morse skills, but that was built on the foundation of Morse I taught myself and used on the air as a school kid

73 de Ray  ..._ ._
CB / Re: Coordinating with other CB Emergency Prep groups
February 02, 2024, 12:28:37 PM
CB radio for community communications certainly has a place. When I lived in a timber community south of Alberta in the U.S. State of Idaho, CB was one community 'intercom'.  The limiting factors are range ( usually less than ten miles on flat ground at best) and also the interference when ( as you mentioned) long range propagation was in.  Being drowned-out by mega power stations from a thousand miles away ruined our community use, often for days at a time, unless we were VERY close together and could reliably set the squelch to not listen to the interfering station coming into our little, secluded valley.  OTOH, up there, most people had CBs (AM was still most popular) so it is a good idea, most of the time. 

The hams among us used 2 meter FM with repeaters on mountain peaks for local/regional and also used the ham 60 meter band for a regional 'party line'.  This being in the frequency range of NVIS gave great communication capability in and out of the steep mountain valleys.  Very little flat land up there, so NVIS was essential to tie communities together. There was also a commercial HF ( MHz)radio community in use for decades, linked with the business of a local bush pilot.  Remote families could call to have the pilot's staff buy groceries and to fly them in to specific meadows/air strips in isolated areas.  I do not know if this is still operating in this era of cell towers, but it worked rather well.

Goos to see you aboard,

RadioRay  ..._ ._
Antennas / Re: Duct tape antenna
January 05, 2024, 12:41:09 PM
hahhhahahaha !  This is a MUST WATCH video: fun and useful.   Thanks for posting.  Now to go get my duct tape from the workshop and some copper 'slug tape' from the greenhouse.

73 de Ray  ..._ ._ 
Here in the USA we have been experiencing significant delays in banking transfers ESPECIALLY PAYROLL DEPOSITS. With the multi-year impacts of job killing COVID restrictions, inflation/weakened buying power and more, this is very significant damage to many Americans' home budgets. 

This is a key reason to keep some cash in locally useful currency, a source of safe drinking water, and food on the shelf with a way to prepare it.. If you have a bug-out location in mind, ensure that you have fuel to get there at all times.  Sitting in a potentially hostile long gas line is a bad plan.

The link above if good food for though during morning coffee/tes.

- RadioRay
Antennas / Re: End Fed Trolling Wire Antenna
August 23, 2023, 07:46:58 AM
Oh! I had never thought of using leader wire, and did not even know that it came in a copper/copper wash. Thanks for showing up how you do yours. 

73 de RadioRay  ..._ ._
I remember reading about that TALL ship and the use of ham WINLINK being the only communication method to get the rescue started. Another advantage of HF radio is that - unlike a satphone- HF radio is a BROADCASTING method and if using a common mode CW, SSB voice &etc. MANY station have the potential to hear the distress call, not only the one phone number dialed from the satphone.  Satphones tend to lose signal when under huge columns of clouds, like the cells and super cells involved in violent weather.  I've been there and experienced that.  Satphones have their places, but if it'saboard the ship for summoning emergency assistance,, better to go with an EPIRB, for all the many reasons.

All in all, I'd rather have an old Sparky on the other end of the radio link, with headphones screwed-on tightly. 

de RadioRay  ..._ ._


Because we live waaay out in the country, we had one choice: to get internet, we got Hughes satellite internet a decade ago. We had big thunder storms several times per week and the signal droped to zero.  Seems their satellite microwave downlink does not penetrate several miles of thick, cumulo-nimbus clouds.  Scatter and absorption is a REAL problem on certain microwave frequency bands. Fortunately, since then , fiber-optic internet has come to our area  :-)  Got rid of Hughes immediately.

- de RadioRay  ..._ ._
Morse Code / Re: QRP DX
March 10, 2023, 10:19:36 PM
Good question.  The comms begins with propagation first.  The easiest antenna length does no good, if the band is too high for your regional comms/NVIS.  80 meters is a real work horse for regional comms.  The great news is that stringing a 130'ish foot piece of wire at low height is easy. Remember that for local comms having the antenna up a bit over head height is a good >start<.  Any EASY elevation after that helps, but is generally not essential.  I've done a lot of outdoor/wilderness radio and mil radio opns, where a bit over head height was what was practical.  That's not good for long rages, like a thousand miles or more, but fine for regional/high take-off angle work, usually within the one-tank-of-gas-distance ( 0-350 miles,. which matters most to me.

I'd recommend either a simple dipole cut to frequency BEFORE you deploy or Gil's favorite , the End Fed Half Wave wire.  The EFHW is somewhat easier to deploy and retrieve, especially in trees.

CW DX!  Definitely,  A little wire and Morse code is amazing.  I just had a basic QSO with a fellow in Germany on forty meters using my QRP rig, maybe five Watts. and a dipole up only 30 feet. It would have been better to have the dipole at 60 feet for that long haul, but he and I talked for about 15 minutes in slow, handsent Morse/CW, so it was still working - even at QRP levels.

Please let us know how things are going for your radio excursions./

73 de RadioRay  ..._ ._
Thank You, Sparks !

People who think radio is obsolete are ignorant. They see it as comparing a row boat to a ship.  When a mighty ship sinks, the lowly rowboat becomes King.

73 de Ray  ..._ ._
Net Activity / Re: Global Radio Relay Network
February 18, 2023, 01:38:12 PM
Thanks for the note, Sparks.  The website has been changed to

No hyphen between words.

73 & ZUT de RadioRay  ..._ ._
Net Activity / Re: Global Radio Relay Network
February 17, 2023, 05:08:21 PM
Net Activity / Re: Radio Relay International
February 17, 2023, 04:35:29 PM
With this entire FASCINATING discussion, there are two , basic,  questions:

"What is your threat model?"
and "
"What information are you transmitting/receiving?". 

If you need to work against a major national power during time of war, it's entirely different from working against your neighborhood kid with a radio scanner. If the information you're passing would fit on a sticky note, a short text encryption method, using paper and pencil is fine.  OTOH, if you're sending 2 megs of battle plans in PowerPoint,also against a nation's security apparatus, that's an entirely different problem.

For the low level survivor coordinating with similar groups, against a nation state enemy with significant electronic warfare capabilities (Ukraine vs Russia), messages need to be short, extremely secure and rarely transmitted. The system keys must be 'incoherent' that is to say random and NOT REPRODUCABLE.  A major killer of intel agent networks in WW II was decrypting back traffic.  If England dropped - Agent A - into France to set-up a resistance organization, safe houses and perons of contact, then he transmitted that all back to England using a MEMORIZED key, WHEN when the Germans eventually capture England's Agent A, they use "practical cryptanalysis" that is; torture the cipher system details and memorized key ouf of Agent A and roll-up the entire network using his testimony and all back traffic (or, as in the Nederlands, they 'play' the network against England for much of the war.).

If YOU being Agent A can recall the system and it's keys to read back traffic, then it's not a one time pad.  If you're using a book, periodical or The Bible for key material, it's not a one time pad. 

So - for a pencil and paper, one time pad it's best used for :
1. Highest security requirement for never being broken.
2. Low volume of traffic, all text.
3. Once the key is destroyed, there is essentially zero opportunity to read actual back traffic.

Remember, if you use a system where you or anyone else can memorize the key, it's not truely a one time pad, for as long as any of you live, and this information will be taken from you by the most extreme means, upon first opportunity of the enemy.

OTOH - I know people so dull, that writing a note in longhand (cursive) might as well be enciphered, because they're functionally illiterate...

73 de RadioRay  ..._ ._

General Discussion / Re: Which radios
October 31, 2022, 01:15:19 PM
The KX2 or KX3 were excellent receivers, very low current consumption and I made form fitting protective cases for them.  I do wish that I had never sold them, but I tend to sell radios that I have to buy radios that I 'want'.  This has not always been a good decision.

- RadioRay
Antennas / Re: Do you feel robbed?
September 28, 2022, 01:09:10 AM
Well, I do understand that priCes are high and increasing, but there are ways to be a ham with a quite useful and enjoyable station without spending a lot of money.  This I know, because I am a pensioner, but do fine:

1. Skills are free and stay with you for life.  For example, learning Morse code is VERY much more efficient than voice communication on HF.  Hams who use Morse code requires less power, less expence and I find that even simple equipment, maybe kit built, works very well.

2.  Learn to build your own transceivers and antennas.  Most of these 'tacti-cool' antennas are made for people who will not make their own.  The company DOES understand their business model and what they are able to charge. A simple and efficient home made dipole or end fed half wave wire works very well, can be made for very little money and I've used them for decades in wild country.

3.  Many people, ESPECIALLY Gil, will show how do do this on the Youtube channels.  This is a real advantage.

No, I cannot imagine myself spending this much for an antenna like this. but, that's because I'm not the target customer base, but YES they do have many customers interested in their products.  OTOH, I don't need it, my antenna kits cost me less than a half week of coffee at a cafe'. because I make them myself. Wire and maybe some reasonable coax, and a little time, that's all.

Time for a sip of cognac and sleeeep.

- RadioRay