From my Twitter feed: Towers, Zen, CW recognition

caspencer's avatarcaspencer @caspencer
for some reason lately I’ve had this fascination with towers (of the RF and/or power variety)……

Now, those are some towers!


ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v


LA3ZA's avatarSverre Holm, LA3ZA @LA3ZA
Studies on Morse code recognition . – A low pitch frequency is beneficial

From my Twitter feed: #hamradio t-shirts, cheap key, Broadband HamNet

I don’t usually include two Tweets from the same guy, but the two below from KE9V are great…Dan

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
Get the #hamradio Beefy-T shirt.


ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
My straight key it’s nicer but this one is more affordable. #hamradio


ZionArtis's avatar

Zion Artis KF4NOD @ZionArtis
I find this very interresting. Introduction to HSMM-MESH or Broadband-Hamnet: via @YouTube

From my Twitter feed: $9 Arduino, tinkering, Morse?

This looks kind of cool, even though I’ve still not really done anything with the Arduino I built several years ago.

haroldftimmis's avatarHarold Timmis@haroldftimmis
@DIYEngineering Check out my $9 #Arduino compatible board…


Apparently, Dr. Richard Crane, the original W8CWN, encouraged his students to tinker. 

rocknrollriter's avatarMatt Maszczak @rocknrollriter
“Tinkering is, at its most basic, a process that marries play and inquiry.” -@mbanzi @make @arduino #greatquote


While it’s nice to see them commemorating Morse Code, the code on the chart is the International Code. What they would have used in 1844 in the United States is American Morse. 

KL8DX's avatarPhil KL8DX@KL8DX

Photo and info hanging in our hotel lobby

What is the proper CW calling procedure?

Yesterday, I tweeted:

kb6nu's avatar@kb6nu
I’m no longer going to respond to stations that reply to my CQs with only their callsigns, esp if they send it only once.

What brought this on was a very short QSO I had yesterday on 30m. I called CQ on 10115, sending “CQ” four times and my call three times, and someone replied with just his callsign, as if this were a contest. In contest mode, this is an appropriate reply, but not on 30m on a weekday evening.

I should have know better than to acknowledge the call, but I did, giving him a signal report, my name, and QTH. His reply was a curt, “599 73.” What a waste of time that was! This is not the first time this has happened, and it was equally disappointing then, too. As a result, I’ve decided that I’m just not going to reply to stations that answer my CQs with only their callsigns. If you can’t take the time to at least give me a real signal report, your name, and your QTH, don’t bother answering my CQ.

My tweet prompted several replies about what is the proper operating procedure. In my not so  humble opinion, you should, at the very least, send the other station’s callsign at least once and your callsign at least twice:


This lets the other operator know that you’re calling him, and gives him two chances to get your call right. I’ll go even further to say that you should do this only when band conditions are really good, the ham at the other end seems like a skilled operator, and it’s armchair copy both ways.

When band conditions are marginal or noisy, send the other station’s callsign at least twice, and your callsign two or three times. This is not that hard to do, makes things a lot easier for less-skilled operators, and will help you avoid repeats or miscopied calls.

Operating Notes: DX @WA2HOM, 4/25/13

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is open Thursday evenings, but from September though April I bowl on Thursday nights, so never get to take advantage of that.  We’ve finished for the year now, though, so yesterday, I walked down to the museum and put WA2HOM on the air for a couple of hours.

One of my first contacts was with Marco, IZ8LJZ. The contact itself was the standard DX contact, i.e. short and kind of boring, but when I looked him up on QRZ.Com, I found this photo below. What a lovely spot!

Marco, IZ8LJZ lives in Praiano, on the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

Marco, IZ8LJZ lives in Praiano, on the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

20m was open to Europe, so I made several more DX contacts before I left for the day. One of them was with Tom, G3HGE. We were both 599, and we had a not-so-normal DX contact, chatting for nearly 30 minutes.

Tom’s QRZ page said that he used to be a manufacturer of amateur radio gear, so earlier today, I Googled him. As it turns out, Tom was the man behind TW Electronics, a manufacturer of VHF gear from 1958 – 2000. There’s a nice history of the company on the TW website.

Now in his 80s, Tom now makes paddles and bugs. I don’t know if he’d like this comparison, but you might call him the “English Begali.” His latest creation, the TW Olympic shown below is a dual-lever bug that uses magnetic tension. He was using this bug for our QSO, and it sounded great. I’m already thinking that maybe I could get the XYL to put that on my Christmas list.

The TW Olympic is a two-lever "bug" that uses magnetic tension and has a speed range of 14 - 28 wpm.

The TW Olympic is a two-lever “bug” that uses magnetic tension and has a speed range of 14 – 28 wpm.

From my Twitter feed: kits, cool transmitter, new CW book

Tim Walford G3PCJ does a nice bunch of radio kits and accessories


This brings new meaning to “having a cool one.”

“A new “Cool Transmitter” from W5IG.” #ARRL #hamradio


The ARRL stole my idea! (just kidding)

NEW book from the @ARRL – Morse Code Operating for Amateur Radio ~ Don’t Just Learn Morse Code, Master It! #hamr


From the trade magazines: signal generators, refurbishing ICs?

This edition of “From the trade magazines” includes items from RF&Microwaves, Radio World, and EE Times………Dan

The Fundamentals Of Signal Generation. Signal generators have become indispensable tools for producing the test signals required by today’s engineers to successfully develop and test their devices and systems.


Jim Charlong operates the amateur radio station at the Marconi National Historic Site of Canade.

Dedicated Ham Keeping Morse Code Alive. Operated by Parks Canada, the Marconi National Historic Site of Canada  features a museum with a model of the original transmission structure, a historical multimedia display and tour — and Jim Charlong, who keeps the site’s Morse code broadcast legacy alive and on the air. Charlong is a dedicated Morse code operator with 50 years’ experience under his “fist” — fist being a ham radio term that describes the signature speed and style of an operator’s key-tapping skills. Since the Marconi museum opened in July 1989, he has volunteered as its resident Morse code radio operator. From his “radio shack” inside the museum, Charlong regularly communicates with other Morse code operators around the world.

Smoke re-concentrator refurbishes blown electronic components. I think that perhaps they jumped the gun with this article. I’m thinking that an April 1 publication date would have been more appropriate.

Operating Notes: “?” is not a proper response to QRL?

Random notes about my recent operations:

  1. “?” is not a proper response to QRL?

    Last night, someone responded to my call of QRL? with a question mark.  This is not the first time that this has happened. This is not a proper response. Let me repeat that. This is not a proper response. How the heck is the station sending QRL? supposed to respond to that?

  2. “?” is a proper response to a CQ.

    I also got that last night. Generally, that means that I’m sending too fast for the station to copy my call. (Hopefully, they were able to understand the CQ part.) When I hear a question mark after my CQ, I slow down so that the other station can copy my call. Doing so has resulted in several nice QSOs, including the one with N0JTE last night.

  3. EAs on 30m.
    On the evening of January 25, I worked 3 EAs in a row on 30m:

    • EA8BLV
    • EA2SS
    • EA2DPA

    It’s really not all that unusual for me to work EAs on 30m, but it was unusual to work three in a row. Also, I didn’t really hear any other Europeans on that night, and it’s been a while since 30m has been open to Europe.

  4. Dit, W8IX.
    A couple of days later, I worked Dit, W8IX. First of all, it was remarkable because of his nickname. It isn’t a result of his affinity for Morse Code, but because his last name is Ditmer. The second remarkable thing about the QSO is that Dit now has the callsign W8IX because it’s the call of his Elmer, the original W8IX. The original W8IX worked a spark-gap transmitter back in the day! You can read the story on W8IX’s QRZ.Com page.

From my inbox: Morse Code, WWV, Raspberry Pi

Here are three interesting items that I found out about by reading my e-mail:

  • Original Morse Code with Phillips PunctuationMorse Code Chart, including Phillips Punctuation. At right is a chart, showing the American Morse Code with Phillips punctuation. According to the book, A treatise on telegraphy, published in 1901, “The Phillips punctuation has superseded the Morse for punctuations, and and is much more complete and systematic. Except for submarine telegraphy, the Morse code for letters and numerals and the Phillips code for punctuation are used throughout the United States and Canada.” Click on the image for a larger, more readable chart.
  • At The Tone is the first comprehensive audio survey of NIST Radio Stations WWV and WWVH: two legendary shortwave radio broadcasters whose primary purpose is the dissemination of scientifically precise time and frequency. Offered here publicly for the first time, the set represents a huge cross-section of the stations’ “life and times,” including recordings of obsolete formats, original voices and identifications, special announcements, format changes, “leap seconds,” and other aural oddities from 1955 to 2005. Produced, compiled, and edited by Myke over a 20-year period (1992-2012), At The Tone is alternately strange and mundane, monotonous and compelling, erudite and obscure. Recommended for fans of The Conet Project, The Ghost Orchid, and other radio-related ephemera.
  • Raspberry Pi 4 Ham Radio.  This mailing is for amateur radio operators using the Raspberry Pi in ham radio applications. Looks interesting, but am not sure I want to subscribe to yet another ham radio mailing list.

Operating Notes – 12/9/12

Bad fists. When a CW operator sends sloppy, poorly-spaced code, or makes a lot of mistakes, he or she is said to have a “bad fist.” It’s one thing to have a bad fist, quite another to have one after many years of operation. It’s only a few guys that I regularly hear on the air, but there’s no excuse for it. If you hear me on the air, and I’m sending poorly, please let me know.

30m, 40m propagation. Propagation on 30m and 40m in the evenings has been just useless most nights. The band seems really long and the signals weak. I haven’t heard a European on 30m for weeks, it seems. Last night was a nice change. On 40m, between 0200Z and 0300Z, I made three contacts, including a couple of Europeans, and a nice long ragchew with WB2KAO.

More stations whose callsigns spell words. I recently purchased a Wouxoun KG-UVD1P dual-band hanheld. I’ve programmed it with the more popular local repeaters and have it scanning while I work. About a week ago, a guy pops up on the W8UM repeater. At first, I couldn’t believe I heard his call right. As it turns out, I was right. His call is KK4JUG. We had a nice contact as he drove by Ann Arbor. He was on his way to visit family further north.

Yesterday, down at WA2HOM, I first tried 10m, but when I didn’t hear a peep there, despite the contest, I  QSYed down to 20m. One of the first stations I ran across was VA6POP. He had a really nice signal, and we had a nice contact.

I hope to get both QSL cards soon.