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.

From my Twitter feed – 11/27/12

Here are three items that showed up in my Twitter feed yesterday:

  1. Morse Code Plays a Role in New Spielberg Movie. Producer Steven Spielberg has used Amateur Radio or Morse code in three of his last four movies: Super 8 (2011), The Adventures of Tin Tin (2011) and Lincoln(2012). Members of the Morse Telegraph Club (MTC) — an association of retired railroad and commercial telegraphers, historians, radio amateurs and others with an interest in the history and traditions of telegraphy and the telegraph industry — played an integral part in the production of Lincoln.
  2. nanoKeyer

    The nanoKeyer is powered by open-source software running on an Arduino Nano.

    nanoKeyer powered by Arduino Nano. The nanoKeyer is an Arduino Nano based CW Contest Keyer Addon. It was designed specifically for use with the K3NG Arduino keyer open-source firmware adding many features and flexibility. The nanoKeyer is suitable as a standalone keyer or for keying the radio via the USB port by using the K1EL Winkeyer protocol from a connected computer and your favoured contest logging software. By means of the K3NG firmware it can be also used as a computerless keyboard keyer by attaching a PS2 keyboard to it.

    Someone tweeted me about this after I Tweeted about building a second WKUSB keyer. I think that if I had known about this before my purchase, I would have gone for this instead of the WKUSB. It not only purports to what the WKUSB does, the software is open-source meaning that you could actually fool around with it if you liked. You can find more information at the Radio Artisan website.

  3. Digispark. Talking about tiny Arduinos, check out this Kickstarter project. It’s amazingly cool. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though you can get in on this first production run.

25, 50, and 75 Years Ago in QST

QST publishes a column every month towards the back of the magazine that highlights from issues 25, 50, and 75 years ago. Now that the QST archive is online, it’s really worth taking a look at these articles. Here are a few that were interesting to me this month:

  • October 1937
    • Modernizing the Simple Regenerative Receiver by Vernon Chambers, W1JEQ. This a nicely-designed and built regen using two tubes, a 6K5 pentode and 6C5 triode. I’m going to keep this design in mind if I ever get around to playing with all the tubes I have. As an aside, W1JEQ wrote 87 articles for QST from 1936 through February 1958. This was his third article.
    • Concentrated Directional Antennas for Transmission and Reception by John L. Reinartz, W1QP, and Burton T. Simpson, W8CPC. This article describes two different antennas. The first is a  half-wave loop antenna that the author says works on 2-1/2, 5, 10, and 20m. The second is a square loop antenna called a “signal squirter” for 14 Mc.
  • October 1962
    • In the “New Apparatus” item on page 27, a key made by J. A. Hills, W8FYO, of Dayton, OH is shown under the heading, “New Key Mechanism for Electronic Keyers.” The photo clearly shows a key whose design was adopted by whoever designed the Bencher BY-1 paddle.
    • The Towering Problem by Jay Kay Klein, WA2LII clearly shows that putting up towers have always been a problem for amateur radio operators. This is a humorous take on the problem. What’s notable is that this type of humorous article almost never appears in QST anymore. Amateur radio seems to have lost its sense of humor.
  • October 1987
    • Stalking Those Fugitive Components by Doug DeMaw, W1FB. We often complain about the demise of local parts suppliers, but this article shows that this was a problem 25 years ago as well. W1FB gives some advice that I gave not long ago–stock up on parts, especially when you find a good deal on them, and you won’t have to scrounge around for them when you want them.

Vintage video touts the wonders of telegraphy

Jim Wades, WB8SIW, International President of the Morse Telegraph Club, posted a link to this video on the slowspeedwire Yahoo Group. He writes:

This video is just too good.  Both land line and radiotelegraphers will enjoy this immensely.  Sounders in resonators, early teleprinters, NZ HRO receiver copies, mercury vapor rectifier tubes,  shortwave transmitters, a great view of the Queen Mary’s shipboard radio room.  It’s all here.  Enjoy!

More on American Morse on the amateur radio bands

Previously, I wrote about how some people consider it illegal to use American Morse on the amateur radio bands. Now, however, there seems to be a different interpretation of the rules. Jim, WB8SIW, the president of the Morse Telegraph Club, sent this e-mail to the slowspeedwire mailing list:

Hello Gang:

During the recent Dayton Hamvention, I had the opportunity to speak with an FCC Official who was hosting the FCC forum.  In a private discussion, I brought up the issue of American Morse on the Ham Radio bands.  I outlined my previous discussions with Gary Johnston as well as the argument, which I used to counter Mr. Johnston’s interpretation of the rules.  He agreed entirely with my interpretation of the regulations.

The official with whom I spoke stated unequivocally that American Morse is legal on Amateur Radio frequencies.  The only requirement is that one’s identification must be transmitted using Continental Code (International Morse).  This is also the traditional interpretation applied for decades.

So there you have it.  American Morse is legal on Amateur Radio frequencies.  While this is not an “official” ruling, it proves the point that Mr. Johnston took an extremely restrictive view of the regulations, which was unwarranted.  MTC members wishing to practice the art of American Morse Code on the ham radio frequencies should feel free to do so. Obviously, the general rules of courtesy apply and one should respect the usual “gentleman’s agreements” regarding band plan.

Thank you for your interest in this matter.

James Wades
International President,
Morse Telegraph Club, Inc.

Now, I just have to learn American Morse. :)

From my Twitter stream – 5/9/12

This is cool. What a great concept. (key lending library)
Heathkit Educational Systems Closes Up Shop: For the second time since 1992, Heathkit Educational Services (HES)…
Solar Alert big time two M class flares plus Aurora alert.