Another fascinating antenna!
Full details on the site, use Google translate it works well.
The Morse tutor is complete. I chose a plastic box that was only just big enough, I like a challenge and this certainly was one! It all worked out OK in the end but was a real fiddle to get the measurements right.
What I learned apart from home construction is fun:
1. A nice bezel hides a lot of mistakes!
2. Covering a plastic box in masking tape prevents it being scratched when drilling and filing.
3. Removing the glue after covering a box in masking tape is not easy.
4. Red is always the positive wire on battery connectors!
It was around 60 years ago that I realised there was a radio amateur living across the road, he was Jim G3LIO, an ex Navy WT operator. When I passed the RAE in in 1972 Jim advised me to learn Morse, but I resisted and became a G8. He was right of course; it would have been much easier to train a younger brain.
In 2000 I started learning Morse and managed to pass a 5WPM test at the Harrogate Morse Camp which gave me a class A/B license and the M5 call. A couple of months later I went to take a 12WPM test at a local rally but the examiner never turned up and the Morse requirement was dropped a few days later.
Eventually I did a 15WPM proficiency test at the Newark Ham Fest but lack of confidence was still a big issue. After that I decided that my operating would be 100% CW and it was. Things slowly improved but only with straight keys.
Now my resolve it to get to 25WPM and use a paddle by my next big birthday! I have signed up for training at the CWops CW Academy which should start in a couple of months.
I can’t think of a better way to spend a wet and windy Sunday afternoon than building a Morse tutor! It is from Phoenix Kits Online and grew out of a FISTS CW Club Project designed by Paul, M0BMN.
Twenty years ago I learned Morse using an MFJ-418 Morse code trainer. While it was good the design was a outdated which made repetitive – the character generated were not random.
The kit was easy to build. It too around a couple of hours and worked first time. Now all I need is a box.
As I have been away from Morse for a while I wanted to get back up to speed. What is really pleasing is that the code has stuck in my aging brain so maybe with a bit of practice I will be back on the air soon.
When I came back to amateur radio in March 2018, I set myself some aims, more aspirations really. I said that I wanted the station to be QRP, all homebrew and solar powered.
I have always enjoyed making stuff and now I have finally retired I have a lot of time to do just that. Second, I have previously thrown money at the hobby, got on the air and become bored.
QRP? Life is too short say the kilowatt cynics. Over the years I have enjoyed using a lot of small, home made radios with spectacular results. It takes more effort to winkle a signal out of the noise, but the rewards are bigger. Like many things in life it takes effort and patience to get results but the reward are higher.
As the solar power I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint as I fear we are on the brink of a climate catastrophe. You may not agree but I would urge you to read the evidence, from climate scientists, not newspaper articles, who agree that there is a big problem. Besides saving energy in the home saves money!
So, 8 months on I am back on the air with a uBITX with the mods to reduce spurious emission and harmonics. Next is the AGC board. Using a LiPo battery I can get near 20W output but that is trimmed down to 5W. I also have a 20M QSX and am eagerly awaiting the launch of the multiband QSX.
The auto antenna tuner is nearly finished but in the mean time I have a 9:1 balun at the bottom of the antenna and an L match at the radio end. I can get below 1.5:1 from 106m to 10m which is fine for now.
The only thing to sort out now is a more permanent solar panel battery charging facility. I have the gear from ‘the van’ but want something more permanent.
This is a recording of W1MBB on 3.798Mhz at 0754 this morning. My antenna is a long wire strung between two trees with a homemade tuner. I also heard a ZL this morning.
So, what does this prove? That the uBITX receiver works well although I must add the AGC board! That there is DX out there if you know where to look. That amateur radio need not cost a lot. And, most of all, there is nothing to beat the kick of building a radio and using it on the air.
I know I could never work him on the uBITX but I also know that using higher bands it is perfectly possible to work across the pond on 2W of CW.
Just love this video on Youtube. It is the last transmission from KPH/KPS/KSM
UA1OM decoded the Morse:
CQ CQ CQ DE KPH/KFS/KSM NW PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE TRADITIONAL CLOSING MESSAGE # DEAR GODDESS THE MEMBERS OF THE MARITIME RADIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARE YOUR HUMBLE SERVANTS AND WE THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING US THIS PAST YEAR AS WE CONTINUED OUR STEWARDSHIP OF THE STATIONS KPH AND KSM THE MUSIC OF MORSE HAS GLADDENED THE HEARTS OF MANY AS WE HAVE CROSSED THE BARRIERS OF TIME AND SPACE WE ASK YOUR AND GUIDANCE IN OUR DECISIONS AND ACTIONS DURING THE COMING YEAR THAT WE MAY BE WORTHY OF THE EQUIPMENT AND TRADITION THAT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED INTO OUR HUMBLE HANDS BLESS ALSO THE EARS AROUND THE WORLD THAT SHARE THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOURS Z UT 73 / 88 DA DE KPH/KFS/KSM CL AR”
My first job was as an apprentice at a Post Office HF radio station, Bearley near Stratford-upon-Avon. It was part of the HF point-to-point system that provided worldwide telecommunications. It was state of the art in 1967 and scrapped in 1980.
The station had 50 of the first professional, transistorised communications receivers, Plessey PVR800s. The early versions had some germanium transistors which proved to be unreliable. They were replaced by the ultra modern silicon types!
They were used for telephony, 4 voice channels on double side band reduced carrier. The audio was inverted so that short wave listeners could not eaves drop.
There were also 50 Marconi HR11, valve telegraphy receivers. Each had the capability running 48 telex services on one radio channel using time division multiplex.
As services were transferred to satellites the station took over the maintenance of UK coast stations used for marine communications. They also suffered the same fate. Eventually all HF communications was taken over by satellites and the point-to-point and coast station were closed down. This Post Office film from 1979 shows something of what HF coastal communications in the “good old days”.
It was then end of an era and still saddens me to think that all the old skills have been lost, particularly commercial Morse.
If you want to read more about the HF point-to-point HF radio network, then see this book by Paul Hawkins who worked at the Dorchester TX station. (click the image >)
Remember, radio amateurs still use Morse!
Also see the Radio Officers Association
It is not that the bands are dead, try listening around 14.026 when TT8KO is on! It is just that ops prefer to wait until there is something on the DX cluster rather than put out a CQ or come on for a rag chew.
If we are all waiting for somebody else to speak nothing is said!
This came up on a Facebook group recently, well worth watching