CW developments

I have started practicing CW. It is an interesting challenge and I think a natural progression to explore the fundamentals of radio, one of the original binary signaling technologies and one requiring considerable training of the ears and wetware between them.

The main method I’m using is the Koch method, and a number apps, online and on my phone. My radio also has a training mode which is very good for producing random characters at speed. There are a number of guys learning cw as well. Maybe at the appropriate time we can hookup up, we’ll see. I talked to a guy who could not find code practice partners locally. That’s something ahead and we’re not ready for qsos yet.

Until yesterday, I didn’t have the capability of sending CW.

I bought a used Bencher BY-1 Iambic paddle yesterday 7/26/14 and got it hooked up today 7/27/14. The cable had been cut to install a 1/4″ plug so soldered that up. The FT897 has a 1/8″ ~ 3.5mm jack so I opted for an 1/4 to 3.5mm TRS adapter (Hosa Technology – Best Buy). As it turned out this adapater does not fit without modification so it was out with the Dremel to grind the plastic holder down to the metal to allow the adapter to fit into the 857 chassis which has the jack recessed – this blocks a large diameter plug from making full contact. This I did and the key works beautifully with the FT-857D’s keyer.

I read various opinions of how to learn and practice CW. As usual, I proceed with what’s on hand which is me, the internet for code practice, my radio, and now this key.I think sending is way easier than receiving but learning how to send also gives one a bit of detail in listening to the keyer’s feedback — sidetone. The iambic keyer is very cool providing perfectly formed dits and dahs. If I had a straight key, I would use that but I don’t. In any case, the limiting factor is if I can copy CW since it’s QSO’s I’m interested in and being able to conduct one. The 857 allows key practice using its built-in keyer without transmitting – I enjoy that. ( the 857 really has a lot of stuff built in- it’s a great radio for someone like me. who while a true novie, wants to explore different aspects of ham radio. No need to buy or build a code practice keyer, it’s already there. ).

CW is one step away from PSK and digital – and the lingua franca of ham radio. Code is a formidable obstacle but I think it’s coming natural to me in my ham radio adventure. I don’t know if it will extend my range or not — it should in theory – in practice we shall see.

~ by marksun on July 28, 2014.

One Response to “CW developments”

  1. week 4. 10 wpm is much easier than 12 or 15. At speed sequences vanish from the brain and I stop remembering what is “u” or “w”.

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