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1 An Amateur Radio Operator’s Overview of Operating in CW Mode Sam Stello KK4VR October, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "1 An Amateur Radio Operator’s Overview of Operating in CW Mode Sam Stello KK4VR October, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 An Amateur Radio Operator’s Overview of Operating in CW Mode Sam Stello KK4VR October, 2013

2 2 Why CW? Its fun! There are no accents! (just good fists and bad fists) It’s a skill that you can be proud to have mastered It is sometimes handy to know Morse Code There are several technical advantages: –24 to 1 advantage in bandwidth over SSB 50Hz vs 1200hz, or 8 to 1 if you assume 150Hz CW BW –Less bandwidth results in significant interference reduction A few Hz separation is all that’s needed from adjacent signals –Better signal to noise ratio due to narrow bandwidth means less noise to tolerate –Its much easier to copy CW than voice a single on-off tone is easier to hear than every tone in a 1200 hz voice signal CW often gets through when SSB, AM or FM does not! P.S. At Field Day, CW contacts are worth twice the points of a voice contact!

3 3 How to Operate CW CW is simplex communications (one person talks at a time) using the same frequency* CW is narrow band communications so matching transmit and receive frequencies is a very important step in every QSO A short CW QSO generally follows a simple message format An extended CW QSO is conducted similar to a regular conversation using CW operating conventions CW QSOs use shorthand to increase communications speed: –Abbreviations –Q Signals To effectively communicate using CW, the operator needs to understand CW operations and how to operate the equipment * In some special situations two frequencies are used, as in “split operations”

4 4 CW Etiquette Always be polite and considerate Match the other guy’s speed if he is slower than you, and be willing to slow down if asked Don’t send faster than you can copy –You will be in trouble when your contact matches your speed It is always better to send accurately & clearly than to send fast –Our objective is to communicate –Slow down if band conditions make copy difficult or if your contact indicates difficulty with copy –Slower code is easier to copy –His signal report includes Readability, Signal Strength, Tone (RST), so it should provide indications –If your contact asks you to repeat (or maybe you have a bad fist?)

5 5 CW Etiquette (2) Don’t assume that if you can easily copy me I can copy you –There may be differences in transmitter power, local QRM, QRN, or filter settings Don’t intentionally cause interference –Tuning up or calling on top of an on-going QSO is bad form Don’t jump into an on-going QSO uninvited Be prepared with appropriate contesting data if you call a contester –See QST magazine and website for contesting info You must provide a QSL card if asked –Send one even if not asked!

6 6 How To Make a Contact Answer a Call Transmit a General Call or a Directed Call Tail-End an existing QSO Call a station directly

7 7 Answer a Call You can selectively talk to someone by simply answering a call –Step 1: Search the frequencies of interest using a wide filter –Step 2: When an appropriate call is heard (such as CQ CQ de XQ1CR XQ1CR), adjust your radio operating frequency to match his and set your narrow filters –Step 3: Call him directly using an appropriate response such as: XQ1CR de KK4VR KK4VR, or simply KK4VR KK4VR* * Be careful with a simple call sign response since the station that responds may not be the one you want to contact

8 8 Transmit a General Call (CQ) Step 1: Listen to your selected frequency for a reasonable time using a wide filter. Move if you hear anyone and try again. Step 2: If the frequency appears to be open, send “QRL?” (is this frequency busy?) several times and wait. –Don’t be surprised if you accidentally walk over another QSO. Sometimes you can only hear one station and they may not be transmitting when you are listening! Step 3: If someone responds affirmative, find another frequency –If no one responds, then make a call –Use a 2 by 2 or 3 by 3 format, i.e., CQ CQ de KK4VR KK4VR CQ CQ CQ de KK4VR KK4VR KK4VR Step 4: Wait, listen, repeat Step 3. Step 5: If after calling several times without a response, STOP and try somewhere else Step 6: If someone responds to your CQ, do not change your transmit frequency. He is likely trying to match yours. If he is off frequency, use your Receive Increment Tune (RIT)* to fine tune. RIT allows the operator to offset the receiver frequency without changing the transmitter frequency “RIT” is the term used by Kenwood, Icom, Elecraft and others; YAESU uses “Clarifier”

9 9 Transmit a Directed Call Sometimes you may not want just anyone to answer your call, for example –You may be DX hunting –You may be state or county hunting –You may be contesting So follow the procedure for a General Call (CQ) but modify your call appropriately. For instance: –CQ CQ CQ DX de KK4VR KK4VR to call DX stations, or –CQ CQ CQ TST de KK4VR KK4VR to call contesters Sometimes you may want to add some special information about your status (making you more appealing!) –CQ CQ CQ DX de KK4VR KK4VR QRP for “I am operating QRP” or –CQ CQ CQ DX de KK4VR KK4VR/M for “I am operating Mobile”

10 10 Tail-End an existing QSO (or checking into a CW net) A very effective method of making contacts is to tail-gate an existing QSO –You can selectively pick who you want to contact –You will know who is available and what frequency they are using –You will know if you can effectively copy their signal –You can gather critical information before your QSO (their call / name / QTH / etc), taking pressure off your QSO –You will have more time to fine tune your frequency and set your filters How its done: –Search the band using wide filters until you find the QSO of interest –Tune your frequency to theirs and set your narrow filters, listen to the QSO, then as soon as they are done with their QSO, call one of the stations directly using a 1 x 1 or 1 x 2 call, such as: 9A2HF de KK4VR or TF3JB de KK4VR KK4VR –If you are responding to a net, wait until the net manager calls you or asks for check ins

11 11 Calling a Station If you already know who you want to talk with, what frequency they will be on, and when (a pre-planned QSO or you might be a net manager), then a direct call is appropriate: Step 1: set your mode, frequency and use a wide CW filter (for example, 500Hz) Step 2: Verify the frequency is not already in use, as discussed previously Step 3: call using a 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 call: –EA1BCS EA1BCS de KK4VR KK4VR, or for a King George Radio CW net… –KGRNET KGRNET de KK4VR Step 4 Wait and call again Step 5: When they answer, let them fine tune to your frequency. Do not change your transmit frequency. Use your narrow receive filters and RIT if necessary (for one participant; for a net, do not move your RIT as the other stations will not know where you are listening and it will make it harder for you to hear them)

12 12 The QSO Once you have made contact, what is next? A short QSO format: –Make initial contact using call signs –You send your RST report, your name and QTH, then BTU or HW? –He sends his RST report, his name and QTH, then BTU or HW? –Acknowledge his report (RR or TKS for nice RPT) –Send your 73s (or 88s), SK, his call, your call –His 73s (or 88s), SK, and call signs* *variations include ending with AR SK TU E E; Response is E E

13 13 One QSO Example (Bob will provide more examples) CQ CQ CQ de RC6C RC6C RC6C de KK4VR KK4VR KK4VR de RC6C UR RST 54n 54n in QTH QTH Anapa Anapa OP OP VLAD VLAD HW? RR UR RST 5nn 5nn in QTH VA VA OP OP SAM SAM BTU KK4VR TKS FOR NICE RPT QSL via QRZCOM 73 KK4VR de RC6C SK RR BEST 73 RC6C de KK4VR QRP AR SK TU E E E

14 14 A Little Info on Filters 50Hz is enough bandwidth to hear CW Most conventional CW filters are 500Hz; some hardware filters are as narrow as 250Hz Software defined radios can have CW filters down to 50Hz CW Transmitter Bandwidth depends upon keying speed. 300Hz is typically an assumed CW Bandwidth* * If you want to believe my math skills and trust me to make reasonable assumptions, I calculated a number that was less than 150 Hz for moderate CW speeds

15 15 Zero Beat The purpose of “Zero Beat” is to match your frequency with the other station’s –Most receivers add a tone to received CW to make it easier to hear (operator adjustable, typically Hz) –When the Transmitter is keyed, the same tone is sent to the speaker. –When tuning the receiver to another station’s frequency, if the receiver is below the frequency, the tone will be lower. If it is above the frequency the tone will be higher. So when you have matched your receiver frequency to the station’s, the tones will match. –Some radios have tuning indicators or automatic tuners to aid in setting the receiver frequency.

16 16 Keys, Bugs, Keyers, and Keyboards Straight Keys are simple contact closures (One Single Pole Switch) The operator performs all of the timing for dots and dashes by controlling the key closure. Bugs generate dots and dashes with a single paddle. They are mechanical devices using levers and weights to generate different dot and dash lengths and speeds. Electrically a bug is a single pole switch with two different closure time periods set mechanically. Paddle or Single Lever Keys use a single lever to activate one of two single pole switches. Only one switch can be closed at a time. An electronic keyer is used to generate the dots and dashes; they repeat continuously as long as the switch is closed. IAMBIC keys use two independent paddles, one for dots and one for dashes. Electrically, they are two independent switches, one for dots, one for dashes. They act just as a paddle does except when both paddles are simultaneously pushed. Then alternating dots and dashes are generated by the electronic keyer. Keyer is an electronic device that generates dots and dashes based on switch closure inputs. Contest Keyer is a keyer with memory. Keyboards can be used via a computer to generate the appropriate dots and dashes.

17 17 QSK When a radio is transmitting, the receiver is shut off to protect the receiver front end. QSK is the control of the receiver on and off periods. –A “Full Break In QSK” means that as soon as the transmitter is finished transmitting, the receiver is turned on. Thus the receiver is on between dots and dashes giving the operator the ability to listen during the “off” transmission times. –A “Semi-Break QSK” adds an adjustable time delay so the receiver is not turned back on until a time period has passed. This is usually set so that the receiver is not turned on until a full letter is transmitted. The operator cannot listen during the periods between transmissions of the dots/dashes of a letter.

18 18 Bob Sparble will now address: Learning Morse Code Q Signals Abbreviations QSO Structures and Examples


20 20 SOME COMMON Q SIGNALS ( Q Signals take the form of a question when followed by a question mark) QRL (?) (BUSY) I am Busy; please do not interfere; Are you Busy? QRM (?)(MAN MADE NOISE) I have interference; Do you have interference? QRN (?)(NOISE) I have static; Are you troubled by static? QRO (?)(INCREASE POWER) Increase Power; Shall I increase power? QRP (?)(DECREASE POWER) Decrease Power; Shall I decrease power? QRS (?)(SLOW) Send more slowly; Shall I send more slowly? QRT (?)(QUIT or STOP) Stop sending; Shall I stop sending? QRZ (?)(CALL) You are being called; Who is calling me? QSB (?)(FADING) Your signal is fading; Are my signals fading? QSL (?)(RECEIT) I am acknowledging receipt. Can you acknowledge receipt? QSO (?)(COMMUNICATE) I can communicate … ; Can you communicate … ? QSY (?)(CHANGE FREQUENCY) Change Frequency; Should I change frequency? QTH (?)(LOCATION) My location is ….; What is your location?

21 21 A SHORT LIST OF ABREVIATIONS AR Over, end of message ANTAntenna BKBack, inviting other station to transmit BUROBureau BTUBack To You CYes CFMConfirm CQCalling any station CUDCould CWContinuous Wave DEFrom DNDown DXDistance ES And FBFine Business FMFrom GDGood GLGood Luck GMGood Morning GNGood Night HWHow (copy?) K go, invite any station to transmit KN go, invite a station to transmit

22 22 A SHORT LIST OF ABREVIATIONS (2) OBOld Boy OMOld Man OPOperator R all received OK RCVRReceiver RIGRadio RPTReport RSTSignal Report (Readability-Signal Strength-Signal Tone) STNStation SKOut; End of Contact TKSThanks URYour WDWould WXWeather YLYoung Lady XYLWife 73Best Wishes 88Love and Kisses

23 23 MORSE CODE REFERENCES Code practice on the air W1AW schedule: –www.arrlorg/w1aw-operating-schedulewww.arrlorg/w1aw-operating-schedule Code Practice On-Line –www.arrlorg/code-practice-fileswww.arrlorg/code-practice-files Code Program (downloadable) – – – CW Tutors – CW Training Materials – – –

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