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Re: Brainteaser
VK5EEEVK5EEE 25 Feb 2017 04:31
in discussion Forums / General Discussion » Brainteaser

Nice one! I got all except UDA, and thus learned something! Similar to Morse, the one less behind it got the fame of the name: "It was invented in 1926 by Shintaro Uda of Tohoku Imperial University, Japan, and (with a lesser role played by his colleague) Hidetsugu Yagi." Thanks OM!

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Re: Brainteaser by VK5EEEVK5EEE, 25 Feb 2017 04:31

I'm with you on waiting rooms and more fortunate countries which will appreciate those magazines. One good place would be the Sahara DX Club in Algeria, they'd sure value those magazines. Any club that is organised and contactable. Otherwise waiting rooms is good and inexpensive, if the cost of sending, which is very high from Australia, is an issue.

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Re: Recycling radio magazines by VK5EEEVK5EEE, 25 Feb 2017 04:23

What a wonderful gift from George VK2DLF "for getting all the CW action going here in Australia" — THANK YOU George! It works a beauty! Lovely to look at, lovely to operate, and lovely sound no bounce, no scratchy dits!

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Brainteaser by Chris VK1CTChris VK1CT, 25 Feb 2017 01:28
Re: Antenna
Chris VK1CTChris VK1CT 24 Feb 2017 22:44
in discussion Forums / General Discussion » Antenna

When I first started in radio with my novice licence, I was restricted on HF to 80, 15 and 10m (if I recall correctly). At first, I tried using a commercially made G5RV. That wasn’t very successful for a number of reasons. Then I tried a homebrew dipole for 15m. I used copper wire for the elements and a 1:1 balun fed with RG213 coax. I made my first DX contacts into Japan with that antenna and I fell in love with 15m!

I also wanted to use 80m, but after the failed experiments with the G5RV, I decided that a vertical was the way to go. I pestered my parents to buy me a Butternut HF6V for Christmas in 2000. I remember putting it together on Boxing Day and after that I spent most of my radio time on 80m. My brother’s bedroom was nearest to the antenna and he could always tell when I was on-air because his stereo system would be overdriven by RF!

Fast forward to now… I use an inverted vee fed with 300 ohm ladder line. The antenna is 100 feet long and tunes all bands, some better than others! The centre support is a Spiderbeam squid pole which has been in service for just over 10 years now. Being a telescoping fibreglass pole, it used to collapse in strong winds and part of it broke in a storm. To prevent it from collapsing, I installed small self-tapping screws in each of the joins and it has been faultless ever since.

For portable operations, I use a dipole for 40m with a feedline of RG174 coax. It has a 1:1 balun which was made from a kit produced by SOTABEAMS in the UK. I recently bought an MFJ-2286 telescopic HF whip for $100(US) from DX Engineering. It is 17 feet long when fully extended and collapses to 27 inches. It comes with a loading coil for use on 40m. I’m looking forward to trying it out on-air soon.

Re: Antenna by Chris VK1CTChris VK1CT, 24 Feb 2017 22:44

One of the reasons I really enjoy getting my monthly copy of the RSGB Radcom magazine is the advertising material within its many pages of all things amateur radio. It’s great to see the products that are available, especially the Morse keys!

I can remember a time (not so long ago) when the WIA Amateur Radio magazine had many more advertisers than it currently does. There were ads from Andrews Communications, Strictly Ham, Harris Communications, ATRC, Dick Smith Electronics and others. Some of the retailers have sadly gone out of business, but there are new companies selling amateur radio and electronics products. Jaycar now advertises in the magazine, but a lot of their products leave much to be desired…

Nowadays there mainly seems to be the usual Icom and Yaesu glossy ads on the inside front cover and back cover of AR magazine. Is it a sign of the times, or simply apathy on behalf of the publications committee who do not actively seek out companies to advertise in the magazine?

What do you do with old (printed) radio magazines and club newsletters?

As a member of several radio organisations, I accumulate quite a number of publications each year. I could simply switch to electronic delivery where that facility exists, but I much prefer to get printed copies in the mail.

I could throw them in the recycling bin, and I have done that on occasions, but it does seem a pity to do that. So here are some alternatives. At the end of every year or so, I try to find them good homes. I advertise them on VK Classifieds, eBay or make direct contact with people I know that would appreciate them. If I offer them for sale, then the price I put on them is mainly just to cover the postage costs. I also clearly state their condition and supply a photo or two.

What else could be done with them? How about leaving a few radio magazines in the waiting room at your local dentist or GP? You never know, it may spark someone’s interest in the hobby. Or perhaps they could be donated to local schools and libraries, or sent overseas to radio clubs in less fortunate countries.

Recycling radio magazines by Chris VK1CTChris VK1CT, 24 Feb 2017 04:50

Indeed, 5W CW is equal to around 100W or more on SSB! Well done and a good reminder for some of us to get /P!

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Got up extra early this morning and drove to my favourite spot in the Royal National Park to do some portable work.

This time I took the 1:1 balun 10m pole and wire cut for 40m. I had to cut down the wire to bring it on frequency so this took about 45mins, walking back and forth lowering each leg of the inverted vee and finally hit 47 ohms 8 ohms z at 7.050 and was happy with that.

Wound the ft857 down to 5w and calling calling. I was getting 22dB rbn hits in vk4 so my signal was getting out. Not too long I had a reply from vk4tt on 7.0255 and then vk4dbj on 7.050 qsy to 7.052.

Having a listen on ssb I heard vk4fajp calling and was going clear due to no response so I grabbed the mic and replied back still on 5w. He was having some difficulty with qsb so I wound the wick up to 25w and no prob.

Time to pack up and head for home. Happy with the morning results considering low power and no cluster spots.

Going portable is really a lot of fun and enjoyable amoungst the bush surrounds.


77 de Lou, VK5EEE

ARLP007 Propagation de K7RA

Propagation Forecast Bulletin 7 ARLP007
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA February 17, 2017
To all radio amateurs

ARLP007 Propagation de K7RA

In the last reporting week (February 9 to 15) average daily sunspot
numbers declined from 21.3 to 17.6, and average daily solar flux
rose from 73.5 to 75.1. Average planetary A index dropped from 12.9
to 4.7, and mid-latitude A index from 9.9 to 2.9.

Predicted solar flux is 74 on February 17 to 19, then 77, 80, 83, 85
and 80 on February 20 to 24, 78 on February 25 and 26, 76 on
February 27 and 28, 75 on March 1 and 2, 73 on March 3 and 4, 72 on
March 5 to 7, 73 and 74 on March 8 and 9, 75 on March 10 and 11, 78
on March 12 to 15, 80 on March 16 to 18, then 82, 85 and 82 on March
19 to 21, 80 on March 22 and 23, 78 on March 24 and 25, 76 on March
26 and 27, 75 on March 28 and 29 and 73 on March 30 and 31.

Predicted planetary A index is 12, 10 and 8 on February 17 and 19, 5
on February 20 and 21, 8 and 14 on February 22 and 23, 10 on
February 24 and 25, then 5, 25, 30, 25 and 20 on February 26 through
March 2, 15 on March 3 to 5, 8 on March 6, 5 on March 7 to 12, then
8, 12 and 10 on March 13 to 15, 8 on March 16 and 17, 5 on March 18
to 20, then 10 and 15 on March 21 and 22, then 10 on March 23 and 24
and 5, 25, 30, 25 and 20 on March 25 to 29, and 15 on March 30
through April 1.

Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period February 17 to March
15, 2017 from F.K. Janda, OK1HH:

Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on February 21, 24, 26, March 8, 11 and 12
Mostly quiet on February 19 and 20, March 9 and 10
Quiet to unsettled February 17, March 4, 7, 13 to 15
Quiet to active on February 18, 25, March 3, 6
Active to disturbed on February (22 and 23,) 27 and 28, March 1 and
2, 5

Increases in solar wind from coronal holes are expected on February
16 and 17, (18 to 22, 26 and 27,) March 2 to 5
- Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement.

The weekly ARRL Newsletter (published every Thursday online) carried
a fascinating and timely article this week about the reactivation of
the HAARP facility in Alaska via Professor Chris Fallen, KL3WX:

The ARRL Newsletter also runs a weekly preview of this ARRL
Propagation Bulletin. Here is the latest version of the HAARP blog:

The ARRL International DX CW Contest begins this evening, UTC.

Starting tonight is also the Novice Rig Roundup, which is an on-air
activity concentrating on operating old Novice ham transmitters from
the 1950's and 1960's, which was all crystal controlled and 75 watts
or less, CW only (except for AM on 2 meters). Let's see. Where is
my old DX-20?

Stations using modern rigs are welcome also. Check it out at .

Thanks to David Moore for this, concerning a slower spinning Sun:

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service at For an explanation of
numbers used in this bulletin, see

An archive of past propagation bulletins is at

More good information and tutorials on propagation are at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for February 9 through 15, 2017 were 15, 18, 18, 18,
16, 15, and 23, with a mean of 17.6. 10.7 cm flux was 75.4, 74,
75.7, 76.2, 74.8, 74.5, and 74.8, with a mean of 75.1. Estimated
planetary A indices were 7, 8, 5, 3, 5, 2, and 3, with a mean of
4.7. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 5, 3, 2, 2, 1, and 2,
with a mean of 2.9.

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Ok folks, it's time to break out that 2NT', DX-20, DX-35, DX-40, DX-60, AT-1, T50, T60, T100… I could go on and on. The Novice Rig Roundup started today and runs all the way through this coming week, completing on Sunday Feb 26th at 2359Z. The premise is simple. Get on the air with those great Novice rigs of yesteryear! So grab some 'rocks', or that drifty VFO and get the tubes warm up!

The Novice Rig Roundup (NRR) is structured as a week long contest, but you certainly don't have to treat it like a contest. Most NRR QSOs go beyond the stated contest exchange to add additional details and pleasantries. You'll likely hear those chirpy, whoopy, drifty signals that once filled the Novice bands. Remember to tune around across the band after CQing to grab other crystal controlled stations.

Extra points are gained by using crystal control, and for lower power levels. There are also bonus points for working stations with the old WNx, KNx novice callsigns and the number of different novice rigs you use through the week. You may also hear NRR enthusiast group numbers exchanged.

For more information, check out the Novice Rig Roundup homepage at:
There's also a 'SKED' page where real-time chat occurs during the event:

Paul N6EV NRR #122
'dit dit'

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Novice Rig Roundup - This Week by VK5EEEVK5EEE, 18 Feb 2017 11:39

See details of the sessions, statistics of SSN-3 here:

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

With thanks to HB9FXW:

There are 3 levels of morse keys: manual (you have to form each element), semi-automatic (the dots are made automatically) and fully automatic (fixed dots and dash length, you only control spacing). With a setting change in modern transceivers/keyers or a wiring change, an automatic key can be used as a semi-auto or a manual key, and a semi-auto can still be used as a manual.

Vibroplex is a brand, they are especially famous for their semi-automatic keys but made other kinds of keys too. Their logo is a red bug, so "bug" and "semi-automatic key" are now synonyms. Bugs are mechanical and don't need any electronics to make their dots.

Cootie and sideswiper are synonyms. They are manual and made of a single lever. They use a lateral movement rather than a vertical one, and have contacts both sides instead of just one

"Single lever" keys usually designate an automatic key made of (surprise!) a single lever.

Straight/Pump keys are your typical manual up and down keys, the one you most often see in the movies.

Iambic is a way to use dual paddles automatic keys by pinching them and has then shifted its meaning to designate the key itself; some hams say they use a iambic key while they never close both contacts at the same time.

Almost all automatic keys (single lever and dual paddles) need an electronic device called a "keyer" to make them work. A lot of recent transceivers include a keyer but you often need an external keyer with older or simpler rigs.

Construction-wise, semi-automatic keys are the most complex. Well, I've heard of a few mechanical fully automatic keys, but they're very rare.

For fully automatic mechanical key see the AutoMorse by made by the Hitchcox Brothers of Adelaide around 1920. Visually the most impressive bug around, the Triple Lever Automorse had a lever for automatic dots, one for manual dashes, and a third to produce automatic dashes.

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

It seems to me that what you refer to as Gerke code (aka "jerk" code LOL) — and the strict proponents thereof — can be exposed by pointing out the contrast between mechanical music and the music of a virtuoso. Anyone who insists a music machine or player piano is superior to a skilled musician — or that mechanical music is "PERFECT" music needs to wake up to the beautiful world of play & art. Noone who really gets music would suggest a drum machine is superior to the drumming of Buddy Rich or that computerized music can rival the play of a Segovia, Stevie Wonder or Steve Howe (or insert your favorite musician or singer here). Of course one could successfully argue that mechanical music is superior in conformity & regimentation — but to those who really love music it is that very regimentation which makes mechanical music absolutely inferior and lacking verve.

poor play of a musical instrument — which *of course* includes a key :-) — truly is inferior to mechanical play. Thus those who are really poor at sending with a classic key will probably find their audience better served if they use a paddle and keyer to communicate. That said, it is important to remind the critics that — in the hands of an artist — human play makes mechanical play hard on the ears and something of a FARCE.

ymmv, thanks for the music EEE —

73 Rob N9KX

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Re: Flavours of Morse by VK5EEEVK5EEE, 15 Feb 2017 22:35

I appreciated the poetic explanations from Lou / VK5EEE and the other participants on the “Flavors of Morse” and I smiled when Lou emphasized "the official exact ratio" and I wondered its usefulness in the human relationship? Does it really make a difference? I don’t think so. My personal ratio is variable from 1:4 to 1:7 according to my feeling of the day.

The reference when learning music is Johann Sebastian Bach because of its tempo, the rhythm that animates the melody. This is true, but if you listen to the greatest virtuosos you will sometimes get caught up in some lags. That paves the way to differentiate the artists…

I do not like to talk about myself because I'm not perfect, no superman either! I learned the basics of Morse with the Boy Scouts first on paper (the wrong method) for the written messages, then with a straight whistle necessarily without rolling balls, in the middle of the forest to avoid the Germans occupying our country and then at home at night with my brother in secret from our father, listening to the German networks on the quite ordinary broadcast receiver in the kitchen that we had to heterodyne with another close transmission to be able to obtain an imperfect Morse signal. Thus in 1944 I can take Morse and write it infinitely … In 1945 I am in a phase of perfection by listening / copying a lot the French Gendarmerie (now CRS) which used practically only double contact at an incredible speed for the time. Keys taken over by Interpol based in Paris and finally in Lyon (Lou mentioned those as they truly adopted the same type of keys).

At the end of 1946, when I wanted to become a fighter pilot at the RAF Belgian Section, I did not have a good left eye and by good coincidence I was forced to Wireless Op Air. Cutting it short by saying that I was free from taking the 9-month Morse training to reach the required 24wpm I only took the 9 months of radio technician training.

Let's ask our youngsters today to learn Morse with a straight whistle? And finally to be exempted from the Morse training because I knew more than the instructors! I still got the procedure training don’t worry…!

Let me smile again on the "official exact ratio" which I never heard about in my career until 1968 when I retired from WopAir.

I have used all the keys demonstrated by AA4OO and VK5EEE, I have appreciated them all and I humbly admit I would not be able to do the same, but I would like to get back on this before finishing.

Like Lou, I easily accommodate the QSD because in my WopAir career I was constantly confronted with keying of all nationalities because all the air control and weather information were in Morse, citing Benghazi, Tripoli, Kano, Lagos, Brazzaville, Leopoldville for my usual circuit but there were many others, often without radio facility flying VFR only hoping the altimeter correction was good!

The QSD always intrigues me because it is a kind of funny cipher/crypto sequence to listen to and difficult to write down.

If you want a good share of QSD to train yourself along with high fun simply select G4FON CW trainer, set the CHIRP + STRAIGHT KEY + QRM + SPEED DITHER + PITCH DITHER + VARIABLE WEIGHT + NOISE S3 + SIGNAL STRENGTH S6 + QSB ENABLE + SPEED FAST + at 30wpm and you will have a precise replica of our most air traffic CW exchanges, it’s fun and it gives you enough strength to go work on the most crowded HF spot on the band…TRUE believe me! A piece of cake for all RO’s worldwide no doubt! This makes the huge difference with the 5NN Op…!

At the last SKCC / WES I took over my oldie Hi-Mound hammer HK-708 after 60 years of inactivity, it took me 12 to 15 hours to find a semblance of what I could do with a hammer in the old days. At the end of the SKCC I had found another CW hot chili, promising to take the hammer more often because I found the exchanges a lot more user-friendly than with electro mechanic combo.

For the SSN I will try to do a remake of my first Swiper 1949 !

Finally, I conclude that the first quality of a good radio operator is not its keying, but rather its ability to transcribe very precisely and thus faithfully the received message. It seems today that we do not attach any importance to this quality anymore! All that would be required of the best now is to take the flying callsign down to a keyboard as fast as possible and to return a 5NN illico presto! Gone are the salute and the handshake, I am from another age of course, some of you as well without any doubt, and for the young it is distressing because they do not have anymore guidance except the Code of Conduct written by "Amateurs" who have never been in official networks, whether national or international. Is it tolerable? On the other hand the experts are disappearing, at 89 years of age I find that it was taken too late!
And then the good question, have they ever listened to the experts? Where have they ever asked for their advice when it was time to do so? Never!

What is highly detestable nowadays is to hear amateur radios learning Morse on the air, often without having a QSO! This has become very common. There is therefore no call sign either.

I had written a few weeks ago that I would stop sowing my gall but occasionally circumstances occasionally requires me to do it again.

Best 73s Jean the last of the Mohicans lost in the sandy 5T

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Re: Flavours of Morse by VK5EEEVK5EEE, 15 Feb 2017 22:34

It's a clear pattern, Tim VK3IM had a QSO with him soon after, and got a good report, and was 599 with Tim. Tim asked ON4UN what antenna he was using? No reply to that - "How dare someone waste my time asking about my antenna" and good bye…

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Just now 0730Z on 40m, I called ON4UN with a short 1x2 call, who is 579 and got this immediately: SRI TOO WEAK SRI NO CPI — not what is usual as in "QRZ?" and then put an ear to try to figure it out — just the above! So my reply: RR then he continued:



Never any invitation to transmit — and of course, being Flemmish I guess he hates the French so doesn't use DE :-)

Then suddenly once, this:


and then continued after a pause:


So who was he giving 5NN and no 73 and no callsign and no EE?!

I've been told by Belgians who know this character that he is arrogant. He sure is!!!

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

List of all documents on this problem of ON4UN and ON4WW:

Letter to the IARU from IRA on this problem:

IARU response to the IRA letter:

Objections to the ON4UN-ON4WW Conflicting CW Procedure by IRA:

IRA Examination Committee Resolution on why the so-called Ethics book will not be used:

Explanatory Notes on the IRA objection to the IARU Ethics booklet due to the CW errors, misinformation and disinformation:

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

In the "Ethics of Operating Procedures" which the Icelandic Amateur Radio Society and FISTS and others have pulled apart as full of errors, and which the author ON4UN has arrogantly refused to revise and correct, ON4UN, who is an expert on MF antennas but not in CW procedure, among other errors he states that a CQ call must be ended with an <AR> and not K.

This is his current CQ on the 30m band, which is button pushing as it repeats again and again identical:


Yes that's it — ever seen such an unusual CQ call? The man hates French language so much he does not use "DE"? OK that's fine, it is not compulsory to use DE. Using two = in the middle of a CQ is unheard of, very unorthodox. LP, long path, to where? VK/ZL? USA? Meaningless. And to simply end with = LP and not an invitation to transmit (K) nor PSE K, is just plain arrogant.

Hey, I would not keep picking this guy to bits if he was not the arrogant author of a book full of errors which the IARU promotes and which has led an entire generation of new CW operators to CONFUSION nor if he was arrogant to refuse to correct these errors. What type of operator he is just goes to show by his latest CQ which has no logic nor method to it. He repeated the above endless loops without ever getting a reply.

Last time I called this guy he could not even get my call sign right, no matter how many times I sent it — and he did not have the patience to even try. And that was before I started writing about him. If someone is going to take on such an important task as writing a book on Amateur Radio CW operating procedures, they had better do a good job and ask around before coming up with such BS, contradictions and confusion which one can only wonder what the purpose of it all is. And why the IARU supports it.

But then we can see the operating of G3BJ on his DX expeditions, and K1ZZ, other senior IARU officials, and how they refuse to answer let alone deal with questions and concerns about 30m unlimited/unspecified "DX" split operations and the risks to that band, and other important issues which would require addressing by the IARU.

77 de Lou, VK5EEE

Re: Antenna
David VK2JDRDavid VK2JDR 07 Feb 2017 12:33
in discussion Forums / General Discussion » Antenna

I run a fan Inverted Vee covering 10, 20, 30, 40, 80m with apex approx 10m fed via ugly balun (about 20 turns RG58 on 100mm PVC pipe). 80m is achieved with loading coils attached to the 40m legs. All bands are resonant < 1.5:1 so no tuner required.

All metal parts are stainless, legs are 2.5mm black (keeps xyl happy) building wire with egg insulators on each leg end, tied down with 3mm rope to convenient shrubs, fence, etc.

Apex suspended with a gal TV antenna J pole bolted to the pergola.

It's been up for a number of years now with no problems, last modification at Christmas time 2016 was the addition of 30m legs.


Re: Antenna by David VK2JDRDavid VK2JDR, 07 Feb 2017 12:33
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