Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KD8ZM, Aug 11, 2017.
Don't forget the donuts---
TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
Might be better if you don't worry about it unless other hams comment on it in their signal reports. Are you using a power supply that provides less than 25 amps no load?
You wouldn't see chirp on a scope. It's a small frequency shift during keying, often just in the Hz range; you'd need a frequency domain instrument to see anything like that, and even a good spectrum analyzer may not capture it.
You can see clicks on a scope, though.
Re FCC enforcement, there isn't any law I know of regarding chirp; in the earliest days of VFO operation, almost everybody had a chirp. Even some crystal-controlled rigs did, especially with a poor design that pulled too much current through the crystal or a keyed oscillator that wasn't buffered.
I don't think there's any law about clicks, either. There's a very broad, sweeping regulation about good amateur practices, not causing intentional interference, not occupying more bandwidth than necessary, etc but I don't recall seeing anything specifically about chirps or clicks. AFAIK, not "illegal" at all -- just good practice to minimize or eliminate them.
To the OP, your power supply might be in the "high 13s" (VDC) but it's possible that's not what your rig actually sees. You'd have to make this measurement inside the radio, so you're measuring key-up vs. key-down voltage through the power cord, its connectors, its in-line fusing and everything else. One slightly loose or bad connection (having any measurable resistance) between the power supply and the transmitter can cause 1-2-3V or more voltage drop during key-down...and it doesn't take much. Even a dirty fuse contact can do that.
Some rigs monitor voltage inside the radio and display that on the front panel, and if your rig can do this, that's a good indication. If your rig doesn't do this, it might pay to make the measurement.
My vintage Globe Scout 65A has a heck of a chirp with modern crystals - the ones that they take old FT-243 holders and put tiny canned crystals in. Sounds like it practically sweeps through half the band. Does much better with the older "real" FT-243 crystals with the big quartz slabs in them. There's a circuit modification that will reduce chirp substantially but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
Anyway, I got an OO card in 1972 for chirp with the Globe Scout I had back then. Being a kid then, it scared me off the air. It was toward the end of my two-year Novice license term anyway and I had other interests, but I never got back on the air after that OO card, until 30 years later.
Nobody mentioned the chirp during the previous nearly two years worth of CW QSOs before that.
Kind of the point. If you can't even measure it, then why worry about it.
On second offence they take your bird away.
I received a card from an OO for the same reason - a chirp - a few months back. The problem is, I was using a computer to send via a Signalink interface. I used a separate receiver to listen to the TX signal, and I could not replicate a chirp or a key-click. I checked my line voltage coming from the power supply and it was a solid 13.5 volts. I made a contact with my Dad, and he did not hear anything wrong. So I gave up. I only use the computer as a backup for RX and I cut back my use of CW substantially because I cannot send that fast using a paddle, and I don't like being called a lid. hihi
Unfortunately, sending a card with no further guidance has unintended consequences. Perhaps the amateur auxiliary should start a collection of YouTube videos or offer a help line for OPs who receive a card about a technical issue. Even just a troubleshooting guide sent with the card would be helpful. I believe the vast majority of OOs are doing their best to help us, but it seems like they get a bum wrap because of things like this. Reporting the problem is one thing.....solving the problem is another. I would welcome help if there is an issue with my equipment, especially if it is one I cannot reproduce. Sending a card and saying essentially "You're on your own" puts the amateur auxiliary in a negative light. We can do better.
I wouldn't rely on other hams reports in general. I have heard some absolutely hideous sounding CW signals get T9 reports.
Clicks, chirps, drifting, AC hum, wide as a barn door, they all get T 9 ...
The problem is I think, either they are newbies and don't yet fully understand, or they are oldies and just don't really care.
It probably stems from the fact that when you try to explain in CW to a guy that there's something wrong with his signal it takes too much time, and/or the guy gets all defensive and pi55ed off.
So, most just give a T9 and ignore the problem.
Rcvd an OO card for chirp in Sept 1974 was using an xtal controlled Heathkit DX 20,kept the card. It's displayed on the wall of my shack. A reminder of my misspent youth. Just finished building a modified version of the Ameco AC-1 6X5 / 6V6 etc, it produces a mild and somewhat pleasant chirp. Just like the commercial marine op's of years past, they all knew each other by their fist / swing. Just possibly other OP's will get to know me by my mild pleasant chirp.
73 Tom wa6apn
As another CW n00b, I can totally appreciate what you're saying here - been there, had that experience; my marginal copy isn't helped by QSB/QRN/QRM issues. Having said that though, and also having played around a bit with QRP, you're likely going to have to drop a lot lower than 50W if you want to start weeding out replies with marginal paths - going from 100W to 50W, 1/2 the power, is 3 dB drop or 1/2 an S-Unit. That's barely noticeable; the side receiving your signal in almost all conditions won't even notice if you dial down from 100 to 50W during a QSO.
Don't take my word for it - give it a try with a buddy during relatively stable band conditions, step the power down and see what happens. Or, try putting out some CQs and watch RBN; try @ 100W, then shift a few kHz, drop power, and try again to get immediate reports from the same observing stations - and compare their spot dB values.
Try dialing down to 5W or so - with simple dipoles on either 20 or 40m out of VE7-land, I routinely get RBN reports all over the CONUS and Alaska at that, even with current lousy SFI numbers. On days when the ionosphere cooperates, 5W and a dipole gets me solid spots out of Hawaii and Australia.
If you want to make life easier for the other side of your QSO, you can also dial back up to ~50W once you establish contact at 5W and know there's a decent path.
Oh, and one other personal observation on the topic - I've been bashing away at learing CW for a while now, and my ability to read through QSB/QRN/QRM has steadily improved. If you're using less brain power to just get the next letter, it leaves more to start thinking about contextual clues and makes guessing the incoming word easier even with missing bits. So, keep practising![/QUOTE]