CW sending

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KB1CKT, Nov 18, 2017.

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  1. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    The case where they bent the rules for me was the 30 day waiting period. After looking dejected after missing the general written test by one point (which they bent the rules to tell me), I said something like, "I guess I have to wait 30 days."

    The secretary told me, "you can get a waiver!"

    Up until that time, I never dreamed that such a thing as a "waiver" existed. I thought rules were rules, and everyone had to slavishly follow them. But lo and behold, the field office had authority to grant a "waiver" of the 30 day wait period. She handed me the official waiver form, and told me I could bring it back the next week.

    As an impressionable junior high student, I remember that the whole concept of a "waiver" existing kind of jarred me in how I viewed our government. People can get waivers when they don't like the rules. I had no idea that such a thing existed.

    I remember that the form even had a spot for me to fill in what exactly I would study during the intervening time. So I dutifully filled in that I had dilligently read "Radio and Electronics Made Simple" by Martin Schwartz. That was good enough for them, and the next week, they accepted my waiver form, gave me the test (starting with code, of course), and I passed. By sheer luck, I got the exact same test as the previous week, and I had studied up on the questions I knew I missed.

    Our field office was staffed by four people. There were two engineers, both of whom presumably knew code, and they gave the code test. They were known among the novices in the area as "The Old Guy" and "The Young Guy." The Old Guy was a grandfatherly type, and The Young Guy was more of a no-nonsense type, but he didn't do anything to make it particularly difficult that I recall.

    The secretaries didn't have names, as far as I know. There was one who was older, and one secretary, who an older novice once referred to as "The Girl With Half Her Breasts Showing." It was the older secretary who gave me the waiver form. But when he mentioned The Girl With Half Her Breasts Showing, I knew exactly who he meant.
     
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  2. KB9BVN

    KB9BVN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I took my Novice at the Red Cross in Indianapolis after 6 or 7 weeks of classes. We had to copy 5 wpm and take a test over what we heard...but then the VE said he'd like to hear my fist....so I did. I don't think the sending was required but they did ask us to prove we could. August of 1987 or 88
     
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  3. K4EI

    K4EI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ahh, okay, that makes sense.

    And, yeah, the intersection of great writing and terrific stories doesn't come along that often. You really should write that book!
     
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  4. KB9BVN

    KB9BVN Ham Member QRZ Page

    What is the date of the last FCC exam given by the FCC for a Amateur radio license?
     
  5. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    LOL!!!! Do you mean that she completely exposed one brest, keeping the other one covered or that she only exposed the top half of both? Sorry...couldn't resist...still LOL
     
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  6. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    On the days I was there, it was top half of both. But there was some ambiguity in that guy's description, and he was there a different day.

    And in fairness, he was exagerating, and it was only about 1/3.
     
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  7. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh well. Guess I'll just have to imagine it. (come to think of it I don't recall ever seeing any govt employee that I'd like to "see more of". Another LOL. Thanks for your info!
     
  8. K9ALT

    K9ALT Ham Member QRZ Page

    For me it was at the FCC field office on South street in New Orleans.
     
  9. W4KYR

    W4KYR Ham Member QRZ Page

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  10. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks!

    Here's another one for you.....

    ----

    Way back in 1921, practically all amateur radio operation happened on or around 200 meters. Well equipped amateur stations could work each other at distances of 1000 to 1500 miles under good winter-night conditions, and sometimes even further. There were unconfirmed reports of US and Canadian amateurs being heard in the UK, but there was no conclusive proof.

    In late 1921, the ARRL sent Paul Godley to the UK with the latest in receiver technology, to see if US and Canadian amateurs could be heard on the other side of the pond. The Transatlantic Tests of 1921 would hopefully demonstrate that the "useless" wavelengths of 200 meters and down could do amazing things, even though amateurs were limited to 1000 watts input. A schedule was set up for various stations to transmit, at times when Godley would be listening. A group of amateurs went so far as to design, build and set up a state-of-the-art CW transmitter near Greenwich, CT, using the call 1BCG. This transmitter was designed by none other than Major Edwin H. Armstrong, and ran 900 watts to 204As.

    Godley first set up near London, but the local interference was just too great. So he packed up and moved to Ardrossan moor, using a Beverage receiving antenna pointed towards North America. The receiver was set up in a tent, powered by batteries. They started listening on December 7, 1921, and heard North American amateurs from the first. A total of nine spark and twenty-one US and Canadian amateurs were heard at Ardrossan, and the most consistent of them was 1BCG. For ten nights Godley and Pearson (the British radio inspector who held the license for the receiver, and acted as witness) listened and copied those far off signals. This was the first amateur radio DXpedition.

    75 years later, in 1996, a group of amateurs decided to commemorate that first DXpedition. Of course they could not operate on 200 meters - 160 would have to do. They secured the special event callsign W1BCG, and a site near Greenwich where they could set up and operate from December 9 to 15, 1996.

    They built a transmitter very similar to the 1BCG rig of 1921, complete with 204As. But unlike 1BCG, they would both transmit and receive, making as many QSOs as possible during that week in December.

    In those days I lived in Upper Darby, PA, in a home that came to be known as "the house on RadioTelegraph Hill". In the limited space I had an inverted V with traps for 80 and 40, and a 20 meter vertical with elevated radials. Normal operation was 80, 40 and 20 CW, with the same homebrew setup you see in the picture.

    I'd never transmitted on 160 - never had the space for an antenna, and my rig didn't even cover 160. But I really wanted to work W1BCG - what to do?

    The first step was a receiver. I had a WW2 surplus BC-342N, normally used for WWV and similar purposes. I listened for W1BCG at the appointed time and frequency....and there they were! The replica transmitter wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't T9X - which made it instantly recognizable. This is what Godley and Pearson must have heard, so long ago!

    I had a Viking 2 and VFO that needed work, so I set about fixing them up. Night after night I worked on the old rig, finding and fixing problems, trying to get it on the air before time ran out. By the 11th it was working - into a dummy load. But what to do for an antenna?

    Loading coils for the end of the inverted V were wound and tried, but even the wide-range pi-network of the Viking 2 could not deal with the odd impedance presented by the setup. So an old trick was used: the braid and center conductor of the coax were tied together and the whole mess worked against ground. With a pilot-bulb RF ammeter - the setup loaded!

    The BC-342N was connected to the 20 meter vertical, so no TR system was needed - just remember to turn down the gain on the receiver before hitting the key!

    Upper Darby PA to Greenwich CT isn't DX by any stretch of the imagination, but the setup was very inefficient, and there were a lot of stations calling W1BCG with much better signals. Couldn't break the pileup - but then I noticed how they were operating....

    For a certain part of each hour, W1BCG would operate on about 1830 kHz, IIRC, trying to work Europe, during which time they'd ignore US calls. Then they'd move down to about 1810 kHz and work North American stations for the rest of the hour. I listened and listened, and figured out the pattern. On the night of December 13, 1996, just as they started to listen on 1811 kHz, I was there, calling them - and they heard me! A short QSO and done. Got the certificate some time later.

    Fast forward 16 years, to March 2013. I was passing by Greenwich CT on the Merritt Parkway, and knew the site of the 1BCG setup wasn't far away. In 1950, an historic marker had been set up, so I turned off and found it:

    1BCGMem.JPG





    73 de Jim, N2EY
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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