I want to QRP

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by KE0JIT, Jun 9, 2019.

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  1. KE0JIT

    KE0JIT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is what I intend to do. Run a transceiver like LNR Precision, type out my CW on a PC keyboard, then send the message. I'd like the PC to transcribe incoming CW.

    I don't know CW yet, but in the interim I'd like to jump into HF using it to make contacts. Doing CW in some fashion makes my pocketbook happy.

    Without being overly technical, how do I proceed? Any suggestions on books without a lot of anedotial writing? I'd like steps, A, B, C in explanation.
     
    N8AFT likes this.
  2. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have set up CWGet/CWtype to do what you are contemplating, using a KX3 and a SUCCI-R interface.

    I haven't tried it with my MTR-4B, but I think it would work much the same.

    The first thing you will need is some kind of interface to allow the software to trigger a serial port pin which is then converted to a switched output to connect to the transceiver's KEY jack (as a straight key, not paddles.) The Mountaintopper line has a menu item to set the key type to straight or hand. You may have to fabricate a cable to connect the interface jack to the transceiver jack. This takes care of the "send" side of things.

    The other thing you will need is to connect the audio output from the Mountaintopper to the audio in on the PC. An isolation transformer is usually required, but the cables can be standard 3.5mm stereo cables. You will probably need a Y-cable so you can hear the signals as you tune. This takes care of the "receive" side of things.

    The decoder software varies, but I will describe CWGet as an example. You need to set its filter to the audio frequency of the incoming signal. Just click on the highest "peak" to do this. You then need to set the threshold so that it is just below the peaks of the amplitude/time display at the bottom of the screen. Just click to move the red line. If you don't set up the filter and threshold, you will see garbage even though the signal sounds clean.

    If you do this, and if the signal is strong and relatively noise-free, and if the other operator isn't using a straight key or bug, it might work.

    Most of the time, it will not work. Especially with QRP power levels and poor propagation.

    I gave up on the idea and switched to using a key and decoding Morse "with my ears". I still can't copy the fast operators, but I can copy the slow ones. And I can use my Mountaintopper at parks and other remote sites, without dragging a PC and interface along.
     
  3. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    HELLO DAVE AND WELCOME ABOARD. I CAN UNDERSTAND THE APPREHENSION TO LEARNING MORSE CODE...
    WE LEARN MORSE, WE DO CW. CW IS THE THE MODE, MORSE IS THE LANGUAGE WE LEARN TO SPEAK WITH.
    THE USE OF A READER IS A FAIR ASSUMPTION AS TO HOW IT WILL PERFORM.
    MANY CODE READERS ARE NOT CAPABLE TO COPY THE VARIED STYLES OF SENDING YOU WILL ENCOUNTER.
    YOUR BRAIN WILL UNDOUBTEDLY PERFORM BETTER.
    WITH THAT BEING SAID, MAKE AN EFFORT TO TRAIN YER BRAIN TO DECIPHER MORSE CODE. IT'S NOT THAT HARD TO DO.
    AS FAR AS A RIG GOES, ANYTHING YOU CAN CRANK DOWN TO 5 WATTS OR LESS IS ACCEPTIBLE. PORTABLE OP IS NICE BUT I OP FROM HOME 99% OF THE TIME... GOOD USED RIGS ARE PLENTIFUL AS TRADE-INS...
    KINDEST REGARDS AND GOD SPEED DAVE...

    LEARN MORSE.
    DO CW.
    73
     
    WN1MB and KD8ZM like this.
  4. K0MDW

    K0MDW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welcome to a hobby within the hobby! CW comprises 26 letters and 10 digits, plus some characters! You will learn very quick with modest effort as it is a logical progression with both letters and numbers! I have occasionally used cw get as a back up, my hearing is deteriorating... However, may I suggest a couple of weeks, months study 1st. On air, many slow speed nets and ops!! Good luck!!
     
    WN1MB likes this.
  5. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Welcome aboard. I've been where you're at, wanting to do CW but hesitant to start learning Morse. Let me offer up a few words of encouragement.

    First, you can do it. I started learning at age 51. I wasn't exactly a quick learner but in a matter of weeks I had started to "get it" and now three years later it's about the only mode I do anymore. With all the on-line resources, phone apps, etc, there has never been a better time to learn. Also, the CW folks that you will encounter on the air and in these forums are, with almost no exception, very helpful with and understanding of newbie CW operators.

    In the interim you might want to try digital QRP. A few watts will REALLY take you a long way (DX) with some of the digital modes. That should keep you entertained as you learn Morse code.

    Hope to see you on the air (on the CW portion of the band, that is).

    73,
    Al
     
    WN1MB and N8AFT like this.
  6. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hello Brother Al!
    I agree with you, the digi modes are likely the best fit to get his feet wet and have greater
    success to start out with.
     
  7. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hey Lane! If he does then he should just about reach digital burnout about the time he's ready to go on the air with CW.
     
    N8AFT and WR2E like this.
  8. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just don't QR-P into the wind.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
    KD8ZM and KJ4VTH like this.
  9. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you are determined to use a PC keyboard and interface for CW, for example, one of these: https://www.mtcradio.com/mfj-451-cw-keyboard/ be certain you will have a cable interface for the transceiver you choose to purchase.

    It is my experience I need 3-watts to get up on the noise floor to be heard.

    Many people interested in low power look to 5-watts or 8-watts and up to 10 watts before they look for an external amplifier.
     
    N8AFT likes this.
  10. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    That has familiar a ring to it, hi hi!
     

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