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Issue #17: The Best, But at What Cost?

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Apr 25, 2023.

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  1. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Rick, good comments. I think you're right about the non-CW use of code. There's definitely some anger against it.

    I spent an hour on the phone last week with Eric Anderson, a fantastic inventor. He's the owner/founder of PreppComm. You're right -- that device is cool. And Eric has ideas popping everywhere -- so fun to talk to !

    I think he needs some marketing help personally, to find and zero in on the right market. It's still being presented as a gadget. It's being sold like it's a combination can opener, fishing rod and reel, fish deboner, and rifle all in one. I always thought that I would like to buy one. I don't know which function I'd use it for, so I never clicked "buy." Anyway, Eric has a device there that COULD teach you how to actually do the code, by watching and learning as code comes up on the screen. Yes, that could be helpful. And it's an innovation. So you're right that PreppComm is a good example.

    But CW, outside of that, is not really a place for innovation. And what you said makes sense . . . there are a lot of old timer hams that just get very upset when CW looks like it's being "innovated." Dave. W7DGJ PS - LOVE YOUR KEY!
  2. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Tom, thanks for coming back to T&E for another comment. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about pride of ownership, quality and feel, and supporting true craftsmen in what they do. That's why I own a Mercury Amplifier, for example. It's so well made that all I have to do is turn it on, see the lights and hear the hum as it initializes and I feel better about my shack!

    Your Questar is incredible. I can tell by looking at it that it is a true craftsman product, with a "maker" who only puts their name on products that have a certain level of quality. I know nothing about the sky, other than I enjoy our clear Arizona evening sky, but if I were buying a telescope it would certainly be that one. Dave, W7DGJ
  3. KW4H

    KW4H QRZ Lifetime Member #572 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I think funding for our amateur radio interests depends, at least in part, on our stage in life. All of our kids are grown and we've had an empty nest for a number of years. Like some, I have a second career and a pension from the first one. Within reason, I can spend what I want to on my hobby (which for the past few years has been mostly boat anchor restoration). I probably break even at best, but learn a lot. More importantly - when it comes to the XYLs, I think it's important that we maintain balance. Don't disappear into the shack for half the day, and DO take the XYL on vacations and cruises -- without ham radio. This is a hobby.

    73 - Steve, KW4H
    N2EY, K0TWA, W7DGJ and 1 other person like this.
  4. W9TR

    W9TR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Balance in our house is simple. I just double the cost of any hobby acquisition I make and my bride matches my spend. :) And vice versa.
    PY2NEA, KW4H and W7DGJ like this.
  5. N8TGQ

    N8TGQ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't think I'd mention CW at all! I'd market it to the Techs as a form of digital mode they could use on HF. Tweak the software so you just click on the other stations' call and you'd be answering them with a standard reply of about 20 characters, giving 599, your grid square and maybe name.

    Then turn it into PCOTA (PreppComm on the air), create a website to interact with each other and post your logs. The software could do everything they do in FT-8. Stake out the old Novice frequencies on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters.

    The problem with machine CW isn't the software. It's the human's lack of consistency and timing. Machine sent code from W1AW is pretty easy to decode. You just need a standard format and I think it would really increase his sales. That, and GET RID OF THE STUPID SMA CONNECTORS!
    W7DGJ likes this.
  6. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just had a somewhat nasty barb thrown at me by a British ham who is an older guy using a bunch of really old and beat straight keys. Keys he has had for years, and that's fine. I have an old favorite straight key as well. His point in this other forum was to say that just because something glitters and shines doesn't mean it's the best. I would agree with that point. You have to have code flowing freely, you have to feel that the key is actually improving your ability to send code. But he also made a snarky comment about my wife. I don't know why people in ham radio can't respect others' opinions. It drives me nuts. I respect his love of the old, beat-up keys. Now, why wouldn't he respect my enjoyment out of the two good looking keys referred to in this article? Who knows. Dave, W7DGJ
  7. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I started with a Bencher. I thought it was good enough until I went to one of our Club meetings where everyone brought their "favorite" paddles.
    There were lots of keys there... My favorite was one made by N3ZN. I then spent more money than I thought I ever would for a paddle.

    I've purchased other paddles since... but none stay on the desk for more than a couple of weeks. I keep returning to my N3ZN QRP paddle. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think Tony makes some fine looking keys and they work better than any other paddle I've used.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of chrome finishes because I'm too OCD to see my fingerprints on the chrome without wanting to polish it out. I gotta stop eating greasy chips at the station :)

    I like it so much it's my avatar.
    PY2NEA likes this.
  8. WD4AWD

    WD4AWD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is pretty much our system: no commentary on "allowance"-made purchases and we get to be weird whenever we want. Maybe some eyerolls every now and then, but never judgement or guilt.
    N1PCZ likes this.
  9. WD4AWD

    WD4AWD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you for the article Dave. I'm a new ham (9 months in ) and even newer to CW (3 months in) and I was pricing decent affordable paddles and the UR5CDX's CT599 came up a few times in my search. I read reviews, watched it in action on YouTube, and was convinced that there were few paddles in this tier of fit & finish vs. price. Couple that to having the opportunity to directly support a guy in a sovereign country that was under attack because they were, apparently, sovereign...I didn't hesitate to place an order for the polished brass model. I love the low profile nature of the version I purchased and I will never get rid of this paddle - I love using it and I only have put my hands on a few other paddles in a similar price range and this one feels like it is on another level. Very happy with my purchase and I wish Yury nothing but success and the ability to keep making great paddles for the global ham community.
    KD7LX likes this.
  10. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I feel the same way, Spencer. That key is a great bargain. I think you bought the right brand, for sure. Thank you for your compliment about the column, Dave
  11. M0MQV

    M0MQV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Mind you, when the XYL is also a ham, any excessive shack expenditures are likely to result in some matching radio related spends on the credit card. In my case it was: "You bought that FTdx5000 - I wanted this nice TS-990" ($ouch). What's not to like?? :)
    W4TMH, W7DGJ and N1PCZ like this.
  12. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Now that would be fun!
  13. EI6ITB

    EI6ITB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I own four ex-military keys and like the feel of each of them.
    One Clansman leg key, a Clansman benchtop key, a J38 and a Soviet naval key, which ironically enough came from Ukraine just after the war kicked off.
    I intend to eventually treat myself to either a Kent or one of the shiny Ukrainian ones, when I finally think my code is good enough.
    Early days, yet.
  14. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sounds like a good plan. Those Ukrainian keys are more than just shiny however!
  15. WW7GBA

    WW7GBA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Dave, great article. I run an internet business, I specialize in big game fishing equipment. You want to get into an expensive venture/hobby? Offshore fishing will do that for sure! I sell fishing reels that cost $3.5K to $12K along with many other unique products, we manufacture our own big game rods, kite fishing products, trolling gear, lures, as well as swordfishing, marlin, and tuna fishing gear. I am an avid fisherman, and I also fish offshore fishing tournaments in my home state of Florida during the summer months, I also do some fly fishing here in NE Utah on the Provo River, looking to mix that with a Razor, and POTA/SOTA endeavors. The one thing that I learned in this business is that cheap stuff rarely pans out, best to save $$$ and buy the right thing when you are ready. We spend a lot of money on fishing equipment, but also on the boats that get us out into the Atlantic, another large expense. I have no budget for fishing, tough to come up with an amount, as this varies and has zero degree of consistency when it comes to what you need. At times it is "what did we break on this trip?" At my price, dealer pricing, it is still super expensive. LOL, no breaks dude!

    I think Ham Radio can get expensive, but I think that if you are a regular operator, eventually you have everything you need ( I think, I am too new at this to say for sure on anything) When I decided to get my Ham licenses, I told my wife that Ham Radio is like fishing, you always need things. Currently I am in the process of setting up my shack, so I am having a lot of fun putting it together. I figure that in total, I may spend about 20K or so. I want a POTA setup, and I will probably update my 7300 to a 7610, dual VFOs and extra antenna ports come in handy. These are still in the works. Looking at the Yaesu 891 for POTA. So I have a few things I want to get. I am also having fun messing around with wire antennas, so it's all good. This keeps me busy, and will keep my mind going. Once you reach the age of 65, it is very important to stay busy, and keep the mind working. If the brain goes to sleep, the "Mr. Magoo Effect" takes over, and dementia is soon to follow. So keeping the brain entertained with new info, is a GOOD thing. I can't put a price on that! LOL


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