Yaesu FT-991 CW Setup

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KM4WSX, Apr 4, 2017.

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  1. KM4WSX

    KM4WSX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Alright, I'm making the plunge onto CW. I just unwrapped a Vibroplex Code Warrior Junior, which I will plug into the front panel of my Yaesu FT-991A.

    Now what? There are a lot of menu items associated with CW, and other than accepting the defaults, I'm not sure what menus to adjust to what values, or why.

    I understand there might be some sort of practice mode, short of putting it at five watts and hanging a dummy load on the rig??

    I don't mind reading a reference; which one?

    I don't mind getting vector from an Elmer; who has the same or similar gear?

    I don't wish to be carried, just pointed in the right direction.

    Please assist, please advise.
    N2AMM and KM4RFI like this.
  2. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    How about the user's manual?

    From page 76: "You may practice sending CW listening to the sidetone only, without having the signal transmitted out over the air, if you press the front panel F(M-LIST) button to reveal the functions last on the TFT LCD display, and then touch the [BK IN[ button to set break-in to Off."

    I know the amount of information in the owner's manual can seem overwhelming, and I certainly want you to get on the air using CW as quickly as possible, but in amateur radio it is essential to ALWAYS read the user's manual of all but the simplest devices before trying to operate them. (In addition, it is considered bad form in these forums to ask questions that are quickly and easily answered by referring to the manual. Once I downloaded a copy of your manual, it took all of three seconds to find the answer...).

    Remember: real hams read manuals!
    K5VZD, N2AMM, W7UUU and 2 others like this.
  3. KC3RN

    KC3RN Ham Member QRZ Page

    See page 76 of the 991A manual. You basically just turn the break-in function off.
    K5VZD, N2AMM, KM4WSX and 1 other person like this.
  4. KM4WSX

    KM4WSX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes. The manual. Hardcopy.

    Printed out the pages for CW so I could mark them up.

    KC3RN "turn off the break-in function" is helpful. Thank you!

    Any recommendations on ELEKEY selection for the dual paddle Code Warrior? Someone with the radio and the key, or similar.

    From page 80 of the FT-991A manual:

    . Press the MENU(SETUP) button to engage the Menu.

    . Rotate the MULTI knob to select Menu item “012 KEYER TYPE .

    . Press the [SELECT] button, and then rotate the MULTI knob to set the keyer to the desired mode. The available selections are:

    The built-in Electronic Keyer is turned off ("straight key" mode).

    Dots will be generated automatically by the keyer, but dashes must be sent manually.

    A code element ("Dot" or "Dash" side) is transmitted upon releasing both sides of the paddle.

    Releasing both sides of the paddle transmits the currently generated "Dash" side followed by "Dot" side (or reverse order).

    Pressing both sides of the paddle transmits the currently generated Dash side followed by Dot side (or reverse order).

    While transmitting the "Dash" side, the first transmitted "Dot" side will not be stored.

    Same as “ELEKEY" except that the spacing between characters is precisely set by the keyer to be the same length as a dash (three dots in length).


    I'm leaning toward the ACS mode, as I don't have a "fist" or the timing, yet, with too much help may not develop one.

    Please assist. Please advise.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  5. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm afraid there's no "right" or "wrong" setting. You'll just get opinions, although you may find those useful.

    My own opinion is that everyone should start with a straight key before switching to an electronic keyer.

    Others say that if you are going to be married to an electronic keyer, you should start with one.

    See? Opinions. :) Just try the different settings and see which one you like.
    K5VZD, N2AMM and K6JJR like this.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I see nothing wrong with starting right out with a keyer.

    However I sure agree, "just try stuff."

    And if you want to "get good" at code, don't just practice, listen, or send to yourself: START MAKING CONTACTS, even if they're slow speed, even if you make mistakes, even if you don't get solid copy on anybody.

    Once you're making contacts, try to make five each day. Then come back after six months and let us know how you're doing. Almost everybody would be doing very well and going at least 20 wpm with solid contacts.
    K8AI and WB5YUZ like this.
  7. KM4WSX

    KM4WSX Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Koch system makes sense to me and I'm playing with it. We'll see how it goes. So many apps now! Seems similar to typing: Eyes to brain to hands, then, eye to hands. Morse Code, Ears to brain to hands, then, ears to hand. Sort of make it autonomic . . . ?
  8. KM4WSX

    KM4WSX Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Koch system makes sense to me, I think, and I'm playing with it. We'll see how it goes. So many apps now! Seems similar to typing: Eyes to brain to hands, then, eye to hands. Morse Code, Ears to brain to hands, then, ears to hand. Sort of make it autonomic . . . ? A gentle Elmering, across a hamfest table. What's your name? Dan. Dah-di-dit, dit-dah, dah-dit. Huh. Wife is Trish. End is musical: Dah, di-dah-dit, di-dit, di-di-dit, di-di-di-dit. Ends with two, three four dits.

    And Koch progression with similar sounding letters: K: Dah-di-dah; M: Dah-dah. Then R, reverse of K: di-dah-dit; then S: di-di-dit. Wonder why he didn't do I, reverse of M next?

    And, I'm appreciating the . . . look . . . of the little Code Warrior Junior. Simple. Form follows function. Beautiful. Magnetic return, huhhhh! Over time, I imagine I'll get a feel for when it's "tuned up" right. It seems tight enough now. And finding a partially built and abandoned, some missing parts, in the original box NorCal Paddle club predecessor of the Code Warrior Junior for a song! Chasing up parts for it, preparing to metal finish the base . . . keeps you out of the bars.

    Forty years of bucket list to the technician and general ticket by remembering electronics training in Air Force technical school from 40 years ago, hopefully definitely, morse, then pause a little for pragmatic learning and tackle Amateur Extra. Creating an antenna farm at the back of the garage, shack on bench in the garage, antenna party with the guys. Going to set up a . . . QSO with brother in law in Danvers Mass,1000 plus miles away, his vertical antenna right in the salt-water marsh and worldwide contacts with five watts! Huhhhhh!

    Now retired Amateur Radio Club Past President and Elmer installed Collins' with SSB in SAC bombers directly on Gen Curtis Lemay's staff! Way back when. Has a collection of Morse Keys in a glass case, one code key back to Civil War vintage, military code not morse, but still a key, I think he said. Of course, guys don't do a lot of talking to each other unless there's a physical object intervening, like a Morse Key, or a 9mm pistol, or a domed piston, or a 2-meter handy-talkie. Spouses with medical procedures, and in-turn family cookie baking or lasagna when out of the hospital. Prayer and pledge of allegiance before the monthly ham club meeting.

    A Kent Single Paddle on the way as well, to look at and to play with and to use. And show to the Elmer with 50 Morse Keys in a glass case, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses and innovations 50 years ago and why SSB is lower side or higher side. Huhhhhhh! Of course, it's all in the books. . . .

    The ham radio guru with Amateur Extra. . . . and First Class RadioTelephone Station Engineer for a dozen radio stations and a ham shack on the side of a mountain under a former broadcast tower now ham tower renting out space! Kind of quiet and terse in person; a different verbose person on the ham radio! Tail end Charlie for him in the Cherokee with flashing yellow light bar, talking on 2 meter national simplex -- what a hoot! -- What do you mean by "clear" when lane changing? -- when he moves his fifth wheel camping and ham shack to the small town parade for a comm post. Stay out of the ditches! When he gets there, police escort to his prearranged parking spot. Puts out mesh net antennas into the network mostly installed by hisself! As good an internet as he would have at home.

    Public Service implementation and socialization in the pragmatic learning pause, meantime. It's tornado season, high motivation. Work with the County Sheriff, called out for hazmat semi-collision and on standby for missing teen, and swarms of us, a dozen or two dozen, in radio cars for severe thunderstorm lines. Net controller! First to find the roof ripped off the airport's hanger - image on the local evening news, all four channels, fed through National Weather Service! Thanks, and come to a class at our weather radar site, like a bitty pocket Air Force Base!

    For the seven in our ham class, we had a graduation, and the wives did potluck and a cake with the image of a Yeasu portable on it. We have the pictures to prove it. Ooooooooh! And another class with five graduates two months later. Cross talk with the Sheriff volunteers, lines of communication very strong between the two groups now.

    Wire and soldering and rope and metal poles and climbing ladders and electronics and online shopping and meeting around meal tables in local diners. Getting good with the antenna analyzer, or loan it out to a trustworthy friend and get it back with fresh batteries. Driving a hundred and 50 miles to a hamfest, eating in a cafe in a town where one of the guys used to live 15 years ago.

    I'm glad the CW tone is sharp, square, rise and fall, at 62 my hearing's not what it used to be. What, 1000-ish hertz? Cuts right through. These young millenials with high hand eye ear coordination should pick up Morse Code quick by making an iPhone game of it. No intimidation at all, no brute force training. Better tools now. Something for secret communication in rebellion to the teachers, smart teachers will encourage the positive "rebellion." Local Senior Center director gets intergenerational activities going: invite the high schoolers in to explain high functions of iPhones to the seniors. Great satisfaction explaining to elders, and community service points! Elders satisfaction in attention from Youngers. Not me, of course, at 62 I'm much too young!!!!!
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  9. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    All the multilayered menus are appealing to computer oriented folks but I grew up with buttons and knobs on the front panel.
    My latest radio, the Yaesu FT990, may be one of the LAST high performance rigs with out menu lists, it has the buttons switches and knobs that I can understand !
    When I got it, I found a page in the manual that shows how to wire the "stereo" plugs for a straight key and paddle and off I went, on-the-air !
    Push one button and the keyer is operating and push it again and the straight key and bug work.
    KM4WSX likes this.
  10. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just about any modern transceiver can be used for a code parctice oscillator by turning the RF gain all the way down and turning off the breakin or VOX function on the CW mode and start sending. You can hear the side tone and be sending to yourself !.
    VR2YUM, K6JJR and KM4WSX like this.

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