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#49830 - 09/23/05 11:50 AM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Advise?
IF you decide to go and get a ham radio (or 2,3, or in my case, a dozen or 2 - yes I have too many) look up you local ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) group - you do NOT have to join - but it'll be a GOOD thing to know what frequencies they plan on using, for 2 reasons 1)They USUALLY know the local repeaters that will work "better" in disasters (better coverage, backup power, etc) and 2)If they ARE on the air, they often get the skinny before it hist the press - in fact, they are often helping report it to the powers that be
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You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
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#49831 - 09/23/05 12:40 PM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
Malpaso Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/05
Posts: 817
Loc: MA
Morse Code (known in HAM language as CW or continous wave) is far from obsolete. In the worst conditions, it is often the only mode that can be transmitted through atmospheric noise. Granted, the newer digital modes are more popular, but they require computer equipment, which is not always available during an emergency, especially when power is at issue. I have gone around the world on 5w with CW, and made over 1000 contacts in a 48 period. CW is not outdated, nor is it dead.
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It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

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#49832 - 09/23/05 03:46 PM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
Paul, what about this setup for psk31?

http://www.eham.net/forums/Digital/2373

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#49833 - 09/23/05 04:40 PM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
paulr Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 448
PSK31 is more effective at getting through noise than CW ever was (and where PSK31 won't get through, there's PSK10 and even PSK5, but those are rarely used since they're not needed). Yes, it needs a computer but every radio these days has a computer built in. What seems to not exist yet is a radio whose built-in computer supports PSK31 without needing an external computer (i.e. a complete PSK31 station in one box, about the size of an FT817, with a keyboard and display). It's really time for someone to make something like that. Better still would be a spread spectrum mode which needs no tuning.

There was a very good article by Phil Karn KA9Q a while back about how Morse is nowhere near as channel-efficient as people seem to think it is. I'm not able to find it right now (I just Googled for a few minutes) but maybe it will turn up.

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#49834 - 09/24/05 01:24 AM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
Anonymous
Unregistered


This may be an incredibly simple minded question, but is there not a computer sub-program that converts plain text to morse, and morse to plain text? Why could not such a thing run on a palmtop? I'm not into radio, I'm just curious.

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#49835 - 09/24/05 01:57 AM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
paulr Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 448
Programs like that exist, but if you've got a computer you might as well use a digital mode, even RTTY, rather than Morse. Morse was designed to work with extremely primitive equipment, no computers, no microphones even, just an on-off switch that you flip on and off. There is a traditionalist excitement in using it that would be lost if you had a computer do everything. I remember finding a beautiful RAF telegraph key in a junk shop many years ago and I had to buy it even though I had no use for it. But I have no idea where it is now.

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#49836 - 09/24/05 06:16 AM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thank you Paul. I suppose that the quick answer is that there is nobody around to receive the signal. Too steep a curve, so to speak, after everybody is used to voice. To me, as a novice, it seems kind of too bad, as a simple pulse signal can be transmitted over so many bands so simply.

I'd find that old key, if I were you. If you don't want it, I like old gear.

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#49837 - 09/24/05 07:13 AM Re: HAM radio --2 meter gear
paulr Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 448
I don't want to give the wrong impression. Lots of hams are still using Morse code, but they're doing it the traditional way, without computers, because they enjoy that or because they don't have computer equipment, or because they want to stay connected to old-time ham culture that still uses Morse. Morse will still be with us for quite a while even though in pure technological terms it doesn't make much sense any more.

There's no chance of my finding that telegraph key--I've moved several times since then.

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