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 I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse

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I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Empty
PostSubject: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeSun Mar 19, 2023 10:27 am

Hi All,

I hope you're all well and enjoying your radio. I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse 1f44d 


As the title suggests I fancied another bash at Morse code.

I'd been held back by the fact that I was <ahem> 'advised' many years ago to 'memorise' the code from a lookup table and thereby foolishly create another table in my head....a sure fire way to struggle with slow code so that even 10wpm (words per minute) seems an insurmountable task. Unless you meet another equally ill-informed "Lid" operator on air you're not going to be carrying out too many CW contacts!

So recently I've been learning to hear the 'sounds' of Morse as well as the sound of common words and abbreviations....at a steady 20wpm. I'm thrilled at now being able to pick out call signs and the basic gist of CW contacts using this method. (After pretty much having to 'un-learn' the old method!!)

It's still difficult to do due to the amount of ridiculously fast "machine" sent Morse on air and even when that is sent slower it has that automated droll that is hard to concentrate on. Doesn't take you long though to appreciate the sounds of someone's "fist" or the difference in use of a straight key, paddle, rhythmic 'cootie' or side-swiper with even 'iambic' modes having those lovely timed gaps between words unique to each individual operator.

Flipping amazing how your brain can pick it all up through the radio hash too! (Something that most automated CW 'decoders' struggle with.)


So enthused with my new found 'skills' I've started to move onto the next step of actually sending code.....so I'll need a key!

Quick scrounge around the house plus shack and I came up with the following :-

I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Cw_tou10

From left to right :-

A couple of buttons from the sewing box and a pair of metal PCB stand-offs. These were then sweat soldered together to form a couple of 'paddles' with a quick lick of flat black paint to prevent any corrosion. A few transistors connected as Darlington pairs to interface with my Yaesu FT757gx CW input and keyer (10M ohm resistors to ground needed to tame the 'touch' input somewhat). All handily fitting inside an old SCART to Phono connector which is nice and small and get to use the phono connections to boot as well. (Connected to the rig via a phono to 3.5mm stereo jack lead and 1/4 inch stereo jack adapter.)


Here we see it finished and sat atop a block of aluminium (needs to be a tad lower in height) to prevent it skimming across the table :-

I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Cw_tou11


With the Yaesu keyer circuitry it works well and I can either use it in manual mode like a 'cootie' key, in auto mode with 'dah' on one side and 'dit' on the other or even full iambic mode which once you get used to is a real delight to use such 'squeeze' modes. (Much easier on the wrist too and faster!)

Being a 'touch' sensitive key means that there are no mechanical arrangements to adjust (no matter how beautiful those finely engineered keys look) and shouldn't wear out in the years I have left in me.

I'll need more practice before I let myself loose on air and I've promised an old Ham friend we'll have my first CW contact together.


Should do the job until a 'Bencher BY-1' turns up my way. Wink



Anyway, more of my waffle and homebrew antics. (This section of the forum is full of them now!) I hope it at least interests one or two of you and maybe even enthuses someone to take up a bit of Morse themselves.

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeSun Mar 19, 2023 9:06 pm

Impressive Victor, looks a very professional job.

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeSun Mar 19, 2023 10:21 pm

I've been learning for a few months, but both sending and copying.  Am way better at sending!  Very Happy

Luckily, I was taught to copy at a sensible speed (17wpm, now at 25, but with MUCH bigger spacing using Farnsworth currently) as this was explained as the speed at which you can't do the counting thing and have to learn the sounds, and hence no re-learning like the guys who did slow speed for one license class then had to redo it all for faster speeds later, back in the day!!

Just about ready to get on air for some very slow stuff!!


Last edited by 43CT016 on Mon Mar 20, 2023 6:48 am; edited 1 time in total

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeMon Mar 20, 2023 6:29 am

Cheers Derek. I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse 1f44d

(I only burnt the end of my 'bear-paw' fingers whilst soldering once! Very Happy )

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeMon Mar 20, 2023 6:41 am

Hi Jeff,

Well done with your Morse adventures and good to hear someone started you off on the right footing with faster speeds.

I'm not quite a solid copy type yet but doing my best to head copy only scribbling down call signs and grateful for those that send them more than once(!) I doubt I'll make 'competition' grade and I might have to send out the odd QRS plea. Wink

Might take a few months to get past being 'key-shy' on transmit but sure it'll be worth it.

Best of luck to you and I'm sure it'll be a thrill to get some CW contacts in your log.


73

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeFri Mar 24, 2023 10:05 pm

Nicely done Victor. I am sure you'll going to feel absolutely amazing when you do make a contact using it. Your first CW QSO on a key you've made yourself.. that will definitely be something to be proud of.

A few of our local club members are learning at the moment and a couple of old hands in the club have patiently worked them to help them out. I hope you too get a kind patient individual on the other end of the key when decide to go live with it the first time. I'd love to learn, just don't think I have the focus for it right at this moment.. for now mine remains pigeon CW kind like Mr Bean's pigeon French, I can recognise CQ DX and SOS and that's it.

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeSat Mar 25, 2023 5:09 am

Cheers Neal. I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse 1f44d 

I've got some teething problems with my rig to sort out yet. (I 'cleverly' shifted the reference oscillator due to the CW crystal going soft but now have other issues and will need to go back so will lose CW again!) At least I know a 'touch' key works and easy to build.

If you can instantly recognise a CQ call it doesn't take much more to pick up the DE, call sign and a K. Some call signs will catch you out, (one poor sod has MM0MTO....way too many dah-dah's!), let alone others you usually don't recognise but you slowly start getting there. I'm still getting tripped up but grabbing the gist of a CW contact unless of course you get the operators that don't leave spaces between words and it becomes a jumble of letters. 

My sending will just have to wait a while unless I (tut-tut) build a CW transmitter. Wink


Luckily you don't need CW to be a Radio Amateur nowadays but it is a handy skill to have especially for QRP work or have the passion for it.
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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeTue Mar 28, 2023 5:50 pm

Well done Victor. This is my ultimate goal. I have started tinkering again as I gear up for my Foundation Licence. Passed the Marine VHF in January, so can now settle down to the amatuer licence.
Nice to hear of your progress.
Best wishes
Al

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeTue Mar 28, 2023 6:31 pm

Nice build Victor. I bought a ready-made touch paddle a few years ago, but had to give it up. My fingers wanted to linger on the touch pad causing me much consternation. It takes a 'new' skill to keep your fingers off the pads when not intended.

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeTue Mar 28, 2023 6:40 pm

Cheers Al. I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse 1f44d 

I don't think I've stopped tinkering since just before getting my licence right through to now it being a great hobby for such antics.

I wish you all the best for your radio aspirations and interests.

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeTue Mar 28, 2023 6:43 pm

Thanks Mike.

I did initially have my doubts about a touch key but on this final version I set the paddles slightly less apart than my relaxed forefinger and thumb spacing which has made it a bit easier. Nothing like a mechanical feel though and I shall keep my eyes out for a good old fashioned dual paddle key. Wink

All the best.
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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeSat Apr 01, 2023 11:06 am

Fantastic work on making the key, Victor. Great ingenuity on the construction.👍

Well done on learning morse. I take my hat off to all you lads that can send and read morse code, it is beyond my comprehension how you do it. I am similarly impressed by people who play music instruments too. Well beyond my capabilities for sure. Lol.

Good luck to anyone learning morse. Have fun.👍

73s John.

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeWed Apr 05, 2023 7:47 pm

Tongue in cheek question Victor.
Why do most hams including yourself complain about Roger beeps, then go beepity bleep beep beep bleeping to each other ? 🤔😛🤣👍🏼

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeWed Apr 05, 2023 7:55 pm

Sharpshooter wrote:
Tongue in cheek question Victor.
Why do most hams including yourself complain about Roger beeps, then go beepity bleep beep beep bleeping to each other ? 🤔😛🤣👍🏼
Good point lol!
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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeThu Apr 06, 2023 4:46 am

Sharpshooter wrote:
Tongue in cheek question Victor.
Why do most hams including yourself complain about Roger beeps, then go beepity bleep beep beep bleeping to each other ? 🤔😛🤣👍🏼

Because when we go "beepity bleep beep beep bleeping" we do it instead of a voice conversation, not in the middle of one!  Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeThu Apr 06, 2023 5:43 am

Big difference Nige.....big, big difference. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeThu Apr 06, 2023 11:30 am

43CT016 wrote:
Sharpshooter wrote:
Tongue in cheek question Victor.
Why do most hams including yourself complain about Roger beeps, then go beepity bleep beep beep bleeping to each other ? 🤔😛🤣👍🏼

Because when we go "beepity bleep beep beep bleeping" we do it instead of a voice conversation, not in the middle of one!  Very Happy


The end of one 👍🏼😛😁
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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeThu Apr 06, 2023 11:41 am

Sharpshooter wrote:
43CT016 wrote:
Sharpshooter wrote:
Tongue in cheek question Victor.
Why do most hams including yourself complain about Roger beeps, then go beepity bleep beep beep bleeping to each other ? 🤔😛🤣👍🏼

Because when we go "beepity bleep beep beep bleeping" we do it instead of a voice conversation, not in the middle of one!  Very Happy


The end of one 👍🏼😛😁

End of an over, middle of the conversation.  I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse 1f60b
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PostSubject: Morse code    I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeTue Apr 18, 2023 9:02 pm

Hi,
I've finally got a radio that I could connect a morse key too, and I'm seriously thinking about getting a key (I'm no good with a soldering iron) but does anyone really use it anymore or is it done by apps? And even if I get a key and learn the code, which frequencies do you use? (My dad was a morse operator in Germany back in the fifties and I kinda feel I should learn, but I'm not a licensed ham)
So please let me know your thoughts, even what type of key to get....
Thanks

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeWed Apr 19, 2023 6:59 am

Hi Mark,

There's loads of information available on the Internet regards CW/Morse operations including organisations that promote its activity so I would say it's as popular as ever. (Probably more so now that no one is 'forced' to do it as part of the Radio Amateur licencing exams.)

I wish you well with any aspirations you may have.

73
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse   I Fancied a 'Touch' of Morse Icon_minitimeTue Jul 25, 2023 10:01 pm

Victor wrote:
Hi Mark,

There's loads of information available on the Internet regards CW/Morse operations including organisations that promote its activity so I would say it's as popular as ever. (Probably more so now that no one is 'forced' to do it as part of the Radio Amateur licencing exams.)

I wish you well with any aspirations you may have.

73
Victor
Victor, I tried various methods, but the best I found (if you don't have an Elmer at your beck and call) is information on the ARRL web site - if you search for cw tuition there are plenty of mp3 files at various speeds with a text files to match. They are really good as they are proper messages with letters, numbers and prosigns. HTH.
Needless to say only send at the speed that you can comfortably receive
Richard

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