New kid in town!

Today i went to get a new radio for a new adventure. I have always been on HF, everything below 30MHz.

Because the propagation is not that great and i do want to chat about a bit, i purchased my Dynascan M-6D.

This is a 2m only radio, one of the budget radios in the spanish market. I must say, a nice little radio for the money you have to toss out for it. It has all the functions you would expect from a 2 meter radio.

So now i have the task to lear all about DTMF, DCS, APO, ANI, narrow- and wide-band FM, shift, split, repeaters, etc, etc. A whole new world to explore until propagation comes back on HF.

Frequency range is the regular 136-174MHz, so can talk to the local police as well. Although i don’t know if they would appreciate that. Hehehe.

Anyway, here are the specs and if anyone from the EA3 area is reading this, give me a call.


EA3HOE on the air! (was: Passed my Amateur Radio test!!)

Because the organization is a local public service and because it’s (almost) Christmas time so they already work at a very low pace, it all started to look like i’m not going to be online until at least 2012.

Well, i couldn’t wait any longer, so i called the local organization which deals with handing out the callsigns for new radio amateurs in my region.
I already got confirmed by e-mail that my callsign was known, but the person responsible for sending the letter with the callsign is not available and i have to wait.
Nope. since the callsign needs to come from the Ministry of Communications, i thought i’d give them a call as well.
“Well yeah, we know these local organizations work very slow. I wish they did everything directly with us. So much simpler and so much faster. Let me take a look, what’s your name?” 
“Yeah, i have it here. Take a pen. Echo Alfa Three Hotel Oscar Echo.”
I cannot believe it. A friend of mine is EA3HIV (yes, HIV), another one is EA3GOD (yes, GOD) and now i am EA3HOE?? No, don’t look the word HOE up on Wikipedia…
Anyway, so EA3HOE it is. Starting over with my log and still have to make my first contact. 
2 weeks of holiday and bad propagation should give me plenty of time to fill up my logs again!!

Last week friday i did my EA HAM Radio exam, today i got the results.

First test: Common Electronics, Radio Electronics and Radio Operations – PASSED!!
Second test: Amateur Radio regulations – PASSED!!

Now, the only thing i have to do is:

  • Wait for the results to be official – November 7
  • Wait for my diploma to arrive – a couple of weeks later
  • Then file the papers for my EA callsign – maximum 6 weeks after reception of the papers
  • After i receive that file papers for the local Amateur Radio ID card – no idea, but shouldn’t take too long – non critical
  • Then file the papers for my station authorization – couple of weeks
  • Build my station – probably a couple of hours….
And all need to be payed…  I guess i won’t be legally on the air until somewhere in 2012….
Too much bureaucracy here in Spain.

Learning CW Progress (Update 1)

So today i finally started to learn morse.
I have downloaded a couple of audio files and i started off with K7QO’s Code Course. The K7QO Code Course teaches the the alphabet from A to Z in sets of two letters and then a test of the letters learned so far.

I don’t know if this is the best way to learn the code, but a s a first attempt, this is what i do:
I listen to the audio files and try to repeat what i hear using my paddles.
The audio  files i listen on my Macbook, the radio produces the morse audio i create with my paddles. Like this i not only learn the code, but also learn how to handle the paddles.
The good thing is that the radio doesn’t transmit as long as it is set to USB. When i set the radio to CW, the radio transmits what i send with my paddles, but for the next 4 months or so, this is not needed yet… So you can think of it that USB mode is my “learning mode”.

Today i have done a-b, the a-b test, c-d, the a-d test, e-f and the a-f test. The audio files vary between 12 and 20WPM and i have set my radio to 20WPM.
About two hours of practice and i can tell you that the last test, the a-f one, was not easy.
I hear two code sequences, the one from my Macbook and the one from my radio, both with a different pitch. And while i’m sending my code i have to listen to the next sequence i have to repeat. This, when the speed goes up, needs some practice, i can promise you that!

Also the handling of the paddles is not easy. As well as learning an audio “rhythm” for each character, i also have to learn a paddle “rhythm” to actually send the letters.
Maybe 20WPM is too fast to begin with. Not for recognizing the letters, but for sending them. I very often send an extra dit or dah because i don’t handle the paddles well. Also if i would spend some time on the squeezing technique (see below), maybe this would make my life easier, don’t know.

Anyway, this is my first progress report. I guess this will be my longest article ever. If now, with 6 characters, i already get confused, how could i ever learn 26 characters, 10 digits and a bunch of signs and special codes?
How? I don’t know yet, but i definitely keep you informed.