- I am a ham radio operator, father, husband, Christian, musician, avid reader, Texan, philosopher, and chronic hamburger fiend. After spending several years exploring the different avenues of Ham Radio I decided to share my ideas, experiments, and activities with my fellow "technically challenged" hams as I humbly present to you: "Ham Radio For the Rest of Us". I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Microphones? We don't need no stinking microphones!
Well after many years I developed an urge to try it again. After a few weeks of practice with software and some on air QSO's with another local ham who was also interested, I am now closing in on ten words per minute. Not lightning fast yet but I am having great fun with it. I bought a Kent straight key and joined the "Straight Key Century Club". They're a great bunch of guys and I'm looking forward to making some contacts with them.
The straight key is great and the Kent makes a beautiful addition to the shack; but my Bencher paddles are by far my favorite way to go. With paddles you need an electronic keyer also. They can get pretty salty. But as usual, I scoured the net looking for just the right deal for my frugal shack. Frugal refers to both price and technical difficulty! I found probably the best deal on a keyer on the face of the earth. It's called the N0XAS Pico Keyer Kit. It comes in a kit form (that even I could assemble); however I cheated and was given one by a fellow ham here in town. At a starting price of less than $20.00 they're quite a deal. You can find them at hamgadgets.com. If anyone is curious; no I don't have any affiliation with them, its just a really cool little piece of equipment.
Let me give you two other nuggets if you are interested in honing your CW skills. I used two free software programs to practice with. The first is the Koch Morse Trainer by G4FON and the second is The Morse Code Teaching Machine found at http://c2.com/morse. The G4FON can be easily found if you Google the call sign. They are both great programs and they're free.
I have found that I am interested in collecting unique keys and so far I have bought a couple. Who knows where this is going to lead. I guess I may have to build one next!