Sunday, April 15, 2018

Challenges

This post seems to have a little bit of everything. Ural issues, RV, ham radio, and technology. Though no travel or anything related to Barrow aka Utqiaġvik. The title of the post started out as CW challenges but over the weekend, more challenges kept arising.


For the Morse code class, which is generally referred to as CW, we use a practice program called RufzXP. It was written back in the days of Windows XP which explains the "XP" in the name. It sends random letters, numbers, and symbols to the audio port and you need to type it into a box. If you get it right, it sends the next series of characters slightly faster. Unfortunately, I have a hard time typing as well as listening. Especially for numbers and symbols. I seem to spend a lot of time looking at the keyboard for the letters. Especially when punctuation is sent. I believe the goal is to remember the letters and punctuation then type it in after it's sent. I have a hard time with that as well.

To help me with some of the audio practice files available for download on the CW Ops website, I installed a morse decoder on the iPad. Feeding the audio out from the laptop into the microphone input on the iPad, the app attempts to convert it to text. As you can see from the text in the image, the decoding is far from perfect. This particular file is pretty straightforward to read but some of the CW files have so much shorthand or abbreviations, I have a really hard time understanding the text even if I decode the Morse code accurately. I believe that understanding the abbreviations comes from experience. Here is an example of a conversation between two operators. I guess it really isn't any different than two teenagers texting. I added the meaning of the abbreviation in parentheses.

cq (calling) cq cq w1rm (the target call sign) w1rm de (from) n3am (the source call sign) k (ok) n3am w1rm ge (good evening) es (and) tu (thank you) fer (for) call ur (your) rst (received signal) 569 569 (numbers refer to the strength and quality of the received signal) qth (my location) is ct (Connecticut) ct es (and) name is pete pete ok? de (from) w1rm w1rm de n3am fb (ok) pete ur (your) rst is 589 in md (Maryland) md name is john john hw? w1rm de n3am k de w1rm r r (are) solid hr john wx (weather) is snow es (and) temp is 24 24 rig runs kw (kilowatt) to 5 el (element) yagi up 60 ft (height of antenna) age is 72 hw? (how are you receiving me) de w1rm w1rm de n3am ok pete gud (good) cpy (copy) wx (weather) is cla (clear) eemp 33 rig runs kw to 4 el yagi at 55 ft age is 70 ok? w1rm de n3am de w1rm all solid john nice to wrk u (you) agn (again) so soon will look fer (for) u (you) agn (again) on 40 (assume meters) take care es (and) 73 (best regards) sk (end of contact)  n3am de w1rm w1rm de n3am enjoyed the qso pete cu (see you) agn (again) sn (soon) 73 sk w1rm de n3am ee ee 
On Friday, I had planned to pick up the 5th wheel from the RV storage lot and bring it back to the house. But, when I went there, the large pile of snow was still in front of the trailer and it looked like they tried to move it with their plow truck. Not much chance of that as the snow pile was solid enough to stand on. Anyway, they were waiting for the loader to come and move the snow. Maybe Monday or Tuesday. Anyway, there were snow flurries on Friday.

On Saturday, I took the automotive battery out of the Ural and reconnected the stock motorcycle battery after having it on the charger overnight. It seemed to crank the engine over just fine. On Sunday morning, not a chance. Just click-click-click. So on Sunday afternoon, the automotive battery went back in. I guess it needs battery number 3. Maybe time for one from Walmart...

BTW, over 15 hours of daylight (sunrise to sunset) today and almost 18 hours of light (first light to last light)!

16 comments:

redlegsrides said...

Wow, at first glance, that conversation is quite cryptic....but yeah, familiarity will help.....

Scott Seidl said...

First glance? I looked at it many times and have no idea what the heck it means. Maybe a weather forecast and some transmitter/antenna info? I got nothing. You sure this isn't some type of enigma transmission? Translate please.

VStar Lady said...

Richard, my Dad was an amature radio operator ... the prerequisite for the liscence was passing the Morse code test (without an iPad). He always wanted me to learn, I never did. I had no idea that it was still in use ... with the advances in technology.

RichardM said...

I went ahead and added some text in parentheses that may help understanding the cryptic text.

RichardM said...

When I first wrote it down I wasn’t at all sure if I had heard the audio correctly. Way too many abbreviations including some that don’t save very much time like “fer” instead of “for”.

RichardM said...

Amateur radio does seem to be dying out but there still seems to be place for low bandwidth communications methods like Morse code. Plus, there is the whole prepper community that is obsessed with Armageddon and wants alternative long distance communication.

Canajun said...

I'm sure glad you inserted the translations. But why all the repetition? Especially when abbreviating the message seems so important.

Trobairitz said...

Hooray for extra daylight!!

The sample conversation looks a little like Greek to me (hard to read both of them) Glad you are getting the hang of it.

RichardM said...

I think all the repetition is for things that they want to make sure the others receive correctly. To report a successful contact, a few things are essential like call sign, signal report, location and possibly name. Other things like the rig and weather are just informational.

RichardM said...

At least it is written in familiar characters. As far as the daylight, in a few short months we'll start losing it again....

Ken said...

I can't think of morse code without seeing a steam locomotive in my mind... But maybe I should re-learn it (I passed it off as a scout 50 years ago) so I can be a prepared prepper!
I hope they get the snow moved soon so you can get your trailer out! We got a skiff today, but it melted fast.

RichardM said...

I like steam locomotives so maybe I’m in the right era…

The trailer is out!

Lynne Goebeler said...

Wow, that really looks like Greek to me, even with the English help! Glad to hear you're getting more light, and that the RV is free of the snow pile. 😀

RichardM said...

The RV is free of the snow pile and from the fenced compound where it has been since last September. And, fortunately, the “Greek” is starting to be a little more comprehensible.

Lynne Goebeler said...

Glad you can comprehend it. Lol Are you roadtripping again soon?

RichardM said...

Not soon enough. Need to do some remodeling first.