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June 27, 2014

I don't remember exactly when I first got my license as WN9GFA (a Novice ticket), or later passed the exam for my General ticket.  It was somewhere around 1969 - 1971 timeframe.  I have been mostly inactive during all those years, but always careful to keep my license current for whenever the day came that I had time, finances, and geography all coming together to support my capability to enjoyably engage in ham radio.... if nothing else, then at least when I retire.... well, here I am finally!


My first goals are to:

     -Get on the HF bands, and on local 2M.  Main interest is HF.

    -Get my code speed back up.... I'm amazed that I can still copy around 6 or 7 wpm after all these years!!  First target is to achieve about 15 wpm, then 20, maybe more... ?  My good friend, Dave, K9TCG, who helped me first get going in ham radio set a benchmark (unintentionally) for me in this regard.  He once told me that when he was a Novice (when code speed requrement was only 5 wpm), he got a "20 WPM Code Proficiency Certificate" <-- not sure I got that exactly right.... from ARRL.  Over the years, during periods when I could get "active" briefly, I would always set out toward that benchmark again.  I think the best I ever got was about 18 wpm, but not all that reliably, even then. Anyway, .... here I go again.

    -Get my computer working with my rig via CAT.  I have only a vague notion of what this digital stuff in ham radio is all about, so I've been doing some research and reading. I am running Ubuntu Linux 14.04 on a computer which is about 10-12 years old, and have a serial cable connected to the rig for CAT.  As of this writing, I have not been successful at getting the radio and computer talking to each other. I am running fldigi  and  flrig on Ubuntu.  Recently bought a SignaLink USB and have finally got a "waterfall" going in fldigi, but so far have been unable to get CAT going between rig and computer... still working to find a solution.  I want to experience psk-31 for starts whenever I get this stuff working.


HF Rig is:    Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark-V Field (Can run about 100 Watts max.)

Antenna is:  Random wire in inverted L configuration.  Horizontal is about 85 feet; vertical is about 17 feet.  Bottom of the vertical section is connected to MFJ-993BRT AutoTuner (which can handle up to 300 Watts cw/ssb) for tuning.


I also have other interests, which keep me from remaining fully focused on ham radio: I enjoy piddling with computers, mostly Linux toward gradually understanding it more and more deeply, without totally obsessing on it.  I also enjoy a limited amount of woodworking, and am also gradually learning more about it.  I like to use the computer to design a woodworking project before building it.... have used SketchUP, but very hard to have full capability on Linux, since it is a native Window application.  Have discovered FreeCAD on Linux, but all my woodworking tools are in Imperial units and FreeCAD currently is only Metric units. I am not a programmer, but this makes me think about learning the Python language to see if I could write code for FreeCAD so it has Imperial units..... may never happen.... but at least I "think" about it!!


Ok... that's probably too much for now, so I'll stop.....



7/3/2015  Past time for an update....

Over the last year, I have been on-again / off-again with ham radio.  However, I have acheived a milestone or two with the assistance of other hams.  Many thanks to Jim Cummings (KT4MM) for helping me eliminate possible sources of my problems in getting my computer to connect with my rig via serial port for "CAT" control.  With his assistance, I was able to determine that the rig itself was not the issue. With that huge question mark removed, I was able to move forward and finally get things working.  Now, I currently enjoy running fldigi on Kubuntu linux.  The audio interface is via a SignaLink USB, and the rig control is via CAT, using the combination of fldigi and flrig.

My CW speed is coming along, also.... but again with fits and starts... or re-starts!  I think I must be up to about 12 WPM solid copy, and am agressively working to get on up to 20 WPM.  I use an app on my Android smart phone called "IZ2UUF Morse Koch CW".  Many thanks to him for creating this tool.... it is very configurable and is perfect for my style of learning.  I can connect headphones and just "immerse" myself in cw while walking the treadmill, or I can connect a cable from the headphone jack to the "AUX" jack in my car's stereo system and "immerse" myself in cw while running errands, etc..... works great for me.... then when listening on the air, I find my proficiency improved, even though I hadn't tried to write anything down while drilling via this app.  I have also found a web site for drilling cw that is also very configurable, and requires no software install on my computer.  Thus, it can be used from any computer by just surfing the web browser to that web site:   http://www.lcwo.net


6609023 Last modified: 2015-08-01 15:08:46, 5397 bytes

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