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Old 25-08-2010, 10:01   #16
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I too am quite curious on how viable Satcom is while on the water. As most Satcoms require directional antennas, I wonder how viable it would be on the water.

Shouldn't a gyro and a compass work for most situations? I don't know much about it but if it works for the gun of a battleship it should work for satcom.
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Old 25-08-2010, 11:30   #17
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denverd0n - CODE REQUIREMENT Yes, quite aware...but I'm from the old school and want to get into CW anyway. My father was a BIG time HAMster and was in telecommunications for 30 years, so its sort of a family tradition (which I wimped out on when I was younger). It's sorta fun!
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:11   #18
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SaltyMonkey - I'm kind of the same as you - trying to nail Morse/CW down though I don't have a real need for it. My grandfather was a railroad telegrapher, and my father would sit and copy incomings for him as a kid, so I figured I could learn it too. its been hard for me. They say the musically inclined do very well with Morse code, but i'm definitely not in that category.

I suppose your packet and APRS might work for you when close inshore, but I don't think there will be much use for it offshore. Once you get out of cell phone range, I imagine you will usually be out of range of the repeaters you will need for those modes.

The WINMOR mode, which uses sound card technology (in your computer or outboard) instead of an expensive Pactor modem has some promise, but in my experience in the USA it has been harder to find a connecting station than with Pactor. That may improve with time.

OLIVIA is a great soundcard mode of communication on the Ham bands. It is error correcting and works well under adverse noise and weak signal conditions, but is oriented toward "rag chewing" and not messaging. Enough Hams use it and would pick up on your CQ almost anywhere in the world that you could probably get through to some Ham somewhere no matter where you are. They could then relay a message for you if that is what you wanted. PSK31 is also an effective ragchewing mode, but lacks error correction. It has the advantage of much wider use in the Ham community so it making a connection of some sort is even more likely.

Amateur radio 2-way communications via satellite while possible from a boat would be pretty awkward and probably difficult to maintain without expensive antenna pointing and stabilizing hardware, though I have no experience in that arena.

Right now, odds of making any contacts much above 14 mHz are usually poor and at best hit and miss. If this sunspot cycle would ever heat up, that may improve for a few years, but this cycle is predicted to be not to impressive.

As far as "cluttering up the ham bands" with Pactor or Winmor, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Except for the big "Contest" weekends, there is plenty of room in the non-voice sections for current levels of usage. That doesn't mean that occasionally someone might not try to interfere with your communication intentionally, but I have not found that to be a real problem.

Good luck on your Ham exams!

Chip
AE5KA
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Old 25-08-2010, 13:29   #19
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SoonerSailor - thanks for the run down on digital options etc. As for code, I have a music degree and I can tell you its still baffling. I have not been able to find in any research the logic behind the given codes to be able to decipher an easy way to remember. One thing that is helping is tracing the letters to specific codes. For example, K = - o - so visualize the dashes as the arms of the K and the dot as the intersection point. We'll see how it works. Once I get down teh characters, I'll start using another more reasonable and well know method.

I know that there is an english method using sentences for example

F = o - oo which equates to "did she like it"
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Old 25-08-2010, 14:04   #20
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I know that there is an english method using sentences for example

F = o - oo which equates to "did she like it"
easy way to remember a few of the trickier ones

F fetch a fireman ..-. reversed .-.. L
Q wedding march --.- reversed -.-- Y
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Old 25-08-2010, 16:32   #21
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The best way to learn Morse is by recognizing the sound of the character, and definitely not by trying to keep track of the dots and dashes.

Try out Welcome to LCWO.net - Learn CW Online! - LCWO.net, set the character speed at 20 wpm and the overall speed for whatever you can copy.
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Old 25-08-2010, 16:34   #22
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The best way to learn Morse is by recognizing the sound of the character, and definitely not by trying to keep track of the dots and dashes.

Try out Welcome to LCWO.net - Learn CW Online! - LCWO.net, set the character speed at 20 wpm and the overall speed for whatever you can copy.


Especially if you want any kind of speed...
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Old 25-08-2010, 17:06   #23
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Thanks guys! I'll check that site out. I learn about 5 characters a day. Not trying to be perfect, just an intro....then get into the more common sound memory learning techniques. Not always at a computer to practice.

Even though I try and sit patiently to get my next hum dinger sailer boaty...there is always something to learn to keep my mind occupied and from going batty waiting - welding, radio...and hopefully an engine course. Radio is a real challenge for sure!
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Old 25-08-2010, 17:53   #24
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If you have an iPad, iPhone, or an iPod touch you can download a number of morse code trainers and the FCC study guide. A lot of it is free.
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Old 25-08-2010, 18:01   #25
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I didnt see any code trainers I liked for the ipad. I have all sorts of course materials for the modules. iPad is great. I can sit in bed and drill etc
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Old 26-08-2010, 10:01   #26
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Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey
CODE REQUIREMENT Yes, quite aware...but I'm from the old school and want to get into CW anyway.
Good enough. I just wanted to be sure that you weren't confused, as I still see people saying that code is required to get a ham license, despite the fact that the rules were changed years ago!

Personally, I got my general ticket a little over a year ago, and am currently working on learning code. I'm at the point where I can send very slowly, and I can copy it if it is transmitted very, VERY slowly. I've got some ways to go before I will be ready to attempt my first CW QSO.
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Old 28-08-2010, 09:11   #27
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I used a program called "Code Quick" which I am surprised to see still out there:

Code Quick - Learn How To Use Morse Code In 12 Days

It got me up to 15 wpm on my way towards expert license (but I quit after the code requirement was dropped...)

Michael
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Old 28-08-2010, 09:28   #28
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I got my license when code was still necessary, ~2001. I left shore for 2 years in 2004, and found that ham was absolutely necessary, for both voice and winlink. Most contacts and useful bands were 20 metre and 40 metre, almost exclusively. I went back out in 2008, and have used voice just for entertainment on a morning net back in Canada (Mississauga Maritime Net), and have found so many reasonable contacts for email and internet using ALFA and Engenious - type unidirectional antennas that I have not used Winlink since.

Like you, I intended to develop a CW hobby afloat, but it just didn't materialize. Just so much to do, so many new friends, so many fish, so much fun, so many things to fix, so many other potential hobbies.

Still, I'm happy I took the courses and have a ham radio aboard.
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Old 28-08-2010, 10:04   #29
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svcambria - thanks for the link to the code software. This looks promising. When I was young umty years ago and was too immature to learn HAM, I tried audio cassette tapes and got bored with them. In those days they also had regular classes and lots of people getting involved. Alas, that public interest is gone.

Sonosailor - this is really practical and useful to know. Will get me focused on particular things that I need to know instead of being lost in a sea of options and protocols.

At this point, I'm pretty much done with Technical Modules and I'm aceing the practice exams. Moving on to General exam prep today. The materials on the iPad are easy to use. Morse - almost done with alphabet...then punctuation etc next week...then I'll be done with the pre-school and can move on to first grade with the software and links to get up to putting it more together in practice lessons.
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Old 28-08-2010, 13:09   #30
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There is an interesting little monograph called Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy, IK0YGJ. You can download if from from that link location, and you might find it interesting or helpful!
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