Referencing the CD by Prof. Tom Perera, W1TP, Telegraph Collectors Reference CD, I was able to show various keys which I had used from my first days with CW. Then followed with more details about modern keys and keyers. The subject of how to learn Morse followed starting with some recordings by the US Army Signal Corps. made during WWll. These were from rather scratchy 78 rpm records. Although there are some 48 in the complete set, only small samples were played. Some tips were given on how to best get started in learning and practicing the code. Discussions followed when other members related their experiences and showed their keys.
Don reminded members that his first talk about Utility Listening was back in 1990 when he described the Hoka Code 3 Data Mode Decoder. At that time there were about 37 or so different modes which are, for the most part, no longer used.
Since that time, many of those who made the transmissions have changed to satellite communications. However, now it is realized that satellites can be vulnerable as well as costly. Slowly the authorities have been migrating back to HF communications. The use of complicated software negates some of the shortcomings of HF drop-outs and the overall result is still reliable and much cheaper. While still using satellites, having the HF communications means all the eggs aren’t in one basket.
Don demonstrated the free decoding software available and identified several transmissions using modern modes of modulation, although much of the results are encrypted.
John Regnault, G4SWX started by asking the assembled 25 members what they might do about getting too old to work on antennas and masts. Or living in sheltered accommodation where masts and wires were not allowed. That could even apply to young persons living in blocks of flats with the associated problems of TVI, QRM and antennas.
John’s solution is to operate remotely! Of course, there are strict regulations regarding unattended operations. He had to make sure the remote antenna site and equipment was very secure and measurers had to be taken to be able to shut down quickly in the event of problems.
The link between his home rig or laptop is via Wi-Fi over a protected circuit using ‘off the shelf’ equipment. Of course, John’s considerable experience in IT and Security has helped immensely and the results speak for themselves with DXCC on 2M EME for starters.
From my viewpoint, the club has had another good year. The following members were elected as Officers and Committee members.
Chairman: Ken Amos
Vice Chairman: Bryan Bourne
Secretary: John Burnett
Treasurer: Owen Williams
Equipment Officer: Don Ross
Webmaster: Ian Jefferson
Committee members are:
As yet, we do not have a Contest Officer. The club needs a person who can motivate members to participate and later organize logs and contest entries. Please discuss this post with any member of the above group if you feel you can help.