Friday, 3 May 2013


OK, lets be honest about this. I love Morse, but i'm crap at it. Which is annoying, as I seem to have developed an interest in collecting telegraph keys! I now have a Kent solid brass straight key, a WT8 AMP No.2 Mk III, and a pair of 'leg' keys - a McMurdo and a Racal, both miniature keys designed to be strapped to the operators leg!

I also want desperately to use Morse on air, comfortably. Ideally I want to use it to make at least some of the contacts during the Doncaster Show. CW on 40m might save us from the death knell of the National Field Day contest. I'm sure I can get a CW operator if needed, but I really want to do it myself. Besides, CW is ideal for my home situation - using Morse and 'phones would mean I could operate more at night.

I'm back learning the morse. 10-30min a day. Ive moved onto common words, as lets face it I know the damn characters, and random code is so dull. My numbers could do with some improvement, and I certainly need to work more on punctuation and prosigns. Ive decided that 18wpm is a realistic target speed, so im training with the actual character speed at 25wpm (so Its easier not to count the dits and dahs) and the code speed at 18wpm. If I make decent progress I might go to 25wpm code.

The Larkspur mast is coming on well. Only two tubes need doing now, and one has already been sanded down. All the others have been painted, NATO matt green. Most of the locking collars are half painted, the other side i'll do once they've had time to dry. I would have had them all in that state today, but my primer ran out of propellant, so one is still awaiting priming.

Finding the guy pegs and a spanner is proving harder though!

I really must organise a site visit for the show. I need to know the area in which the antennas must fit, and four months will fly by if im not watching closely!

Im still trying to get a 42MHz crystal so I can start the 4m transverter project. Again one is up on ebay. Im sure the seller is Shill bidding but hes the only one so im going to have to grin and bear it and bid.

Ive abandoned the Pixie 2+, and will strip it for bits. Just couldnt get it to work. Im going instead to build a project from DeMaws 'QRP notebook' possibly a gutless wonder for 40m