10th Anniversary Giveaway!

On April 30th, it will be ten years since the "W2LJ - QRP - Do More With Less" blog was born.

In appreciation for all who read this blog, I am going to give something away to one lucky reader. I have a new, mint condition, unused, complete sheet of fifty United States Amateur Radio stamps, issued in 1964 on the 50th Anniversary of the ARRL - Scott #1260. I am going to have the sheet matted and framed - ready for display on some deserving shack wall. All I ask is that you send an e-mail to w2lj@arrl.net - entitled "Blog Anniversary Giveaway". Include your name, call sign and mailing address.

Any Amateur Radio op worldwide can enter. I will package and ship the framed stamps to any destination that the United States Post Office will accept.

The names and call signs will be loaded into a software program such as RandomPicker on April 30th and a winner will be determined. The winner will be announced here, and then the framed stamps will be posted.

Good luck, and thank you for reading!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bug practice.

I'll admit that for the past month or so, that I've been a "lazy' CW op. Instead of getting on my bug, I have been using the paddles and keyer. As a matter of fact, I really love my Elecraft/Bencher Hexkey paddles. I've got them adjusted so fine that I do not feel any paddle movement at all when I produce Morse Code characters. It's the closest thing that I can get to using a touch keyer without using, well ........ a touch keyer.

Last night I felt a very small pang of guilt for neglecting my Vibroplex Orignal Standard. It sits there looking lonely and underused. So I switched the K2 over to "hand key" mode and plugged the Bug in. I was really surprised because I thought after the layoff that I was going to sound real lousy. Just the opposite occured when I started tossing the finger pieces back and forth. My code actually sounded agreeable (even decent!) to my own ear. As I am by far my own worst critic; it might have even sounded better than decent to fellow hams.

I originally had no idea why the layoff would have allowed me to send such decent sounding code. But looking at it 24 hours later, I think I might have an explanation. Going back to the paddles and keyer for a month got my ear retrained to what "machine perfect" code sounds like. It's not that I don't want any soul or personality in my Morse while using a Bug; it's just that I want to be good enough to the point where I don't send receiving ops screaming into the night with their ears bleeding from trying to decipher terrible sending. Listening to the keyer produced code helped me to send code that sounded almost as good using a mechanical device. In other words, if you know what good is supposed to sound like; then it becomes a bit easier to try and match it.

I ended up having an hour long rachew with a Ham, using the Bug. I have to figure that he was either amazingly polite; or that my sending was good enough where he didn't mind conversing with me for that period of time. In retrospect, my sending must have been good enough; no one's that polite anymore that they would put up with an hour of torture if they didn't have to.

73 de Larry W2LJ

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You must be getting ready for the NAQCC sprint this month (hand key and bugs)....HI....I plan on using an old Nazi Luftwaffe hand key that I picked up at a hamfest in the late eighties. Have fun with the bug...I could never get the hang of it, and my fist is bad enough without assistance from the bug.


Jeff - K3OQ -