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September 12th, 2014

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73 from Marshall, N1FN

What is a Code Practice Oscillator

February 19th, 2016

A code practice oscillator or “CPO” is a simple tone generator that is turned on and off with a telegraph key. The telegraph key can be any straight key, or hand key, or semi-automatic key (bug).

A CPO cannot be used by a paddle, which is designed to operate an “electronic keyer,” not a CPO. An electronic keyer generates one or more dots when the left paddle is pressed and one or more dashes when the right paddle is pressed. If you do connect a paddle to a CPO, both left and right levers will act as straight keys. This is something you want to do only if you are using a single-lever paddle as a cootie key.

Sometimes you can connect the output of an electronic keyer to a CPO but be sure to check that the polarity, voltage, and current of the key line on your CPO are within the limits of your electronic keyer output.

Not all CPOs are created equal. The least expensive and easiest to build use a simple LM555 IC as an oscillator, and the resulting square-wave output can sound a bit harsh. Also there may be “key clicks” or other spurious emissions which can cause problems with (for example0 a repeater’s control circuitry. A sine-wave oscillator sounds much better and haS no bad effects on other equipment, but a sine wave is not actually the best for listening. A shaped side-tone oscillator will have a slightly more “mellow” tone than a sine wave, and is more pleasant to listen to.

Can I use my electronic keyer like a bug?

January 28th, 2015

“Bug” is a nickname for a semi-automatic mechanical key. Dots are made automatically by the device, often with a pendulum bouncing a movable contact against a fixed one as long as the lever is held. Dashes are made by hand. Electronic keyers make both dots and dashes automatically, but many of them allow for a “bug mode” or can be set up as “e-bugs.” So look for that terminology– bug mode or e-bug– in your keyer manual, and if you can turn it on your paddle will work just like a bug. But if your keyer doesn’t offer that feature, don’t despair– there’s more than one way to skin this particular cat.
Read the rest of this entry »

What is the Minimum power ouptut from an OHR 100A?

May 30th, 2014

Just curious what the MINIMUM output of a 40 meter OHR-100A is with the pot turned all the way down. I can’t find that info anywhere online. I realize it may vary from radio to radio. Would you expect
it to key properly at minimum power?

The minimum power is 0.00W and it does not depend on the band. On all OHR 100A transceivers, the
power output is continuously variable from zero to full power. The power control is actually the bias on the driver, so the transmitter will key properly regardless of output power setting. The power output control is a 100 ohm trim pot accessible from the rear of the radio. Full power is at minimum resistance on the emitter of the driver transistor.

Is a single lever paddle a “sideswiper”?

April 17th, 2010

Can a single lever paddle be used as a sideswiper or cootie key?  And if so, how would you wire it? Read the rest of this entry »

Can I check continuity with my VOM?

April 16th, 2010

My digital multimeter has a continuity test, but my new analog VOM does not. Can I check continuity with my VOM, and if so, how?
Read the rest of this entry »

If you could only have ONE key…

August 25th, 2009

Which one would you choose?

Whoa, what a question!  I mean, what is the REASON that I can have
only one?  Is it because all the key makers have gone out of business, so I get to buy one, at any cost and then never any more?  Or is it because I’m moving into an apartment and only have room on the desk for one key?  Or is it because I can only afford a few dollars for one key? And do I get to keep my paddles and bugs? [g]
Read the rest of this entry »

What were the Morse requirements?

June 17th, 2009

What were Morse code requirements in Amateur Radio, before the 2001 changes and the complete abolition of code testing in 2005?  And what were the testing procedures? Read the rest of this entry »

What’s a “cootie key?”

May 17th, 2007

Some of the other names for a cootie key might be more familiar– sideswiper, double-speed key, and slap key. The simplest definition is a double-sided straight key, operated horizontally. Read the rest of this entry »

How should I maintain my soldering iron tips?

April 27th, 2007

I am having trouble with my soldering tips. It seems that I have to use a tip tinner way to often. If I let the iron sit for any small amount of time even while I place another component for soldering I have to clean the oxidation off it before it will even melt solder. My question is….I use regular tap water on my sponge could this be the problem with my tip oxidizing so quickly? If I used Distilled or Deionized water will it help in keeping my tip clean? If so which is best to use Distilled or Deionized? Read the rest of this entry »