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Amateur Radio - CW Is Dead (?)
February 1967 Popular Electronics

February 1967 Popular Electronics

February 1967 Popular Electronics Cover - RF Cafe  Table of Contents

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Popular Electronics, published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

It's funny how often topics crop up bemoaning the current state of society, technology, etc., as if they are suddenly new plagues upon the entities concerned. That's not to say the subjects are not worthy of being brought to the forefront of public awareness, but often times in fact those same issues are exactly the same or reincarnations of former "emergencies" in need of immediate attention. I have posted numerous articles and editorials from vintage electronics and hobby magazines lamenting the poor state of youth involvement, with blame being laid in the lap of some newfangled hobby or activity that is presently stealing away erstwhile brethren. The effort is usually not in vain since the intended effect of motivating fellow enthusiasts to reinvigorate and motivate those drifting prodigals to return to the fold very often enjoys success. In the process, new programs, methods, and attitudes evolve to make the hobby or activity attractive to younger and newer inquisitors looking to be at least as much of the future as he / she is of the past. Both aspects are worthy of pursuit. Both QST and Model Aviation, flagship publications of two of my primary hobbies, have done outstanding jobs in this matter. Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines tend to stick to contemporary topics, but then again the subjects of interest are themselves usually millennia old, so they can therefore be forgiven.

Amateur Radio - CW Is Dead (?)

Amateur Radio - CW Is Dead (?), February 1967 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThe other day I read a magazine article that urged readers to send a letter to the FCC saying that CW was obsolete and recommending that the FCC eliminate code from the amateur license examinations. You can overhear the same story in the phone bands - especially above 50 MHz-and from some would-be amateurs. With minor variations, the theme is always the same: "No one uses CW any more except a few old fogies, who aren't with it, you know."

Communications reports coming back from Vietnam say that the only way some of our military operators are able to get radio messages through the thick wave-absorbent jungles (even over distances of only a few miles) is by using CW. When the VC jams a radio circuit, the jamming frequently disrupts radiophone and radio-teletype communications, but skilled CW operators usually manage to get their messages through. No wonder so many MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) programs stress code operation.

Amateur Station of the Month

Steve Natinsky, WA5MAC, of Dallas, Texas - RF Cafe

Steve Natinsky, WA5MAC, of Dallas, Texas, operates on 15 meters with a home-built, 2-element rotary beam, a Heathkit "Apache" transmitter, and a Hallicrafters SX-110 receiver. First a Novice, and now a General, Steve has worked 49 states and 27 countries in the two years he has been a radio amateur. A free one-year subscription will go to WA5MAC for submitting the winner for February in our Amateur Station of the Month photo contest. To enter the contest, send us a clear picture of your station with you at the controls, and some details on your ham career and on the equipment you use. Mail your entry to: Amateur Radio Contest, c/o Herb S. Brier, Amateur Radio Editor, P.O. Box 678, Gary, Indiana 46401.

Steve (WA9IZR), Pat (WN9MWR), and Vern Malott (WA9KAG), Michigan City - RF Cafe

Steve (WA9IZR), Pat (WN9MWR), and Vern Malott (WA9KAG), Michigan City, Indiana, can operate from 160 to 2 meters, AM, CW, SSB, FM, mobile or fixed.

Shelving public service considerations, code proficiency pays off for the amateur in other ways. First, it gives him more room to spread his wings. The big difference between a Technician and General Class license is eight words of CW per minute. No doubt, many Technicians (at 5 wpm) would remain on the VHF's even if they had Extra Class licenses, but as long as they have Technician licenses, they have no choice.

The ham who goes on phone as soon as he gets his General license without becoming proficient on CW cuts down his horizons. Watt for watt, a CW transmitter costs far less than a phone transmitter. In addition, CW has a 17-dB advantage over straight AM phone and 8-11 dB over SSB. Twenty watts of CW can do the job of 1000 watts of AM or 250 watts of SSB.

What the figures above mean in practice has been verified by the record of W9EGQ on 20 meters. Running 75 to 150 watts, I frequently work several DX stations on CW when there are very few phone DX signals to be heard, and those that are heard are difficult to raise even using my kilowatt amplifier.

"We agree that CW may get out a little better than phone," some phone men say, "but CW is no fun." To refute that, there is plenty of evidence that CW operation provides the maximum participation in the various contests sponsored by the ARRL and other amateur organizations. Normally, there are more CW than phone entries, and not all the participants are "old fogies," either, if the number of new WA and WB calls means anything.

As Bud, K9WQS, sums it up, "When I first got my General ticket, I operated AM, SSB, and 2-meter FM, but after a few months I got tired of phone and shifted to CW. At first, it was slow going; but with regular use and a bug, my speed gradually reached 25 wpm. I do work phone occasionally, but I like CW better."

Upcoming ARRL Contests. The 14th Annual Novice Roundup is scheduled for 6 p.m., local time, February 4, to 6 p.m., February 19. The 33rd Annual International DX Competition will take place February 4-5 and March 4-5 for phone operation, and February 18-19 and March 18-19 for CW, between 0001 and 2400, GMT, each period. Log sheets for both events are available from the American Radio Relay League, Inc., 225 Main St., Newington, Conn. 06111.

To participate in the Novice Roundup, you operate a total of 40 hours on any or all Novice bands and work all comers. You send a "personal" number and your ARRL section identification to each contact, and you receive a number and section in return. You add the number of QSO's and the highest code speed on your ARRL Code Proficiency Certificate, then multiply the sum by the number of different sections worked for your score. Certificates will be awarded to the high Novice scorer in each ARRL section. All other classes of amateurs are cordially invited to work Novices during the Roundup to help build high scores.

In the DX Contest, U. S. and Canadian hams work the world, sending signal reports and the names of their states (including Alaska and Hawaii), provinces, or territories to each DX station worked. The DX station sends a signal report followed by the transmitter power. A complete exchange earns three points; one-way reception, two points. Only one contact per station per band counts. Then U. S. and Canadian operators multiply the QSO points by the sum of the different countries worked per band, while the DX stations multiply point total by the sum of the states and provinces worked per band.

News and Views

Randy Crews, WA8SVP, 1293 Northport Circle, Columbus. Ohio. is a big DX man, being a regular on the football team "to keep my mind off those DX pile-ups." Randy worked 49 states as a Novice. Now, after nine months as a Genera, he is WAC and WAS with 65 countries included in 1300 contacts. An E. F. Johnson "Viking II" transmitter running 180 watts, a Hy-Gain 14-A VQ vertical antenna, and a Drake 2-B receiver do the work. Randy is president of the school radio club and is also a pheasant and duck hunter ... Bob Novas, WN2YSR, 38 Loretta Court, Englewood Cliffs. N.J., has a 10-wpm code certificate; the minute he is sure of 13 wpm, he is going for his General. In two months, Bob's 40-watt E. F. Johnson "Navigator" transmitter, Mosley V-46 vertical antenna, and Hammarlund HQ-100A receiver have garnered QSL's from 10 states, with more on the way ... Jimmy Hall, WB4AMT, Richmond, Va., says it's wonderful to be selected as the "Amateur Station of the Month" (November, 1966). He continues to be surprised at the number of people who tell him about seeing his picture in the magazine.

Annual Banquet

The Lake County (Indiana) Amateur Radio Club, Inc., will hold its 14th annual banquet at 6:30 p.m., CST, on February 11, at Teibel's Restaurant, where U.S. Routes 30 and 41 intersect. There will be entertainment and prizes as well as food. Tickets are available ($4 each) from William DeGeer, WA9MOE, 3601 Tyler St., Gary, Ind. 46402.

Chris Anderson, WN8UML, 19303 Farmington Rd., Livonia, Mich., used a variety of equipment his first few months on the air. Starting out with a borrowed Johnson "Adventurer" transmitter feeding an inverted-V antenna and a Hammarlund HQ-129A receiver, he worked five states and Canada. Now, using a home-brew seven-watter and a Drake 2-B receiver, Chris has nine states and 147 contacts - all on 80 meters ... Mike Wilke, WB4AQL, 3607 Cambridge Rd., Montgomery, Ala., has three antennas, inverted-V's for 40 and 20 meters and a straight dipole on 80 meters. His "Globe-Chief 90" transmitter and Knight-Kit R-100 receiver chalked up 38 states on 80 and 40 meters. This was done with two crystals, but a VFO is in the works. Also, a Heathkit HW-32 SSB transceiver is on the way to be connected to that 20-meter antenna ... Although it would seem to be about two years late, the Southern Cayuga County Amateur Radio Club, WB2NOD, Box 685, Moravia, N.Y., is conducting a postal-card poll on "incentive licensing." If you're interested, vote "yes" or "no" on a post card and mail it to the club.

Randy Crews, WA8SVP, hunts DX on the air and game birds in the fields. As a DX'er, he is WAC and has 65 countries worked. See text on p. 110.

If you need a Maryland contact on any amateur band up to the 220-MHz band, check W3EAX, of the University of Maryland Amateur Radio Association, College Park, Maryland. The equipment available includes a pair of E. F. Johnson "Navigators" (40 watts, CW), an SSB exciter, and a couple of high-power amplifiers for the lower frequencies, where a Windom antenna is used - except on 21 MHz, where a 3-element beam is used. The receiver is a National NC-303. Two elements on "6," five elements on "2," and 16 elements on "1 1/4" round out the antenna farm. With many operators available, W3EAX is often on the air, usually on low-power CW. The low power doesn't slow them down much, if 15 countries worked in one week, plus WAS, WAC, and 69 countries confirmed means anything ... W. Page Pyne, WA3EOP, 540 North Locust St., Hagerstown, Md., who supplied the above information on W3EAX, is also active in Maryland. He and Howard, WA3ECQ, are active in all the VHF contests from a local mountaintop, from which their Heathkit "Twoer" covers a radius of 100 miles.

The Canadian Centennial Year (1967) is being celebrated by Canadian amateurs replacing the VE or VO prefix of their call-signs with 3C or 3B, respectively - if they wish ... If you have transmitted or received a signal over a distance which, divided by the transmitter input power, equals or exceeds 1000 miles, send details to the QRP Club Awards Manager, Robert L. Henrich, W0GWT, 2938 Homewood Ave., St. Charles, Mo. 63301, with a large, stamped envelope, and you will receive a Thousand-Mile-Per-Watt certificate. Send a quarter, and Bob will mail the certificate in a mailing tube. According to the last QRP Club "Newsletter," John, WA8LDH, has qualified for the award by working W5OLH and several other Texas stations on 50 MHz using a 140-milliwatt transmitter ... On Election Day, November 8, 1966, Chicago land mobile amateurs cooperated in "Operation Eagle Eye." Whenever a report of election difficulties reached "Eagle Eye" headquarters, a mobile manned by two lawyers and the operator was radio-dispatched to the polling place. Bill Burke, W9VX, coordinated the amateur participation.

Keith Beebe, WA4QOO, 4899 100th Way North St. Petersburg. Fla., is proud of being a member of the A1 Operator's Club. Running 55 watts from a home-brew transmitter into a 20-meter beam, 31' high (it was higher before the last hurricane) and a 40-meter inverted-V, Keith has 49 states and 70 countries worked; his receiver is a Lafayette KT-320.

The first step towards seeing your "News and Views" or photo in this column is your responsibility. Send that letter today. Also, keep the club bulletins coming. The address is: Herb S. Brier. W9EGQ, Amateur Radio Editor, Popular Electronics, P. O. Box 678, Gary, Ind. 46401.

73, Herb, W9EGQ



Posted August 9, 2019

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