PA3CLQ's Leuke Linken Nr. 508


A new poll has been created:
When you find that HF propagation is poor how does this typically affect your CW operating plans?
[Poll respondents are hidden. Poll will not close. You can vote, change your vote or see results at any time at the link below. You can post comments under this message topic but you must go to the link below in order to vote.]
1. No change; I keep operating pretty much as planned.
2. QRO (increase output power) and keep at it.
3. Switch to a different mode (FT8, etc.)
4. Find something else to do related to radio (code practice, QSL cards, SkedPage chat, etc.)
5. Do something else not related to radio.
Vote Now:

Drew AF2Z SKCCGroup


How does poor HF propagation affect your CW operating plans?

As much as I hate to burst that bubble, but FT-8 will get through even when CW no longer does.
73 Mike K5TRI
What is FT8?

I guess FT-8 is one level better than FT-7
CW is Real Radio.

73, John...K8JD

But one level worse than FT-9!
George W4GWS
FT-8 is a new mode which is part of the WSJT-X suite of protocols.

I have a talk about it to the local club which can be found here:

Software can be found here:

In short, it's a digital mode similar to JT65 which allows decoding of signals way below the noise level at -24 dB (for comparison CW is at -11).
You could say it's probably the fastest adopted new mode/ protocol in amateur radio.
73 Mike K5TRI
I don't want to prove my computer can talk to your computer.

Thanks but no thanks!

To answer your question Darrel, I call CQ a lot more and talk a lot less, HI HI.
Allen KA5TJS

Mike, I sincerely apologize.

I have a very offbeat sense of humor.

I'm familiar with FT8 but I just have no interest in it whatsoever.

I was trying to be funny and it didn't come across right.

Ive tried the HF digital modes, made a hand full of contacts, could not get into it.

I also use DStar and dmr.

Not one for spending much time there either.

I do it because of good friends around the world who use DStar or dmr, and I do like talking with them.
Now, talk CW and Im in.

I really enjoy CW.

I dont care what the band conditions are, I can always find somebody on there to play on the air waves with.
Cheers! Steve - KI4EZL

That's why amateur radio is the best hobby in the world.

It has something for everybody with so many aspects.
There is no wrong way to be active in it, just different ways.
The original point being made was that CW is the only mode that gets through when everything else fails which wasn't correct, the other post was a question what FT8 is.

To be clear, I merely provided information, not a suggestion that anybody should like it let alone prefer this mode over another.
Me personally I'm a pragmatist and don't believe in dogma.
73 Mike K5TRI

Very interesting post.

I was fortunate to participate with Army MARS during Desert Storm and on the US/Mexico border with a 9 watt ssb signal as solar power during 911.

QRP is alive and well with pure DC.

72 de Scott/n7net 

No thank you..

If it floats your boat well and good.

I am a cw operator..first and computers attached.

If I want to communicate using my computer as input I will use email, skype, twitter, facebook whatever..I wouldnt get my Ham licence to connect my computer to yours.
And all said with a smile.

"CW is a digital mode as well." ?
77, Bill VK1MCW
Bill I like you am a cw guy and qrp.

BUT I have operated and tried all digital modes under the sun, BUT when I want portability it is cw or my KX2 that has built in microphone if a ssb qso grabs my attention as it has on many of my long distance canoe paddles.

I used to operate meteor scatter in the day it took hours to complete a qso, my hat is off to Joe K1JT for awesome software that makes openings fun.

Just my two cents worth. 

I hope nobody if that naysayers here is using one of 'dem newfangled solid state rigs with ICs in 'em.

That's the devil's work.
Michael Schulz

Never fear - the devils blue smoke will sneak out of those IC thingies and the rigs will stop working.

My TS-480 lost its blue smoke during the last WES so Im on a standby rig until I can get some Mage to insert new blue smoke.

Oh, well.
Themi-ionic valves forever!
Leslie Hock
Here's a real kick-in-the-face for you guys. If HF propagation is so bad that I cannot hear anything, I can still QSY to 144.070 and work Delaware with 5 watts

(hi hi).

Only problem is, I haven't found any members there yet that have VHF CW.
Only a little.

I just move to a lower frequency.

You would be surprised what you can find on 80m even in the summer, even s9+ FT8.
73, John NN4OO

Very little..

 I jumped back in at the bottom of the cycle after a 25 year break so its only going to get better from here.

I figure it will give me plenty of time to hone my skills and bring my speed up so I can better shoot the fish in the barrel once the cycle starts back up.

That said, I've still worked some DX and just finished WAS on CW, so poor prorogation or not there are lots of contacts to be made.
Edit to say -- All on a compromise antenna as well and 100W or less ( many QRP)
VY 73 DE KQ4MM - Brian

Re: poor propagation in these times
Just remember the lyrics to that Harry Belafonte limbo song where he asks:
"How low can you go?
Put up more wire
Prove, for example, if a snake antenna really works in your case
Build that receiving loop for a low band or a PA0RDT mini whip for low bands
Take on a new band (60 meters? 600 meters?)
Learn to ignore QRN and determine to become a better operator because of it
Where there is a will, there is a way.
73 de AK4JA

Google PA0RDT mini whip


During the last solar minimum and the current one I couldn't make a CW no matter how much I tried.

Any signals heard were few and far between, and very weak.

But had no problem with JT65 even at low power and these days with FT8.

To me any mode QSO is better than no QSOs!
Jim K6JF

Truth, about the only impact is that I tend to do more brag type QSOs since a really enjoyable rag chew gets tough when QRN is S7 and higher.

That much static gives me a headache.
There are amazing ways to communicate using various modes and encryption methods (I worked some with Bi-Phase Manchester codes for NASA) that worked with picro-watts per mile.

( In 2018, for Voyager, think 5 watts out at a distance of 118 AU (1.77×1010 km) or about 1.1×1010 miles from the Sun +/- earth position in orbit or about 4.5 ×10-10 watts per mile); THAT is real QRP. 
The thing about many of these modes is that operator skill has less to do with successful communications than programmer skill.

In addition, things like the additional hardware adds power and hardware additions.

The Deep Space Tracking network is a rather unique antenna system.

Not trying to belittle any mode, what I most appreciate about CW is the simplicity and operator skills that make the difference.

An HW-8 running 3 to 5 watts can work the world on CW when those bands available are closed to the portable operator because he has a minimalist station.

A couple of flashlight battery packs, a length of wire and a key and I have a station.

Also good when disaster strikes. 
After hurricane Ike hit Houston, I set my MFJ vertical upright (I had laid it down for the storm), Connected to my battery pack and I was on the air.

I could have done the same thing with the computer modes of course but it would have required more planning and more power.

I guess Im just a product of my childhood - anytime a signal had to go through, either in a book or movie, there was a radio op, usually with a bug sending the message.

One of my favorite 1950s science fiction films, THEM! has a scene with a radio op sending an SOS for giant ants just before the ants get him.

In my wifes Downton Abbey series the telegraph operator (sending European style with a straight key) is sending the message address to Earl Crawley.

In Independence Day the USAF coordinates the counter attack using straight keys and ham radio! using a key mounted on a shelf above head high just looked uncomfortable.

Still, it was hf and cw that saved the earth!
CW wasnt really first; spark was first but CW has proven reliable even when the best, latest hardware simply isnt available.

Oh, and it is a lot more fun for me personally that watching my computer work.
Just my not so humble opinion, of course.
Leslie Hock WB5JWI
When the solar conditions are not good,

Operator skills are important if you are not using a computer aided mode.

When the so called "DX bands" are dead, I like getting on the lower frequency bands just before local sunset and into the night.

Some can not cope with the summer lightning noise that is present.

You have to know a few OLD secrets to deal with this.

Turn off all the rig's pre-amps.

Use the narrower bandwidth filters once you tune in a signal, turn DOWN the RF gain control and turn up the audio volume and the signals can appear to be nearly noise free, if you're careful about adjusting those controls.
I started on 80M only CW, as a Novice, in the summer of 1961, and learned to live with that summer T-storm static pretty quickly.
    I have to come back and clarify what "Operator Skills" might be. 
Maybe some hams are skilled at writing code ad manipulating data files and such.

Two of my sons are good at computer skills and I often consult them in straightening out my poorly organized computer here.
Many are great typists, I can send Morse with a paddle or a Bug much faster than I could ever type so a Keyboard CW generator is not for me.

Some like the "great outdoors" and take ham radio to mountain tops and seashores, I sometimes take my little QRP rigs and a few portable dipoles to a campground , where I have a nice warm camper for the chilly spring and autumn nights and a hot shower.

I was homebrewer and a kit builder once, but now my eyes are bad and hands unsteady so that skill is only a memory.

Today's DIGI ops are coming to the different skills of a modern ham radio world.

I can still enjoy my CW operation too. 
Operating skills are quite diverse, now I had time to reflect on them. 
CW is Real Radio 73, John...K8JD

Yes, FT8, but when your computer dies, I can still use my key and ears without the computer.
Regards, Joe, K8JP/V31JP


Major Solar Storm

Solar Report for 8-26-2018 is SF-70 AI-11 KI-7 HF is pretty bad.
73, Dick W0HXL


Bob Shrader, W6BNB (SK) on Keys from 73 Magazine (PDF file).

*Bob Shrader, W6BNB on Telegraph Keys

73, David N1EA


Hello Friends

The French station FAV22 has been broadcasting CW lessons since 1934.

It survived budget cuts, the cessation of CW transmissions etc., long may it continue.

This used to be my main training resource while learning CW in 1984.

I still enjoy listening to these transmissions from time to time to take a trip down to memory lane.
Some information:
* Lessons.
5-character groups and plain text in French.
* QRGs.
3881 and 6825 kHz (simultaneously).
* PWR.
1, 5 or 10 KW, depending on conditions.
* Schedules.
QTR UTC during EU DST, + 1 hour during EU ST.
Twice a day:
- On weekdays: 
0830 - 0900 and 1130 - 1200 UTC.
- On Saturdays and Sundays: 
0700 - 0730 and 0820 - 0855 UTC.
* Transmission speeds.
(Slightly higher than announced).
- Mon: 420 groups/h;
- Tue: 600 groups/h;
- Wed: 720 groups/h;
- Thu: 840 groups/h;
- Fri: 960 groups/h;
- Sat and Sun: 420 groups/h: 
0700 - 0730 UTC;
- Sat and Sun: 600 groups/h: 
0820 - 0840 UTC;
- Sat and Sun: 1200 groups/h: 
0840 - 0855 UTC.
* Further information.
- In French:

- In English (via Google Translate):

Happy listening via RX or webSDR.
Yann, F5LAW.

Geomagnetic Storm

I was curious as to why conditions today were quite so bad.

G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Levels Observed

published: Sunday, August 26, 2018 12:25 UTC

G3 (Strong) geomagnetic storm levels were observed at 0559 UTC & 0738 UTC on 26 Aug. A G3 (Strong) Warning is in effect until 26/1200 UTC due to persistent activity caused by the 20 August coronal mass ejection. 
Then, from

We were wrong!

The coronal mass ejection we talked about back on 22 August did arrive at Earth and sparked strong G3 geomagnetic storming conditions today.

A big surprise for everyone which goes to show how unpredictable space weather is.
These unexpectedly strong geomagnetic storm conditions are caused by an enhanced magnetic field with a persistent southward orientation (Bz) which is a common occurrence when the core of a coronal mass ejection (magnetic cloud) passes our planet.

Indeed, this was not just a glancing blow!

Negative (southward) Bz values have been observed since around 15 UTC yesterday and these values gradually increased to a minimum of -17nT.

Not bad for a wimpy coronal mass ejection! 
For reference, from


  • G3 storms occur approximately 200 times per 11 years (1 solar cycle);
  • Power systems may experience voltage alarms and require corrections;
  • Corrective actions may be required for spacecraft orientation;
  • Low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur.

I guess that was the problem with today's SSN Intercontinental Net.

"A big surprise for everyone which goes to show how unpredictable space weather is."

Cheers, Darrel, aa7fv.

Have a nice day / week(end) gents, BCNU.

73, Yann, F5LAW

By OM Yann F5LAW SideSwiperNetGroup


73, from the town at the rivers "De Bergsche Maas" and "De Dongen" Geertruidenberg (800+ years city rights) at: 51.702211N 4.853854E

Editor Jan Pieter Oelp PA3CLQ


BTW, My SKCC.udc and SKCCPARTY.udc (User Defined Contest) module for the N1MMLogger+ and associated  tekst files and has been accepted by the SKCC Board.

Can be used in a multi-multi environment see:




My simple website about Gigantic DF-Antennas

Part 1 "DF-Antenna Wullenweber Array"

Part 2 "DF-Antenna USSR Variants"

Part 3 "DF-Antenna USA Variant"

Next Part 4 "USSR OTHRA DUGA 1,2 & 3" at: