CW Crash Course

So i like to CW. Its a great mode, but it is also one take takes some skill and practice to be good at. I can send ok, but my receive skills generally revolve around a decoder doing most of the heavy lifting. Now, this has its limitations obviously, weak signals are hard to decode, bug and straight keys are hard to decode, QRM makes it hard to decode, if the other person is pretty crappy at sending it is hard to decode and the list of things that make it hard to decode go on and on. So, obviously, if one is going to be serious with CW, you better get the skills needed to receive using your ears and your brain.

With this in mind, a local ham put together a 6 week challenge designed to get your reception skills working. The program itself is not revolutionary, but it has inspired me to bite the bullet and for the next 6 weeks really put in some effort into getting my reception skills to a place where i would like them to be. During the day, I will be immersing myself in the numbers and letters that I will be working on that week and using a couple of android testing apps to test my progress as well as nightly send and receive sessions with a ham mate of mine who is also working on his rx.

Week 1: Numbers, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0

Week 2: Letters, E,I,S,T,M,O,A,N,U,G

Week 3: Letters, H,D,W,V,J,B,C,F,K,L

Week 4: Punctuation, ? , . / ERROR = P,Q,R,X,Y,Z

Weeks 5: Words and Call Signs

Week 6: QSO’s and Sentences.

Doing this for an hour or more a day, 5 days a week, should indoctrinate me in somewhat into getting the receive skills working much better than they currently are. I am looking forward to the challenge and the outcome at the end.




CNC Router


So i bought a CNC Router to make my own 1 sided boards initially and as i get better branch out into 2 sided boards. I am just waiting on a pcie Parallel card to arrive to drop into my computer and start on some boards that i have designed for the CW Transceiver that I am building currently.

Now i know you can use toner transfer and other methods, but of late my failure rate with toner transfer has been very very high, so much so that I have gotten the shits with the method and will soon be CNCing my way to victory. Oh and Im not sure why my toner transfers are failing, I am cleaning the boards with steel wool to remove the corrosion, wiping down with isoprople to make sure its clean, using a laminator to do the transfer and not getting much in the way of toner sticking to the boards. Anyways, that will soon be a think of the past, as all my boards will soon be routed.

Software im using are as follows:

  • Sprint Layout: pcb layout software
  • PCB 2 G-Code: converts gerber to g-code
  • Mach 3: control software for cnc routing

More to come on this next week, once i have it all up and running.