Posts Tagged “CW”

A week or so ago, I posted a note about the Gnat 1 single transistor QRP transceiver.  I was excited about building this little project.  I gathered up the parts and warmed up the soldering iron.

The project went together easily.  After all, there are only about a dozen parts or so, what could go wrong?  Oh, what a loaded question that was.

I decided to construct the 80 Meter model.  I live about 20 miles out of Helena, MT, and if I was successful in getting this little rig working, I wanted to see if  a fellow Ham in Helena could detect my signal.  After completion, I attached the power, and antenna.  I hooked up the oscilloscope and frequency meter, and powered the rig up.

I was immediately gratified with a signal when I shorted the “key” line.  It looked like I was getting out between 200 and 400 milliwatts, depending on the power supply voltage.  This is where the fun ended.

I was never able to detect any sort of audio out of the little rig.  I followed the tuneup procedure in the instructions to the tee.  The instructions were easy to follow and the results were exactly as written, but through all of the test procedures, I was “NEVER” able to detect any audio.  After several days, I think I am done with it.  Unless something else pops into my mind, I will cut my losses on this one and continue on to the next project that is begging for my attention.

My dead bug Gnat 1.  No audio was ever detected.

My dead bug Gnat 1. No audio was ever detected. Click to see a closer view of the dead Gnat 1.

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I love CW (That is: Morse Code).  On the Ham Radio bands, I operate almost exclusively CW.  It is fun and rewarding.  It is a challenge.  It is an easy way to get those DX contacts in the middle of the lowest part of the sun spot cycle.

There seems to be a resergence of interest in CW.  Eliminating CW as a requirement to get a Ham Radio license hasn’t done much to bolster our numbers.  CW is not the reason that our hobby has declining numbers.

Enter .  is a web site I just discovered that will help you learn, or improve your CW skills.  LCWO stands for “Learn CW Online”.   I fiddled around  a bit on the site and found it very interesting; and it will even track your progress.  Give a try, it just might be the ticket to help you learn, or improve your CW.

CW is FUN!

John – K7JM

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