Finally found some time to sit down with all the bits and assemble a second Morse code key using the supplied schematic. At first it didn’t seem to work, but after checking through everything I found one of the speaker wires wasn’t fully inserted (short lead). After I fixed that, it buzzed at me when I clicked the button! The button is the clicky kind, so it’s not that well suited for doing Morse code, but it works! The buzzer was also a lot louder than the kit, which I later discovered was due to me forgetting a resistor between the final capacitor and speaker.
The next step was to make it light up in addition to buzzing. Spent some time looking at the schematic for a place to insert an LED that I didn’t think would make it go poof or fry anything. Put in a red LED and connected it to ground, pushed the button and it lit up! Then I decided to try a second green LED in series with the red, and they both lit up! Success!
A variable resistor instead of the fixed resistor in front of the speaker I think should give me some volume control, so I’ll try that next. I need to get one first.
Now that I’m an Extra class ham, thoughts have turned towards thinking about what kind of HF radio I want, where to put it, where to locate the antenna and other fun things like that.
The past week or so I’ve been surfing the Ham Radio category on ebay just to see what kind of equipment people put up for sale there. I’m a bit of a sucker for older/vintage equipment, so while there are lots of shiny new radios available, my attention tends to get drawn to the older stuff. I don’t know how practical it would be for me to own and use older gear, but they do look pretty cool. Maybe by the end of the year or early 2013 I’ll have my own rig set up.
There are BarcampCHS sessions to prepare for, a garage to clean out (to make room for more workbench space) and ham shack space to think about. Thanksgiving will bring the #WATwitter (Worked All Twitter) QSO Party where I’ll be getting on the air with Connie/NR4CB to get Twitter/ham contacts. Work us on HF and you’ll get a 2-for-1 QSO!
After a couple of weeks of intensive study, I successfully upgraded my amateur radio license from General to Amateur Extra!
Once it shows up in the FCC database in about a week or so, I’ll apply to for a vanity call sign which I’m told takes about 3 weeks and then I can get an amateur radio license plate and work at becoming a VE and be able to give exams to others.
I’m especially pleased that Connie/NR4CB was able to be one of the VEs at today’s test and signed on my paperwork again. She was there when I got my General and signed my paperwork back then and did the same for me today.
I guess I have to see about getting an HF radio now and start surfing the bands.
This has been running through my head a lot lately as I’m learning more letters. I’m up to 10 letters plus the numbers now.
I need to get some practice hearing and then translating.
After spending the last couple of “spare time” months looking at the material for the amateur radio Extra class exam, I decided it was time to take a more intensive approach. The past week I’ve been spending whatever time I can grab reviewing questions and material, taking practice tests and stuffing more radio material into my brain. I’m having to dust off all the old electronics knowledge I used to have (but never really put to use). The question pool for the Extra test has a lot more questions on electronics and circuits than the Tech or General question pool.
I’m making pretty good progress, and am getting to the point where I’m consistently getting a passing score or very close to a passing score in the practice tests I take. CARS has a testing session this coming weekend (Oct 13) and my goal is to be ready by then to take the test.