Next Business Meeting
Next business meeting will be held at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, November 6th, 2010. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship.
MARC CHRISTMAS PARTY
Our annual Christmas party will be held on Saturday, December 4th beginning at 6 PM at the home of Ross and Wanda Wingo, 3416 Causeyville Whynot Rd, Causeyville, MS. Please call (601) 644-3777 if you have any questions. More information and directions will be in the next Spark Gap newsletter.
Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
One thing that I find amusing about Morse Code is that the more people claim that it's dead, the more people there are that rise up to defend and promote it. Note that I said "defend and promote it," not actually use it, but that topic is for another column.
Having said that let me direct you to a new tome on our ancient art, Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy by Carlo Consoli, IK0YGJ. This book is available as a free download in the original Italian and in an English translation.
What makes this book different from others is that instead of concentrating on the mechanics of learning and using Morse Code, the author spends a good deal of time talking about the psychology of learning this skill. To succeed in learning Morse Code, Consoli advises that we need to change our approach to learning:
Dan "When learning CW, therefore, we must establish a new component in our self-image and, when doing so, we need to be relaxed. Always practice during the same time of day and in a place where you can experience positive feelings of comfort and pleasure. When we make a mistake we are always ready to blame ourselves. This is the way we learnt from our environment during childhood, often accepting any fault as our own error or weakness.
This potentially destructive mechanism can be used to build a positive self-image, rather than demolish it. A mistake must be considered a signal, pointing us in the right direction. If you fail, let your mistake pass away, with no blame or irritation. Learn CW in a relaxed mood, enjoy the pleasure of learning something new, repeat your exercises every day and be confident in the self-programming abilities of your self-image. Just a few minutes a day: you can take care of your 'more serious' stuff later on."
Consoli also has some interesting things to say about getting faster. He agrees with me that it's essential to abandon pencil and paper and start copying in one's head. We also agree that at this point, you need to start using a paddle instead of a straight key.
He has analyzed the situation a lot more than I have, though. When hams ask me how I learned to copy in my head, all I can do is to relate my own experience, which is that one day, I just went cold turkey. I put down the pencil and paper and never copied letter-by-letter ever again.
Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to work for a lot of operators. If that doesn't work for you, Consoli says that what you need to do is to program yourself to copy in your head. You do this, he says, by relaxing and visualizing. Visualize yourself as a high-speed operator, and one day, you will be one.
That seems to have worked for him. He is a member of the Very High Speed Club (VHSC), First Class Operator's Club (FOC), and has been clocked at copying over 70 wpm.
Will it work for you? I'm not sure, but if you haven't been successful with other methods to improve your code speed, then Consoli's methods are certainly worth a try.
Submit a Storm Report Online
If you have a severe weather event that should be reported and are not able to check into the MAEN when activated, please use the following online link to report your event to NWS.
Please bookmark this link and become familiar with the layout. This interface is intended to be used solely for the relay of storm information to the NWS. Other comments or information should be sent to the National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi.
73 Rick, AE5FE
EDGE of SPACE SCIENCES
Promoting Science and Education through High Altitude Balloons and Amateur Radio
Interesting web site: http://www.eoss.org/