07 May, 2013

The radio amateur who felt compelled to abandon his own call sign

If you mention that you are a radio amateur to any Norwegian who was old enough to watch TV in the mid 70's then he is bound to respond with LA8PV. This was the callsign of the fictious figure Marve Fleksnes in the comedy the "Radiot". To bad for the poor guy who actually was given that callsign some years later. I had contact with him on CW (= morse) in 2002 just after I got my license and I just couldn't believe that anybody actually was using that particular callsign.

It was in 1976 that Rolv Wesenlund (1936 - 2013) one of Norway's most popular comedians, played Marve Fleksnes. As radio amateur LA8PV he talks with his friend JA1NQ in Japan. He also speaks with TF3XU on Iceland in a mixed Icelandic/Norwegian dialect which is always a hit with a Norwegian audience. He then converses with Norwegian/American WONBF (no zero) in Minnesota. He has to handle his angry neighbor who suffers from interference (RFI) and finally LA8PV gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he hears the emergency call, Mayday, in the 15 meter band.

03 May, 2013

Is the ultimatic Morse keyer really that efficient?

Vintage Ten-Tec Ultramatic Keyer KR50. Nice name but the
similarity to ultimatic seems to be coincidental.
Iambic keying with a dual-lever paddle is by far the most popular form for Morse keying. But in recent years an old alternative has reemerged. This is the Ultimatic mode which goes back to W6SRY in the 1950's.

The experience seems to be that it needs less timing precision than the iambic mode for letters like A, N, R, and K (· —, — ·, · — ·, — · —). When both paddles are squeezed, the last one to be pressed takes control. So when right-left is pressed one gets a dah followed by dits, not the dah-di-dah-dit of the iambic keyer.

It is very simple to add code for an ultimatic keyer to an iambic one. In recent years this has led to an ultimatic option in some stand-alone keyers, such as: