RADIO HOME PAGE
The items you will find linked to this page
reflect my own interests in Amateur Radio. Don't expect all sorts of bells and
whistles on these pages, as I am too busy with new projects to take the time to
create a flashy website. I have constructed these pages to provide the most
information possible with the smallest possible time investment.
Almost all my operating in recent years
(decades!) has been done using low power (5 watts or less) - what is know in Amateur Radio jargon as QRP. If you run a
search on the Web using QRP, you will discover innumerable sites devoted
to the topic of low-power operation.
One of my major interests over the years has
been slow scan television (SSTV), which I have been involved with since 1967.
The pages linked below reflect a variety of topics in this area.
- Fax480 is a high-resolution image mode
I developed to compliment the many other SSTV image modes presently in
use. This is a linked series of pages devoted to various aspects of the Fax480
- SSTV modes takes a
brief look at the history of SSTV and how it relates to the development of
the many grayscale and color modes now in use.
- SSTV DX provides some examples of DX
stations I have worked on SSTV. If you think you need large antennas and
high power to work DX on slow scan, you should check out what I have been
able to work using just five watts!
- High Resolution Color SSTV. One of the more interesting developments in recent
years is a series of SSTV modes that permit the transmission of much
higher resolution color images. These pictures take significantly longer
to transmit than normal SSTV color images and thus are rarely seen on
bands such as 20 meters. When conditions are good on the higher frequency
bands, such as 15 and 10 meters, you can get some spectacular results.
- Ever wonder how the various
SSTV systems would perform, head-to-head, when it comes to weak-signal
performance? The SSTV
Testing page describes an accurate (and
fair!) test procedure, long with the results of noise testing of three
popular systems - Pasokon Classic,
WinPix Pro, and CromaPix.
- Stereo (3D)
Photography Lots of folks like to mess with
sending stereo (3D) pictures via slow-scan. The results are highly
variable and often hardly worth the effort. Here is a set of pages, based
on decades of involvement in stereo photography, that
can teach you the basics of 3D photography. If you are going to send 3D
pictures, do it right!
CW (Morse Code)
Morse code, known as CW in Amateur
Radio jargon, is the oldest and most fundamental of all the ways we can
communicate using radio. This mode of communication remains extremely popular,
despite the availability of many methods for communication by voice, different
forms of television, and a host of exotic digital communication modes. There
are lots of reasons for this continued popularity:
Circuits and equipment for CW communication are simpler than any other
mode. This translates to lower cost for equipment. CW-only Amateur Radio
equipment is the best bargain you can find in this hobby. Simplicity also
equates with reliability - fewer circuits means there is less to go wrong!
- Effectiveness: For a
host of technical reasons that I will not go into here, CW signals will
get through when nothing else will. No matter what bands you operate,
long-distance communication is easier using CW than any other mode. This
is why most QRP operations (see above) are done using CW. If you want to
work exotic DX, it is far easier (and less expensive) to do it on CW.
- Satisfaction: CW
proficiency is a skill that, as you progressively master it, gives an immense
feeling of satisfaction. What's more, it connects us with our roots to the
earliest days of wireless communication. A CW operator is linked in spirit
with the military radio operators of two great World Wars, Admiral Byrd
striving for the pole, and the Marconi operators on the doomed liner Titanic!
Back in the January 1995 issue of QST
I presented a simple project that lets you use your computer to send and
receive CW. My CW Homepage describes the computer interface and allows you to
download the latest version of the software to run the project. The interface
has appeared in the last few editions of the ARRL Handbook and is
an ideal project for both the new-comer to Amateur Radio or
the seasoned CW operator. The page also includes links to a few other
English-style Straight Keys
Even when I rediscovered CW, as was never a
great fan of straight keys as they seemed a very tiring way to transmit code! That
was until, almost by accident, I discovered large continental or English-style
keys. Properly used, they are a joy to operate and most are darned attractive
Home-brew Vintage Radio Gear
Once I started running with the straight key
guys, I also encountered lots of fine vintage gear on the bands. Although I
haven't gone completely retrograde, I did embark on a modest project!
Boat Anchor Buddy
Restoring or duplicating vintage tube-type
transmitters is a popular activity with some amateurs. If you actually want to put such equipment on
the air, there are numerous issues that arise in attempting to interface the
new/old transmitter with an existing receiver or transceiver. Here is a project
that makes it simple!
E. Taggart (firstname.lastname@example.org)