Monday, 31 October 2016

Toomas Karmo (= VA3KMZ) (Part B): Remarks on Radiotelegraphy

Anticlockwise from top right corner: Operations clocks (formerly synchronized with a University of Toronto Network Time Protocol (NTP) server, but as of recent days synchronized a little more robustly, with the NTP server (as usual in my setup, I make civil time (here EDT) green, UTC red); system "thermometers"; real thermometers, showing the temperatures of my two cores (I think I applied the thermal grease less effectively under Core 0 than under Core 1, when getting the CPU onto the motherboard in 2013 January); the MFJ-416, with squared-paper practice sheet, and additionally with headphones barely visible (the screen is showing, in its simulation-of-conversations mode, GM OM TNX FER B, as part of GM OM TNX FER BUZZ - in other words, in the delightful lingo which ham radiotelegraphy inherits from the days of the Charleston, the Tin Lizzie, and the coonskin coat, "Good morning, Old Man, thanks for the buzz" - "buzz" here meaning "radio call"); my 1960-vintage Heathkit Q-multiplier, for separating closely adjacent stations at  the receiver, and my modern MFJ antenna analyzer, for detecting feedline-rig impedance mismatches; more system-monitoring stuff, showing how in the spirit of pope Francis's encyclical "Laudato Si" I run just 2 GB of RAM (well, I'd like to run more, but buying it is worrisome, installing it tedious); a cunningly selected excerpt from my study notes, in a Debian GNU/Linux xterm; a specially moving picture of a radio room at prayer, on the USA "Night of Nights" in which old shore-to-ship stations are briefly brought back into operation (from, gallery of images from the year 2014); my Heathkit 1960-vintage Cheyenne transmitter and Comanche receiver (not currently operational), with a landline telegraph key purchased rather cheaply at some recent Ontario hamfest; my 1980s fully transistorized  Kenwood transceiver (not currently operational), with hand microphone plugged in and no telegraph key plugged in.  Significant equipment not shown here: my rather low-quality currently operational 1980 Realistic DX-300 general comms receiver, and the (execrable, yet beloved) currently operational 1965-vintage all-valves general comms receiver handed down to me by Dad. 

Quality assessment: 

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 5/5. Justification: Kmo had time to make the necessary points to adequate, or even gratifying,  length. 

Revision history:

  • 20161101T1739Z/version 2.3.0: Kmo made a handful of adjustments at the border between the purely cosmetic and the mildly substantive, including an adjustment correctly documenting the "Night of Nights" radio-room-at-prayer image.. He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic teaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undoumented uploads 2.3.1, 2.3.2, 2.3.3., ... . 
  • 20161101T0419Z/version 2.2.0: Kmo not only made cosmetic tweaks but corrected three or four or so technical errors (for instance, now correctly stating the number of lines in the MFJ-418 LCD display). He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented uploads 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3, ... . 
  • 20161101T0325z/version 2.1.0: Kmo added a photo. He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented uploads 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, ... . 
  • 20161101T0211Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo uploaded better version, replacing outline with polished prose (and adding a few remarks over and above what he had in the outline). He hoped in the next hour to add a top-of-posting photo, and then to set to work on minor, nonsubsantive, purely cosmetic polishing. -  
  • 20161101t0001Z/version 1.0.0; Kmo uploaded initial version. He had to leave most of the work in mere outline form, under time pressure. He hoped to convert the outline into reasonably finished prose over the next 2 hours. 

  • [CAUTION: A bug in the blogger software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some late points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears.]

    As I wrote last week in "Part A" of this two-part essay, I have been fortunate to receive, pretty much out of the blue, an e-mail from an Ontario ham-radio student of radiotelegraphy. 

    My correspondent wrote on or around 2016-10-16, reporting that he was now studying for the Industry Canada "Basic" ham-radio examination. (Upon passing this, the government gives him a callsign and a licence. If he achieves a high grade, his licence carries full operating privileges. If his grade is of a passing level without being specially high, his licence and callsign bar him from some of the lower - and in intercontinental work preferred - frequencies, until he is  again examined, now possibly in Morse.) 

    My correspondent additionally reported having assembled a low-power ("QRP") "Pixie" radiotelegraphy transceiver, equipped with a crystal for the 40-metre ham band frequency of 7.023 MHz. And my correspondent expressed the intention of building an additional, more flexible, rig. 

    The news of his Pixie took me by surprise. What is a Pixie? Remedying my ignorance today, via Google, I learn the following:
    • The total financial outlay is low, even given that the Pixie sits in the undemanding QRP class - possibly a mere 20 USD, admittedly excluding (surely) the antenna, the headphones, and the batteries or other DC power supply. 
    • Within this tiny rig sit just two transistors. 
    • RF power outputs of between 100 mW and 500 mW are feasible. (So one must, with a reasonable antenna, be at least in principle able to work at least some contacts, say from Toronto down into the USA.) 
    • One unfortunately is liable to hear about 200 kHz of band simultaneously. 
    All the just-cited points, save the last, are positive. The last of the points - the negative one - I glean from a a remark of USA ham, and reviewer, NG9D at 200 kHz is bad. One thereby picks up not only stations at or near 7.023 MHz, but also stations across pretty much the whole of 40-metre ham radiotelegraphy - generating cacophony in the headphones if, as is typical, the band has several loudly audible stations all transmitting at once.  

    Here, as always in life, I obsess over things that could go wrong. One cringes over that 200 kHz. I recall how in the old 2012-era University of Toronto Hart House Amateur Radio Club shack I would filter aggressively, finding it advantageous to restrict my receiving window-into-band to a width of 100 Hz or so - in other words, to just one-two-thousandth of the Pixie's alarmingly wide 200 kHz. In general, we do get what we pay for - in my correspondent's case, a 20 USD rig; and at the old Hart House club, at the other end of the scale, an ICOM IC-756PROII  costing roughly 100 times more. 

    While applauding my correspondent's initiative and pluck, I do therefore find myself echoing some sentiments of USA ham K3AN. K3AN appraised the Pixie on 2009-05-28, at I would caution against recommending such pursuits to the newcomers to our ranks, despite the attractively low cost of entry. Let them start with a 100-Watt multiband rig, where they can easily make contacts, including DX contacts. As they become more immersed in Amateur Radio and begin looking for new worlds to conquer, then kit building and QRP are just two of the many avenues open to them.

    It may well be that the investment in a Pixie will ultimately prove worthwhile. The Pixie might eventually prove instructive, at a somewhat advanced level of study, as a tutorial in rig design, for instance in oscillator concepts. 

    I now add for my correspondent's benefit that the study of Morse is concisely discussed in Dave Finley's book Morse Code: Breaking the Barrier. The book is available in the Toronto Reference Library through a "Stack Request" for call number 621.383 F38. I read the book from cover to cover, perhaps once and perhaps (for all I can recall) more than once, rather early in my studies. 

    In learning Morse, I, like the just-cited book author, have found the MFJ-418 "Pocket Morse Tutor" helpful, despite its stiff cost (as advertised today at, 89.95 USD). There are, to be sure, computer programs which teach Morse. However, the MFJ-418 encourages copying with pen and paper, rather than with keyboard. This machine thus sticks more closely than computers do to the spirit of radiotelegraphy, in which one strives for long-distance communication through an elegant deployment - a deployment in which the hardware complexity, and the concomitant problems of hardware repair, get minimized. 

    Admittedly, there are limits to how low we want to go on hardware. 

    I would suggest that the "sweet spot" is one on which we avoid today's silly "memories" and other user-friendly (i.e., down-dumbing) front-panel elaborations; and in which we avoid surface-mount components and most integrated-circuit chips, thereby keeping our rig repairable in even the small workshop; and in which we achieve rock-solid frequency stability (if necessary, even putting the pertinent crystal into a little temperature-regulated oven, as was done with a celebrated top-of-the-line Morse-appropriate rig in the 1960s); and in which our front panel displays operating frequencies digitally (well, here some integrated-circuit chips are handy), to the fanatically tight precision of plus-minus 1 Hz; and in which we have a plain and rugged spectrum scope, perhaps even in a box separate from the rig; and in which we can select our automatic gain control not just to "FAST" and "SLOW" but even to "OFF"; and in which we can do lots of filtering, for instance by imposing a notch; and in which we can adjust our beat-frequency oscillator manually on both sides of zero, without that silly user-friendly, dumbed-down, selecting from "USB" and "LSB" and "AM" and "CW"; and in which we have an elaborate antenna-tuning matchbox, separate from the rig itself. 

    The "sweet spot" is not in all respects set by archaic technologies. I thus note not with approbation but with a shudder the conditions under which another friend-or-relative, "CDEF", worked, a generation before PQRS. CDEF retailed home receivers in Tartu, in southern Estonia, as "RET Raadio", on one or more occasions himself building a high-grade receiver. I believe the last few of CDEF's drawers of 1930s components, including even two or three or six or more valves, are still in the attic of CDEF's still-living daughter. At any rate I saw them there, with CDEF's young civil-engineer great-great-grandson, in the summer of 2010. In the 1918-1920 Estonian War of Independence, CDEF operated in the military, with spark. 

    They used spark on the Titanic. It is basically a transmission of key-modulated static, hogging (as a heavily  varying carrier, far from a single sine wave, mathematically must) a wide frequency range. Spark was obsolete by the 1920s, with oscillators now generating clean single-sinusoidal wavetrains. We may piously hope that no matter how deep our future Dark Ages may prove, some centuries from now, spark is forever deemed obsolete. 

    The MFJ-418 at any rate hits a "sweet spot" in the biggish world of Morse training aids, deploying just the right amount of digital computing hardware, and providing just the right amouing of display on its little (two-line) LCD screen. 

    It is particularly pleasant to operate the MFJ-418 with headphones, copying onto square-ruled paper in one colour of ink, and then correcting one's work in a different colour. This is one of the various points I have illustrated in the photo at the start of today's blog post. 

    On using the MFJ-418 over the years, I have found it advisable to keep a special log in my Debian GNU/Linux box, showing cumulative time-invested and current level of proficiency, and also showing occasional applications of my MFJ-418 home-desk work within the more intimidating environment of a shack. Here is an excerpt. I perhaps need not comment on my various cryptic remarks regarding level of proficiency, stations worked, and the like, except to remark that "skccgroup" and "morseresource" are tutorial Web sites, respectively and (useful supplements, as opposed to replacements, for the specially and distinctively useful MFJ-418); that "QSO" is ham jargon for "conversation"; that I have for a year or two been drilling at 22 wpm; that "DIES PERDITA" and "HEBDOMA PERDITA" are Latin for "lost day" and "lost week", respectively; that the "vigu" in my more recent log entries is Estonian for "number of errors"; and that the (phonetically disyllabic) "teene" is Estonian for "number indicating merit". Although I have a little mental-arithmetic routine for computing this number, I need not here weary my readers with details on the routine. For present purposes, it suffices to say that "merit" declines not only when I make a mistake in copying but also when I have to listen to an MFJ-418 multi-"word" string of Morse code twice, in my ongoing struggle to avoid mistakes in copying: 

    20100712=00h33->0000h33__callsigns@intr04=sets20&errs02 hurraa
                             __increase in self-confidence,
                               partly as consequence of visiting
                               hamfest in Milton 2010-07-10-a
                             __for the first time did a set
                               in just one row (no need to repeat)
    20100713=00h36->0001h09__callsigns@intr04=sets19&errs00 hurraa
                             __12 sets are 2-row and error-free
                             __00 sets are 1-row and error-free
    20101004=00h49->0031h06__sheet of lttrs+nrmls@intr05=sets22&errs01
                             __14 sets are 2-row and error-free
                             __01 set  is  1-row and error-free
                             __so fig-of-merit = 14+2 = 16
                           __half-sheet of  words@intr05
    20101005=00h45->0031h51__half-sheet of lttrs+nrmls@intr05
                           __sheet of words@intr05 w/11 impeccable lines
    20101007=01h03->0032h54__sheet words@intr05 w/16 impeccable lines
    20101008=00h36->0033h30__sheet words@intr05 w/12 impeccable lines
    20101009=00h51->0034h21__sheet words@intr05 w/11 impeccable lines
                           __sheet of lttrs+nrmls@intr05=sets16&errs00
                             __07 sets are 2-row and error-free
                             __01 set  is  1-row and error-free
                             __so fig-of-merit = 7+2 = 9
    20101010=00h51->0035h12__listened in shack
                             (_for first time got essentially full
                               substance of a long slab of a QSO,
                               with operators in New York State
                               and New Jersey, sending slowly
    20110225=00h28->00100h53__sheet of FCC chars
                               __07 sets are 2-row and error-free
                               __00 sets are 1-row and error-free
    20110227=01h00->000101h53__listened in shack rather successfully
                               (_copied fairly confidently from
                                 both sides of QSO between AK and WV
                                 (_perhaps my best shack session so far)
                                __am also now more confident with
                                  bandpass filtering for cw,
                                  having on this day reviewed IC-756-II
                                  manual for double bandpass tuning etc
    20110228=00h11->000102h04__apprx 35% (unmeasured) of sheet of FCC chars
    20110301=00h28->000102h32__sheet of FCC chars
                               __06 sets are 2-row and error-free
    20110402=00h36->0000117h34__copied skccgroup gettysburg_address_15.mp3
                                __approx 2 hopelessly missed words,
                                  approx 4 words-good-enough-to-guess,
                                  and various single-character errors
                              __copied from morseresource quotes
    20110605=01h23->0000141h50__had first adequately successful QSO,
                                w/K3WWP in Pennsylvania LAVS DEO
    20110904=01h15->00000160h58__listened in HHARC shack
                                 __had CW QSOs w/Italy, Balearics, Quito
                                   __LAVS DEO

    20111231=00h30->0000208h12__FCC faults0, merit41

                                __so 2q=87.5%
                              __fastwords 5setx10rows=82%
    20120101=01h30->0000209h42__listened in HHARC shack
                              __CW QSO 00h10 w/WA6RZ HURRRAAA
                              (_total radio handson this day = 03h28)
    20120109=00h21->0000213h38__FCC faults1, merit42-2=40d
    20120110=00h22->0000214h00__FCC faults2, merit48-4=44d
    20120111=00h17->0000214h17__I now begin drilling FCC chars at 20 wpm
                                rather than at 18 wpm
                                (_geopol news (Iran) impels me to ramp up)
                              __FCC faults0, merit37[sic 37]
    20120112=00h29->0000214h46__FCC faults1, merit36-2=34d
                              __I now begin drilling mock QSOs
                                at 20 wpm rather than at 18 wpm
                              __mock QSO
                              __I now begin drilling fastwords
                                (_this is a drill in which I do not
                                  write down what I hear)
                                at 20 wpm rather than at 18 wpm
                              __fastwords 5setx10rows=80%[sic 80%]
                              (_separate from this time accounting
                                is my ((SNIP)) viewing of
                                Morse training vids:
                                  __ca 1944
                                  __showing coin-wrist,
                                    emphasizing that wrist and index finger
                                    are what do the work,
                                    emphasizing that wrist is to be relaxed
                                  __ca 1966
    20120408=01h27->0000246h47__listened in HHARC shack
                                __short Ukraine CW QSO HURRRRAAAAA!!!!!!!
                                  __UR7HA = {Yuri.N.Golyanik}
    20130826=00h20->000344h49__FCC faults1, merit54-2=52d (Zpro7) HUZZZZAAAA
    20130827=00h22->000345h11__FCC faults1, merit45-2=43d (1proJ)
    20130828=00h20->000345h31__FCC faults0, merit38[sic38]
    20150720=00h25->000366h09__FCC faults0, merit48[sic48]
    20150721=00h16->000366h25__FCC faults0, merit36[sic36]
    20150722 DIES PERDITA
    20150723=00h20->000366h45__FCC faults4, merit36-8=28d
    20150724=00h22->000367h07__FCC faults0, merit38[sic38]
    20150725 DIES PERDITA
    POLICY: From now on I seek to do something every week,
            but NOT necessarily every day. I thus log lost weeks,
            in my "HEBDOMA PERDITA" formalism,
            without logging lost days.
    20160725=00h08->00379h41__FCC vigu0, teene05[sic05]
    20161001=00h16->00382h00__FCC vigu1, teene23-2=21d (S pro H)
    20161008=00h14->00382h14__FCC vigu0, teene28[sic28]
    20161015=00h15->00382h29__FCC vigu0, teene23[sic23]
    20161022=00h20->00382h49__FCC vigu0, teene33[sic33]


    Everyone learning Morse has for decades faced, at the very outset, the question, "Koch Method or Farnsworth Method"? Details can be had by Googling on the string koch method versus farnsworth method. Here it suffices to say that both methods strive to avoid a known problem for Morse students, the "Speed Plateau". 

    There is some temptation to learn Morse naively, progressing from mastery of the whole FCC set of about 44 characters at, say, a slow 6 words per minute up to medium-speed 12 or 14 wpm, up to the rather fast 18 wpm, and up ultimately to the duly professional 24 wpm. I suspect my friend-or-relative PQRS, whom I discussed last week, proceeded in this way during the Hitler war, in his ultimately successful progression to the Wehrmacht's daunting 24-wpm target. Although the Koch method was current in Reich radio-training facilities, PQRS probably had no access to such luxuries.  But the wartime success of PQRS notwithstanding, it is said that some people get stuck at perhaps 10 wpm or so, finding for a long time that they just cannot copy even at the moderately useful 14 wpm. 

    To avoid the bottleneck, the Koch method drills a a sufficiently stiff speed, say 12 wpm, from the beginning. In the first day or two or four or so, one starts with just two characters, for instance K ("dah-di-dah") and M "(dah-dah"), generated by one's teaching machine in such strings as K MK MM KKM KMMMK MMKMKMKMKKK (supposing the machine to be set, as is reasonable, for six random-length "words" per string). In the next days, one adds a third character, say R, so that one's machine is now briskly playing into the headphones such strings as KMR RRMK RKR MMMMRKM RKKKKKM MMKR. Some days later, one adds a fourth character, say S, so that the strings become brisk-sounding randomized sequences like MKSR RSKM MRSSSK SSKRM MSK KSRS

    One then begins to learn - or I, at any rate, began to learn - distressing things about the human brain. 

    Why is it that when one has mastered, say, 20 of the 44 or so FCC-prescribed characters appropriate in English-language radiotelegraphy, the addition of a 21st character proves so dramatically painful? Why is it that suddenly, with the introduction of just one new character to the growing set, the whole brain is thrown into a dramatic confusion, from which it takes several days to recover? These are days which must be endured patiently, before the pen once again writes down accurately, on that suddenly discouraging square-ruled sheet, what the machine has been showing on its (temporarily concealed) two-line LCD display and sounding into the headphones. It is as though the brain is filing recipe cards, under some perverse rules which cause its entire accumulated file to be scrambled as soon as just one additional card gets dumped into the growing set.

    Grimly fearing an outright learning disability (not for nothing have I been diagnosed with a mild form of autism), I stopped, then resumed, then stopped, then resumed, and so on, over a period of years, dragging out what I should have achieved in under one year. I read, or first read, the Finley book on 2004-11-29. I first set up the MFJ-418 on 2004-12-14, drilling on random perhaps-13-wpm "words" made up from the two-character set B W. Finally (as can be inferred from the work log displayed above), I succeeded, conducting my first really adequate conversation, or "QSO", with K3WWP in rather-nearby Pennsylvania on 2011-06-05.

    I do not think I have found any learning experience - certainly not classical Greek, perhaps not even multivariate real analysis from Spivak's universally dreaded Calculus on Manifolds - in this particular way disheartening, to the particular point of inducing an outright suspicion of neuropathology.

    Perhaps Farnsworth, then, is the better bet.

    In the case of Farnsworth, the student learns most or all of the FCC character set at the outset, hearing the characters always at a reasonably brisk dits-and-dahs tempo, but at first with long pauses between characters. As it might be:


    (Here I write dots not for dits but for stretches of silence.) As the months go buy, the teaching machine is progressively directed to tighten up the spacing, to a point at which the student perhaps hears


    finally graduating to the nicely professional


    On both the Koch and the Farnsworth approaches, the student is (correctly) forced to hear characters as units, like drumming routines, rather than as discrete dits and dahs. C, for instance, is both under Koch and under Farnsworth not a laborious and slow


    but a nice, crisp, drummer-in-the-orchestra-pit


    One suspects that many students of Morse have private mnemonics for hearing characters as units, i.e., as tight drum routines. The Web literature somewhere suggests hearing D, or "dah-di-dit", as "dog did it". In this spirit I for my part make Z a personal tribute to actress Zsa Zsa Gábor (1917-), as "dah-dah-dit-dit", for "Zsa Zsa did it." In this same spirit, I make P into "The Pope saw it" ("di-dah-dah-dit"). The sound had better (say I) enjoy some mnemonic connection with "love" (or, as Elvis Presley would say, with "luv"). And so I turn that "di-dah-di-dit" into "Get OVER it."


    Having learned Morse, one then has to consider how to retain the knowledge, in a busy life in which hands-on radio must generally get overshadowed by more pressing concerns. In my particular case, for instance, there are pressing concerns, within radio and yet outside the practical shack, in mathematical-physics-of-radio. Outside radio, there are also pressing duties, notably in astronomy.

    Perhaps practical skill in Morse, like any complex reflex, stays in the brain indefinitely. It is not, however, prudent to bet on this - especially in a world that might descend in a scant 24-month or 12-month spiral into outright civil chaos, with ham-radio expertise suddenly a mattter of public safety (even as it suddenly was in, say, the Britain of 1939).

    As can be seen from the last few of the log excerpts above, I for my part now drill just once a week, for about a quarter hour, doing just the most important of the various possible kinds of drill - the sequences not of intelligible words but of mere "words", assembled by my trusty MFJ-418, to random length, from random FCC characters.

    Two such "words" are thus




    The machine seems in my case to vacillate in a truly random, gratifying, way between "words" one character long and "words" running through various intermediate lengths, right up to 8 or so characters.

    I find that under this undemanding schedule, my proficiency level at 22 wpm drops to below what it used to be when I drilled at 22 wpm six times a week, and yet does stabilize within the range of the acceptable. In the case of a large civic emergency, such as a global Internet collapse, it would on the strength of this retained skill be possible to enter a radiotelegraphy shack at once, ready to copy all but the faster stations, and with the brain poised to regain its modest stretch of lost ground in just a couple of weeks - I presume to the relief of, for instance, government ministries seeking radio volunteers for their rapidly forming civil-defence units.


    My correspondent adds that he would like to have "long, slow" conversations with me eventually. To this I have replied, in e-mail, in a cheerful affirmative, while noting that I have yet to bring my own private collection of ham gear into an operational state. (I have a 1960-vintage Heathkit "Cheyenne" and "Comanche" transmitter-receiver pair, with separate single-valve Q-multiplier appropriate for the Comanche receiver. I also have a 1980s all-solid-state Kenwood TS-440S transceiver. The Kenwood was an outright donation, perhaps now 13 or so months ago, from an extraordinarily kind Toronto ham whom I met through half-day annual radio-support operations at the Canadian National Exhibition. Rounding out my little navy, in which the Kenwood is of course the flagship,  are (a) my workhorse low-quality general-comms receiver from 1980, a functioning Realistic DX-300; and (b) the truly wretched, yet beloved, valve circa-1965 Hallicrafters S-120 handed down to me by Dad. It was on the Realistic DX-300, poor though it is, that I followed the Falklands news in 1982, when living in Melbourne (reception of a BBC relay proved easy even in the daytime). It was on the S-120 that my Dad and I monitored Radio Prague from Nova Scotia, in the tragic August of 1968. Finally, as so-to-speak supply vessels in the fleet, there is the MJF-418, plus a modern MFJ antenna-and-feedline analyzer. - This fleet I am resolved to handle with maximal care, eventually bequeathing it via last-will-and-testament to some appropriate institution or individual, within the general Estonian radio world.)

    If others reading my blog can help my correspondent, for instance by entering into their own long, slow Morse conversations with him, I would urge them to get in touch with the two of us. Such readers could start by e-mailing me as Toomas(dot)Karmo(at)gmail(dot)com, citing today's blog posting, and asking me to effect an e-mail introduction.

    [This concludes this (two-installment) essay.] 

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