Thanks for the trip
----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 8:33 PM
Subject: [TenTec] True QSK?
> I find the QSK discussion interesting but it misses
> perhaps the original purpose of QSK.
> IMHO QSK was developed for the purpose of efficient
> QTC via CW. When the information sending and
> information receiving stations both use QSK, they do a
> team dance that is wonderful to hear. Listen to the
> NTS traffic handling nets. Under mediocre or poor
> signal conditions, two such ops can pass traffic
> FASTER than can be done via voice transmission under
> the same conditions.
> For nearly 20 years I was a shipboard Radio Officer in
> the Merchant Marine and have handled thousands of
> commercial messages, from both ships and from maritime
> coastal stations.
> Getting full QSK onboard a ship was difficult,
> probably because much of the equipment was designed by
> folks who were not true CW operators. In the maritime
> experience, full QSK was generally achieved via full
> duplex - receiving on one frequency and sending on
> The "purist" ham radio ops of today would have been
> horrified to hear all the audio clacking of the
> various relays and contactors aboard ship that clacked
> with every dit. Since the separation between receive
> and transmit antennas was generally less than a couple
> of hundred feet, the receiver hash was tremendous.
> It amazed me that some of the big Magnecraft and
> Potter and Brumfield relays could really switch at 40+
> WPM. Plus I had to modify my trusty old Heathkit
> HD-1410 keyer to be able to handle the 100 plus volts
> of cathode keying on the older Mackay rigs and more
> mods to handle all the RF in the shack from the
> typical end fed wire or whip antennas.
> Yet, I got used to it and HAD to.
> Many coastal stations actively transmitted info BACK
> to you WHILE you were transmitting. Even worse,
> sometimes they were sending to multiple ships WHILE
> you were sending to them. They often had 3 or more
> operators keying each transmitter. You were expected
> to pay attention, break, backup, fill errors or even
> listen for an instruction to change frequency WHILE
> you were transmitting. God help you if you weren't
> listening. The coastal station op would send a series
> of dozens of dits to you. You could literally hear him
> hop up and down angrily banging his key.
> PCH/Scheveningen Radio in the Netherlands was famous
> for running 2 to 4 ops per transmitter and even
> WCC/Chatham Radio - Cape Cod often had two ops per
> I've yet to hear the audio clacking of a relay in an
> amateur transceiver that truly bothered me.
> The unmodified sidetone of my Corsair II is music to
> my ears compared with the shipboard equipment, that in
> most cases had no sidetone at all. If I didn't have my
> keyer's sidetone, I'd use a second receiver tuned to
> my own signal.
> When maritime CW was at its height, operating was
> under continuous contest conditions. You were
> competing with other shipboard stations for the
> attention of the coastal stations, especially if they
> had traffic for you....
> One of my most difficult QSO's was when I was running
> a coastal station. It took nearly 40 minutes to
> receive a 25 word message from a Liberian freighter
> off the coast of South Africa. He must have been
> running 25 watts into a wet noodle. He mentioned that
> he had called coastal stations for two days, with me
> being the only one to answer him.
> He was just at the noise level and I'd have to break
> him until the QSB rose enough to hear him. I'd get a
> letter or two and he'd fade, I'd break him until he
> rose, get another letter and so on. Without QSK it
> would have been impossible.
> I always got my message through....
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