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Monday, September 3, 2012

W1GQL, Cyrillic Morse, and HEX Beams


I've been hearing a lot about hex beams,  and I think I'd like to build one.  Maybe for 17 and 20 meters.  
W1GQL has a lot of good info on these antennas on his site.  I also found his discussion of Russian CW to be very interesting: 
 What I really like to do with my CW, however is to operate CW in the Russian language. Years ago I taught myself the cyrillic morse code and can use it. Not as fast as the International Morse code but at a usable speed of maybe 15-20 wpm. I have had many contacts with Russian stations and really surprised them coming back to them in fluent Russian. It turns out that Russian hams nowadays don't use the cyrillic morse code often and are no longer even required to learn it to get their licenses. Newer Russian hams don't even understand their own language well in CW. But if you can hitch up with an older ham that does, it is great. I had a QSO a few years ago with a ham licensed right after WW2. He told me that our QSO in Russian was the very first one he had ever had with someone outside Russian using cyrillic morse code. That gives you and idea of how unusual it is. Russian hams use the International morse code when communicating with each other even.

     Switching from International CW to cyrillic CW can blow your mind. To send a Russian V you use our W. If you send a V it is actually their letter with the sound "zh". A C becomes their letter for the "TS" sound. Their letter for the "SH" sound is four dashes. Their letter for the "CH" sound is three dashes and a dot. Send our H and you get a Russian X. Send an X and you get a Russian softsign and so on. Gets confusing until you have done it for a while. I have a lot of fun with it. I wish the propagation were better now. I don't get as many solid Russian QSOs as I did when the sunspot numbers were higher.

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