Radio Operation/Setup References

Just starting out or wanting to learn about something new. Need help setting up your first station. Want to meet others just starting out. This category is for you.

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Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:29 am
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Radio Operation/Setup References

Post by KD7LSQ » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:57 am

As a newbie I find the more I read the more questions I have. I am looking for any reference materials that will help me understand things like dialing up off frequency and why; full break-in/semi-break-in/no break-in, and the reason for those different settings. I have a Kenwood TS-570S for base use, and a iCOM 706 for mobile and camping and each manual minimally tells you how to set the radio but is insufficient as to why you would do either. An earlier post recommended THE ART AND SKILL OF RADIO TELEGRAPHY, but I'm not sure that's the reference I need, and I believe it is currently sold out. I am sure other questions on what I presume are basic to the more experienced will arise, like code used to check for an open frequency, and other common courtesies like slowing someone down and ending the QSO SKCC style.

When that first QSO comes I will have enough trouble with my slow sending and receiving, and want to be sure problems with radio setup and newbie blunders are taken out of the equation.

Thanks in advance for any input.


Steve (KD7LSQ)

Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:19 am
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Post by AC2C » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:24 am

Steve -

All good topics and it's GREAT that you're thinking and asking.

You need to find yourself a good Morse Elmer and address the issues of on-air procedures one-on-one with your Elmer.

I'm honestly not sure what the "dialing off frequency" comment refers to - perhaps you can explain a bit more, or someone else will pick it up here. You definitely want to dial off frequency if you need to "tune up" . Also, you do need to understand how to zero beat a station and how to use RIT and filters.

As for Break-in methods, they refer to how the radio switches between transmit and receive in CW mode. Here are the very bare essentials:
>> No Break-In: You manually put the rig into transmit mode, then send as much as you want, then put the radio back into receive mode, The switching between transmit and receive can be by either pushing a tranmit/receive button, pushing a PTT (push-to-talk) switch, using a foot switch, or some other method.
>> Semi Break-in: You set the radio to automatically switch into transmit as soon as you "key down" and also set a "break-in delay" that tells the radio how long to wait after "key up" before switching back to receive. In this mode, you would usually set the delay for 100-200 msec - enough to keep the radio in transmit while you send at a decent speed but also switch back to receive quickly enough so that you can hear the other end reply when you stop sending.
>> Full Break-in: Also known as "QSK" keying. In this mode, the radio switches between transmit and receive "instantaneously". That is, fast enouh that you can actually hear the receiver between the dits and dahs of each character.

Why the different modes? Personal preference to a large extent. No break-in for very slow sending or when using an amplifier that can't switch slowly. I'd guess that mode is rarely used today with modern rigs.

Semi break-in is handly and used by many operators. It's main draw-back is that once you start sending, the other end can not intrerrupt if they need to.

Full break-in is handly for contesting and rag chewing - the other end can interrupt your sending for a quick comment and you can actually hear yourself being QRM'd. It can, however, be distracting to newbie operators and might cause some confusion.

How to check for an open frequency? Send "QRL ?". it is quick and simple. It literally means "Is the frequency in use". Silence means no-one heard you ask or it's not busy. A "YES". "Y", "R", or "C" means yes it is busy.

To slow someone down, simply send a "PSE QRS".

If you'd like to work with me send me an email at

For SKCC QSOs, you should send you Name, State, and SKCC Number early in the QSO.

73 and ope to catch youon the air soon,
Ron, AC2C

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