It’s been obvious to me for some time that if I want to be a successful QRP operator I need to improve my CW skills! If there is a single thing on the Things You Don’t Want To Do If You’re Going To Learn Morse list that I missed, I am not aware of it. Back when I was first licensed I just barely managed the 5 wpm test. This has me stuck at 10 wpm or less (at best!) and still requesting QRS and needing many repeats. I need practice, practice, practice, and some more practice to get my speed and accuracy up!
Toward this end I recently bought the KD1JV Code Trainer kit from QRPguys.com.
The kit was shipped quickly, well packed and complete; the instructions were clear and well organized, all the parts were through-hole mount, and it took an hour or less to assemble, just as advertised. Success! It worked the first time I tried it!
After the first time I tried carrying it in a t-shirt pocket I realized some kind of a case would be a good idea, and what is the first thing that comes to mind as a case for any small electronic project? Of course, an Altoids tin!
It was the work of moments to get a clean tin and punch two holes in the side for the two jacks … and then punch a little crescent out of the top of the holes so that the board would lay flat on top of a piece of thin packing foam.
I want to take a moment for a tribute to the tool that made this job so simple: my Whitney – Jensen #5 punch set. Instead of a drilled hole, complete with sharp sheet-metal burrs, two clean, neat holes in a minute or less. If you ever see one of these at a hamfest or in a thrift shop, I recommend buying it!
Here is the complete outfit, ready for practice! I am also getting a lot of use out of the sending practice function; I mostly have used a straight key and my paddle skills are somewhere between deplorable and merely weak. One more thing to work on!
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