DUCWNET conducts Philippine Morse Code Net

DUCWNET aims to keep the CW (Continuous Wave) spirit alive by conducting daily nets and training aspiring operators to communicate using Morse Code. It is an amateur radio activity supported by the Philippine Amateur Radio Association (PARA) and Morse Code enthusiasts based in the Philippines.

DUCWNET has the following objectives:
1. Set a CW common ground in DU land
2. Encourage beginners to practice and exercise CW
3. Make the local amateur radio community become aware
that CW is not dead in the Philippines
4. Train younger CW operators to be successors
in training future CW operators

Operators of varying levels of Morse Code proficiency are welcome to join the DUCWNET, from beginners at 5WPM to seasoned CW operators who could communicate at speeds above 15WPM. The usual Morse Code net speed is about 15WPM but adjusts to the word speed of the station checking in. Below is a sample exchange during a typical DUCWNET:

QRL?  QRL? V V V VVV (Is this frequency in use? Testing, testing)
CQ CQ CQ DE PARA DUCWNET (Calling any station, this is the PARA DUCWNET Morse Code net)
ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN THE PARA DUCWNET (Invites all stations to join the net)
THIS IS DU1AU UR NCS NW, MY NAME IS ANTHONY, (Identifies the current net control station)
ES QTH IS BACOOR. (Identifies the net control station’s location)
QNI QRU QRZ? PSE K (Please check in, any traffic, who is calling)

Any station requesting to check in may simply reply with their call sign.

DW3QEA or QNI DE DW3QEA (Checking in, this is DW3QEA)

For stations checking in for the first time, please also indicate the station’s name and location in the transmission.

DW3QEA ARMAN QTH NUEVA ECIJA K (DW3QEA Arman, location is Nueva Ecija, end of message)

The net control station (NCS) replies with an acknowledgement, and reports back with details about the NCS’s location, such as weather information:

DW3QEA DE DU1AU NCS = (DW3QEA this is DU1AU, net control station)
VY GE OM ARMAN, TKS FER UR CALL. (Very good evening old man Arman, thanks for your call)
UR RST IS 599 5NN, (Your signal is very good at 599, 5NN)
MY WX HR IS CLOUDY. (My weather here is cloudy)
WID TEMP AT 29C. (With temperature at 29 C)
SO HW CPY? ES QRU? AR (Did you copy my message? Any traffic?)
DW3QEA DE DU1AU NCS KN (DW3QEA this is DU1AU net control station, go ahead)

The station called now transmits and checks in.

DU1AU NCS DE DW3QEA = (DU1AU net control station, this is DW3QEA)
VY GE OM ANTHONY, (Very good evening old man Anthony)
TKS FER ACK MY CALL. (Thanks for acknowledging my call)
TU FER MY RST 599 RPRT. (Thank you for the very good 599 signal report)
UR RST IS ALSO 599 5NN.  (Your signal is also very good at 599, 5NN)
CPI UR WX IS CLOUDY WID TEMP AT 29C. (I copy your weather is cloudy at 29 C)
MY WX IS CLEAR AT TEMP 25C. (My weather is clear at 25 C)
PSE CPI MY QNI QRU. (Please copy my check in to the net, no traffic)
KEEP SAFE AND TAKE CARE ALWAYS, (Keep safe and take care always)
HPE TO CUAGN TMW. (Hope to see you again tomorrow)
73 77 AR (Best regards and long live CW!)
DU1AU NCS DE DW3QEA TU EE (DU1AU net control station this is DW3QEA, thank you)

The net control station acknowledges and replies:

DW3QEA DE DU1AU NCS = (DW3QEA this is DU1AU, net control station)
CPI UR WX IS CLEAR AT 25C. (I copy your weather is clear at 25 C)
QSL UR QNI QRU. (Acknowledging your check in, with no traffic)
KEEP SAFE ES TAKE CARE ALWAYS, (Keep safe and take care always)
HPE TO CUAGN TMW. (Hope to see you again tomorrow)
73 ES 77 AR (Best regards and long live CW!)
DW3QEA DE DU1AU NCS(DW3QEA this is DU1AU net control station)
SK GN TU E E (End of transmission, good night, thank you)

If you are a Morse Code and CW enthusiast or a new ham looking to learn or improve in sending and decoding Morse Code, then checking in to the DUCWNET Philippine Morse Code net may just be the perfect amateur radio activity for you! The DUCWNET conducts daily Morse Code net at 7.102 MHz (HF, CW mode) Monday to Saturday, 4 pm to 5 pm, and at 145 MHz (VHF, FM mode using an oscillator for CW tones) Monday to Saturday, 7:30 pm to 8 pm. Operators who are able to check in to the DUCWNET at least 10 times a year qualifies for a certificate from the PARA DU NET.

Special thanks to the following stations who regularly check in and support the DUCWNET (as of 14 January 2022).

4E1AGW William4H1NZJ LeeDU1FV RamonDU3AT JamesDV3CEP Emerson
4F1BGF Rey4I1AGJ EdselDU1JR JojiDU3GKT JerryDV3SA Fred
4F1BYN Max4I1AWM MichaelDU1KIB JunDU3MR RestyDV3VAA Don
4F1LDR Nards4I1BNC BongDU1LMC LouieDU3RI RodyDV4MDR Mark
4F2AJ Lito4I1EAY DennisDU1NA NickyDU4RER RoyDV9/VE7HQT Sherwin
4F2KWT Gil4I1EBC, DV1J JoeyDU1NC ChitoDU5AOK(/9) NathanDW1TDW Nigel
4F3CS Clym4I1MVI RobertDU1TC MarsDU7FCC, DU7X NicholasDW2JHS Renz
4F3FJU Jojin4I1MYV GhieDU1TDG ConradDU7LVH JoeDW3QEA Arman
4F3FSK Jhun4I1RAC AngeloDU1VBY RicheDU7SJF DanDX9EVM Jhun
4F3KT EddyDU1APO AllenDU1VGX RuelDU9CA JhunDY3GTE Garrie
4F8RS/DU1 RoelDU1AZ/4DIZ GeraldDU1XX MikeDV1ODC, DZ1R RichardN7ET/DU7 Dale
4G1DIF IanDU1DA DennisDU1YSM LarryDV1XNZ JoelVA7CD/DU7 Daniel
4G1EFB FhordDU1EV, DU1A EddieDU1ZDR, DZ1A JohnDV1YAI, DZ1Z NickyYB7XO Ricky
4G1MDZ JojoDU1EQ EdsaDU2FIS PaulDV2JB Jharwin 
4G1RMC RichardDU1FLA EstoyDU2US FilDV2KBE Jerry 

The DUCWNET started in May 2020, initiated by net control stations (NCS) DU1JR, DU3GKT, 4F3CS, 4F1BYN, DU1VGX, 4E1AGW with help from other NCS 4H1NZJ, DU2FIS, DU7LVH, DW3QEA, and DU1AU.

CW, our way of life, 73, 77! DUCWNET

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Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Rotator with 4-element Yagi

I’ve recently finished building a DIY rotator with 4-element dipole Yagi antenna tuned at 145 MHz VHF.

DIY Rotator by DU1AU

The rotator consists of a worm drive in which a worm from an old copier machine meshes with a wheel from an old drill. The shaft is a stainless steel rod that is held in place by two pillow block bearings. The whole assembly is housed in a waterproof metal ammo box. It has an oil ring gasket to seal the hole at the bottom where the shaft goes through. The screws used to mount the pillow blocks are stainless steel to resist corrosion, with rubber gaskets to prevent water entry. The rotator uses a 12V geared DC motor to drive the worm gear. With the current load, it consumes only 200 mA when slewing. The rotator was tested to carry a VHf Yagi with up to 7 elements. It takes 10 seconds to slew the antenna from north to south.

DIY 4-element Yagi mounted on a DIY rotator

In the next iteration of this project, I will increase the separation between the antenna and the metal box enclosure to minimize the effect to the radiation pattern of the antenna.

RX preamp and TX amplifier installed in the rotator’s weatherproof box

I’ve also installed a Tokyo Hy-Power HL-726D 50-watt TX amplifier and 12-14 dB gain RX preamp, which helps in receiving weak signals (when placed near the antenna) and allows my radio to operate at a lower power level since only 5-25W is needed to drive the amplifier. During initial tests (no RX preamp and TX amplifier used), the antenna worked with excellent transmit and receive signals as reported (and video recorded) by DW3QEA, a net control station in Nueva Ecija, over 120 km distance from my location in Bacoor.

Elevation motor added recently to the rotator for satellite tracking

To watch a video about this homebrewed rotator, click here.

Related links:
DIY Satellite Tracker | SARCNET
DIY Satellite Tracker | SATNOGS

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Home-brewed Straight Key

I have built a Morse code straight key using brass plates, small bearings, brass shaft, and some brass screws from power supply binding posts. The key is mounted on the same aluminum plate with my home-brewed electronic keyer with paddles and desk microphone. With this customized straight key, I hope to get a better sense of rythm in sending Morse code.

To watch the straight key in action, along with the electronic keyer with paddles, click here.

Related link:
DIY Iambic Morse Code Keyer

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Iambic Morse Code Keyer

I have built an ultra-compact DIY iambic Morse code keyer for a dual-paddle key based on the work of PA3HCM. The keyer uses an Arduino Uno and a few components such as a potentiometer for adjusting the words per minute (WPM), a small speaker, some resistors, and LED indicators. I housed the circuitry in a neat enclosure and added some terminals (for signal line-out and an auxiliary connection for a second key). I then attached a dual-paddle key onto the enclosure, making the keyer and key setup a very portable trainer for code practice.

DIY iambic Morse code keyer

To watch the keyer in action, click version 1 and version 2. 73, DU1AU (Philippines).

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Morse Code Transmitter Test

I was testing my Morse Code transmitter last night by sending a CQ on 7.102 MHz using various transmit powers ranging from 5 to 10 watts QRP, up to 100 watts full power, using an ICOM 718 and a home-brewed antenna. It appears that 4 stations (one in the Pacific and 3 on the other side of the world—in the US) heard my signal, as reported in the Reverse Beacon Network (an automated system that receives and logs Morse code transmissions).

While this is probably the farthest distance to date that my signal was able to reach, this is just one-way communication. Probably as I improve my antenna, I’d also be able to hear the faint signals coming from the other side of the world.

Related link:
DIY 40-Meter Antenna

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines