Monday, March 24, 2014

There is a good idea out there…….

Trying to find my way around
Each morning I catch up on my blog reading and on a few blogs that I read LED lighting seemed to be the order of the day for illuminating the shack. I have been up early the last few mornings to see what is on the air waves. I did not find much and decided to work on my contest code I use Morse Runner, this is a good program that adds a very nice contest atmosphere to the operator. A problem became very apparent as I was using the program and it had nothing to do with the program. My keyboard skills were rusty and the lighting in the morning  here at VE3WDM is very dim so cheating and trying to see the keyboard proved to be very frustrating. I really have no problem with the letters or the numbers but it was the F keys I was having problems with. The Morse Runner program uses the F keys for such functions as call repeat,
That's better
exchange repeat and so on. I was really messing up the F function keys because in the low light I just could not see my keyboard. I was getting very frustrated and on two mornings I just closed the program. Then remembering the blogs were I read about LED lighting I went out and purchased an LED lighting strip. It was super easy to install on the roll top desk and it seemed there was a spot just for the low profile LED strip to be placed. I was not sure if this was the ideal place for the lighting strip (lighting up the operating area and keyboard) It turns out that when the natural light went missing and the LED strip was powered up……all is well at VE3WDM and no QRM from it either.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Mike, Morse Runner is a very good program, I use it sometimes myself. LED light is a good, QRM free solution. 73 Paul PC4T

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    1. Good morning Bas, it's nice to be able to see in the keyboard in the mornings now, less frustrating.
      Mike

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    2. Wow, you answer me before I ever made a comment. You must be a mind reader ;-) 73, Bas

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    3. WOW that is so funny it was the morning when I replied to it and I was just trying to multi task…..did not work out so well.

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    4. Sorry Paul for the name mix up but it was early and I was trying type and do things…..
      Mike

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    5. Never mind Mike, it happens to me sometimes also. 73 Paul

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  2. Mike, LED lightning is really a nice solution. The nice thing is that the LED strips or bars work on 12V. So, a application with for example solar cells is possible. 73, Bas

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    1. Well hello Bas…..got it right this time….yes LED lighting is great as for solar cells that is a great idea and something I have to really look into.
      Mike

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  3. Mike,

    That's a great idea! Any particular brand or manufacturer that you would recommend? This would work great in my shack, too. I have an Astron 12V power supply that's just sitting there doing nothing - I'm thinking it could power up one of these.

    73 de Larry W2LJ

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    1. Good evening Larry, I picked the bar at Lowes and I am sure you have them in the U.S. It's great lighting and does not cause any troubles to the receive on the K3 or KX3. The Astron would work great at powering them and they also come 120 volt as well.
      Mike

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  4. Mike, I have the same bar and love it! I'm somewhat alergic to light so the less, the better for me. I mounted mine underneath the 2nd shelf on my desk (when I had a shack) and it was a great, RFI free means of light. And you also touched on a good subject. If you use software to contest with, keyboard skills are very important. You can of course create macros and shortcuts but in the end, knowing your way around a keyboard quickly is very beneficial. I've also has the same issues with FKeys and many a times have hit the wrong one. I use the numbers at the top of the keyboard rather than the side so the FKeys are not entirely challenging to me. I have also found the certain keyboards work better for me than others. I like the old fashioned raised keys rather than the sleep, low profile keyboards.

    Also, I totally agree with the Morse Runner program. I actually had someone drop me a note and tell me when they were practicing, they had to decode my old callsign ;0) I need to get back and start working with that program myself to keep my skills up. Good luck and the shack looks great! 72!

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  5. Phil always great to hear from you, it is so right on regarding the keyboard and my wife just can't see it when I was hunting for the "right" feel in a keyboard. I found I was doing code practice on my laptop all the time and when it came to contesting and using the desktop the key placement was not the same and it really threw me off. Now that we have moved I am 5 min's from work and I can do all the code practice on my home keyboard. Keeping the skill up is very important and can be frustrating when you get to a nice level and then leave it for a bit and return to a much lower copy speed. When asked what my code speed is I say that my contest speed it 40wpm and conversation is about 22 wpm. I find in a contest if you have an idea of what is coming at you your speed seems to go up as well. Good luck with the code and thanks for the complements on the shack I am very happy with it.
    Mike

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  6. Mike, I happened across a video I made while in Alaska that showcases my LED light strip like yours - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGbo6oH71mM When you get to the part of my Search & Pounce, you can see it and that is what light I used to work by. Got me thinking about this thread when I was going through my archive videos.

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    1. Hello again Phil, the Youtube looks great and I did check out the light at the S&P part.
      Mike

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