It all started with a tweet. Whilst idly tuning up and down the bands, I wondered if there was a way to know if any other LIDS were on air, and then the germ of an idea formed. So like a fool, I tweeted it...
Well, that was it. I was committed now (or should have been). Searching around for ways to pick up spots, I looked at the Reverse Beacon Network, DX clusters, and eventually found the very excellent HamAlert which does all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace for you. You give it a list of call-signs, it compares incoming spots from RBN, clusters, sotawatch and pskreporter. If a spot matches your criteria (in this case, a list of currently 270 call-signs) it can do several things with the information.
Getting the information onto twitter wasn't the easiest, but a web service was found which will turn emails into tweets. So the spots get formatted by HamAlert, sent by email to the WebApp which turns them into tweets, and the LidsCW Spotter is the result.
The only downside of the system as it stands, is the membership list of call-signs needs to be manually updated; no great shakes though as @lids_cw tweets every time a new member is added!
All in all, an interesting exercise, which seems to have produced a useful resource. And if it gets more LidsCW members firing dots and dashes at each other across the airwaves, well, that makes it all worthwhile.
73, Chris G0JPS
If you’re learning or have mastered CW you’ll know what a journey it can be and how easy it is to fall by the wayside. There is no one right way to master The Code but there are probably a lot of common pitfalls and we all need a little encouragement now and then to keep us on track.
We’d love to hear your learning stories, what’s worked, why you’ve hit a wall and how you overcame set-backs.
Under ‘Resources > Your stories’ we’d like to share your experiences…even if you’re still learning.
In ‘Resources > Learning tools’ we are trying to bring together learning tools that have worked for members.
Once you start having your first tentative CW QSOs you may find there are some hints, tips and tools to help you not feel like an utter failure :o) You can share those in ‘Resources > Operating aids’.
Whatever your experience, what ever has helped you go from Zero to Hero, why not share it with you Ham Buddies so they can be CW heroes too. Drop us a line with your stories, photos, articles and ideas and we’ll try to publish them here.
EDIT: This was originally posted on 1st April. It is actually not true but it is left here in the hope that it still raises a smile.
LIDS continues to grow and thrive and we have been delighted to see so many people interested in being part of us as they take their first tentative steps in Morse code or are here to help mentor those that are. The LIDS admins have been thinking long and hard about where we go next; about our purpose and the goals we would like the club to attain and we have come up with some very ambitious plans for 2016 and beyond.
One of those plans is to build a club station. We’ve had M0LCW as a club callsign for a while now but it rarely gets aired. Alex G7KSE has generously offered to host a new club station at his home QTH and the plan is to convert a spare bedroom into a dedicated club room equipped with a full suite of HF/VHF/UHF radios. Planning permission is already under way for a 30m tower, and the club will be open to all members for RSGB HF, VHF and UHF contesting as well as regular weekly LIDS nets or just a QRS rag-chew.
We have also been contacted frequently by LIDS members disappointed by the lack of QRS CW opportunities with stations from outside the EU. DXpeditions to exotic locations are all well and good but it can be very frustrating if you can’t get through the pile-up at 10wpm. Therefore we have plans to undertake a QRS-only DXpedition to the Caribbean region (or possibly the Maldives) and Michael G0POT has very kindly agreed to lead this activity.
You will appreciate that none of this comes cheaply and therefore the admin team has decided that it is time to introduce a membership fee. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly but we hope that all our members will agree that this is the best way to resource the club for a bright future.
The membership fee has been set at £20/year. There is no reduced rate for OAP/retired because 95% of radio hams would qualify and it would just cut our income, so £20 is the reduced rate. All members will shortly be emailed with details of how to make payment via PayPal or bank transfer.
The admin team would like to thank all LIDS for their continued support and we look forward to sharing details of the club station build and DXpeditions plans, as well as some of our other exciting developments for 2016.
LIDS is delighted to announce the date of our first Morse code ‘boot camp’ as Saturday 16th April to be held at the Memorial Hall, Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8NY.
A boot camp is ideal for those who have started learning Morse code but would benefit from a whole day immersed in CW to help them improve. The day will start at 10am and there will be a mixed programme of concentrated practice to boost copy speeds, sending techniques using straight keys and paddles, and even live QSOs!! There will also be lots of tea breaks along the way to help unscramble our brains. We will aim to finish at 4pm but it will really be when everyone has had enough.
There is no charge for the boot camp itself but attendees will need to make their own transport arrangements. There’s no private parking at the venue but there is free parking in the side streets. If travelling by train then it’s a 25 min taxi ride from either Bristol Temple Meads or Bristol Parkway. Refreshments will be available throughout the day, and you can either bring a packed lunch or there are cafes and supermarkets within a few minutes walk from the venue. There is also a pub just over the road…
We’ll have an HF station set-up on the day to give the MX0LCW club callsign an airing with our new-found skills and there will also be talk-in on 2m FM.
If you would like to attend then please email email@example.com with your name, callsign, email and mobile number. It would also help if you could let us know your current standard (be honest!) and your expectations from the day. There are 12 places available and these will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, with places reserved for those that completed the Doodle survey. Further updates and joining instructions will be sent out to participants via email.
Sadly we couldn’t find a perfect date to accommodate everyone but if this one is a success then there will certainly be more planned for the future and we will try to move the venue around the country too.
An added benefit of our new lidscw.org web site is that we are now able to offer firstname.lastname@example.org forwarding email addresses as a free service to LIDS members.
If you would like a LIDS email address, DM @lids_cw with your forwarding email address and we will get that set up for you.
Welcome to the new home of LIDS on the World Wide Web! Yes it looks a bit like the old site because we quite liked that one but we’ve made some significant changes too.
- The new domain name better reflects the growing international nature of our membership and also our focus on CW, although we are certainly not turning our backs on other modes.
- Our club station M0LCW now has its online log hosted here for anyone operating the station. This is powered by CloudLog written by Pete 2E0SQL.
- We’ve dropped the need for members’ accounts on the web site. The majority of online registrations were spam bots and there is nothing here that actually requires a log-in. If you would like to join LIDS simply send a Twitter DM to @lids_cw.
- The forum has been removed because no-one used it; discussions are much more engaging and interactive on Twitter anyway. Same goes for the chat facility.
- Most importantly we now have full control over the site and its configuration so we can now keep it updated more regularly and add new features with ease.
Thanks to Alex G7KSE who did the WordPress configuration and the content migration ‘heavy lifting’, and to David G7AGI for sorting out the hosting. Now we need to work on getting some fresh content on here. If you’d like to write an article page that you think would be of interest to LIDS then please get in touch by dropping a Twitter DM to @lids_cw or emailing email@example.com.