How to travel with your high dollar ham gear – K6UDA Radio Episode 34

Guys have asked me what I pack and how I pack it when I travel. So heres a peek at how my KX3 gear safely gets to where I’m going. Plus I reveal a deep dark secret thats pretty embarrassing. (The KX2) (The SARK 110 Analyzer) (The SideKar) (Pelican Case)


  1. Vaughn Bradley on October 17, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Put your mike in a drawer somewhere, hook up the keying device of your choice. LISTEN-PRACTICE. DO NOT RETRIEVE your mike until you have 5 solid contacts logged. You will be glad you did.

  2. Anthony Wadley on October 17, 2018 at 4:05 am

    I learned morse code in about 30 days with Quick Code. This program teaches you to hear words instead of dit’s and da’s. Their website is It was the easiest option for me. My son is getting ready to use it to learn as well. Worth giving them a look. Good luck!

  3. Desmond's Donders on October 17, 2018 at 4:06 am

    You are not the only one. Cannot help with a learning tool but will be interested on what you decide on 🙂

  4. Tom Ferguson on October 17, 2018 at 4:07 am

    I need to proofread these voice to text functions on my iPad sorry about the misspellings and so forth

  5. KE8EAZ on October 17, 2018 at 4:07 am

    I like the website it’s helpful for learning to send but kind of lacks on learning to receive.

  6. David Weingart on October 17, 2018 at 4:09 am

    As far as CW, I found that was really helpful for getting my speed up. I had to learn CW when I first got my ticket back in 1977 or so, and then didn’t do anything at all until after I got relicensed back in 2014. Don’t be afraid to get on the air and call CQ as slowly as you can. Someone will come back and you’ll make it work. I also found that was really helpful for getting my speed up a bit, to the point where I’ve now done two NPOTA activations in CW. What I like about it is that you can get out there with QRP power levels, even under iffy propagation conditions. I’m not very good at it, but the more I use it, the better I get (much like all else in the hobby, right?).


  7. rckgnzls on October 17, 2018 at 4:09 am

    I did the same because I wanted Shack-in-the-box however I used the foam. The way you did looks like it will hold more gear. Do you feel your gear can handle some abuse when traveling?

  8. Darin C on October 17, 2018 at 4:09 am

    I’m in the same situation on the CW, if you come across anything that helps you, let us know in a video.

  9. zanado11 on October 17, 2018 at 4:09 am

    just wanted to say I’m with you on the CW journey, having the same problems. Just wanted to say I love watching your vids. Kinda of new to ham radio (two years, general last year). I got into the hobby after retirement, LEO from Ohio. Keep up the great videos. 73 Roger W8RLP

  10. FRANK HAUGEN on October 17, 2018 at 4:14 am

    What is the largest shirt you offer?  THANKS

  11. stereodreamer23 on October 17, 2018 at 4:14 am

    If you want your gear to make it through the airlines unmolested and unbroken, the best way to ensure that is 1) put it in a Pelican Case, and 2) put a handgun in the case with your gear, and declare it with TSA.

    You’ll have to send it through as "checked" (instead of carry-on) but because it has a "Declared Firearm" in the case, the airlines will handle it with kid gloves.

    The reason for this is that if there is ANY sign of tampering or damage to such a container when you pick it up at your destination terminal, TSA regulations pretty much require the ENTIRE airport to be shut down while they investigate, to ensure your firearm wasn’t stolen…

  12. Michael Mackay-Blair on October 17, 2018 at 4:16 am

    treat it like calculus, dont think about it, just do it. I have the same issue. practice practice practice. Is all I can suggest. Good luck with it mate! 73 VK6MMB

  13. Tim on October 17, 2018 at 4:16 am

    No Pocket , its not a hams shirt

  14. CrossWood on October 17, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Hey Bob…in my 40s and just started CW within the last couple years. I would HIGHLY recommend starting with paddles instead of straight key. And any software or other programs that work best for you are good, but nothing replaces just flat out practice, listening, sending, etc. Good luck! 73… Chris – NI7IN

  15. Fireguy-1322 on October 17, 2018 at 4:17 am

    I’ve tried using straight key and iambic, iambic seems best for me. I too need to find a tool to learn to copy code. Keep us updated.

  16. Dale Myers on October 17, 2018 at 4:18 am

    he’s a tad racy or randy. but Jerry Ziliak’s KB6MT helped me with what i can read.

  17. Myles Siglin on October 17, 2018 at 4:21 am

    +K6UDA Howdy Bob Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve had the same problem with my mind not communicating with my hand to do code for 40 years. It stopped me from getting my novice license way back then I gave up even though my Elmer tried 7 days a week with a new letter driving by on his way to work and on his way home honking his horn. Then going over it once or twice a week. KJ6IHZ. 73

  18. Mike P. on October 17, 2018 at 4:21 am

    Enjoyed the video! For a suggestion on CW, you might consider the course given by the SF Morse Amateur Radio Club (W6SFM). The classes are held in Carmichael. It helped me a lot, although I’m far better at sending code than receiving it. Numbers trip me up, I keep expecting a letter. I just need more practice. — Mike KK6GLP

  19. Gary Adams on October 17, 2018 at 4:22 am

    I feel your pain with the CW stuff. I’m getting there but still a long way to go to get to contest level speeds. I have fun with CW Coach. There are many different things that you can listen to. To me it almost seems like a game with listening and then typing on the keyboard the letter that you heard. You can set the speed to what you can handle both in work speed and letter speed. Keep trying and you WILL overcome. Gary – N1GSA

  20. Ken Smith on October 17, 2018 at 4:23 am

    BTW.. ur a nutcase.. always look forward to your vids.. KE8KW

  21. tony cantrell on October 17, 2018 at 4:24 am

    got my two last week

  22. Tom Ferguson on October 17, 2018 at 4:24 am

    I made up different sets of code for my ringtones it has worked fairly well for example I do a lot of photography for an artist and I have a very code is Tom Susie is calling and so forth his word fairly well for me even use it for text messages. Wish you the best. Tom N7TLF

  23. Rodney Whitfield on October 17, 2018 at 4:26 am

    Nice Ed Roth screen saver( I’m assuming it is an Ed Roth screen saver) King of Hot Rods pin striping and flame work… sorry I’m an Ed junky…hi hi 73’s KC5DZH

  24. Robert Ahrens on October 17, 2018 at 4:28 am

    For me, the issue was motivation. I had learned the code as a boy scout many years before, but could only copy a few words per minute. I decided that the only way I would follow through and do it was to get on the air. I bought a radio and decided that I would listen to code tapes each morning and get on the 40 Meter Novice Band each evening. The frustration of lousy copy in the evening motivated me to do the tapes (really boring!) in the morning. I am not a code pro, but I can copy 10 to 12 WPM comfortably and have made hundreds of CW contacts over the years. Get on the air. Commit to making a few contacts each evening. Your fist and you copy will improve. BTW, someone here suggested CodeQuick. Excellent program for starting out. My pre-teen son and I did a road trip and listened to the tapes twice while driving. He was copying 5 WPM by the end of the day.

  25. Pedro Almeida on October 17, 2018 at 4:30 am

    I am learning cw whit this videos.

  26. Caveman4860 on October 17, 2018 at 4:37 am

    I Too, Suck at CW! I’m Trying… -Thom

  27. Dale Myers on October 17, 2018 at 4:37 am

    i suck too. i passed 5 wpm. but by the skin on my teeth. but in not a no code geek any more.

  28. Tom Field on October 17, 2018 at 4:38 am

    Bob, I faced the same thing 9 yrs ago. I got the K7QO Code course from the Fists group and applied myself. I’ve recently found Iambic Master a great Windows program for improving sending with paddles. I’m still working my way through the code course, but have been comfortable enough to snag ~Q’s CW last field day. Takes time unless you’re 10 yrs old
    Tom KN6DR

  29. Hammer USN on October 17, 2018 at 4:39 am

    shirts are well worth it, they are nice!

  30. Paul Chance on October 17, 2018 at 4:40 am

    Is your issue with sending CW or copying CW? Remember with Mac came out with the mouse, people learned to use the mouse. Then came trackballs, and some started with them. Soon there were touch pads. And now people type with their thumbs – so it is with CW keys. Having learned on a straight key, I’ve tried and tried to switch to the iambic paddle. But I make many more mistakes than the time I save with the iambic action. As close as I’ve come is a single lever paddle (a Kent). It creates the automatic dits and dahs, but not the confusing "dit-dah".

    The keyed mode is important too. Mode A stops when you release the two squeezed paddles and Mode B completes a "dit" if you release on the "dah". The mode I tried was called ultimatic.

    But finally I give up on the double paddle and just got a single lever – along with a straight key.

    How bad am I – I can’t send a 3 x 3 CQ into the rig memory without making a mistake in the sequence. I was raised on a straight key. And, amazing but true, you can’t enter CW into the recorder with a straight key – you have to use a paddle.

    For practice, I’d just take some print material and spend x minutes each day sending. But for getting into QSO’s quicker, remember that the QSO "conversation" is not normal speech. You really have a limited amount of Text to learn (my name xxxxx, QTH is xxxx, etc.) I think it is important to find someone willing to suffer and start sending cw QSO’s to them. The straight key century club will set you up with a buddy:

    If your issue is copying CW, I used G4FON’s trainer. In the olden days, we had records. But if with the right kind of memory, it was pretty easy to memorize the text on the record. In those days you had to go to the FCC building to take your test. I went down there 13 times. I didn’t have ham gear but I knew I wanted to be a ham. Maybe they figured that this kid was not going to quit. Or I got lucky and got my 65 characters in a row.

    Decades passed and I decided to get back into it again. I got my AE, but the code test was gone. I wanted to do it "old school" so I listen to the ARRL cw practice sessions and finally passed a qualifying run to get my 20 wpm certificate. That took about eight months because of various issues – missing the date because of GMT time, people tuning up on frequency during the qualifying run, getting 96 letters in a row, then missing one (you need 100); but it finally happened.

    The G4FON trainer feature of allowing letters to be sent at a fast speed, like 25wpm, but spaced as if it were 18 wpm, allows you to learn the sound of the letters near your desired goal while slowing down how fast they come at you until you build up the "hear it/write (or type) it" reflex without thinking about the letter.

  31. Daniel Loranger on October 17, 2018 at 4:41 am

    Definitely not alone on the CW! I can send and hear a few letters, but my brain just won’t do it. Been trying off and on for about a year. You might give a try, or there is an app on android called "morse machine" that uses the same mechanics as Keyboard skills are a must though for these tools.

    Good Luck!

    Also, I agree iambic is the way to go.

  32. Alex Stewart on October 17, 2018 at 4:43 am

    1. I recommend you split up the CW issue a bit at first, concentrate on just listening in 5-10 minute sessions, write the letters you hear and ignore the others…this will get you tuned into the rhythm of letters. probably listen for 4-5 sessions. Then stop and have a send session for 5 minutes.. just the letters you know. This is pretty much how we have learnt any language (ie the sounds of the letters are roughly equivalent to words) you initially ignore the ones you don’t understand.. eventually it becomes the other way around you automatically deal with all the now simple bits you do understand and can concentrate on the rest.
    2. Get a paddle (possibly not the kx3 as it is a bit small and fiddly) The initially "larger" side to side motion of the paddle will feel much better and is easy to reduce. The straight key is great and we used to use these for exams and I would recommend coming back to it for the feel and experience eventually, but lets get you on the air first.
    3. Measure… I bet you know more letters than you think, C Q E I S T M O A K. plus probably numbers so thats nearly 20 out of 36. Thats more than halfway! if you added the letters in your call U and D thats 22 out of 36! Thats awesome!

    P.S. Shirt arrived in Oz … excellent! VK2PSF

  33. Adam Rennison on October 17, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Some people grab the code and go and others just can’t do it.. do not feel embarrased. I picked up with the Gordon West Tapes and got only as high as about 10 wpm. So just keep trying. Also you can take words from anywhere and practice sending them. Like look around the shack and try it. That helps sometime. 73, ad0am

  34. Jim Piper on October 17, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Now you know why I don’t sprechen da code. Years ago I spent every lunch hour for ell over a month practicing code with an office mate. We hit a glass ceiling at 9wpm. I was shooting for 13wpm to go straight to a general class license. Yup. It was awhile ago. So, I just said screw it. It’s like learning another language — which I could never successfully do either (I have enuf trouble sprechen Amerikan). Argh! So, was I ever a happy camper to see code dispensed with as a license requirement. Meet me in the voice and digital sections of the band…

  35. Scott Johnston on October 17, 2018 at 4:54 am

    Got my shirt! I now look cool! Thank You!

  36. Michael Sheeran on October 17, 2018 at 4:55 am

    Morse Toad app is your friend. It makes it like a game.

  37. Hammer USN on October 17, 2018 at 4:57 am

    I too used morse toad app, it made it fun. But , I also watched and practiced old school style with the army code videos, and the best vids, with a quiz at the end of each video which was nice to monitor your progress, was "THE HAM WHISPERER" morse code videos on you tube , excellent , and u just learn by ear. Good luck brother Bob, and if I can do it….lol, anybody can bud.

  38. Leslie F. McDermott on October 17, 2018 at 4:58 am

    You are not alone! I am known as being an extremely bright person. I just can’t get it. If you find a way to get past this, let us know.

  39. Operations ValleyBureau on October 17, 2018 at 4:58 am

    My CW wushu is weak too…. I’m a flat foot trigger presser… trying to apply myself as well. lol too much to do.

  40. Ken Smith on October 17, 2018 at 4:58 am

    get that keyer plugged into the bottom of your kx3 and send yourself the alphabet.. you name.. your address.. you dog’s name.. your town name.. my name.. just get rid of that strait key.. you will burst thru the wall.. it happens.. I hate cw, but I think it and hear it all the time.. I never work cw, but it’s a matter of choice, not ability.. if you don’t like it.. you don’t like it.. nobody sez ya gotta like cw or that you’re less of a ham because you don’t enjoy cw.. have fun!

  41. TheMountainRN on October 17, 2018 at 4:59 am

    I have trouble with morse too. This may help

  42. LARRY TAYLOR on October 17, 2018 at 5:02 am

    I just built a KX-2nd look for KX2 and KX3. It is amazing. Worked great for Field Day. It’ll help with copy but not sending. You just have to stick to it. I learned with the Code Quick CDs that use sound-alike for the letters. Learning that method helped sending as well. Good luck