Let's stay younger with CW operation using a key

Sending CW with a paddle or any key is involved in intellectual centers of CNS and fine motor function. The fine tactile sensory function works as well when we touch the finger piece of the paddle at proper interval and pressure. Aging may have those functions deteriorated.
The following paper says passive sensory stimulation activates sensorimotor functions. They have done purely passive stimulations in the study, which is not thesame as keying movements. But I believe keying movements require fine discrimination of tactile sense that is comparable to these stimulations in a sense.
Old boys, don't complain of your clumsy fist but go on operating CW with a key. That will promise you to stay younger. I am telling this to myself everyday!

Clin Interv Aging. 2008;3(4):673-90.

Improvement of sensorimotor functions in old age by passive sensory stimulation.


Department of Theoretical Biology, Institute for Neuroinformatics, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


Sensorimotor functions decrease in old age. The well-documented loss of tactile acuity in elderly is accompanied by deterioration ofhaptic performance and fine manipulative movements. Physical training and exercise can maintain sensorimotor fitness into high age. However, regular schedules of training require discipline and physical fitness. We here present an alternative interventional paradigm to enhance tactile, haptic, and fine motor performance based on passive, sensory stimulation by means of tactile coactivation. This approach is based on patterned, synchronous tactile stimulation applied to the fingertips for 3 hours. The stimulation drives plastic reorganizational changes in somatosensory cortex that affect perception and behavior: We demonstrate that following 3 hours of coactivation tactile acuity as well as haptic object exploration and fine motor performance are improved for at least 96 hours. Because this kind of intervention does not require active participation or attention of the subjects, we anticipate that coactivation is a prime candidate for future therapeutic interventions in patients with impaired sensorimotor abilities. It can be assumed that the maintenance and restoration of sensorimotor functions can ensure and preserve independence of daily living. Further optimizing of the stimulation protocol can be assumed to strengthen both the range and durability of its efficacy.


How I am getting along recently...

Lately, my work as well as the good condition on the higher bands have been keeping me busy.  In morning and evening, I am getting on 20 or 15m. The bands are always good for the east coasts as well as Europe. I feel relaxed to hear my friends' signals from there with a bit of flutter. The photo above shows my anntena, a tribander for 40 through 20m with a 4 element monobander for 10m above it. 4 element is exactly 3.5 element only. When Bruce K6ZB visited here with his wife last fall, he took some photos. He has submitted some to FOCUS, FOC magazine, with some sentences. The editor at that time, Chris G4BUE, has noticed the 4 element Yagi had lost the half element of the 1st director!! and let me know that through Bruce. I seldom got on 10m. That may be the reason why I haven't noticed this defect. I used to find a piece of aluminum tube in the garden sometime ago. I should have looked up the tower then and figured the number of the elements of the beams there!

The photo below shows the entrance road from the street to our home. The gate stone was half destroyed by the big earth quake in March. On the left of the entrance, we have a bit of lawn garden, which has kept me busy careing for throughout summer. Now that duty is almost over. I should cut the trees along the entrance and some branches of the tress around before it gets cold.  It is the time of harvest. Crisp and cool breeze is coming through over the harvested rice paddies now. One of the best seasons here.

I have a small concert scheduled on Oct 8. Music lovers are gathering at a local hall, where we play pieces together or in solo. Some will sing while the others will play instruments. I will play the 1st and, probably, the 2nd movement of piano trio by Faure. I have yearned playing this piece by myself since my young days. We have finished playing the 2nd piano trio by Brahms this winter after practising for a year. It was an achivement for me, even if we won't question about the result. It was a lot of fun to play in ensemble. The violinist makes a signal, in German, Einsatz, to start music inspiring deeply as if she were telling us "let's start it now". It is always touching me a lot. It sounds we are living and singing music together. It means more than a signal in performance but a sign of having fun of life together.


Irrational announcements from "the authority" on the reactor state

The authority reported that the tubings of the 1st reactor of Fukushima nuclear power plant are full of imflammable gas including hydrogen. They are going to measure hydrogen gas there. I suspect it could be produced from zirconium metal coating the surface of the nuclear fuel reacted with water at very high temperature. Nothing commented about that even though it could result in the catastrophic explosion of the reactor in the future.

If my conjecture is right, there could be much heat produced by the breakdown of nuclear substances which has not been cooled down at all. The government announced a few days ago that the nuclear reactor temerature had been down favorably. They might measure the temperature of the reactor itself. But it is already confirmed that the nuclear fuel has melt through the cases to the base of the reactor building. It could even got into the soil below. It is no use measureing the temperature of the reactor at all. We should rather consider much heat production going on without efficient cooling and it is far from the cooling cessation of the reactor as they plan by the end of this year.

These irrational announcements from the government, its agency or the power company might mean they are trying to start operating reactors at various nuclear power plants all over the country as soon as possible. Our mass media has long been for promoting the nuclear power plant since they hav got much profit from the ad of the power company.  And they won't question about these problems.  However, their effort to bias the public opinion against the nuclear power plant might end in failure since there have been many soureces in the internet which tell the truth.

Is it worth spending time and energy?

Thinking process is stepwise and takes a variety of time depending on the topic and the capacity of the ehinking person. I am not good at the psychology of this field. But it seems reasonable thinking speed is roughly comparable to that of typewriting.

I heard most proficient typists type at the rate of 6000 characters per an hour. This is 100 characters per a minute, that is, again in rough estimation, 20WPM or so. Maybe, thinking rate is around this or a little bit more. If I guess it right, most CW sending fits thinking rate. This might explain why I feel that CW sending is a highly intelligent process. Of course, there could be diverse cases in CW sending. If we send something we think deeply, it could be an intelligent process.

This seems to me to be another reason why CW communication survives in the world where people pursue something more speedy and more efficient.

So how do you think about this? Do you believe CW is worth spending time and energy in your whole life? If you answer yes, why?


Chinese hams

China has grown up one of the biggest countries with respect to the economy as well as the population. The ham radio is not an exception. It is reported there are already over 90000 hams there. There are increasing number of hams getting on now. We could hear a few Chinese on around 7023KHz at night. They always sound like new comers with the prefices of BG, BH etc.

I always wonder why they won't make the ordinary QSOs. They do only in the contest syle or, at best, so called rubber stamp QSOs. In some cases, they might start QSO in response to my CQ before I reply to them. They seem to be interested only in QSLs. I know QSL collection is required to upgrade their tickets. It may hasten them to work as many as possible, that result in those contest style contacts.
But it seems they are not required to experience SWL before getting ham tickets as it used to be in the communist coutries before the cold war ended.
I wonder if this is the only reason of their shorties. I have been interested in the hams in this big neighborhood country.

A few days ago, I ran across into a novice class Chinese with the prefix of BG7 on 40m. I have seen his call in the FIST East Asia BBS sometime ago. I have mentioned it. He seemed to be delighted that I had known him. He was in Shenzheng near HK. His set up was 20W "DIY" with a wire antenna on the roof of 20 story building. Later, his mail told he had run much less power, maybe, a few W from his home brew tiny transceiver. I could not help smiling at the word DIY standing for home brew. It seemed tough for him to go on chatting maybe, I guessed at that time, due to language barrier or some other reason. I thought to correspond with him by e mail. I have never e mailed to any ham in China and was wondering if it was possible. Before I sent him my mail, my mail box had received his with a bit peculiar simple address.

He was wondering why he could not access to FIST EA any longer. He might want me to help him getting touch with FIST EA members. It was surprising to see a Chinese ham to be willing to come back to the ham club in the western world. No barrier between the western nad the eastern in consciouness any longer. He also attached a photo showing his tiny radio with the size of a paddle. My beam was  pointed off back to him then. But his signal was coming in very nicely. I knew China is a real neighborhood.

In the reply to him, I have asked him why the most of Chinese won't enjoy the ordinary QSOs and so forth. So far, no reply from him yet. I guess that the language barrier is not likely to be the main reason. I know in the field of med science, a lot of Chinese are publishing artilces in first quality magazines in English. The most young people should be well educated in English over there. QSL collection demand must be another reason as written above. I am afraid that the bands are still censored by the authority and the QSOs could be checked by them. About 25 years ago, a Korean ham friend used to visit here. While tuning around 40m in my shack, he told me there was censorship on the air in Korea even in the age out of the military government those days. Maybe, it is difficult for that Chinese guy to answer my question. The internet must be an important objects for censorship. His e mail address was a very simple one which seemed handy for censorship.

I wish we could enjoy ordinary QSOs with the people in this neighborhood country in the near future. I dream it will contribute to mutual understanding between Japan and China, which has been disturbed by the unhappy past history and the political propaganda.

Where does a CW club stand on?

As a reply to Steve's comment;

Hi Steve,

I always wonder how a CW club could educate CW operators, promote the ommunciation through CW or enhance ragchewing. I believe CWops is trying to pursue these with the other activities than contesting or award issueing etc. I must admit the gravity is rather centered to these activities. However, there are some other activities which try to promote ragchewing and so on, even though it is not remarkable at all yet. Yes, just only a few buds. Ragchewing is not competitive in nature but highly personal. It could hardly organized by the club. The results of ragchewing are not so apparent as contesting etc. I believe it is still the time for us to keep eyes open to those activities of the club members and to be involved in them by ourselves so far as we could do.

You may take the above saying as an official statement as one of the directors of CWops. I would consider how such a club could be established and maintained. I don't believe it is so easy.

Of course, any club of amateur radio doesn't concern about philosophical idea or profit etc. It is just a circle of a hobby.

However, I believe any club should have something which bond the members each other. It could be the purpose of the club or the spirit of the club, whether it is recognized by the members or not. Either may be related with distinction between the members and the non members. This distinction could give the members a kind of self esteem feeling. It enables the club go on for a long time, even though it often could be criticized as a kind of elitism. Denying this elitism, any club should seek the basis of bonding the members. In case of CWops, I believe it is not enough for the members, or Ishould say, for the head of the club to be conscious of this problem.

It is often told that CW has various aspects of enjoyment, ragchewing, contesting or award chasing etc. Have fun with any aspect of CW in your own style. This seems to be a motto in CWops. This open mindedness attracts us much. However, it won't give us the central concept or spirit of the club which bond the members for a long time. We won't be able to go through without asking what is the essence or the most important thing in CW communication/operation. What is the point or concept which identifies ourselves as a CWops member? This is my question.  

I hope you to stay with us in the club and to go on publishing better but constructive words to the club.

I should repeat that the above opinion is my personal one apart from the directorate. Thanks for your stimulating comment, Steve.


To Bob M0PIE


I have tried to reply to your comment twice. Even though it is delivered through email, it is never shown on this blog itself. I don't know why. Maybe, some bug in the blog system. Sorry for that.

Here is my reply to you. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment;


Thanks for your comment. There are more esearch works on the code reception from the standpoint of cerebral physiology. The code reception process has  been studied by psychologists in the past. It is the topics for the  physiologists with the arm of functional MRI etc nowadays. The code  reception is one of the most basic processes of recognition in brain for communication, which may attract those researchers. We are interested in  the process from pragmatic viewpoint as for how to improve skill with CW  hi. I would summarize them in the future.

Yes, the sociable nature of CW communication is quite important. The  contesters or DXers are seemingly forgetting it, I am afraid. We should not forget it.


Next spring

Hi everyone,

It has been determined that I would retire by next spring. A pediatrician would take over my work next spring. He used to be a pediatric cardiologist but has been working as a general pediatrician at hospitals for the past years. I know him in person though not so close each other. I would work as a part time then. There will be a lot of paper works to be done until next spring.

I often dreamed of leisurely driving trip to the mountain area when I had to drive to the office in mornings seeing the mountain range with snow on the tops far away west of here. But I could never drive toward there. The trips abroad might be also much fun. I have never taken a long vacation for past 17 years. I am keeping fingers crossed that I could attend the W7 FOC event in Seattle next July. There will be a  lot of old friends attending there. Could I recongnize them or could I be recognized by them?

We have old parents in law in Kagawa Pref. My wife has been back there almost once a month. Maybe, I could do something for them if they need my help. I owe them so much while I have done only little for them yet.

I will be a nice house keeper as well as a chef from now on. My wife will go on working as a full time so far. It would be nice to cook supper everyday. Our home, about a half acres in size, require much work especially from spring to fall. I will be a good gardener there.

I would like to study on the social system and the current trend of the thoughts underlying the changes. We might be undergoing a drastic change in the history. We need to have firm political, economical and philosophical view. Or we might be flown away somewhere undesirable. It would be necessary for us to be on a stable and solid standpoint now. Many things to learn.

Of course, I will go on enjoying ham radio as well as cello playing. It is an essence of my life.

I could not forget those suffering from the earthquake and the nuclear plant accidents. I would be involved in volunteer work for them by some means.

May my retirement be blessed with those ideas. May there be time left for me to do some of these things.

In a little bit of excitement mood.



A decade has passed.

I still hesitate posting the sentences below. It is not my aim to humiliate the US people, especially, the victims of the 9.11 event or of the following two wars. But it is what I think of the issue and what I believe to do in the future. Please understand what I mean.

I still remember watching TV news on the spot reporting the event at WTC 10 years ago. It was a real nightmare. I could hardly believe it had happened in reality but it seemed like a scene in a drama. Almost 3000 people were killed there. I know the victim's' families are still in the feeling of big loss and sadness.

Immediately, the President Bush has started the war against the terrorists. The USA has lost many lives of the military personnel in the Middle East through the actions. The cost for the wars in Iraq and Afhganistan seems enormous as well. I appreciate those engaged in these wars who fighted in the name of freedom and anti terrorism. But it is still questionable to me that these wars have established anything good for the peace.

When I knew of starting the war, I was pretty sure that it could leave so many victims among the civilians. It could result in giving rise to new terrorists from the sacrificed civilians' families. Unfortunately, my guess came true. There were over 200,000 civilians killed in the wars, as mass media reported. It seems to be in a real vicious cycle, that is, the war against terrorism is causing more terrorism.

The basic problem was that the US government had regarded a party of the insane muslim radicals as the whole muslim world, or, at least, the most muslims. It was the former party that the USA and the western countries should be against. But, in the reality, the US government took the muslim as their enemy, that is, changed the war from anti terrorism to the conflict between religions/cultures.

I guess the decison to withdraw the military troops from both countries by the President Obama is quite right. Even though there must be long lasting high crime rate and instable politics going on in those countries, it is the time to pursue mutual understanding and cooperation with the most moderate muslims in the Middle East. It is not only the issue of the US people but also of ourselves.


To young CW lovers

It was almost 50 years ago when I started ham radio. All I could afford was a 6AQ5 single transmitter with a wire dipole antenna. CW was the only mode I could work DX with. What a thrill I have felt working abroad with this small set up. I was surely bitten by CW bug those days. Except for the period of med school days, I have been quite active on CW. What has driven me to go on with this old and inefficient mode of communication for such a long time?

One reason is, I think, that CW lovers are always a kind of mania who go on enjoying this mode for long time. We could get along each other for decades and even experience the other's lives together like real family members. I could figure quite a number of those friends of CW lover at once. Sadly, some of them have gone silent key for now. I still remember of them so well.

The above mentioned reason might sound a kind of tautology. CW lovers love CW long. I should emphasize that it could enable us live together with the other CW lovers  all over the world in close relationship for long time, possibly, for life long period.  I believe or, I should say, wish that this long lasting relationships with foreign people with the different culture and history let us understand each other and may lead to the consciousness of cosmopolitan in the future. I am not very optimistic for this but, considering what is going on in the various parts of the world, could not help wishing this way.

Then, what attracts us this mode is the next question. Recent medical studies using the functional MRI tell us copying CW could be highly involved in the function of reading in brain. In reception of CW, conversion of the code to letter or language is a process made without being conscious of that while the latter process of understanding afterwards is quite the same as reading sentences. CW requires highly intellectual ability. So does transmission. This characteristics might make us devoted to CW for a long time. We won't bored with it. But listening to beautiful CW, we could relax and activate ourselves.

I have enjoyed every aspect of CW in the past. Contesting, DXing and so forth. However, ragchewing and understanding the other people remain the last and most important thing for me. I don't force the others not to enjoy the other aspects of CW at all. But my experience and thoughts on CW after being devoted to it for almost half a century might mean something to young CW lovers.


Fall has come here

On the way to the office, I run through the rice paddies shown on the photo above where rice plants are ripe and ready to be harvested. It is soothing me a lot to drive a car through this farm area breezy with crisp atmosphere. The accompanying music is often String Quintet Nr1 by Brahms or Piano Trio in a minor by Ropartz.

I would be active on the air looking for the wetern Eu and the USA, especially through the long pathes on 20m and 40m. I am not bored with radio at all after I have been pretty active on the radio for decades. Even feeling more relaxed when pounding the brass in my humble shack. I am missing a number of friends who used to be active on the radio but won't show up any longer.

Let's get on and talk over how each of us has been doing on the air.


The so called Safety Test of the Nuclear Power Plant in Japan

Our government and the Min. E.T.I , an abbreviation of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, announced that they would perform a stress test for all the nuclear power plants in our country on account of the failure of the security in the Fukushima nuclear power plants due to the earthquake and the tsunami in Mar 11 this year. They intend to restart operation of the nuclear power plants with the successful results of the test.

This stress test seems to be planned after the same titled test in Eu. The content is, however, quite different between them. In Eu, the test is performed and evaluated by a board of several nations' personnel without those from the nation under the test. There are some criticisms against this scheme. For example, it won't be considered that the plants would be attacked by terrorists etc or it won't take it into account that the plants could be incorrectly handled and resulted in a serious accident and so forth. It is still quite fair that it is excecuted without the personel from the nation whose nuclear plants are under test.

In Japan, the sheme is quite different from the original one in Eu. Two offices under the Min. E.T.I. made the sheme and are handling the test. They are NSC, an abbreviation of Nuclear Safety Commission in Japan, and  NISA, an abbreviation of Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency. The problem is that they are ersponsible for promoting the construction and the operation of the nuclear power plants in Japan. They have cooperated with the electric power companies in Japan to grow the nuclear power industry without any substantial risk managements. They are never eligible for the tester in Japan, I believe. Here we have the parties concerned for the profit the nuclear power plants produce. These two offices belong to them. Our mass media won't take it as a fundamental problem since they are a part of the parties concerned as well.

The stress test could be only a ceremony to restart the operation of the nuclear power plants in Japan.


The old question, contest or ragchew?

It has been a question repeated again and again in the ham radio which is superior or dominant, contesting or ragchewing. I have read through that sort of discussions in the recenet CWops reflector. The contesters always insist that there are different ways of enjoyment in ham radio. Enjoy each aspect of ham radio for yourself, as their slogan says. They are always active and sound like the majority in the club.
It seems that their saying is right from the point of view of the general ham radio operation. No difference between the way of enjoyment in ham radio. Even chance to use the bands for contesters as well as ragchewers.

I should say it is not right or fair. In reality, a lot of weekends especially in fall and spring are occupied by contests. During contests, the conventional bands are not usable for ragchewers. When ragchew oriented hams find the bands messed by number or unknown ciphers exchanging stations, all they could do is just to turn off the radio and to leave the shack in disappointment. What a loss for them to give up the good conditions in those seasons! The relationship between contesters and agchewers could never be that of win win type. But they exclude each other in a sense. The ragchewers are always defeated by the contesters.

Since I have been watching the bands for decades, I know most contesters won't go on their activities for over a decade or so. If they are interested in only contesting, it seems to me, they are destined to quit it in several years. On the other hand, raghewers are always long living on the air. I often enjoy reunion on the air with old friends after decades of absence.  They are always good ragchewers. This fact may mean ragchewing is essential to ham radio activity and keeps us enjoying ham radio long time.

In conclusion, ragchewing and contresting are exclusive each other. We should consider which weighs more to us in our long ham radio lives.


To a friend in USA re Fukushima

From a mail to a ham friend in USA. I haven't seen him for a year or two. He kindly asked me about the Fusushima tragedy and my son studying there;

Well, re Fukushima, so many things to tell to you. The nuclear plants were broken by the quake itself, not only by the tsunami. The TEPCO, the power line company, insists that it was totally due to the tsunami, which they had not experienced for over 1000 years. But it is not true. The plants parameters are analyzed and are concluded to have troubles of tubing structures by the quake. It means the risk managements strategies against the earthquake did not work in this case. The nuclear plants are vulnerable to the modest size of quake. The nuclear plant area did not quake so much.as expected for the maximum quake in that area. We have 54 nuclear plants in Japan, some of which are pretty old, some 40 years of age or so. The neutron generated in the nuclear plant has deteriorated the wall of the plant. It is measured in the real plants. This deterioration of the metal wall is a kind of metal fragility. It could cause an explosion of the plant under abrupt change of the temp and/or the pressure etc. That result in the Chernobyl type explosion and the wide spread pollution of radioactive substances all over to, possibly, half of the land of our country. It could mean the death of our country.

What is goin on in Fukushima? The nuclear plants have melt through. The melted nuclear fuels must have penetrated the casings and even the concrete structure on the base. Noone knows about that. There is little danger for the explosion any longer. But the contamination into air, underground water and the sea will go on undoubtedly over there. The deconatmnation of massive polluted water used for cooling is reported to be successful so far. The serious problem should be how and where to do with the highly contaminated filters or other materials born by the process. The decontamination and decommision process must take decades and enormous amount of money from now on.

The above sentences are the preamble. My son attending Fukushima Pref Med Univ is living about 50Km west of the crippled nuclear plants. The pollution seems marginal or, I should say, modest at his place. So far as he is living within house or building, the external radiation  may be OK. The level of the conatmination does't require the people in Fukushima city to be evacuated at present, while the residents in a few towns around the plants  are ordered to move, possibly eternally. I don't think he carrys the RI badge on him, though the local government, I heard, has given them to the pupils over there. The internal radiation is more important issue from now on. The government seems to make measurements of the readioactives in the foods. But it is not complete at all. Maybe, we should compromise taking less contaminated foods from now on. We still need the accurate data of the contamination. I am feeeling so sad he used to be hopeful, in Fukushima, to become a good doctor 1.5 years ago but he should go on studying in such circumstances.

I will keep my eyes wide open for the nuclear plants issues here. There are many people involved in the money those hazardous facilities have yielded. They are scattered in the society of politics, bureaucracy, economy or mass madia. They will try to maintain those plants by any means. We should go on saying definitely no to them and disband those concession hunters. We should get out of this hazardous power generation system. It is possible and necessary for the next generation. We are responsible for that.