Talent in music could be a necessary condition for a proficient CW operator?

Talents in music are often emphasized as a condition to be a good CW operator. It's a rule of experience. I could recall quite a few CW operators of proficience who are also good musical instrument player. Gary, W0CGR, who unfortunately was gone SK recently, had been a great guitarist. Jim, W5JAW, is a good guitarist as well. Jim used to send me a file of his performance attached to a mail, which astonished me a lot. Dave, K6XG, plays great baroque recorder, which we have enjoyed at W7 FOC Event last summer. I should add Kemp, K7UQH, a great trombonist in a big band to those people. Jerry, K4JKL, plays clarinet at a professional orchestra. Mike, W3MC, used to be a professional trombonist as well. Maybe, as in the other fields of human abilities, there could be exceptions from time to time like myself. I have been playing cello since med school days. I still have so many things to brush up in CW operation. 

There have been no scientific research as for this theme so far as I know. The following paper, which a good friend of mine, Mike, JH1OOD, has found in Pub Med, might relate the talent with the ability to learn language. I am surprised to know psychologists have been interested in such a theme, even though Morse code could be an iteresting topic in epistemology or in brain science of recognition. CW could be a symbol system closely related with a language, in case of usual Morse code, English so that the music capability may enhance or may be closely involved in Morse code learning ability. It could be just a necessary condition but not sufficient one yet. So don't start practising an instrument to be a competent CW operator.


Musical experience influences statistical learning of a novel language.
Shook A, Marian V, Bartolotti J, Schroeder SR.
Am J Psychol. 2013 Spring;126(1):95-104.


Musical experience may benefit learning of a new language by increasing the fidelity with which the auditory system encodes sound. In the current study, participants with varying degrees of musical experience were exposed to two statistically defined languages consisting of auditory Morse code sequences that varied in difficulty. We found an advantage for highly skilled musicians, relative to lower-skilled musicians, in learning novel Morse code-based words. Furthermore, in the more difficult learning condition, performance of lower-skilled musicians was mediated by their general cognitive abilities. We suggest that musical experience may improve processing of statistical information and that musicians' enhanced ability to learn statistical probabilities in a novel Morse code language may extend to natural language learning.


Film scanner

I have got a film scanner. Using it, I am going to have old negative films digitalized.
Old scenaries or figures pop up on the display. It brings me back to the world 20 or 30 years ago.  Good old memories.
I feel to be asked if I have done all the best to the link of life to the next generation. Was I a good father for children? Such inquiry goes on in my mind.
This is our 2nd son aged possibly 3 years. He says hi. 


Irreplaceable enjoyment in ham radio

I have recently talked to a couple of old friends after a long interval.

One was Bill K1YT in Stow MA. It has been quite a long time since our last contact, maybe, almost 10 years. I used to work him often around 1990. After I had gone for DXpedition to XU as XU0JA in 1991, when it was immediately after the civil war in Cambodia had been over. I visited him with some slides taken in XU. He was in his mid 40s while I was around 40 years of age. He held a meeting for me with local hams like Don N2DG, formerly WB2DND, Joe K2VUI and so forth. I have shown them those slides. It was a hectic and busy trip to the US. But Bill has treated me as a real friend over there. Since that eye ball, we have just exchanged season's greetings only. We seldom had QSOs. Only once ten years or so. It was a surprise for me to hear him on 15m CW the other day. His fist sounded as if 20 years ago. I could picture where he operated radio at his home. It was not a long chat but good enough to renew our friendship. Since both of us have retired now, I would like to talk to him on the radio in addition to regular season's greetings.

The other was Tommy W6IJ in Deanair CA. In our 1st QSO in '80s after a long interval, we were excited to know we had had QSOs in '60s when he was WA6NFC. He used to visit us here in late '80s. It was the time when Mike ZL1BVB visited here as well. We have had a pleasant eye ball in Tokyo altogether. I and Hide JH0FBH have visited him at his previous QTH in late '80s after his visit. He has taken us to a various places like Yosemite Park. Since that time, we have worked especially on our loving band, 40m, from time to time. I have seen him in Seattle in eye ball at the FOC gathering last summer. He looked quite the same as in late '80s even thouth he got a bit more gray hair now. It was after several months absence that we had the contact again on 40m. He seemed much dedicated to Masonic activity there. We have talked on each other's family etc. He seemed to have spent fruitful retirement. It amazed me a lot that he had been a good chef since his young days. Maybe, we might see each other sometime in the near future.

I belicve it is always most precious thing for me to share our lives with my friends like them through ham radio. I feel we have lived together for the past years. Isn't it an irreplaceable enjoyment ham radio gives us?

Kou-bai: Red Japanese Apricot

Kou-bai;Rosaceae Prunus, is in full bloom right now. This tree has been planted in front of their house by my father some 20 years ago. I wonder if he has imagined it would be appreciated by us in this way every spring. The others, daffodiles, magnolia, daisy and so  forth, are following it and camellia and white japanese apricot.

The garden makes me busy from now on.


Another complaint

Let me complain again of a modern trend in ham radio.

The high bands have been pretty good for all over the world. I often spend morning and evening hours calling CQ there. Unfortunately, there are very few callers to me. At times, in very rare occasions, a small pile up to me occurs all of sudden. I guess I am spotted in a cluster, which makes that pile up. I feel embarrassed having such a pile up. Those callers are always going away as soon as finishing exchanging reports only.

If I guess it right, it is another example that clusters or RBN are devaluaing the characteristics of ham radio which promise us rich and pleasant world of communication. The cutting edge technology makes it handy to work with some DX. But there is only a game like QSO left. No much pleasure as we used to have. Of course, the high tech itself has not brought a world devoid of interests to the others and human conversation. The technology is free from any moral sense. When it is introduced in ham radio, however, it makes deterioration of the ham radio. There may be no cause result relationship but a close parallelism between the introduction of the technology and the less meaning in ham radio.

I am still going to look for some pleasant conversations on the air, however small chance I might have for such a QSO. But I must admit I won't repeat calling CQ for many times at one occasion for now.


Decency in keying

I often think how to send with decent keying. It may be a pleasure for listeners as well as for myself. Whatever keyer or key we may use in sending code, the principle is pretty simple. Readable code. As less mistakes as possible. Each word should be recognized as it is, that is, small space between characters so far as each character could be recognized. On the other hand, spaces between words should be taken a little bit longer than mechanical proportion orders. These are common sense in sending code.

We often forget emphasizing the space before any particular word which we would like to emphasize. A little bit longer space before such a word would make it sound decent to me. It is comparable to Auftakt in music performance. When some important motif or theme begins in any music, the conductor or the melody player would put a pause or would stress the tune immdediately before those theme/motif, that is, Auftakt as classical players say. In CW sending, we should take this ample pause before starting an important word. The pause may sound as if a part of the message itself you are going to send. For example, a pause before sending your name and so forth.

This pause may attract the listener's attention. The listener wonders what will go on when he/she  hears such a pause at the time he/she might expect an important message to follow. This Auftakt may help the listener to concentrate on the message following it. It also makes sending more decent, I believe. Experienced operators might already do this habit without being conscious of that.

I may add that key board could not make this Auftakt by itself. Such lack of flexibility in sending with key board may be one of the reasons why experienced operators won't use this device.

On the day of the earthquake

It is the day we have had the big earthquake a couple of years ago. It might not be meaningless to describe how I have experienced this disaster about 200km south west of the center.

It was a peaceful afternoon in early spring here. Sun was shinging brightly. Everything was enjoying its warmth.

I had felt vision problem for some time. I visited a local ophthalmologist for that in the lunch break. After having had a variety of examinations, I was diagnosed as cataracts on both eyes. Half relieved for it could be cured by a suregery later. When I was paying the fee at the accounting section, it started quaking severely accompanied by roaring of the ground. Nothing has fallen on the floor from  shelves etc but the quaking won't let the receptionists go on standing up. They were screaming and squatting down under the table etc. I was standing up with my feet wide apart. It lasted a few minutes. I felt two or three quakes occurring successively. In the meantime of major quakings, I went out of the building. Swinging power line poles came into my sight. The scene of power line poles in the cloudy sky has printed in my memory.

When it has been settled down, even though a series of small aftermath were repeatedly occurring, I drove back to my office. The personel were out in the parking lot. They seemed lost themselves. The front door made of glass got cracked. The power was out. At the reception office room, almost all the charts were fallen on the floor. I was anxious what happened upstairs and rushed into my room there. No room to walk in there. Bookshelves were fallen as well as TV set were. Books were scattered. Beneath them, I found my cello lying on the floor. I always kept it on the floor out of the case to play it when I had free time even if it was only for a few minutes. The cello got unjuries on the front board but no cracks. From this experience, I became putting it into a hard case whever finishing practice. I was sure I could not get things back in a day  We could not do medical services to the patients due to the power line outage. We have given only medication to several patients visiting there. Fortunately, in our area, no serious injuries to people were reported.

Before it got dark, I came back home. I found some roof tiles were fallen on the ground at the houses of our parents and for the storage. Most of the dishes were also fallen in the living dining room. Glass wares were broken. No power as well. We have spent the night without power or water supply. The power was recovered in a day or two. Ham radio gears were all dropped on the floor with the tables broken. I don't remember how we have spent the following days. I guess we were getting apathic hearing what had ahppened to the coast areas in Tohoku. That big tsunami as well as the exploded and melt down nuclear power plants have been reported again and again. We have lost our will to get things recovered. When the radiation plume was flying here from Fukushima, I remember, I was eagerly pulling the weeds in the garden as if I was protesting something. It was a sad fact many people were radiated by them in the coast area as well as in the area north west of the nuclear power plants where people had been evacuated. Th e government and the administrative office had made a crime not to show the forecast how the radiation plume flied , which was obtained by the software they had prepared for such a serisous accident. It was, I still believe, a crime.

I could not read all the mails from friends all over the world without tears, which they expressed their sympathy and worry on us. I had just watched the news on TV without any will to get things arranged for several; days. Reading thoser mails from friends, I set up the rig on the floor. I started operation of radio again. A lot of friends have given me a call and have said some words so touchy that I have been relieved a lot. I still feel thankful to them.

The nuclear power plants were only 120km north east of here. Our second son was studying medicine only 60 or 70km west of tthere. You may know the US government has warned the US citizens within 80km radius from the plants should evacuate from there out as soon as possible when the plants had exploded. We were in a kind of marginal area. What a relief we have had when our son had come home on his car without much gas in it spending 6 or 7 hours from his apartment in Fukushima! No water nor foods available on the way as he said. The government, national or regional, has not published what radiation had occurred in Fukushima or the adjacent areas for the first couple of weeks when high level of radioactive iodide had flown around. The Fukushima Pref government has recently admitted they deleted the data of radiation at places there. A doctor in a city east of here along the coast has written in an article that the radiation check system at nuclear medicine facility in his children's hospital had been going on alarming without any possible contamination in the facility itself. He guessed it had caught the radiation flown from the nuclear plants. No one knows what will ensue this.

We have not had so serious damages in this area at all. The damages those have suffered in Tohoku area are above our imagination. It is still going on. A hundred and fifty thousands of people are still in evacuation while more than 20000 people were killed. Quite some of the evacuees are destined to lose their hometown forever. The contaminated material might be stored in their home town for, they say, some time, that is, possibly forever. It was a chance for us to consider how to get ready for natural disasters and how to live with the energy suppliy etc. Unfortunately, I am afraid the government or the administrative agencies have not considered how to do with those issues. They haven't gone down to the roots yet. I think it is a question given to me as well. I would protest against resuming the nuclear power plant generation. At the same time, I would do whatever I could as being quetioned by the victims and the evacuees.

Finally, I am more than thankful for the friends' concern toward us. I could never forget it.


Spring days

When I happened to look up a ume tree, several blossoms came into my sight. The flowers are finally coming out.
It is the time we had the earth quake and, subesequently, the nuclear power plant accident. More than twenty thousand people have been killed mainly by the tsunami a couple of years ago. The nuclear power plant accident has made more than fifteen thousand people evacuated from their homes. Quite some of them might lose their homes forever. We should never forget it.
It is still becoming spring time here. The daytime is getting longer. Everything is becoming vivid and fresh here. The other flowers like daffodiles or sakura may follow ume soon. Despite of the sad memories due to the disaster, we are going to celebrate the days in spring here. 


A sad reality in medical service in Japan

A good friend of mine, Bob W6CYX, has sent me this news to me yesterday. I was going to mention about it in my japanese blog. He seemed to be really surprised at this news.


In summary, a 75 years old man has got dyspnea at home and has been refused to admit from 25 hospitals. By the time when he was transferred to a hospital at last, he was already dead. He could have been saved from possibly his cardiopulmonary event if he should have been admitted into a hospital earlier.

There are a few things to be added to this news.

One point is that, as another news source says, the patient lived alone possibly with his pension or some social security. No family members there. It means once he was hospitalized, it might be very difficult for him at his age after such a serious health event to get back home. Medical facilities are never heavily subsidized at all. Most of emergency hospitals are in financial difficulties or, at best, in marginal situation despite of some subsidiaries from local governments etc. They are required to have patients discharged as soon as they recover. For the past years, since the Prime Minister Koizumi's "Structural Reformation for the Global Standard", the facilities for those getting through the acute phase of illnesses/accidents have been decreased in number.  Nor there are many nursing facilities for those living alone who require care for long time. This could be the reason why so many hospitals refused this patient to admit to.

The other point is that doctors working for emergency service have been required to give the best quality of medicine whatever his/her speciality may be. The courts have sentenced that way to quite a few doctors accused for "malpractice" .  Medical fields are finely subdivided now. No one doctor could cover all those diverse specialities. Yet, even at night in emergency, people expect they could be treated in the best way as if in a professional hopital with sufficient number of specialists etc. No wonder doctors are getting very careful to do with some serious cases. This might be another reality.

This case is a real tragic case. But who knows each of us could be such a patient in Japan in the near future. It won't be resolved with only criticizing the personel of the emergency room in hopitals.


Hassaku marmalade

A sister in law has sent us several fresh Hassaku. It is a kind of orange with thick skin and sour sweet taste. She has its tree in the garden. She doesn't like its sour taste and always throw away fruits into farms there, as she says. My wife has asked her to send some of them here.

Since I was sure they were free from any chemicals like insecticide, I thought it was suitable for marmalade. I have made it from them. Peeling the skin and cutting it thin, I mixed it with the content of the fruits. Sugar was added by 40% of the whole weight. Simmering it for sometime, it became slightly gluey and translucent. Here it is the fresh fruity marmalade of Hassaku. It is very good to be spread on bread as well as to add to yogurt.


A bait to get answer to your CQ

Nowadays, there are only very few calling me when I call CQ on any band. I have been wondering why they won't make usual QSOs on CW. I could not get any conclusive answer to this question yet. It seems there are less operators capable of not only ragchewing but also usual stereotypic contacts now. In addition, they are less willing and less energitic for conversation. Getting acquaintance with someone, either in real or on radio, requires us some energy. They might have run out energy to do so in the real relationship or in their family. It is the day of indifference to the others wherever they might be. All they want to is just to compete with the others, to get cards from them or to exchange almost meaningless reports. No interests in the other people.

If this is the conclusion of this post, there is nothing to add any more. It is too bad to those who went on reading this stereotypic and boring sentences by an ideologue. I would add a bit more hints how to find out those exceptional old fashioned operators who would like to converse with you.

Listen the spot you are calling CQ. When you could trace of signals on the background there, it could be loud enough for the guy getting ready to call you in the other part of the world. Even if you could not hear anything on the spot, there could be much QRM away from your area. Try to move up or down a little bit. It may let your partner listen you clearly enough. Yes, this is a kind of common sense which every experienced operator knows well.

The other point is regarding the bait you try to fish with. Generally speaking, slow and variable shaped CW is more attractive to listeners than machinery fast one. The machinery characteristics of CW, as if it was from a key board, in high speed is the worst bait. The listeners would like to be indulged in CW music but not machinery neat code after they get tired with machinery things at work or yelling voice of their wives. Bring out a bug or a hand key on the operating desk. Send CQ in swinging way with it. I am sure some of the listeners would respond to it. It must run at the speed of heart beat in rest. They would look for something human but not machinery.

Be a musician, not a key puncher.


Spring has come here

For the past couple of days, it has become much milder here. I feel as if I have moved to another country with warm weather. We have had a very cold and bleaky waether this winter. It is almost gone now.
Ume flowers are almost coming out in our garden. It is surprising they have got ready to come out even in such a cold snap for the past months. The garden will keep me busy from now on. Pulling weeds, planting new flowers or vegetables and making flower beds. We plan to have flower gardens and deck constructed this spring. We should get it shaped as we want it to be not so long if not perfect. It would be our another goal in our lives.



The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is under discussion among the countries involved in it. It is not yet opened what agreements they would provide. It is going on in secret. The most important matter is that it could force each country to change its own system as the global companies wish to.  So far as the leaked information says, the most part of the content is concerning, not the issue of trading itself, but the regulation issue in each country. Among them, the article of the Investor State Dispute Settlement seems most important. When any investor, most likelily a global company, judges that a foreign government has given them any disadvantage by some regulation, it could accuse the government to a relevant organization under WTO. The judgement by that organization is told to override any domestic law.

I am afraid this agreement would mess or even destroy the systems as commonage in any particular country. It is only for the global capitals but not for the peoples. It is surprising that any government could take it granted that they would serve for the global capitals but not for the people.


Sorry for not having renewed the blog for some time. A family issue has prevented me from doing that. I guess I could post new articles from now on. Thanks for your patience.