Category Archives: Featured

This category is for featured articles that we want to include in the sidebars and other areas on our website.

Learning Morse Code Results In Qualitative Change In White Matter

[My friend Shin, JA1NUT, writes a very interesting item on his blog. No wonder at age 73, my thinking remains quite sharp!  Posted by Layne AE1N]

“It is interesting that diffusion tensor imaging technique shows the increased integrity and development of neuron fibers in the brain. This study shows learning Morse Code has augmented the fractional anisotropy of the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus whose function is vaguely understood regarding emotion or thoughts. It means learning Morse Code has caused alteration of this structure of white matter, that is, increased connection of centers in occipital, temporal lobe and the other areas.

Reading only this abstract of the paper, I am wondering how they have set the control in the observation of time-dependent change. The other question is if learning Morse Code could be compared to second language acquisition. Since Morse Code system has no grammar, it is not a language itself.

Despite such questions in this study, it still means Learning Morse Code causes a structural change in the white matter, which means the improvement of the skill in Morse Code reception will be done stepwise. Once we obtain its capability, we won’t lose it easily. Morse Code reception could be useful to activate our brain.”


Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Jul 26;11:383. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00383. eCollection 2017.

Learning Morse Code Alters Microstructural Properties in the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus: A DTI Study.

Full article here


Learning relies on neuroplasticity, which has mainly been studied in gray matter (GM). However, there is mounting evidence indicating a critical role of white matter changes involved in learning processes. One of the most important learning processes in human development is language acquisition. However, due to the length of this learning process, it has been notoriously difficult to investigate the underlying neuroplastic changes. Here, we report a novel learning paradigm to assess the role of white matter plasticity for language acquisition. By acoustically presenting Morse Code (MC) using an in-house developed audiobook as a model for language-type learning, we generated a well-controlled learning environment that allows for the detection of subtle white matter changes related to language type learning in a much shorter time frame than usual language acquisition. In total, 12 letters of the MC alphabet were learned within six learning session, which allowed study participants to perform a word recognition MC decoding task. In this study, we found that learning MC was associated with significant microstructural changes in the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). The fractional anisotropy (FA) of this associative fiber bundle connecting the occipital and posterior temporal cortex with the temporal pole as well as the hippocampus and amygdala was increased. Furthermore, white matter plasticity was associated with task performance of MC decoding, indicating that the structural changes were related to learning efficiency. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate an important role of white matter neuroplasticity for acquiring a new language skill.

Project Night 2018

Every January Meeting we hold Project Night, where members bring in and share recent homebrew projects that they have built. This year’s Project Night was full of interesting projects built by our members.

Member Projects
Scott NE1RD Kits
Scott NE1RD Kits

Our Programs Chairperson, Scott, NE1RD led it off by showing us some kits he had built, including the K1EL PaddleStick Keyer that we will be building for the February Tech Night.

Bob KB1TEK - QRP Kits
Bob KB1TEK – QRP Kits

Bob, KB1TEK brought some QRP kits that he had built.

Dave K1DHP - VLF Detector
Dave K1DHP – VLF Detector

Dave, K1DHP showed us the VLF Detector that he built.

Hamilton, K1HMS – Antenna Switches

Hamilton, K1HMS brought Antenna Switches that he had built.

Dave K1DLM - Heakthkit
Dave K1DLM – Heakthkit

Dave, K1DLM showed us a Heathkit that he plans to build.


Dennis, K1LGQ had another explosive presentation when he showed us a KX2 stand that he built.

Dennis shows plans for his KX2 Stand
Dennis hows plans for his KX2 Stand


Fred AB1OC - Low-Band Match
Fred AB1OC – Low-Band Match

Fred, AB1OC brought an 80m band matching system that he will install in order to make our 80m delta loop be resonant across the band.  He has programmed our MicroHam system to automatically have the box switch the matching system as we tune through the 80m band.  I’m looking forward to using this to get the last 20 80m contacts for my 5 Band DXCC!

Anita AB1QB - CW Pi
Anita AB1QB – CW Pi

I (AB1QB) demonstrated a Raspberry Pi project that I built over the holidays.  It is called a Morse Code Virtual Radio.  When you hook up a monitor and a straight key to the Raspberry Pi, it will decode what you key in.  This was a big hit with the kids who visited us for ARRL Kids Day.

Mike, AB1YK - Panadapter
Mike, AB1YK – Panadapter

Finally, Mike, AB1YK brought in a number of projects that he has done including a Panadapter and a CW Generator.

Anita AB1QB - CW PiScott NE1RD KitsMike AB1YK - PanadapterMike AB1YK - CW GeneratorHamilton K1HMS - Ant Switches 2Hamilton K1HMS - Ant Switches 1Fred AB1OC - Low-Band MatchFred Ab1OC - Low-Band Match 1Dennis K1LGQ - KX2 Stand 2Dennis K1LGQ - KX2 Stand 1Dave K1DLM - Heakthkit 2Dave K1DLM - Heakthkit 1Dave K1DHP - VLF DetectorBob KB1TEK - QRP Kits 2Bob KB1TEK - QRP Kits 1

Overall it was great to see all of the projects that our members have been working on. The gallery above contains more pictures from Project Night.

Anita, AB1QB

AMSAT’s Fox-1D Satellite Scheduled For Launch!

Source: AMSAT’s Fox-1D Launch Scheduled for 03:58 UTC January 12, 2018 | QRZ Forums

Fox-1D Satellite - a new Amateur Radio FM EasySat

AMSAT’s next Fox-1 satellite, Fox-1D, is scheduled for launch on January 12, 2018 at 03:58 UTC (Thursday, January 11th at 10:58 PM EST) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. Fox-1D will launch as part of the PSLV-C40 mission on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle with Cartosat-2F, an imaging satellite for the Indian government, and 29 other payloads.

In addition to the Fox-1 U/v FM transponder, Fox-1D contains a number of exciting experiments, including a camera built by students at Virginia Tech, the University of Iowa’s HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument), and AMSAT’s L-Band Downshifter which will give amateur radio operators an opportunity to experiment with a different uplink band. Stay tuned for more information about the launch and early operations of the satellite.

Another Amateur Radio Satellite will be on the air soon! Fox-1D carries an FM U/V transponder – another FM EasySat. It’s a great time to get involved in Amateur Radio sSatellites! There is lots of information here on our website about how to build a satellite ground station, operate using satellites, and about what is up. See the following link for our satellite articles. Our Members can view the our Tech Night presentation on building a satellite station in our video archives.

Fred, AB1OC

Kids Day On The Air

Saturday, January 6th was ARRL Kids Day On the Air.  and we hosted a club event for kids at Fred, AB1OC and Anita, AB1QB’s QTH.  We had many fun activities for the kids including getting on the air via HF and Satellite, learning CW and demos of some cool Raspberry Pi projects.

Nora making her First Satellite Contact

Satellite Operation

The portable satellite station was set up and it was a great day for satellites as there were many good passes.  Fred helped many of the kids make their first Satellite contacts.

Keith, KC1IMK working the Satellites with Fred, AB1OC
Keith, KC1IMK working the Satellites with Fred, AB1OC

We had a total of 9 kids who participated in the event, along with their parents.

Mary, who attended with her brother, KA1LAS and father KC1IMI works the Satellites
Mary, who attended with her brother, KA1LAS, and her father KC1IMI, works the Satellites

Raspberry Pi, CW, Fox Hunting, and HAB Demos

We provided demos to the kids of several Raspberry Pi projects,  Pi-Lexa – a home built Raspberry Pi Alexa built by Connor, KC1GGX,  along with a CW decoder and the DX Alarm Clock.  Jamey, KC1ENX provided some CW demos including his favorite YouTube video – The Rhythm of the Code.  Fred, AB1OC did a show and tell of the High Altitude Balloon including pieces of the balloons that we in space and a Fox-Hunting demo.

HF Operation in the Shack
HF Operation in the Shack

We also went down to the shack and the kids got on the air and made some HF contacts.  Jamey, KC1ENX helped the kids to make contacts with other kids as well as adult Hams on the air.  The kids really enjoyed the HF operation. We did some live streaming on the N1FD Facebook page during the event.   Follow this link to see the live stream of some of our on-air activities during Kid’s Day.

AB1BY Gets On the Air

Abby, AB1BY shows off her log after running a huge pileup
Abby, AB1BY shows off her log after running a huge pileup

After most of the kids left, Abby, AB1BY took the mic and ran a huge pileup.  She was very popular on the air and did a great job of running the pileup.  We also streamed her pileup operation to Facebook and it got a huge response.

Overall, Kids Day On the Air was a fun day for both the kids and the adults.   We are looking forward to the next Kids Day in July!

Anita, AB1QB