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Gary E. J. Bold review
Ill say it again. The internet is a great plus for Hamming. Just after my last column got put to bed, Murray ZL1BPU passed on an email from a European Ham drawing our attention to yet another couple of shareware morse computer programs developed by Sergei, UA9OSV. I downloaded them immediately
This is the name of Sergeis code reader. Its written in Delphi*, and Sergeis help file says he has only tested it on a high end computer, but it runs fine on my 166 MHz Win98 machine. CwGet accepts input from the phone jack straight into the computers soundcard. No interface is required. The audio gain is very
The screen appears as in fig. 1, which shows part
Unlike the reader incorporated into the IZ8BLY Hellschreiber software which I reviewed in the last column, CwGet attempts to do everything for you. The top window is a continuously updated spectrogram display which runs from 0 2500 Hz. You can see the fuzzy peak which is Bruces signal overlaid with a vertical line indicating the frequency CwGet is tracking. I have told it to track the strongest signal in its receiving bandwidth by pressing the AFC and AutoGTM (Auto go to Max) buttons. The acquisition bandwidth is set
Incidentally, like other programs that read through the soundcard, the bandwidth of your receiver doesnt matter much. Sergei has implemented software bandpass filters in his case Bessel 16 pole types which automatically centre themselves on the frequency of the incoming signal.
The text is decoded in the centre window, and youll see by the scrollbar on the right that you dont lose anything off the top of the screen you can scroll up and get it back. And of course your own signal from the rigs audio monitor also goes through the soundcard and is also decoded, so you can see both sides of the conversation. If you register with Sergei (not obligatory, but a nice gesture) you get the capability of saving the text to a file.
The bottom window
You can set CwGet up and go away to do something else. It will automatically track and attempt to decode any QSOs in the passband and display them for you to inspect later. The size of the window, and each
This is Sergeis keyboard code sender, and you can run it simultaneously with CwGet, since CwType outputs digital morse
You can see a typical window in fig. 2. The Speed window (top left) is calibrated
Theyre also RST and Name buffers, allowing these to be embedded in messages. You can pause transmission and toggle the computer
The only useful feature CwType doesnt have is a weight control**. Many modern transmitters implement an optional keying mode which allows you to hear between elements and characters. The fast
I noticed this immediately because Im keying my IC701 via the CMOS SuperKeyer. This keyer (like K1ELs K9) allows you to program a paddle as a straight key, and so I select this option and connect the computers keying output across the paddle. Why do I do this? I had an unfortunate experience once with RF getting back into my computer, and now I like to keep the computer isolated from the keying line even though I have
Anyway, it turns out that
Theres more. You can connect a paddle to the games port, and optionally use the software as an iambic keyer! I havent tried this, as Im sure Sergei hasnt implemented autospace, and my fingers and brain are accustomed to this. Besides, I love my SuperKeyer and K9 too much.
This is good software. Check it out.
I mentioned weighting above, and you may not be quite sure what this means. Some people confuse it changing the ratio of the elements, but this is quite different.
Fig. 3 shows, at top, the letter R sent with correctly ratioed morse. The dah and dit elements have lengths
Some keyers and keyboards (CwType is one) provide the facility for changing the element ratio. The middle plot shows the effect of changing
The bottom plot shows correctly ratioed morse with positive weighting. All of the elements have been lengthened by the same amount, in this case, half
Some people contend that slower morse should be sent with positive weighting, and faster morse with negative weighting to make it more readable, but having tried both, I cant agree. Theres some evidence that early transmitters tended to turn off sluggishly, giving a positive weighting which could be compensated with negative weighted keying, but modern transmitters dont have this problem. On the other hand, the slightly negatively weighted morse I send with CwType doesnt seem to bother anyone.
Comments from UA9OSV:
In fact, both programs were written in Borland C++ Builder. Back to text.
Weight control was implemented
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