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Author Topic: electronic cw  (Read 1467 times)

Posts: 57

« on: December 22, 2007, 05:29:28 PM »

Good evening everyone,

 I am going to get shot for asking this here but does anyone know how to make an interface for cw. I have keyer but I have a computer. any thoughts?



Posts: 30

« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 06:40:30 PM »

Have you seen this?

Looks like as far as a computer is concerned, it's a keyboard, sending the usual keyboard codes.  Schematics, parts list, and source code links are at the bottom, but I haven't checked 'em out.

Posts: 700

« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2007, 06:54:40 PM »

Ben, if anyone "shoots" you, they'll have to "shoot" me too. That's because I have been sending CW with some sort of computer or CW keyboard since 1979. I copy CW in my head -- writing down only the important info from the other station such as callsign, signal report, QTH, etc. -- but I send with my fingers dancing on the keys. It works well for me although others might not care for it.

I always figured I has doing the guy I was talking with a big favor -- he got to copy nearly perfect machine-generated CW. There's no way I could approach that kind of "perfection" by using a key or keyer. Morse Code being what it is, the least little imperfections in sending can give the receiving station a bad case of heartburn. Tune the bands and you'll hear what I mean. I don't mean to criticize anyone or hurt their feelings, but I'm just too much of a perfectionist to tolerate many mistakes in my sending. And I do a decent job in typing so sending by keyboard always was a better fit for me. BTW, I send without the benefit of a monitor. I have to depend on touch to tell me if I've made a typo while sending. Usually I can and if the text is still in the buffer, I can correct if before it's transmitted.

I've never built an interface for sending CW. I began with a MFJ Super Keyboard which I bought at Dayton over 25 years ago -- and I still sometimes use it.

But I also had MFJ and Kantronics interfaces that turned my computer keyboard into a CW keyboard. In more recent years, I began doing some casual contesting on CW and found that sending with the computer was very advantageous. I bought a cable to use with my logging program and my computer. It enabled me to send CW from the computer keyboard but I found that at times the computer-generated perfect CW would suddenly sound bad -- like it had developed a stutter. I couldn't have that -- being a perfectionist and all. So I started using a logging program with WinKey which cured the previous CW keying ills and works very nicely. Google WinKey and you read all about it.

I didn't really answer your question about homebrew interfaces but wanted you to know that some of us find sending CW by computer to be very cool. Some frown on it and that's OK but I've been doing it for a very long time and am sold on it. Good luck!

73, Dave, N4KZ

Posts: 2005


« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2007, 07:33:11 PM »

The good Lord blessed me with a beautiful wife, three children, seven grandchildren (so far!) and rheumatoid arthritis. This being the case, I sometimes use the CWType program for transmitting. The program can be found at There is a very simple schemtatic included in the help file for making an interface (serial or parallel) that uses 2 diodes, 2 resistors and a transistor. (You don't need the PTT side of the circuit) I built mine "dead bug" style on the back of a DB9 connector.

There is also a program called CWGet at the same website that will receive CW. All you need is an audio cable from the radio to your soundcard. But of course, the best CW decoder is between your ears!

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

Scott N0IU

Posts: 209

« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2007, 06:40:31 AM »

Get the Tigertronics Signalink USB. You send CW by using an audio tone on SSB. I have used a computer to work CW on Field Day. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy using my paddles, bug and straight key; but it is good to try other methods. The big thing you need to perfect is, the switchover from sending to receiving and back. Manual CW methods allow instant, even QSK switching. The computer method is slower. Also, you have to type faster than the CW is sent out. It's probably a good idea to slow down the CW speed so you can think before typing. I am amazed at how well Hamscope copies CW. Still need to try the new CW interface for Ham Radio Deluxe. Computer CW is simply another tool for the toolbelt. It doesn't replace other methods, it only adds to the fun. Obviously if you are just learning CW you should stay away from computer methods until you have it down pat. There might still be others who won't ever learn CW for whatever reason, but the computer opens up that possiblity to them.
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