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Author Topic: Rigblaster CW modes-Plus vs M8 models  (Read 5978 times)

Posts: 194

« on: December 17, 2001, 09:21:30 AM »

Hello all. First off, I'm rather a CW (and HF in general) newbie and want to do things right. This question might also fit into the digital forum but since CW is involved, I will post it in both forums and get both the CW and the digital gurus' points of view.
I have been looking into the Rigblasters and saw where it says that it will send CW with the soundcard programs that send CW. There are several models of Rigblaster. The new Plus model claims to send true keyed CW while the M8 model says it sends CW by sending a pure audio tone while you transmit with your rig in SSB mode. My questions regarding this are several:
First, is this the right way to go about sending CW? Are there any issues about doing it this way that make it harder for the staion at the other end to zero beat or even receive my signal? Has anyone sent CW using either model of Rigblaster and/or either method and how well do they work?
Second, from the other end, are there any issues with MY zero beating of the other station's signal? In other words, how hard is it to be sure that I am transmitting on the correct frequency for him when using SSB and an audio tone through the soundcard? The idea being to not take up too much bandwidth with our QSO if our transmit freqs are farther apart than they have to be.
I would just get the Plus model and be done with it, except there is also a notation on the Rigblaster web page that the plus model cannot seperate the left and right channels of the soundcard and the M8 model can do this and the reason this is important is that for applications like remote access using the internet, the left/right seperation is important for full duplex and this sounds like something that might be interesting to me in the future.
Thanks in advance for any help or insight that you can give. I try research my purchases beforehand so as to not have to make them twice and as a lurker I have seen a lot of questions answered in these forums and have learned a lot just by reading......73

Posts: 71

« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2001, 04:48:08 AM »

I don't understand why you need one of these things at all.  I just ran the audio out from my radio into the computer and the audio out from my computer into my radio mic jack and it works fine using VOX.  Less than $10 worth of patch cords from Radio Hovel.   Software is available free all over the internet.

If you want to get fancy, run the audio in and out the back of the rig (most rigs have an accesory jack for this), so you don't have to mess with your mic jack.  Then, build a little interface to key the radio PTT from your computer com port.  Lots of designs available and most use less than $10 worth of readily available parts.  You can also key the CW through the com port.

I am not sure what I am missing but these things look like the Emperor's new clothes to me.

Posts: 190

« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2001, 12:16:50 PM »

I don't operate too much CW, but here is what I know about your questions.

The purist would say that the key is the only way to send it, but I think it is a matter of preference.  Either true key or MCW (audio tone into the SSB) will work fine.

There isn't much difference for the RX station between the true keyed CW and the MCW the soundcard sends.  The difference lies on your end.  The true keyed CW uses the CW setting of your rig and keys the rig just like a hand key or keyer would.  The MCW keys the mike in SSB mode then feeds an audio tone to the rig for the code.  I can't tell that you are using MCW except that the character spacing will be perfect.  True keyed will be perfect too if you are using software to send.  The RX station will zero beat your signal just as s/he would any other CW signal

When I use MixW software to send code, I set the diamond in the waterfall right on the incoming signal and use the audio tone to send the code.  This insures the signals are zero beat and I have had good results.

Here is the real difference.  When you use the MCW you're using the SSB filters and bandwidth of the rig.  This will also disable your key so that you cannot use it.  Also, since your standard bandwidth in SSB is 2+ KHz, you may start hearing LOTS of CW signals.  With the "true keyed" option you use the CW settings of the rig with their options and filters which will give you a much finer control of what signal to zero in on.  I have an Icom 746 and there are options in the CW mode that are unavailable to me in SSB that make RX of CW signals much easier.  Then there are CW filters which are an entirely different subject.

So really it is up to your preference.  Personally my fist is terrible, and while I can copy fairly well, my sending stinks.  So I usually use MixW to send and copy by ear.  It's all up to you, but I wouldn't worry about the other guy, you really aren't taking up a lot of spectrum even if you are a few hertz off on your beat.

Have fun and 73

Jeremy N1ZZZ

Posts: 194

« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2001, 05:50:42 PM »

My IC 735 doesn't have the narrowest filters anyway, even in CW mode.  I'm not even sure I'm going to need to do CW that way, I just didn't want to limit myself and later wish I had gotten the plus model.
I seem to have gotten both ends of the opinion spectrum and I value both.  I'll have to mull it over some more.
Thanks to both of you....73

Posts: 2080

« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2001, 08:13:30 AM »

Hi Mike! (A fellow St. Louisan?)  I had originally purchased a standard M8 RigBlaster assuming that I could do actual CW keying with it (it does MCW).  When the RigBlaster PLUS came out and was reviewed on this site, I discovered that the PLUS did the TRUE CW keying as opposed to Modulated CW on the M8.  In addition to N1ZZZ's comments about being able to utilize the narrow CW filters on your rig, you also get the benefit of true QSK with the PLUS.  After my puzzled post in the eHam "Product Review" forum, Del, K1UHF, from West Mountain Radio emailed me and explained how the PLUS version's direct CW keying is easier on your rig (relays, etc).  So I bought a PLUS and moved my M8 to another radio.  I'd recommend that, if you need further clarification of all the differences, you contact Del at West Mountain Radio.  He has heard all the questions before and is very helpful.  73, Terry, WØFM

Posts: 1

« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2001, 05:45:43 PM »

Let's clarify a couple of terms here.  MCW is NOT what you are generating when you inject a pure audio tone into a properly adjusted SSB transmitter.  

This is EXACTLY how the Collins S line generates CW.  There is a 1000hz (or so) audio generator that not only provides the cw sidetone, but feeds into the SSB audio chain to "generate" cw.   The reason this works is, when you mix a 1000hz tone with what is going to become the supressed carrier, you result in a pure rf carrier (unmodulated) that is 1000 cycles in freqwency away from where the suppressed carrier "would have been."   You are generating a CW "sideband".   If you listen to this carrier with an AM receiver you SHOULD NOT hear any tone--just pure carrier.

Modulated CW, on there other hand is normally thought of as an audible tone on an AM or FM receiver, and there seems to be some discussion as to whether making and breaking the carrier or just making and breaking the tone comprises "true" MCW.

Posts: 92

« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2001, 04:14:18 PM »

I don't see why you can't use both methods on either the Plus or the M8.  They should both support CW via the serial port.

I have a NOMIC, and I can use CWType to send CW using the rig's PTT/key circuitry (rather than triggering PTT and then sending Morse as an audio tone).

Any rig-to-computer interface that supports PTT-via-DTR/RTS will allow for most CW programs to send CW via the serial port.
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