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Reviews Categories | Ham Software - Other than logging | Afreet Software CW Skimmer Help

Reviews Summary for Afreet Software CW Skimmer
Afreet Software CW Skimmer Reviews: 21 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $75
Description: Program decodes CW signals in a given band of signals and lists call signs, CQ, QRL, 599 and raw text. Using CAT control it allows you to point to a CW station with your mouse and bring the radio up on freq. Allows visual ID of CW, communication with DX cluster, and recording of the I/Q signal for later playback
Product is in production.
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ON6KE Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2016 01:50 Send this review to a friend
Useful but overpriced???  Time owned: more than 12 months
"Useful but overpriced" you've got to be joking, surely.
I'm using CW Skimmer like for 5-6 years if not longer more recently in combination with an SDR, it's a GODSEND seeing where the DX working split is listening.

it's also a great help when fatigue sets in in the larger CW contests.

Spending thousands on new transceivers every few years nobody minds but a one-time mere 75$ investment is too much.

As to "centering of signal in window but not changing frequency", that is dead simple when in 'SDR mode'.

N1ERF Rating: 4/5 Mar 20, 2016 08:53 Send this review to a friend
Useful but overpriced.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I like it but I'm not impressed with both the price, some of the aesthetics & functionality of the UI.

For the price, it should have a better frame and be a little more adjustable (ie; centering of signal in window but not changing frequency, and coloring of radio buttons and frame).
The inner CW window is fine. Sorry for the lack of correct windows terms...

While very useful, I'm not convinced that it's worth the price.

N1TX Rating: 4/5 Jan 21, 2014 14:58 Send this review to a friend
Great enhancement for contesting and DX  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After several years of planning, I finally got around to integrating an SDR in the KL2R shack. In this case, it's a FiFi, which is fed by an RF Space IF-2000 installed in a Yaesu FT-950. The IF-2000 provides a 10.55 MHz IF output. I use HDSDR to drive the FiFi. The I/Q output from the FiFi then goes to the CW Skimmer.

The application is two-fold. One is to provide a receiver on a second band to identify multipliers or just band openings of interest. The second is to provide a better tool resulting in more reliable spots, either contesting or DXing. Logging into a DX Cluster 1500 miles away from Alaska means I waste a lot of time chasing stuff I can't hear.

In both cases, CW Skimmer ties all the technology together along with Alex's other program OmniRig (freeware). And it does it very, very well.

The combination I have results in some technical and operational compromises, none of which has much to do with any limitations of CW Skimmer.
WX2S Rating: 3/5 Apr 28, 2013 04:25 Send this review to a friend
QS1R Hardware mute doesn't work right  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
CW skimmer downloads FPGA code to a QS1R. The QS1R's hardware mute input should pause skimming, but instead it only mutes the speaker. The result is heavy interference to the skimmed signals whenever I transmit. I've contacted Alex about this problem, but he says he doesn't have time enough to fix it. I've also tried to work around the problem in other ways, but so far no joy. The only thing I can do is to clear skimming after every transmission. It's too bad because otherwise skimmer is a nice tool for pileups.
W9RPM Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2013 13:01 Send this review to a friend
Great product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Fine addition to the shack. Really helps in pileups to see where the station is that was just worked.
K3IT Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2012 15:19 Send this review to a friend
Good support from the author  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I haven't checked the hall of fame list recently but I hope Alex got a spot there (no pun intended:).

No software exists that even attempts to do what cw skimmer does. I would encourage to support the author so he continues to develop this tool.

I got good support and quick answers to setup questions.
F5VLY Rating: 5/5 Mar 21, 2012 15:26 Send this review to a friend
Magic software  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I fail to understand how guys give this the thumbsdown...
Quote - its too expensive, you need a good pc to handle it....AND !!!
Alex has written something which in conjunction with the Reverse Beacon Network is frankly awesome, initally i had no end of problems trying to get this to work on my pc, Alex was there to help, the problem was my old XP software and a slow processor, now i have upgraded to windows 7 and a 64bit processor running at 3.2Ghz this software just coasts along, even during major contests on 40m here in Europe when its chaos, cwskimmer handles it with ease.
The 70Euros i paid for this is money well spent, when working i leave an SDR receiver on at least one band to upload spots to the RBN and to make the most of my internet connection i pay good money for 24/7, the price of buying cwskimmer is peanuts.
Alex thanks for all your hard work.
Regards Adrian
KB2EOQ Rating: 4/5 Dec 23, 2011 18:58 Send this review to a friend
Performs well  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I would have given a 5 rating but I think the $75.00 is a bit high. In 2010 I used a trial version and was not too impressed. In 2011 I tried it again, the author is generous enough to allow another trial whenever a new version is released . I decided the $75.00 investment was worth it after getting to understand the software some more. The software is not really a CW decoding application. It does a fairly good job of decoding CW , but I will guess that the vast majority of users are people who are competent at CW and do not need software to decode what their ears are hearing. This application is really a super CW signal collector. When used with an SDR this software will monitor an entire band or several different bands (depending on the SDR) and rapidly display the callsigns of stations calling CQ . If you chose, it will also display anytime the letters "QRL" are heard. So, for me, the very useful function is the ability for me to have a list of lots of stations calling CQ and ALL on the list are stations MY antenna has heard. I do not need to wonder if the "spot" is from a station a few hundred miles away. All the CQs are stations my station is hearing.

The software is a little demanding on the CPU but you can throttle back on how many decoding streams are in use...if you have a slower computer. The audio drivers seem a little picky and you can get some nasty distortion if you have a slow computer, lots of decoding streams, AND want audio at same time. My laptop has a very fast CPU but even that "drags" at times.

I use the application in tandem with my Kenwood TS-2000, SDR-IQ, Microkeyer, and DX Lab Suite. When I desire, the Kenwood serves as a transmitter and is synchronized so that a click on the CW Skimmer software waterfall causes my TS-2000 to follow and be precisely on frequency.I can also feed my CW Skimmer "spots" to my Spotcolletor software and can log to DX Keeper. I have also established a way to use The SDR-IQ, TS-2000, CW Skimmer, Commander , and N1MM for contesting applications.

After a while you will find CW Skimmer works so well for CW rag chews, CW DXing or CW contesting, that you begin to wish CW Skimmer had some magical way of detecting digital signals across an entire band or even Phone CQs.

Andy K3UK
STAYVERTICAL Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2010 03:28 Send this review to a friend
Blind no longer  Time owned: more than 12 months
Whenever a contest or pile up occurred over a rare station, I was usually only able to pick out a few stations from the morass. Now with CW Skimmer I have a birds eye view of the action. I am not a contester, nor do I chase every dx station, but I like to do CW. I used to think my 38 WPM was good enough to decode pileups, but for me anyway, that's not true. Now using CW Skimmer makes pileups a fascinating exercise, as by looking at the callsigns displayed, I am able to focus on that transmission. The price is high, a bit too high in my opinion, but I paid it as I get lots of enjoyment from pileups, which were once frustrating. Alex is adding functionality, so the development is proceeding, unlike some programs.
In addition, I like the adjustable filtering, and the decoding is pretty good for a program. Rig control via omnirig works fine for me as well.
If you are not a big CW affacinado, you may as well save your money, but if you are, there are worse things you could spend your money on.
K3ROJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2010 05:23 Send this review to a friend
A Must for CW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was recently asked if I ever tried CW Skimmer by a club member during a meeting. I had heard of it and the next day downloaded the trial. I use a Flex Radio 5000A and after setting it up using virtual audio cables and Com0Com port emulator, we were amazed how well it decoded CW. After reading more on the Flex site, I discovered by using my second built-in R2 receiver, I was able to view a huge bandwidth. CW is my main mode and although can operate using 30 wpm, CW Skimmer allowed me to pick out stations without concentrating too much. On 40 metres there are some high speed operators where I can now catch every word while busy at the computer desk. Using the Flex 5000A is the greatest experience we've ever had in amateur radio and am now awaiting delivery of the VHF/UHF modules which will open up even more doors.
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