Marketing With Morse Code

Code-is-not-dead prognosticators and hand-wringers will be happy to hear Asus is touting a new smartphone camera feature with Morse code.  The smartphone feature has something to do with dual cameras and exceptional zoom capability but unfortunately appears to have no use of Morse code.  But a tip of the hat to Asus marketing folks for using code!

Supporting CW

RSGB had this puzzling note in its recent news script:

Some say that CW has been made obsolete by modern digimodes, which work well in conditions far too poor for the older mode. Now that Morse is no longer used in commercial radio traffic, the RSGB confirms that it would fight any moves to prohibit CW on amateur bands. The Society recognises that Morse gives much pleasure to thousands of operators, and will continue to support its use.

The blurb doesn’t cite any specific threats.  To use a quote never said by, but attributed to Jerry Seinfeld, “Who are these people?

I’ve said before that there are people saying there are people saying that CW is dying, but I have yet to find anyone saying CW is dying.  Much like American politics, we tend to get our panties in a bunch making up things to be outraged over and threats to be worried about.  No radio amateur who has been licensed more than a week would seriously propose to outlaw CW operation.  Any amateur who does is likely insane or doesn’t have the capacity to garner support of anyone from amateurs to government officials.

Perhaps I’m reading more into the RSGB statement and giving it more time than it deserves, but my guess is RSGB suffers from one of the thorns that has been in the side of ARRL here in the States.  People make accusations that the organization doesn’t support the code, in order to increase the number of licensed amateurs and fill its coffers with more memberships.  The people who make such nonsense accusations are still upset with the elimination of the code test or just dislike the organization and look for whatever means to criticize it.  To this day I still hear people claim ARRL doesn’t support CW, despite petitioning the FCC for a 5 WPM test for the Extra class test and running code practice and bulletin broadcasts every weekday.  Myths are hard to replace with facts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

First, the obligatory “my apologies for the lack of posts recently” statement.  The usual excuses apply: work, family, sleep, more work, and my forty-something mind and body just doesn’t seem to have the get-up-and-go like it used to sometimes.  But I digress.  While I have the floor here, let me take a moment to wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving!

On the topic of radio, Oscar, DJ0MY, has created a professional quality keyer using the Arduino Nano module and my open source keyer code.  Here’s a video of Oscar’s creation:

Oscar has been a big help in suggesting and testing features of the keyer code.  He’s encouraged me to go out on a limb and code features I probably otherwise wouldn’t have, making the code what it is today.  Oscar says that he will be creating a webpage detailing his work, probably around Christmastime.

I haven’t been on the air much recently, but I did build and start testing a beta release of the OpenQRP OQtransceiver1 rig.

The rig and the OpenQRP project is the brainchild of Steve, K1EL, the creator of the venerable Winkey.  The OQtransceiver1 is a monoband CW 40m unit, featuring NE602s in a superhet design with a narrow CW crystal filter in the receive chain.  The radio control is Arduino / ATMega328 based and the firmware is open source.  The OQ1 features a CW keyer, frequency counter, RIT, memory keying, two line backlit LCD display, and a CW decoder. Output power is slightly more than 5 watts.  The PC board and case is very professional looking and well designed.  I’m hoping to contribute to the OpenQRP project with firmware code updates and new features in the coming months.  I think the OpenQRP project is a nice concept that will likely produce some neat and innovative gear in the coming years, and provide another outlet for learning in this great hobby of ours.

From the Workbench: Arduino CW Keyer

I’m pleased to announce my Arduino CW keyer code is ready for prime time and available for download here.  At first this started out as merely porting my PIC keyer code to the Arduino, but the advanced features and ease (and joy) of coding for this platform encouraged me to venture further.  Beyond my original PIC keyer features, this creation also has a speed potentiometer, a serial port command line interface, more and bigger memories, QRSS, HSCW, and memory macros.  It also has a callsign receive practice mode, CW keyboard, and Hellscreiber sending capability.  I’m trying to figure out a way to interface with Ham Radio Deluxe and N1MM, and I have in the works a frequency counter option for use within homebew rigs, like my original PIC keyer.

The code is stable at this point, and I’m not aware of any bugs.  If anyone tries this code out and has bug reports, feedback, or feature requests, please drop me a comment.  Next I’m going to finish the Yaesu rotator computer interface.

I have a lot of ideas for an Arduino controlled antenna tuner swimming around in my mind.  After having two commercial automatic antenna tuners that were disappointing, I think I can build a better mousetrap.  The tuner will be a balanced L design capable of 150 watts or more, but still capable and accurate at QRP power levels.

Fun stuff!