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software based radios ? Morse code decoding software ?

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WIth my new technician license, I'm intrigued to get into several areas

one is the low power QRP using CW code....so I've been looking at some of the older heathkit HW-8's on eBay etc...and also at the elecraft K1 radios..

.Also looking to get some free software on the PC to decode the CW transmission ( until I can learn morse code ). Any recommendations ?
Is it legal to have software encode the text, for transmission ?

Othe area I'm curious about is the area of PC based, software based Radios,,,on the idea of plug in boards into a PC, that become the radio, rather than a seperate transceiver....

Anyone have any experience with the GNU Radio ?

gnuradio/wiki
 

cockpitbob

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I took a code class last year and got up to 5wpm but haven't done much with it. I decided my mental barrier was fear of suffering brain-lock during a QSO. So, I looked into code reading SW for the laptop and my research says the best free stuff is CWDecoder. My plan is just to use it as a crutch until I can walk on my own.

There's no rules about having a computer do the CW for you. You can type into the computer to send morse and let it decode it for you...but what's the fun in that?

Re: QRP rigs, keep looking. The Elecraft stuff is supposed to be the best, but the price matches the quality. MFJ makes one that will do phone & CW and gets great reviews on eHam.net. Someone else (I forget) makes a CW only QRP radio that will do 2 bands.

If you're getting into QRP I would focus on the small stuff, not the Heathkit. The beauty of QRP is you can take it with you.
 
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CWGet is a simple CW decoder. Ham Radio Deluxe is a nice suite of ham software including logging, PSK31, radio control, DX clusters, etc I'm a few versions behind so there's probably even more. A simple search should point you to both of these.
 

Parker Duofold

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I took a code class last year and got up to 5wpm but haven't done much with it. I decided my mental barrier was fear of suffering brain-lock during a QSO.

I don't know how old you are but learning the code "later in life" is certainly difficult. You will struggle with it until you pass the 10 WPM barrier. Until then you hear di-dah and think di-dah = A and then write it down. Eventually, you just hear di-dah and write "A". It's like learning a foreign language. You cannot make progress until you hear "bonjour" and think "good day" instead of having your brain translate it into English first.

I learned the code as a 13 year old and it's always been easy since then. I am 99% code guy and enjoying my new K3 transceiver.
 

cockpitbob

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I don't know how old you are but learning the code "later in life" is certainly difficult.
53. Yup, as you say, it's like learning a new language, which in High School I learned I was not gifted at. I've been using the G4FON training software which has helped a lot. On a good day I don't have to do the look-up table in my head for most characters. But on a bad day I can go blank mid sentence. I really need to get on the air and "just do it".
 

cockpitbob

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Well, I've tried CWget and CWdecoder for decoding CW with my laptop. Both get good reviews on eHam.net but neither are anywhere near perfect. If I get things set up right they'll copy about 75% correctly. It was worse until I put a pot in line with the audio cable to attenuate the speaker's big signal. I was hoping for better, but it will be enough of a crutch until I walk on my own.
 
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