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Has anyone successfully connected CW paddles to a Mac running SmartSDR for Mac?

K7JV Member ✭✭

I was able to assemble the interconnection as described Section 7 in the SmartSDR for Mac - Software user guide, and it does work, but not well. I added the two capacitors described in Section 7.1 to prevent "bounce". However, it is not a satisfactory set up on my system. It is very difficult to come off of the left (dit) paddle in time to get the right number of "dits". It is even difficult to stop the dits in time with the keyed speed set well below 15 wpm. At anything over 20 wpm it is nearly impossible to send accurate CW using the iambic keyer function in the SmartSDR software.

I wondered if anyone has experienced this and worked through it to find a solution short of connecting a straight key, which I would rather not do.

Best Answer

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
    Answer ✓

    I tried it when it first came out with similar results.

    What I think is happening is that while the mechanical part works (sending a dot or dash) that the LAN part is very variable resulting in strange things happening.

    Even your home LAN is not a constant speed. The Network switches can buffer packets.

    This is why the Maestro sends actual ASCII characters over the LAN as it eliminates that issue. Each character you send is decoded to an ASCII character and then that character is sent to the radio and the software in the radio sends morse elements.


  • K7JV
    K7JV Member ✭✭

    That is an interesting and very viable thought. I was thinking that since the "switching" input to the Mac from the paddles would produce a side-tone in the Mac, essentially without delay. But it hadn't occurred to me that some of the processing might be in the radio instead of the Mac. I do know that the problem does not exist at all, when using the CW paddles connected to the Maestro, whether the Maestro is on the network with the radio or miles away using the WAN to connect with the radio.

    Dang! I was hoping that CW using the Mac might be a possibility. But I do think it will be a straight key only process.

    Thank you for your input. I was hoping someone would chime in and say, "Yes, and this is how I made it work." 😊 I've not delved into the possibility of using the keyboard for my CW input device, but my typing skills are horrific compared to my paddle skills, such as they are.

  • snacey0103
    snacey0103 Member ✭✭

    I have the same problem and same question with SmartSDR for Mac and my Vibroplex paddles. Unfortunately, I don't have a Maestro and the radio is connected to my LAN via WiFi - not CAT6.

    Do you think that Marcus, the creator of SmartSDR for Mac knows about this issue yet? I may connect with him to see if there is anything that can be done.

  • K7JV
    K7JV Member ✭✭

    Snacey0103, thank you. That would be great. The description of the "hook up" in the software users manual describes the cable adaptations that need to be made, and I was able to find the components. I purchased a cable that had a ⅛" stereo male on one end and a DB9 connector on the other. (I did have to change the pin connections from the way it came to the connections required by the configuration in the manual) I also purchased a cable that had a DB9 connector on one end and a USB connector on the other, and it had the necessary electronics built into the DB9 end to interface the two. My initial testing showed the significant "bounce" on the dits, so I did add the .1 micro-farad capacitors described in the software manual which it called for, for exactly that purpose. I will note that I did not see any improvement when I added the two ceramic capacitors. So I did everything as described in the manual, but unfortunately no joy.

    If you have access to Marcus, that would be a great idea. 👍