CW Operation and Encode Decode Feature

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 2 weeks ago
Hello, I am interested in a new radio and started looking into the FlexRadio 6400. First, can I use a standard Iambic keyer to send? and second does this system both encode AND decode CW?  One of the new Kenwoods has that ability and I was going to purchase it for that reason (along with others of course). If the FlexRadio does the same thing and can use standard keying equipment then I may change my mind. Thanks in advance!
Photo of Greg Scheff

Greg Scheff

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 2 weeks ago

  • 1
Photo of Clay N9IO

Clay N9IO

  • 623 Posts
  • 163 Reply Likes
I use a 1962 Vibrokeyer so yes.
Any iambic, straight key as with any other radio.
Flex also has CWX.
Many decoders available if you need to, they work very well with DAX as apposed to sound cards and wires.
CW Skimmer is very good.
Photo of Joe N3HEE

Joe N3HEE

  • 432 Posts
  • 103 Reply Likes
To clarify this a bit.  You can send CW with a keyboard using SmartSDR via your computer using the CWX console built into SmartSDR software.  You cant send CW with a keyboard connected directly to the radio like the Kenwood TS-890 can.  However, you can program the function keys on the M version radios to send CW like CW memory keys on other radios.  No CW decode on radio itself.  You can use external CW decoder with DAX audio over Ethernet.  

There is also a fabulous third party software suite to send CW via keyboard and macros that is much more advanced than any keyboard program I've ever used.  It's called FRLogger.  

Joe
N3HEE
Photo of David Decoons wo2x

David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

  • 1453 Posts
  • 309 Reply Likes
In my experience the best CW decoder out there is between the ears! 

You can install and configure CW Skimmer and it works fairly well as long as the signal doesn't fade or the Op doesn't have a sloppy fist.

My suggestion is to not depend on a CW decoder to do the decoding. Spend the time to learn CW and use the decoder to help you confirm what you are hearing and send spots of what your station is receiving to the panadapter.

Dave wo2x
Photo of Joe N3HEE

Joe N3HEE

  • 428 Posts
  • 103 Reply Likes
Totally agree with you Dave.  

Unfortunately manufactures include CW decoders for marketing reasons as they have become an expected feature on modern day radios.  Seems that modern radios must send and receive CW, RTTY & PSK without a computer ?  It doesn't really matter how well they work.  

This is like the air conditioned seats on my GMC Acadia that I might have used once or twice in the past 5 years !  I thought they were pretty "cool" when I bought the vehicle.  However, GMC needs them to compete with other manufactures to sell the vehicle. 
Photo of David Decoons wo2x

David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

  • 1453 Posts
  • 309 Reply Likes
The BIGGEST problem with radios that decode RTTY and PSK is you CANNOT right click the call to have it automatically go into your logbook entry window and do a QRZ lookup. It is great that the radios decode but it is more work for the operator having to manually enter the call in your logging software. During a contest that will kill your run rate.

Dave wo2x
Photo of John KB4DU

John KB4DU

  • 76 Posts
  • 26 Reply Likes
Greg;

The Flex does not include any decoders,CW, PSK, FT8 or whatever. All  of these can be utilized by additional software running on the external PC. The radio itself is a "server", providing the off-the-air data to be processed by any number of software products.

With a radio that has these decoders "baked-in" what is provided is what you get.The Flex lets you choose which  products best suit your needs and style, offering a very wide variety.

The DAX feature of SmartSDR has got to be the easiest interfacing of radio audio to external software I've ever used. No external box (signal-link or what ever), no cables from usb or audio jacks, just a few mouse clicks and maybe a level adjustment, and away we go.
(Edited)