CW Skimmer with CWX Macro Automation

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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I've been doing a lot of FT8 lately and I have to say, WSJT-X has spoiled me! It's so efficient and productive to automate the QSO motion via the application, it has me wanting something similar for CW. My CW skills are never going to be as good as when I was younger it seems, so I'm looking for a way to make CW easier and more productive at much higher speeds, especially for DX'ing and contesting.

For CW decoding, I'm using CW Skimmer, launched via Slice Master, which works quite well. For CW encoding, I'm using CWX that's built into SmartSDR. It's frustrating, time-consuming and error-prone having to manually set up each QSO. I know. I know. Just learn to send CW faster with a key - well, until that happens, I'm looking for a better solution that rivals the productivity level of FT8.

Are there any tools available that can:

1) extract the currently selected call sign and name from CW Skimmer, 
2) the signal level from SmartSDR, and then
3) automatically build CWX macros to automate handling a QSO?
4) supplementing it with winkeyer compatible input (TX audio + Vox?) for manual key

Ideally, several levels of QSO creation would be helpful:

1) Standard CW QSO (basics signal report, location exchange, 73's)
2) Extended CW QSO (Standard + Equipment, Weather or other extended info)
3) Fox and Hound mode (similar to WSJT-X - ability to quickly pounce/move to next QSO)
4) Contesting mode (brief exchange of contest protocols)

Maybe I'm just dreaming here, but it's very tedious doing all this typing, for us older types who can't send CW manually very fast with shaky hands and such, this type of capability would be awesome. Heck, I'd gladly pay for an app that bridges this gap, if there's nothing out there.

Rick, W5FCX

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Rick - W5FCX

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Posted 1 year ago

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Chris DL5NAM

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Rick, if all your dreams came true i will sell all Ham Radio gear and change hobby and collect stamps !
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Rick - W5FCX

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I know, Chris. CW is foundational and a lot of folks aren’t going to want to see CW automation. I respect that. I felt conflicted as I wrote this post but ... Joe Taylor and team have instigated the next generation of amateur radio by setting a new bar for QSO automation. It’s probably just a matter of time until it permeates the hobby.

Stamp collecting may actually be a more affordable hobby!
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Most of what you are asking for already exists in one form or another.  For CW contesting N1MM+ together with CW Skimmer and Flex SSDR CAT WinKeyer will have you covered at least for search and pounce.  Running a frequency with minimal code skills is difficult at best.

HRD's DM780 should be able to cover most of the other "casual" use cases but there are some rough edges both in terms of operation and configuration.  The latest version of Slice Master supports DM780's KY cmd CW mode so that helps bit with the configuration but DM780 seems to have some trouble with sending prosigns.  So for now at least they dont work.  Not being much of a CW op myself, I'm not sure how much that matter.  Without Slice Master's help though I've seen reports that the Flex WinKeyer implementation works with DM780.  

But if you are really looking for something that will make CW as easy as FT8, I agree, it's still just a dream.


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Rick - W5FCX

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Thanks Don. That's the guidance I was looking for. Much appreciated.

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Steven Linley

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N1MM+ and N3FJP loggers will send the call (as part of a macro for Run and S&P) typed into the callsign box. Both have plenty of macros for conesting.
DXLab Suite WinWarbler has plenty of macros for casual QSOs or DXpeditions.
I use N1MM+ for most contests, but N3FJP has the best logger for Sweepstakes, Field Day and School Club Roundup.