Ipad Pro SmartSDR IOS and CW?

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Im wondering if anybody is doing CW successfully with a physical key and Ipad pro with smartSDR IOS app?
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Luke Reynolds

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Posted 2 years ago

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Marcus - DL8MRE

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Hi Luke, dear OM,

so far, the App only supports CWX and no physical key. However, I would love to add support for physical keys but the question is, how to connect it to the device?

I already experimented with the audio jack which might be used to connect to keys by abusing the +/- volume keys but that turns out to be too slow and even would no longer an option for the newer Apple devices.

Next, I experimented with Bluetooth. I tested a few Bluetooth LE SOCs but didn't come to the conclusion that this is the best way to go as it would also require some soldering (which should be no problem for most of us HAMs but it's not perfect).

I am happy to receive additional suggestions so maybe this subject can be discussed here.

vy 73,
Marcus, DL8MRE
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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There are a few solutions I can see but they require an external device.

The simplest would be a tone oscillator connected to the mic jack. The oscillator can be wired to produce one tone for dit and another for dah for iambic keying. Use the dah tone for straight keys. Then the software can decode this and produce the CW. 

Another solution, a bit more sophisticated though would be a wifi device. Probably even a Raspberry pi? But for a simple keyer this would be overkill and would require networking setup.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I am thinking a neural implant might work better :-D 
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Hey Siri, send me some code...
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Chris DL5NAM

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Marcus, and with a keyboard? Using  a Logitech here. Also Apple has one for the ipad pro (but no german layout ;-( )

73 Chris
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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One thing I would love to see is realtime CWX if that is possible. I am not sure how to do it if that is already possible. 
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Andrew O'Brien

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I'm not understanding you Ria, CWX is not real-time enough for you as it is ?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Maybe I'm missing the option but there is no "live" option in the iOS app. So you have to type the reply then hit send.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Would a touchscreen keyer work? A pad for dit, a pad for dah, use two fingers to send? Not the conventional wiggle motion, but I have seen a few paddles with two up/down levers. Maybe even work the new haptic engine into it for that authentic key click experience?
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Tom--W4FAS

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Sounds like a great idea to me George.
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Marcus - DL8MRE

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Hi all,

thanks for your comments.

@Ria, I think the BT device would then be the easier solution. Wifi would need you would need to disconnect or it must be a device which sits separately on the network. Using the Texas Instruments Sensor Tag would be one option. Besides the sensors it has two buttons which could be connected to a Keyer and it's simple to access it via software - and it is cheap.

Live CWX is already on my ToDo list by the way.

@Chris, there is a German Keyboard available even from Apple for the iPad Pro but I don't care because usually I have the opposite problem: I am always using an US QWERTY Layout as I am developer and often I have the difficulty to get one here in Germany. But regardless, the keyboard can not be used as you can not detect key downs and key ups from iOS.

@George, would a touch Keyer really make sense ? That's of course doable but I though this would be a too cumbersome solution but if it would be useful, I could work on that.

vy 73,
Maracus, DL8MRE
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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For playing around on CW I would make some use of a touch pad like George suggested. For serious DXing or contesting I would make more use of CWX, especially if the live keyboard option was available.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Hi Marcus. I'm honestly not sure. While diehard CW fans like me would use it, such a thing might have limited appeal to most. I'm imagining a "paddle" at screen bottom, a row of macros above, and a speed control above that. Could be in SSDR, or even a connected app running on another device (iPhone?) keeping the iPad display uncluttered.
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MH_Flexer

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I kind of like Ria's external oscillator idea. ( Hi Ria ) No need for two tones. Adapt a code practice oscillator with the output tied to the microphone input on the iPad or other device.

I have a bunch of code oscillators, but you would want one that produces a full sine wave. Connecting an electronic Keyer output or Straight Key output to the oscillator and using the earphone jack on the oscillator tied to iPad microphone input should work.

In this way, the "fist" of the operator would be part of the audio character spacing. Using a full sine wave oscillator would give a clean audio signal.

I will experiment and report results here.....

Duane
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Howdy Duane.

My idea was something like square where audio is used as input. But this would probably be too complicated.  Plus apple seems to be getting rid of the headphone jack everywhere so we are back to square 1.

Marcus' idea of a bluetooth device is better. Doesn't have to be complicated. Just a HID device like a keyboard, similar to the selfie stick wireless shutter button. Could probably even be done with an arduino. 
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MH_Flexer

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Yes, I see what you mean. I have a few keys I really like to use for CW. Have to admit I have not kept up with the Apple physical jack elimination. This is rather a bother.

Seems that a BT device as a bridge to the audio inputs / outputs is the answer.

Looks like some research on my part is needed. I would think that there must be some development process going on to allow use of current headsets with a BT connection. Perhaps that is not happening and everything is just going to BT replacements.

Thanks for you information and thoughts.

Duane
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Marcus - DL8MRE

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Hi all, thanks for this discussion.

just an update from my end:

I still don't think keying using Audio is the right way because then, audio will run through a couple of Codecs with all their disadvantages.

I am currently and still thinking of some sort of Bluetooth LE adapter which allows to connect either a paddle directly or a WinKeyer as mentioned some posts ago.

Currently, I am waiting on the delivery of a few brand new Raspberry Zero W which are (different to the boards I tested so far) available worldwide in large quantities for 10 bucks - and support BT LE.

Let's see.

vy 73,
Marcus