Customizing the Morse Program
Up to now, you have been practicing with the program using material appropriate for my station. Now that you feel reasonably proficient in terms of using the functions, it is time to set up the system for your own needs. The following program features can be customized for your use:
Move to the MYCALL window, key <ENTER>, type in your callsign and terminate with the <ENTER> key.
Move to this window, key <ENTER> and you will see a display showing the text used for the CUSTOM CQ function. You can either clear this text or enter text appropriate for your station.
If your rig has a sidetone function, you will want to turn the SIDETONE OFF. Turn it ON if your rig doesn't have a sidetone.
If you plan to use the sidetone function, set the FREQ window to the desired sidetone frequency.
Move to this window, key <ENTER>, and you will see the text that is transmitted from Memory 1. You can clear the text or enter any text of your choice.
This text block can be handled just like MEM 1 (above).
This should be left at the default value of 1 unless you need to alter it based on the keying characteristics of your rig at the speeds you normally operate.
The sending speed can be changed at any time, but you should now enter the speed you want when the program first boots up.
Once you have these status windows customized as you want them to be, move to the SAVE window and key <ENTER>. This will save the material to the MORSE.DAT file, which sets the default operating parameters when the program boots. To check that this has occurred, exit the program and re-boot. The program should come up as you set it up in the previous steps.
There is no limit to the number of times you can reconfigure the system. For example, you may want to set the program up for a contest or a club activity such as Field Day. If you reset any of the parameters and then use the SAVE function, those parameters become the new defaults. If you set them without the use of SAVE, they function only for the current operating session.
Locating the Port Address
The final step in putting the software into use is to select the proper PORT address to match the parallel port on your computer. Connect the interface to your computer's parallel port (serial port) and run the keyed line to the keying jack of your rig. It would be best at this point if the rig were connected to a dummy load.
The original QST interface has circuits to insure that the rig does not get keyed unless commanded to by the MORSE program. If you are using the single-transistor interface (transmit only), it is possible that the circuit may key the rig based on the normal configuration of the parallel port if the computer is in operation. You can avoid this problem by not turning on the rig (or putting it in the CW mode) until the MORSE program is running. An even better solution is to install a parallel port switching box. This will let you run additional hardware from your parallel port, including a printer. With such a switching box, the rig can only be keyed when the interface is switched in.
With everything connected, move to the KEY TRANSMITTER window and press <ENTER>.
The window should change to yellow and the transmitter should key for three seconds. If not, move to the PORT window and press <ENTER>> You will see a list of the three possible parallel port addresses (four possible COM ports). Choose another and repeat the KEY TRANSMITTER test. Cycle through all the possible addresses, if required, until you find the one that will key the rig. Once you have a working PORT address, confirm proper operation by using some of the KEYBOARD functions. Once you have confirmed that the rig is keying properly, use the SAVE function to store the working PORT address as the default.
Testing the RECEIVE Function
Once the PORT address is properly set, you can test the RECEIVE function if you have the QST interface.
Carefully tune a clean CW signal until the TUNE LED is at its brightest and flashing in time with the signal.
The RECEIVE portion of the software employs an auto-speed tracking function, so there will typically be a delay of a few seconds until you see any copy and the first few letters you do see will probably not be correct. As the program locks on to the signal, you should start to see copy that makes sense. The quality of the received text is related to a number of factors:
If the system cannot decode a character, an asterisk (*) will be printed. As indicated above, if the system starts printing out long strings of E's, the receiver tuning is probably off. The system does a remarkably good job of decoding, but don't expect it to equal what you can accomplish by ear. Under reasonable conditions you will be able to copy CW at speeds that may exceed your ability to copy. Please resist the temptation to SEND at such speeds. Any QRM or QRN may quickly degrade the computer's ability to copy the other station and you will quickly discover that you are in over your head! As a general rule, you should send no faster than you can comfortably copy without the computer. I don't hesitate to use the RECEIVE function to sort out the higher speed transmission on the frequency of a DX station, for example, but, when I call that station, I do so at a speed I can copy by ear. In most cases, the other station will return you call at or close to the speed you used.
Pressing ANY key during RECEIVE will return you to the KEYBOARD mode, erasing any received text.