OK, so following my musings regarding CW and Morse and looking for solutions as to how to get around a lack of being able to “speak” Morse my USB Morse data cable landed the other day.
I can safely say it was worth the wait and would recommend anyone in the same predicament has a look.
I was slightly cautious regarding this item simply because I’ve been had before with low cost items origination in the Far East being rip off’s or very low standard. I’m hoping this item is the real deal simply because the guy behind it, BD7JAD, is a genius and should deserve all the credit for his work.
The supplied disk contains the drivers and software to get you going and very helpfully caters for an international audience by skipping any Chinese in the instructions and using simple screen captures with arrows to show you how to setup the device drivers and then how to configure CwType (a copy is supplied on the disk).
BD7JAD is the man behind the JAD Link 2 and Link 3 USB radio interfaces in a similar vane to microHAM’s products. There’s a good YouTube video showing the device being unboxed for an EchoLink project. His site is in native Chinese and unfortunately Google Translate doesn’t do a very good job, but he designs and sells a lot of this stuff.
Anyway, moving on, the device simply appears as a Com Port, in my case ESB-SERIAL CH340 on Com5
The moment of truth came when, with a dummy load on the back of the radio and the correct menu configurations made CwType was set on its merry way!
Firstly I apologise for the hideous quality of this video file, it’s not the greatest but in the absence of installing Camtasia or similar and setting up an external audio input using my phone was the only option. Also, after the event I realised I’d had my finger over the microphone which didn’t help matters.
CwType is the lower window, CwGet is the upper window which is just spitting out random character as it isn’t configured correctly yet and is picking up audio from the internal sound card.
In short it works and the tones heard are those of the side tone generator on the Yaesu FT-857D doing its thing.
The next step it to test it against another radio to check the signal but unfortunately I don’t posses one, not for a few weeks at least.
Do you remember our old friend the Pixie?
For a whole £3-92 with free delivery I ordered one from eBay specifically from this seller. After having a bit of a rummage this guy actually gives you a leg up and helps identify some of the harder components rather than letting you flap in the breeze. He also provides a schematic and parts list all in one place and even has independent provenance from a buyer on YouTube.
A lot of people have mentioned how the supplied crystal on these things are slightly odd in that they are 7.023MHz which seems to be the norm for cheap radio kits shipped from China.
Thankfully Ham Goodies ship 7.010 and 7.030Mhz crystals for a pound a piece. So having secured a couple of those, when the international postal service eventually does its thing I should have a CW capable transceiver to test against.
A deeper delve into aix81’s store shows that he supplies lots of radio related hardware including the Frog Sounds HAM Radio QRP Kit Telegraph CW Transceiver Receiver Radio Station V3 which is a Chinese clone of the Norcal 49’er QRP Transceiver which can be seen in action on YouTube. These things have almost achieved cult status in some circles and as much as it’d be fun to design and build one from scratch I shelled out the few quid for the Frog to go with the Pixie.
It’s a more powerful transceiver providing a 3W output when powered at 12V and again is designed to fit in a tiny enclosure.
Again aix81 appears to be a more reputable supplier as his eBay store provides you with the necessary documentation and suggested modifications rather than leaving you to hunt the internet.