CWC – The CW Commuter

An easy way to make CW QSOs via the Internet. Simple hardware, easy to use, easy to carry around.

With weak sunspots and modern life, getting enough QSOs in to get and keep CW proficiency can be difficult. For one of CWC’s creators, Grae, G0WCZ, he was looking for a way to pull out a morse key and a set of earphones on a commuter train and have a QSO across the Internet. The CW Commuter exists to help with that. Simple hardware and software to make it easy to send and receive CW on the internet with others and something easy to carry around.

For example, a Raspberry Pi Zero with a small hat makes a complete CWC station. Or a laptop with a key adaptor dongle. Bring a key and some headphones. The CWC software is open source and is made to work everywhere.

Another part of the idea was to make something with personality, a system that behaves a bit like being on the radio. On the radio, we deal with loss of signal, know how to repeat things and persevere when signals drop out. We have QSB, QRM, QRN, AGN? and that all worked out. The CWC protocol doesn’t try to make connections perfect. If the 4G signal drops out in a tunnel, well, you might have to AGN? a bit. But we know how to do that as CW users, right? Technically, CWC uses UDP/IP to send data, and sends key on/off bits and not audio to keep packet sizes small. It also means that key dynamics (your “fist”) is preserved in the sending and receiving.

We talk about stations and a reflector. A CWC Station is where you attach your key and phones. The CWC Reflector is an internet server that reflects (re-broadcasts) incoming signals to those stations that are listening.

A CWC station talks to a CWC reflector on a particular channel. The reflector broadcasts everything on a channel to other stations listening to that channel. Reflectors make channels that work like frequencies on the dial. There is space for many channels. For now, most QSOs are on channel 0 and testing happens on channel 9.

CWC is in development. We’ve had a working prototype for some time. Now we’re preparing it to be easier to use, carry and update. There will be more info soon as wre work on the next releases of the hardware and software.

See the CWC software in development on github at github.com/G0WCZ/cwc .

More info on CWC in the info and posts below as we publish them.

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