DIY Club Kit- Internet Morse Code (VBAND)

Are you interested in:

A.  Learning/Practice Morse Code (CW)?

B.  Joining a 1 evening club project build (soldering/programming)? 

C.  Willing to pay ~$15 for a kit (parts, PCB)?

Currently, the club is finding the Vband website a terrific place to practice CW, for both beginner and experienced hams.  DOES NOT REQUIRE A HAM RADIO LICENSE, so family and friends can participate learning on Vband, too.

VBand – Virtual CW Band by Ham Radio Solutions – Version Apr 21, 2022

This project was created by two friends who wanted to (re)learn CW, but didn’t regularly have great propagation between them to practice, and were a bit embarrased to get on the air at their current skill level. While it allows code to be sent with a keyboard as either a paddle or straight key, it really shines using the USB paddle interface available in the Store tab.

The goal was to make a fun way to practice sending and receiving CW with a buddy, without worrying about a radio, an antenna, a license, good propagation, or RF noise.

The club uses Monday 6-7pm as our weekly CW VBAND practice sessions.  (In addition, we try to hold a simultaneous Zoom session while the VBand session is alive.)  VBand is just like an internet chat room; plug your key/paddle into a USB port interface and send/receive signals on your computer.  The VBand application identifies others in the chat room, and it automatically decodes the CW as an aid for sending and receiving.  Since we have a private channel (thanks to KG5URA!), you can practice only with members of the JSCARC club.

However, to use this “CW internet chat room” one needs a special dongle which converts your key/paddle into keyboard code.  

You can buy one directly from Ham Radio Solutions for $25+ $5 shipping, or DIY

The DIY solution (OZ1JHM) is cheap and effective.  It uses an Arduino Board (~10), a 3.5mm stereo jack, and some PCB breadboard.  Arduino code & instructions on this page.

Also, looks like OX1JHM has improved on the vband keyer- i.e. better than the “commercial” version!

AB5SS has already drafted up a PCB board for mounting an Arduino Pro Micro and 3.5mm stereo jack.  So we’re close to a club group project if there’s enough interest.

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