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.http://oz1jhm.dk/content/hamradio-solutions-vband-interface
Also, looks like OX1JHM has improved on the vband keyer- i.e. better than the “commercial” version! http://oz1jhm.dk/content/stm32-vband-lcwo-keyer-interface
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.