For the last couple of days, I have been dinking with writing a program that reads whatever is in the CWType sent text box (the one at the top of the screen) and sends the text to whatever window is currently active. My program is written in VB.NET and attaches to CWType 1.55 with an undocumented (as far as I can tell from DXSoft’s web site) COM interface. My first attempt was with the DXSOFTEX.DLL, which DXSoft provides as a programming interface to CWType. Problem is that DXSOFTEX.DLL feeds data into CWType but does not pull data out of CWType. I’m wondering if there is an official method for getting the text that CWType is sending. Oh well. Microsoft’s .NET framework is arguably a huge, complicated piece of software engineering that is totally overkill for this task. However, .NET is what I’m interested in at the moment. A couple of years ago, it would have been Borland C++ Builder and a little while before that, Digital Mars C++ and a few years before that, Borland Delphi.
I have a crude version of the program working and have tried it with a few programs with success. Talk about a humbling experience trying to use the key to type into Morse Runner. I can only head copy the very shortest calls that come in so I end erasing the QSO several times and starting over. Considering how long it took for me to work up a competition score of over 100 in Morse Runner, 18 months, I have another 18 months before I can use the key to enter the QSOs. It’s good practice, though.
Why the heck am I doing it?
Well, I thought it would be cool. I wanted to practice sending CW off the air. Seemed like a good idea at the time. It looked like a nice little project to learn .NET programming.
Would you like to try it?
OK. This is not stable software, folks. I wrote this as a quick weekend project. Download the ZIP file, unzip it to a folder and run the setup program. If you are prompted to install the .NET runtime, then you need to go to the Microsoft site and download it. The link on the message will take you to the wrong version, for your convenience. I found the right version as a link on the page where you start the download for the wrong version. You need version 1.1, not 2.0. Version 2.0 does nothing for my program. Make sure you have installed CWType too. Run TxCWtoWindows, press the Tx button, and a CWType window will appear. Start Notepad or Wordpad or anything that accepts input from the keyboard. Tap out a few letters using the iabmic key that you have attached to the parallel or game port. See the CWType documentation to see how to do that. I made the parallel port connector without the rig control circuit. Attaching my key required two resistors and a 25 pin plug. That’s it.