On the Elecraft mailing list, there’s been a discussion of a new program called CW Skimmer, which the website describes as a “multi-channel CW decoder and analyzer.”
Its features include:
- a very sensitive CW decoding algorithm based on the methods of Bayesian statistics;
- simulatneous decoding of ALL cw signals in the receiver passband – up to 700 signals can be decoded in parallel on a 3-GHz P4 if a wideband receiver is used;
- a fast waterfall display, with a resolution sufficient for reading Morse Code dots and dashes visually;
- the callsigns are extracted from the decoded messages, and the traces on the waterfall are labeled with stations’ callsigns;
- a DSP processor with a noise blanker, AGC, and a sharp, variable-bandwidth CW filter;
- an I/Q Recorder and player.
Most of the folks taking part in the discussion bemoaned the loss of yet another skill, mostly referring to contests and DX pileups, I guess. One guy even went so far as to say, “This changes everything.”
It might change contesting a bit, but I can’t get too excited about it. If it does really give someone an advantage in a contest, then everyone will soon have it, so at that point it’s not an advantage. And in a DX pileup, anything is fair, if you ask me.
All in all, I rather like it. The ability to scan 10 kHz of spectrum for signals is very cool, if you ask me, and the CW decoding seems to work really well. What do you think?