Surfin': Skimming the Code
CW Skimmer is a computer application that is making a big impression in Amateur Radio these days. It is a "multi-channel CW decoder and analyzer" that simultaneously decodes all CW signals in the receiver passband, waterfall displays the signals' dots and dashes with a resolution sufficient for reading visually, extracts call signs from the signals and labels the signals on the waterfall with the call signs.
You can read more about the features of this Windows 98/ME/2000/XP application on the CW Skimmer page of the DX Atlas Web site. To see CW Skimmer in action, there is a YouTube video you can view that demonstrates the program skimming beacons on 144 MHz.
Some hams are up in arms about using CW Skimmer in contests. Jamie Dupree, NS3T, has been following the contest issues on his radio-sport.net blog. Meanwhile, Pete Smith, N4ZR, wrote an excellent article addressing the features and concerns of CW Skimmer. Pete is also responsible for writing a CW Skimmer tutorial, which is suggested reading by the software's creator.
Until next time, keep on surfin'!
Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, decodes CW like water off a duck's back. To communicate with Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU