Monday, 8 August 2016

CWCOM - Configurations & Settings instructions


(Scroll down for all the settings  (   CONFIGURATION SETTINGS  )  you should do before starting to use the prog ) 

 This is most important to do, early on, as it guides you through some pages of settings that make cwcom work properly for you,.. 

There is a separate page for 

"How to connect an external key"  

that gives instructions for connecting straight or paddle keys to your computer..   ( See page 4 of this blog)

Also some notes about the Morse Speed Settings on the TRANSMIT tab..

To start... open CWCOM. by clicking the icon on your desktop.  
        you will be presented with the "text screen" as already described..  
and every time you start CWCOM , you will need to click on the CONFIG icon, to the right of the letter A on the top of the screen,

                                  the pic below shows the CWCOM Configuration window.



       You will see that it opens, by default, on the "Morse Key" tab... and normally, by default, the "Keyboard" is selected with a black dot in the hole next to it..

       If you are going to use a key, either on a serial port, or on a USB to Serial Adapter, you will need to select COM Port as showing in the pic.

        If you do not have a morse key, You can use the "Down Arrow" key as a straight key,.. but you must click the mouse cursor on screen before transmitting ( "the main CWCom window must have focus)..

     Likewise if you want to use the mouse... however.. you must also keep the mouse cursor in the black square at the top left of the screen.  and use "Mouse" for your key selection. ( there is a page on how to connect a key via a mouse, instead of the USB port .  )

     If you are using a paddle key,.. you need to change from Manual, (default) to Iambic.  and if your morse comes out as a series of TTTT TT TTTT TTT T TTT T TTT , then you need to change from the default "Looping Method" to the Reset Method.  (but see further down for more info)

     To find your COM Port number for the first time.. you can cycle through the numbers in the window from 1 to 14, clicking on the hole next to COM Port each time, until one "sticks"... Note.. numbers  higher than 14 will not work.

        (LINUX & MAC USERS)..  I have a separate tutorial/guide for accessing the COMPORT number on LINUX..     See PAGE 13 ...  of this blog....

There is a special page for MAC users, on how to install cwcom on  MAC machines.... See Page 14....

You can also find the COMPORT number, . in Control Panel>Device manager > Ports Com & LPT  ( on windows).. ( click on the > triangle  to see the comport number)

     Your comport number will remain "selected" for the next time you start cwcom.

 BUT you will need to select "COM Port" every time you start cwcom. 

     The next series of Configurations will only need to be done once... but it is a good exercise to do, NOW,  so that you know what you can change, and what effects it will have on the program.


Click on the "MORSE" TAB

Remove the Check Marks in Flashing Light on the Transmit and Receive  boxes..

 but make sure you  have them in the AUDIO boxes. otherwise you will not hear any morse. ! ! .


Adjust the "Incoming Morse Speed" to about 70%.  using the slider...

CWCOM has a "buffering" in its program, and by reducing this "Incoming Morse speed" it reduces a delay of about 90 seconds between overs, to a more reasonable 1 or 2 seconds.

        It works a bit like the progress bar on a video on YouTube... where you will see a light grey bar moving across the bottom of the screen  ( this is your distant station sending his message)... 

and a red bar, moving behind it, but never seeming to catch up... ( this is the sound and text you are receiving from the distant station)... 

and so, when the grey bar has finished ( distant station sends K to you ), ( this is actually the buffering from the download of the video). the music and video  ( your sound and text) are still in progress on the screen,

         What we are trying to do with the  70% is to make the two parts finish at the same time.. ... difficult to explain, but may become clearer when you actually are in QSO with someone.


  Adjust the tone of the incoming morse on the bottom slider.

( also on the Speaker Icon at top of screen).. 
  The TONE of the morse is very HIGH on the default setting  ( click on the speaker Icon ).. of 1000

Set the tones as follows....  
TX Tone....  858   

RX Tone....  815,  

And you may find that these tones are more acceptable.... the lower tone on RX Tone setting, will probably also stop some stations " Chirping "  or " Clipping " on the dits and dahs.


Next... Click the "TRANSLATION" tab.....

Put a check mark in all three boxes.

Adjust the Translate TEXT ONLY messages to Morse speed to about 20wpm.  It may be "too fast" for you to read,  but ... the reason is that when people are typing to you , it will be "buffered" as already explained above, and using a slower speed, ( to something you can read ) will make the time it takes to appear on screen very long indeed...  Also, having it set at 20 wpm, you will be able to watch the screen printing the message, and, at the same time.... "absorb" the sound of the morse at 20wpm, this is a good way to increase your speed, "subconciously"...

I have already dealt with the "Morse Key" tab, so we move on to the next one..

the "TRANSMIT" tab

Here is where the program times your keying, and works out your transmit speed...  it relies on a steady stream of morse code symbols, to get the timing (in nano seconds ) to display on the various parts... The normal ratio is 3:1   where a DAH is three times longer than a DIT.. therefore you need to look at the ratio in the two boxes... e.g.  DIT  40  and DAH should be "about" 120... ...


You can set your speed, approximately, with the slider, to abut 5wpm either side of what you "think" your speed is... then send a test message,.. 

such as "BROWN BREAD TASTES BEST WITH BUTTER AND STRAWBERRY JAM".. (do not stop for mistakes,.. carry on... ) 

 and hopefully it will give you a "base" mark set of readings for you to write down, in case you need to reset..    You may find that you need to send the test message several times, before it actually prints a good copy of what you are sending.. 

Once you have found your speed settings... it is a good idea to make a note on some paper, of the numbers below the speed setting... and then "LOCK" the speed by putting a check mark next to the word "Lock" ..... 

If you find that it is not working properly... unlock and go through that again, until you are sure.... if it is left "unlocked" with a straight key,  slight variations will re-adjust the speed and eventually cause corruptions.... 

You may also need to restart cwcom after doing the speed settings.... it doesn`t take long to do a restart, and you should be able to see the new speed working properly after a restart. 

If you are using a paddle key... you should make sure the LOCK,.. is not checked... ( i.e.  unlocked ).... also... you should use "Looping Method"    and    "Iambic"   for your keying....but you should start off by setting the speed by moving the marker to "approximately" the speed you can send at...  this is because.. the speed setting is the speed that the computer will send out dits and dahs...( NOT your actual transmitting speed )...... so, for example you are just starting with a paddle, and need time to adjust your brain to how it all works.... start off with a setting of "about" 10 wpm.... and practice with that... if you are a bit more "competent" and can already use a paddle with some confidence, then set it at about 15 or 20 wpm... as a starting point... as you get used to it, your transmit speed will probably creep up.. .. ...

Again.. you my be getting  TTT TT TTTT TTT TTT TTTTT T T T TT .. so remember to uncheck the "Looping" as already mentioned. Generally, TTT TT TTTT is associated with an incorrect adjustment of the "transmit" speed setting...


That concludes the setting of the Configurations...   Morse Mail is not used...

Any problems .. contact me. (Gerry) on.......

and I will try to help get it sorted with you.


  1. Hi MorseMan!

    I'm a new ham and a Mac user, taking a CW course from our local amateur club. I scrounged a PC laptop from work, but as a result of frustration with the derelict machine, I finally decided to take a chance on installing WINE on my almost 10 year old iMac. It worked like a charm from the get-go! I haven't delved into attaching the iambic paddle yet, but when I do, I'll pass the information along.

    Thank you very much for making this valuable resource available to us!


    VA1TIM (Tim)

    1. Hi Tim,
      Thank you for the positive feedback on the blog and your success with the old MAC machine.
      Your comment makes my efforts with this blog worthwhile. !
      73 good luck with the morse, and your eventual licence !.

      p.s. check out the how to learn morse code page on here too ! ! .