Bonner County Amateur Radio Club   bcarc

CWTXN: Computer CW Texting for Low Cost Local Communications

AF7YQ , December 13 2017
Re:CWTXN: Computer CW Texting for Low Cost Local Communications
To get started here, let's first address the antenna issue. Naturally, any 40 meter antenna can be used with our device, but for the intended purpose (emergency communications locally) we have discovered a very unique antenna type. Essentially, think of it as a 40 meter dipole, with reflectors (in other words, a simple beam). However, unlike the typical beam antenna, which is designed to "beam" radiated power at a low angle for maximum range, this antenna is designed to radiate upward, so bounce off of the ionosphere is virtually overhead and downward to the local area. Yup, you got it: beaming straight up! Crazy, eh? Well, I never claimed I wasn't...

Anyway, below is a link so you can read about it yourself. If you have an interest in this project, you might want to consider building one of these. If you already have a 40 meter antenna, all the better, because having you do some tests to compare a "regular" 40 meter antenna with this one (for local contacts) to see if the claims are accurate would be a great aid to the project!

The link:
Re:CWTXN: Computer CW Texting for Low Cost Local Communications
Dear CW Texting Group:

Note that I have taken off the 80 meter or 40 meter designator, as the final determination of band is TBD (although 40 is preferred, it is an easy mod to do an 80 version).

First, note that there are new members in the group. Shawn and Douglas are both "distance" members: they will of course not be attending meetings or getting assistance at the lab, but we will attempt to help them over email, skype, etc. We have one more person, Tony, who has expressed interest - from Virginia, I think. Still waiting for email connection for him.

I have started a forum for us to use on the club website. Please start visiting there and asking questions, progress, thoughts, ideas on that forum.

Even if you are not a club member, you can sign up. Without a password, you can only read.


Yes, it is only 3 days from now, 10 am at my home, 206 Serenity Place, Sandpoint 775-790-4055

Please come prepared to share your progress with the kit, and any questions/comments/thoughts on the project

We will have a discussion on cost vs. features. One of the components I am looking at is a full color TFT display that can display a full graphical user interface. This means that we can do lots of things like calibrate, channel and frequency select, and more using a touch screen GUI. Besides that, we may only need a power switch, a T/R switch, and a Menu button - or we may even get all of that except the power switch in the display.

However… it will add to the cost, and make the "under $50" stretch goal impossible. I think under $100 is still achievable. The 3.5" version of the display is $35, and includes a real time clock (very nice), storage (not sure how that works), extra I/O pins, and is controlled via a serial port (high speed). All of the graphics and GUI elements are pre-loaded into its internal flash memory, so none of that is handled by the Arduino.

A smaller display - say 2.4" - that is much more intensive to program from the Arduino, is about $24, so only $9 more. Seems like a good use of $9. What do you think?

Here are some links:

The display:


Data sheet:

Nextion Editor Quick Start Guide:

Yes, there is actually an editor to set up the GUI and program the unit so it can be controlled by the Arduino… IF you have a PC, or a Mac that runs Windows, you can download it and play with it if you want.

I have just scratched the surface on this, FYI.

For the 40 meter antenna, here is the link:

See you local types Saturday!


Re:CWTXN: Computer CW Texting for Low Cost Local Communications
My laptop (with the Arduino program) is down and won't be in the shop for repairs till next week. I have already taken break from it over the holidays. I will be pushing to get caught up before the end of the month. In the meanwhile I may redirect my focus to the Super 40 Meter Antenna.

Gary Dingman