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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Learn Morse Code Using CWIRC On Linux

History Of Morse Code

Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) was a painter and founder of the National Academy of Design. In 1832, while on a ship returning from Europe, he conceived the basic idea of an electromagnetic telegraph. Experiments with various kinds of electrical instruments and codes resulted in a demonstration of a working telegraph set in 1836, and introduction of the circuit relay. This made transmission possible for any distance. With his creation of the American Morse code, the historic message, "What hath God wrought?" was sucessfully sent from Washington to Baltimore.

The Morse code used in those days differed greatly from that which is used today. Morse code originated on telegraph lines and the original users did not listen to tones but instead to the clicking sounds created by sounders. They used the American Morse code as opposed to today's International Morse. When sending dahs (Morse code is composed of dits or short key closures, and dahs or longer key closures) the user simply sent two close-together dits. This was created by using a conventional code key.

With the advent of radio communications the international Morse became more widespread. Users of the international Morse created dahs with a longer key closure, instead of two close-spaced dits. In order to increase transmission speed on early landline circuits and later on radio circuits, semi-automatic "bug" keys were invented in 1902 and were widely adopted. Bug keys used a vibrating pendulum to create dits and the user still manually creates the dahs.
In more recent times, the user can employ keyers that electronically create dits and dahs. Iambic keyers have a memory so that the user can operate a mechanical "paddle" quicker than the keying rate of the keyer. This makes for very comfortable and nearly effortless keying.

Today experienced operators copy received text without the need to write as they receive, and when transmitting, can easily converse at 20 to 30 words per minute. Morse code will always remain a viable means of providing highly reliable communications during difficult communications conditions.

The Beginning Of IRC

IRC was born during summer 1988 when Jarkko "WiZ" Oikarinen wrote the first IRC client and server at the University of Oulu, Finland (where he was working at the Department of Information Processing Science).
Jarkko intended to extend the BBS software he administrated at tolsun.oulu.fi, to allow news the usenet style, real time discussions and similar BBS features. The first part he implemented was the chat part, which he did with borrowed parts written by his friends Jyrki Kuoppala and Jukka Pihl. It was initially tested on a single machine, and according to the words from Jarkko himself "The birthday of IRC was in August 1988. The exact date is unknown, at the end of the month anyways.". The first IRC server was named tolsun.oulu.fi.

Jyrki Kuoppala pushed Jarkko to ask Oulu University to free the IRC code so that it also could be run outside of Oulu, and after they finally got it released, Jyrki Kuoppala immediately installed a server (which later became irc.cs.hut.fi). This was the first "irc network".
Ari Lemmke's own words: "At the same time Jyrki installed ircd, I was at the same room and had nothing to do, so I decided to crack into tolsun (the irc server Sun machine at Oulu), and naturally ;-) got in through a new hole in sendmail. (At that time Jyrki was still the best cracker I knew...)"
Jarkko got some friends at the Helsinki and Tampere Universities to start running IRC servers when his number of users increased.
Other universities soon followed. Markku Järvinen helped improving the client. At this time Jarkko realized that the rest of the BBS features probably wouldn't fit in his program!
Jarkko got in touch with guys at the University of Denver and Oregon State University. They had got an IRC network running (they had got the program from one of Jarkko's friends, Vijay Subramaniam -- the first non-finnish person to use IRC) and wanted to connect to the finnish network. IRC then grew larger and got used on the entire Finnish national network - Funet - and then connected to Nordunet, the Scandinavian branch of the Internet. In November 1988, IRC had spread across the Internet.

In the middle of 1989, there were some 40 servers worldwide.
ircII was released 1989 by Michael Sandrof.
In July 1990, IRC averaged at 12 users on 38 servers.
In 1990, a new network was set up in order to develop a new version (2.6) of the ircd. The network named ChNet (about 25 servers and no users) existed a few months before disagreements among the programmers caused it to dissolve.

What is X-Chat

XChat is an IRC chat program for both Linux and Windows. It allows you to join multiple IRC channels (chat rooms) at the same time, talk publicly, private one-on-one conversations etc. Even file transfers are possible.


CWirc is a plugin for the X-Chat IRC client to transmit raw morse code over the internet using IRC servers as reflectors. The transmitted morse code can be received in near real-time by other X-Chat clients with the CWirc plugin. CWirc tries to emulate a standard amateur radio rig : it sends and receives morse over virtual channels, and it can listen to multiple senders transmitting on the same channel. Morse code is keyed locally using a straight or iambic key connected to a serial port, or using the mouse buttons, and the sound is played through the soundcard, or through an external sounder.

Note that CWirc doesn't do any morse decoding : it simply transmits and receives morse code timing events. A standard IRC user on the same IRC channel you're transmitting morse on will only see coded lines when morse code is transmitted. Only other CWirc users can receive what you send.

Who Invented Linux 

Who invented Linux? Linux is the first truly free Unix-like operating system. The underlying GNU Project was launched in 1983 by Richard Stallman originally to develop a Unix-compatible operating system called GNU, intended to be entirely free software. Many programs and utilities were contributed by developers around the world, and by 1991 most of the components of the system were ready. Still missing was the kernel.
Linus Torvalds invented Linux itself. In 1991, Torvalds was a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland where he had been using Minix, a non-free Unix-like system, and began writing his own kernel. He started by developing device drivers and hard-drive access, and by September had a basic design that he called Version 0.01. This kernel, which is called Linux, was afterwards combined with the GNU system to produce a complete free operating system. 

X-Chat with cwirc plugin on Ubuntu Linux in action  

Description: 9W2WTF - Mr Hafiz (Malaysian ham radio station) is having CW conversation with KB1OOO - Mr Marc (American ham radio station).


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