Coach Morse
[ Home ] [ Features ] [ Learning Morse Code ][ Instructions ] [ Download ][ Ordering ][ Other Web Links ]

 

PROGRAMMING INSTRUCTIONS

This page covers operation and programming of Coach Morse. It covers general programming information and gives details of all operations. A quick reference guide is given at the end. To get started quickly you can read the introductory information below and then skip down to the reference guide. 

General information

Coach Morse is programmed using Morse code. (Hey, you're trying to learn code anyway, so why not?) All commands are single characters entered in Morse code. Most commands put the unit in a mode where some programming parameter is sent and/or changed. Any command can be entered at any time (exception: if you are currently adding or removing favorite characters you must wait about 2 seconds until the unit starts playing back the characters). 

At any time the unit is on it is sending something, either random code or programming parameters. The programming information is sent over and over until a new command is entered, giving you a chance to read and perhaps change it. Note that you can use a speed changing command to slow down the speed during programming if you can't pick up what it is saying. 

Code should be entered at around 6 WPM. The tone changes slightly as the key press changes from a di to a dah. An extra long push (about 2 seconds) at any time will turn the unit off. This can also be used to cancel an entry (e.g., dah di daaaaaah). Note that when you are entering code, the tone is slightly higher than when the unit is playing code. 

There are several different error tones: one for entering a character which is not a Morse code character, one for entering a command which is invalid, and one for entering too many favorite characters or for deleting a favorite character which is not in the set (see below). 

Listen/change commands

Many commands (C, W, V, M, F, S, T) are of the listen/change type. These commands will cause the unit to output a value (in Morse code) and allow you to change it. After the command is entered, the value and a keyword are sent repeatedly. This playback will continue until a new command is entered. If a number is entered during this playback, then the value will be set to that number and playback will continue with the new value. 

As an example, at any time you can enter V in Morse code using the push-button, and the unit will change to a "program volume" mode. While the unit is in this mode, it will continuously send "N" VOLUME where "N" is a number from 0 to 9 representing the current volume level. At any time you can enter a new number (in Morse code) and the volume level will change to that value. 

Numbers may have one or more digits. For multiple digit numbers just enter the digits using less than a 2 second gap between digits. A quick tone will sound when the unit considers the previous character to be complete and the unit is ready for the next character. After a two second gap the number is considered to be complete and the unit begins playing back the new value and its keyword. Entering a new digit after this time will then begin a new number, thereby replacing the old one. Numbers out of range are brought back within range. (e.g., entering a volume of 25 will cause the volume to change to 9, the maximum possible). Numbers entered at unexpected times are ignored. 

On, Off, Canceling commands, and Reset - O, long push

An extra long push (about 2 seconds) at any time will cancel the current entry and turn the unit off. The unit will also turn off automatically (if the APO timer is enabled-see below) if no commands are entered for a user-defined period of time. When the unit is first turned off, it is put in a "drowsy mode" for 10 seconds. During this time, entering any command (or other character) will turn it back on and cause the command to be executed. If no commands are entered during this 10 second period, the unit is put in a low power "sleep mode". Once in this state, the `O' command (dah dah dah) must be used to wake it back up. This feature prevents the unit from coming on if the button is bumped accidentally when the unit is stored. Note that all settings are remembered when the unit is turned off. 

Reset occurs when power is restored after the batteries have been removed. On reset all parameters are set to their default values. The unit will output the word RESET in Morse code to let you know that a reset has occurred. 

Sending random code - E, R

Enter `E' (dit) to begin sending random code. This may be done at any time. If the unit is in the drowsy mode, it will turn on and begin sending. Note that the characters are grouped into words of random length. Word length distribution is similar to real English; i.e., shorter words occur more often and the longest words occur only occasionally. 

Entering  R (di dah dit) will also cause the unit to send random code, but each character will be repeated to help you in memorizing the sound patterns. The first time R is entered, each random character is played twice. Enter R again and each random character is played three times. Enter R a third time and each random character is played four times (the maximum). Entering E will return the unit to normal play.

Controlling speed - N, G, X, W, C, L, P

Novice, General, and Amateur Extra speeds: The easiest way to set the speed is to enter `N' (dah dit), `G' (dah dah dit), or `X' (dah di di dah) to change to Novice (5 wpm), General (13 wpm), or eXtra class (20 wpm) speeds, respectively. Unlike most other commands, these three commands do not change the mode; i.e., the unit will still send the same thing it was sending before the command was entered. 

User Speeds: W and C are listen/change commands for setting the word and character speeds, respectively. Note that for Farnsworth rates you should make the character speed faster than the word speed. Entering `W' (di dah dah) causes the unit to send "W WORD WPM" repeatedly, where W is the value of the word speed. Entering a number will then change the word speed to that value. Similarly, entering `C' (dah di dah dit) causes the unit to send "C CHAR WPM" repeatedly, where C is the character speed. Entering a number will then change the character speed to that value. The word rate can be set to any value between 3 and 120 words per minute. The character rate can be set to any value from the word rate to 120 words per minute. The character rate is automatically raised if you set the word rate above it. 

Last user speed: The L command will return the unit to the last user speed, as entered via the W and/or C commands (i.e., the speed just prior to any N, G, or X command). This is useful if you wish to temporarily slow the speed (e.g., using N) and then return to your "user" speed. It is also useful to get back to your speed if N, G, or X was entered accidentally. Like the N, G, and X commands, this command does not change the mode; i.e., the unit will still send the same thing it was sending before the command was entered. 

PARIS/CODEX: `P' (di dah dah dit) will toggle between PARIS and CODEX methods of calculating speed (see the discussion on code speed at the beginning of the user's guide). The unit will then send the word PARIS or CODEX, indicating the new mode. Note that this word is sent repeatedly, so timing it for one minute is a good check on the unit's speed calibration. 

Controlling volume - V 

`V' (di di di dah) is a listen/change command for adjusting the volume level. When `V' is entered the unit sends "V VOLUME" repeatedly, where V is the volume level. Entering a number will then set the volume to that level. Possible levels are from 0 to 9. 

Controlling What Is Sent - F, M, A, D, Z 

When playing each character of random code the unit will randomly select from one of two character sets. The first set is the regular set of all possible characters (or a subset thereof). This set contains the 43 characters from the amateur radio code tests: 26 letters, 10 digits, and 7 prosigns (period, comma, question mark, slant, <BT>, <SK>, and <AR>). The second set is a set of up to 16 "favorite" user-defined characters. 

The command `F' (di di dah dit) is a listen/change command (sends "F FAVORITE") for selecting the fraction of characters, in sixteenths, which are chosen from the set of favorite characters. For example, if F is 0 then 0/16 (none) of the characters are chosen from the favorite set (all are from the regular set). If F is 5, then on average 5/16 of the characters are chosen randomly from the favorite set (11/16 are from the regular set). And if F is 16 then 16/16 (all) of the characters are chosen randomly from the favorite set (none are from the regular set). 

The command `M' (dah dah) is a listen/change command (sends "M CHARS") for selecting how many of the characters in the regular set are actually used. The regular set of characters is internally ordered as given above in the section on the Koch method. A character will be randomly chosen from among the first M characters whenever a character from the regular set is to be sent. For example if M is 3 then a character is randomly chosen from among the first three in the list (K, M, and R) whenever a character from the regular set is desired. On power-up M is given a default value of 43, meaning that regular characters are chosen from among all 43 characters of the amateur radio exam. 

Giving M a value of 44 (the maximum) has special meaning. Whereas other values of M cause characters to be chosen with equal probability, M equal to 44 causes characters to be chosen at the frequency they occur in normal English text. In this way E and T will occur much more often than Q and Z. Non letters are also mixed in occasionally. This setting produces code which has a rhythm similar to regular English. 

The commands `A' (di dah) and `D' (dah di dit) are used to add characters to and delete characters from the set of "favorite" characters. Unlike the listen/change commands, these are "change/listen" commands. After entering the command, you must immediately enter the characters to be added or deleted using less than a two second gap between. For example, entering "A X W Y <pause>" will add X, W, and Y to the set of favorite characters. As with entering multiple digit numbers a quick tone will sound when the unit considers the previous character to be complete and the unit is ready for the next character. An error tone will sound if a character which is not a Morse code character is entered. A different error tone will sound if the user tries to enter more than 16 favorite characters or tries to delete a character which is not in the set. If an error occurs, the user has up to two seconds to retry the character. 

After a 2-second gap the additions/deletions are considered complete and the unit begins playing back the set of characters followed by a higher pitched tone to mark the end of the list. Note that if the list is empty, then all you hear is this higher pitched tone. Any characters entered after playback begins are considered to be new commands. 

The user may enter up to 16 favorite characters. Characters may be duplicated to increase the probability that character is transmitted. For example, if the favorite character set consists of {A, A, B} and if F (the fraction of favorite characters) is 16, then A will be sent twice as often as B. If you delete a duplicated character, only one copy is deleted from the set. 

The command `Z' (dah dah di dit) will "zero" (clear) the set of user characters. As with commands N, G, X, and L (for changing speeds), this command does not change what is being sent. Whenever the character set is empty and F (the fraction of favorite characters) is non-zero, then `E' is sent if a character is to be chosen from the favorite set. 

Note that Coach Morse supports a variety of learning methods. Some examples are: 

  • To implement the Koch method: increase M from 2 to 43. 
  • With the Koch method you may want to hear the new characters more often: put the new character(s) in the favorite set using A and set F to a value between 1 and (for example) 8. 
  • To hear all characters with the rhythm of English text: set M = 44. 
  • To work on a subset of characters by themselves: set F to 16, and use A to define your character set. 
  • To emphasize some favorite characters more than others: duplicate them in the set. 
  • Mix favorite characters with the entire regular character set so you don't know what to expect, but get lots of practice with your favorite characters. 

Setting the seed for code replay and getting answers from the PC - S 

The command `S' (di di dit) is a listen/change command (sends "S SEED") for setting the internal random number generator to one of 256 possible values. When `S' is entered the unit will randomly pick a new seed and begin sending "S SEED" where S is the new seed. The user can then enter their own seed value (from 0 to 255) if desired or keep the given random value. By setting the seed, the unit is put in a known state so the (free) PC software can sync up with the unit's random number generator. The PC software can then output the random code produced by Coach Morse so the user can check their answers. Note that by resetting the seed to a previous value the user can replay the same code multiple times. 

Note that the string of characters generated depends not only on the seed, but also on the commands M and F and the set of favorite characters. Changing any of these will alter the code pattern. The PC software will prompt for these values, and it will generate correct code until any of them changes. None of the other commands have any affect on the code pattern. 

Automatic Power Off - T 

The command `T' (dah) is a listen/change command (sends "T APO TIME") for setting the Automatic Power Off (APO) time in minutes. If the unit is on (in any mode) for the given APO time without any button presses, then it will automatically turn off. This feature will save power if the unit is left on or turned on accidentally. It can also be used to time yourself if you want to listen for a given period of time without having to watch a clock or set an alarm. Setting the APO time to zero will disable this feature, and the unit will remain on until explicitly turned off by the user. On reset the APO time is set to 10 minutes. 

Summary of commands - quick reference 

In the first column of the table below: 

  • space = optional pause, any length 
  • nn = digits 
  • cc = zero or more characters 

Command Meaning [range] Defaults Code  What is sent
long-push cancel / turn off   daaaaaah (turns unit off)
O On (if off more than 10 seconds)
For first 10 seconds any command turns it on 
  dah dah dah  (random code)
E sEnd code    dit (random code)
R Repeat code (up to 3 times) <no repeat> di dah dit (random code)
N Novice speed, 5 wpm NOVICE dah dit  (no change)
G General speed, 13 wpm    dah dah dit  (no change)
X eXtra speed, 20 wpm    dah di di dah  (no change)
L Last user speed  5/5  di dah di dit  (no change)
W  nn Word wpm [3,120]  di dah dah  W WORD WPM
C  nn Character wpm [W,120]  dah di dah dit  C CHAR WPM
P Paris/codex toggle  PARIS di dah dah dit  PARIS or CODEX
V  nn Volume [0,9]  di di di dah  V VOLUME
M  nn nuMber of chars [1,44]
  44 = realistic freq. 
43  dah dah  M CHARS
F  nn Fraction favorite [0,16]  di di dah dit  F FAVORITE
Acc Add favorite chars  empty di dah  (favorite char set)
Dcc Delete favorite chars    dah di dit  (favorite char set)
Z Zero favorite char set    dah dah di dit  (no change)
S  nn Set seed [0,255]  random di di dit  S SEED
T  nn APO Time [0,255] 
  0 = disabled 
10  dah  T APO TIME