MorseKOB 2.5 FAQ

These frequently asked questions cover topics that go beyond the basic information provided by the MorseKOB 2.5 Tutorial.

If you have a question about the KOB program, no matter how trivial or esoteric it may seem, please contact me.


Les Kerr

Questions

How can I tell which version of the program I'm running?

How do I install the program manually?

Can I run the program on my Mac or Linux computer?

Why doesn't the code reader distinguish between the letter L and the figure ?

How can I print or save the text in the code reader window?

What does it mean when the code reader displays asterisks?

What does the "overrun" message mean?

Can I have multiple copies of the program with different saved settings?

What are the Farnsworth settings on the Preferences screen for?

How can I use the program to check the timing of my bug?

How can I check the quality of the Internet?

How can I tell which COM port my USB adapter is on?

Answers

How can I tell which version of the program I'm running?

Go to the Help > About MorseKOB menu.  The popup window will display the major version number (e.g. version 2.5) as well as the minor revision level within that version (e.g. rev 806-4, which would indicate the fourth revision made during the month of July, 2008).

How do I install the program manually?

In some situations (64-bit versions of Windows, for example, or web browsers other than Internet Explorer) the normal installation procedure won't work.  In this case, you'll have to install the program manually.  Here's how:

  1. Open the file at www.morsetelegraphclub.org/morsekob/download/morsekob.zip and copy the folder named MorseKOB onto your hard drive.  (The usual location for this folder is My Documents, but you can put it anywhere you want.)
  2. The MorseKOB folder on your hard drive contains a subfolder called Text Files and four other files. One of these files is a 420 KB application file named MorseKOB.
  3. Right click on the MorseKOB application file and select Send To > Desktop to create a MorseKOB shortcut on your computer's desktop.

Run the program by double-clicking on the MorseKOB shortcut.

You can uninstall the application by deleting the MorseKOB folder and the MorseKOB shortcut.

Note: If you don't already have the .NET Framework 2.0 software installed on your computer, you'll have to download it from the Microsoft site at www.microsoft.com/downloads.

Can I run the program on my Mac or Linux computer?

MorseKOB 2.5 assumes it's running on a Windows computer.  Some Mac and Linux users have successfully gotten around this requirement by running Windows emulation software on their computers, such as VMware Fusion.  MorseKOB 3.0, on the other hand, is designed to run equally well on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.  See the KOB home page for details.

Why doesn't the code reader distinguish between the letter L and the figure ?

It used to, but in reality I found there was so much variation in the way different operators send L and zero that the program often misinterpreted one for the other.  I also found it less confusing to have an L instead of a in the middle of a number than it was to have a instead of an L in the middle of a word, so I changed the program to always display an L for any dash longer than a T.

Similarly,         always decodes as ES, never as &.  I found it particularly off-putting when my name would decode as &.  Try sending LES and & in American Morse and you'll see what I mean!

How can I print or save the text in the code reader window?

Copy the text to the Windows clipboard and then copy the clipboard into your word processing program, email program, or whatever.  You can then print the text, send it to someone else as an email message, or save it as a file on your computer.

To copy all of the text in the code reader window, right click in the window and choose Select All, then right click again and choose Copy.

What does it mean when the code reader displays asterisks?

The asterisk that sometimes appears in the code reader window is a warning that an incoming data packet got lost in the network.  The packet can get dropped between the sender and the server, in which case everyone sees an asterisk, or between the server and the receiver.

In general, a packet corresponds to a single Morse character.  However, spaced Morse characters (C, O, R, Y, Z, and &) are often transmitted as two separate packets.  It's all a function of the sending operator's fist and the nominal code speed setting on the sending operator's KOB window.

The asterisk is displayed as soon as the error is detected, not necessarily in the sequence of letters as they're decoded, so the missing character is usually a letter or two after the point where the asterisk appears.

What does the "overrun" message mean?

If [Overrun] appears in the code reader window, it's a sign that some other program is running on your computer and taking up too much of the CPU.  The KOB program assigns its highest priority to time-critical tasks, such as handling the key and sounder, and the lowest priority to the code reader.  If the program doesn't get its full share of the CPU, the code reader is the first to suffer.  The program displays the "overrun" message as a warning that one or more characters have not been decoded.

Determining which program is competing for the CPU can be tricky, because it won't necessarily show up on the task bar at the bottom of your screen.  By way of example, here's what I did to solve a chronic performance problem I had with the KOB program on my computer.  During one of its "overrun" episodes, I pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the Windows Task Manager. Selecting the Processes tab and clicking on the CPU column header to sort the tasks by CPU usage showed that a process named AppSvc.exe was hogging almost 100 percent of the CPU.

By searching for AppSvc32.exe on Google, I found that it's a task associated with Norton's antivirus software. Further digging revealed that when Norton updates its virus definitions it performs a "quick scan" of the computer. This is what AppSvc32.exe was doing when it took over my CPU.  The default settings on my version of Norton cause it to do a "LiveUpdate" to check for new virus definitions automatically every four hours. I've since changed the LiveUpdate schedule so that it checks at least once a day, but at a time that won't interfere with my use of the KOB program.

Can I have multiple copies of the program with different saved settings?

To do this, you'll first need to install the program manually instead of using the normal installation procedure from the MorseKOB website.  In the MorseKOB folder, make as many copies of the MorseKOB application file as you need.  If you like, you can create separate desktop shortcuts for each copy of the program.  Each copy of the program will maintain its own set of preference settings.

What are the Farnsworth settings on the Preferences screen for?

Farnsworth is a method of learning Morse code where characters are sent at full speed and extra space is inserted between the characters to slow down the overall code speed.  The usage of the Farnsworth settings is explained in the KOB Morse Course.  This document also shows how to use the File > Lesson menu option.

How can I use the program to check the timing of my bug?

If you go to the Tools > Debug menu and check the Capture Timing box, the program will save the timing of your keying.  Send several strings of dots with your bug, then uncheck the Capture Timing box.  The program will display the timing of your code in the reader window.  A positive number represents the length of a mark (key down) and a negative number represents a space (key up).  All times are in milliseconds.

In the same way, you can check the timing of someone else's keying as it comes in over the Internet.

How can I check the quality of the Internet?

It's sometimes difficult to know how well the Internet is performing, especially if you're using wireless and it's your transmitted signal that may be marginal even though you can receive fine.  Here's how you can set up an end-to-end test:

  1. Launch the KOB program.  We'll refer to this as "Program A".
  2. With Program A still running, launch the KOB program again.  We'll call this second instance "Program B".
  3. Connect Program A and Program B to an inactive wirewire no. 21, for example.
  4. Type some text into Program A's code sender window and send the text continuously by checking the Loop box.  (Make sure the Code Sender box is checked and the Circuit Closer box is unchecked.)

By looking for asterisks in Program B's code reader window, you can see whether any packets are being dropped between your computer and the KOB server or in the return path back to your computer.

Since all data packets are sent twice for redundancy, the program displays an asterisk only if both packets are dropped.  For a more thorough test, put Program B into debug mode by going to the Tools > Debug menu and checking the Debug Mode box.  In debug mode, the program displays a circumflex or caret ( ^ ) if just a single packet of the pair is dropped.  An out-of-order data packet is indicated by a degree sign (  ), and an out-of-order ID packet by an underlined degree sign.

By the way, Internet problems can cause characters to be dropped, but they won't cause the timing of individual characters to be distorted.  In other words, if someone sends dididit and it comes to you as dididah, that's a timing problem with his computer or yours, not the Internet.

How can I tell which comm port my USB adapter is on?

If you go to the Tools > Preferences menu and pull down the Ports list, all the available comm ports are displayed.  To tell which comm port is associated with a particular USB adapter, first unplug the adapter, close and reopen the Preferences screen, and note the comm ports that appear in the Ports pulldown list.  Then plug in the adapter, close and reopen the Preferences screen, and see which port has been added to the list.

If the Ports list is the same whether or not your adapter is plugged in, try reinstalling the driver software that came with your adapter.

 
Revised 2011-12-17
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