N1MM Voice Keyer

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Wire Diagram for ULI and N1MM




Contents

Summary

N1MM can be used as a digital voice keyer. Not only will it play pre-recorded messages (e.g. CQ,) it will say the callsign of the station you're working using individual recordings of the letters and numbers. Here are my notes for setting up N1MM with my Ulitmate Linking Interface (ULI) and my TS-2000. This can be adapated to fit any of the other rig interfaces.

I used an audio editor called Audacity to make the letters/numbers wav files, which can be found at: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ A cheap audio interface can be used, but there are a lot of cables. Setting the audio levels and using the proper audio control panel can be time consuming.

The general approach is as follows:

1) Hook up the audio interface device
2) Configure the COM Ports in N1MM for PTT and CAT
3) Configure N1MM to use your audio card and the appropriate inputs
3) Pre-record the letters and numbers using Audacity
4) Set the audio levels

Some key keys:

CTRL-O - change operator
ALT-T - toggle PTT
CTRL-SHIFT-Fx - record message for function Fx (toggle)

Other N1MM Notes for VHF Contest:

  • ALT-= enter grid and press ALT-= to search for other Q's within that grid.
  • Enter the grid in the grid window, press space - will calculate the bearing
  • Set up a function key to pass all the info to another station (look in N1MM manual for macro example)
  • After first station logs the call, he can pass by clicking on the 'pass' button. The second station can enter the call, press the space bar and all the info will be entered automatically - including the bearing info.

Important Schematics:

ULI Interface Connections

The ULI is an audio interface device I bought at the Dayton Hamfest several years ago. It was built for running echolink and it worked well for that project. I was able to work somebody in Alaska from my handheld, while sitting in my Lazyboy. (HH -> TS-2K -> computer -> Internet -> Computer -> Alaska) The web site is terrible and it looks like the guys are done with the project. So I wouldn't recommend the ULI. Try the MicroHam MicroKeyer. Of, if you don't mind all the cables, use one of the cheaper variants.

My experiment shows these lower cost devices can be used, but the trade off is a whole bunch of cabling. You will also need to do something special for the footswitch, PTT and sequencer.

Cables:

From:       To:          Function:
COM1        ULI          Provides PTT to the ULI
COM2        TS-2K        Belkin USB-Serial Adapter - provides CAT control via RS-232
SC Line IN  ULI Mic      Audio from the ULI
SC Line Out ULI Spkr     Audio from the computer to the ULI
SC Mic      Heil mic     Audio from the headsets
ULI RJ-45   TS-2K        RX/TX/PTT to ACC2 (Must use PTT on ACC2 to use these audio lines)
ULI Spkr    Speakers     Audio from ULI
DC          ULI          12VDC power

Sound card Settings

There are two control panels and they are confusing. To reduce some of the confusion, I enabled only the sliders I need.

Play Control

The Play control modifies the volume settings as they leave the computer. Do the following:

1) Options/Properties enable these sliders: Play Control, Wave, Line-In and Microphone. 
2) Under microphone advance, enable the +20db Mic Boost. 
3) Mute the Line-In. 

RX audio originates on the TS-2K ACC2 connector, goes through the ULI and then to the Line-In on the sound card. For N1MM, we don't really need this connection because we don't care about the received audio. So the Line-In is muted.

Connect the Heil microphone on the headset to the Microphone input connector on the sound card. I used an extender cable so the female connection was near the rig. Adjust the Microphone slider to about 80%

The "Play Control" was at 50%. This sets the overall playback volume. Adjust the output of the ULI with the Mic Gain knob on the front panel.

The Wave Control was at 80%. This is the one to use for the WinWarbler.

Record Control

This panel allows you to select and adjust the volume for the program input.

1) Options/Properties enable these sliders: Line-In and Microphone. 
2) Under Microphone, enable the +20db Mic Boost. 
3) Select the Microphone and set the slider at 100%.

Make sure the windows sounds are turned off. Otherwise, you'll get a 'Ding' during a transmission when you click on the wrong thing. Control Panel/Sounds/Scheme - Choose: No Sounds.

N1MM Settings

You need to do at least three things in N1MM; set up the COM Ports, take care of the PTT and configure the SSB messages.

COM Settings

Com settings. Use COM1 for the PTT on ACC2 via the ULI. Use COM2 as the CAT control. Note - CAT PTT doesn't work with the audio lines on ACC2 Set up LPT1 to do PTT as well.

COM1 goes to the ULI and controls the PTT. Under Config/Config Ports/Hardware - COM1, Radio is None, SET - PTT is selected. Pin 17 Always Off, Pin 16 PTT. Select CW/PTT.

COM1 goes to the TS-2K for CAT control. Under Config/Config Ports/Hardware - COM2, Radio is Kenwood. SET - 9600,n,8 and 1

LPT1 - Select CW/PTT (Not really needed.)

PTT

There are two PTT sources; N1MM via the RS-232 cable and a foot switch. Both sources should dirve the ULI. The ULI provides two PTT outputs; one for the rig via the ACC2 connector and another for the sequencer via a 3.5mm plug on the back of the ULI. The ULI PTT output should go to the sequencer to key/unkey the PA and LNA.

To rig up the foot switch, connect a female 1/4" phono plug in parallel with the RF PTT button on the ULI. (There is a little circuit board, which connects these buttons to the RXPTT header on the main board.)

Alt-T in N1MM toggles the PTT. So you can control the PTT via the keyboard, but I wish this was a single key.

SSB Messages

Set up the sound card in N1MM. Config/Config Ports/Audio. Select "1. Zero or Single Card..." Select the sound card and make sure "Select Line Input" and "Select Line to Mute" are set as Microphone. The radio input port is "Line In."

Each operator can have his/her own set of messages. Use Config/Change...Message Buttons to assign WAV files to the function keys. Specify the file as: wav/{operator}/filename.wav. This will use an operator specific subdirectory - %n1mm_root_dir%/wav/{operator}/ where {operator} is set using the change opeator function. CTRL-O or Control/Change Operator.

There are two options to record the messages; 1) use an external sound editor (e.g. Audacity) or 2) via N1MM using Ctrl-Shift+Fx. Using an audio editor is nice because you can normalize the audio. The N1MM manual recommends you record all the messages at once, normalize them and chop them into smaller files. This may be a good idea for pre-contest, but I suspect we'll end up using the 'on the fly method.'

Making Waves

You need wav files for each number and letter. Use Audacity to record the whole alphabet and set of numbers at once. Then save each utterance uner the proper file name. Like the N1MM manual says - sound excited!

After you record the letters and numbers, normalize the file, then highlight each utterance to its own file. Highlight the section and choose File, Export Selection to WAV. The format for each file is 'letter.wav' (e.g. a.wav or 1.wav) Store the files in the N1MM/letters/ subdirectory. (Hint: play each selection after you save them to make sure you have the right utterance.)

[Note: Found more info - you're supposed to be able to specify a letters subdirectory under the operator name, but checking the mailing list revealed a thread which says this doesn't work. It's a known bug.

The work around is to keep F5 blank and simply say the call - then press enter - which will play the right wav file from the operator's subdirectory. I guess that's not too bad. The choppy call sign may not be too cool with some people anyway.]

--Stu 20:45, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

Then record a string of messages. For example, for the VHF Contest:

  • F1 - CQ Contest CQ Contest Whiskey 7 Italy Yankee Whiskey 7 Italy Yankee Contest
  • F2 - Fox Mike zero eight
  • F3 - Roger 73s Q R Z contest Whiskey 7 Italy Mike
  • F4 - Whiskey 7 Italy Mike
  • F6 - QSO Before old man thanks
  • F7 - QRZ?
  • F8 - Again, Again
  • F9 - You Grid Square Again

Of course, you can record the 'function' messages through N1MM, too. Set the Microphone level to 80% in the Record Control panel to match the level of the prerecorded letters/numbers.

Notes on the ULI

So I don't have to reinvent the wheel, here are some notes on the ULI. I uploaded the document file with the schematic.

Download the Document

Forget the ULI software, don't waste time finding it. We don't need it at all for this project. I basically tests the unit.

Front Panel Connector/Plugs

  • COS IN - not used
  • RJ-45 connects to the ACC2 connector. I checked the wiring. It's correct! No need to tear apar the connector again.
  • Mic TX - This disconnects the sound card output and connects a mic directly to the Mic input of ACC2. My heil didn't drive the rig because I think the Mic In on ACC2 is really line level, so not sure what good this is.
  • Mix Gain - adjusts the output level of the ULI, which feeds ACC2, set to 3/4.
  • Main RX - just an aux input for another audio feed. Connecting a plug will disconnect the RX audio from the RJ45 (i.e ACC2)
  • Local Mic - Connects a mic to the ULI's mixer, mixed with the sound card output. Not really used because it was better to connect the mic directly to the sound card. That way, N1MM can mute the audio from the mic while it plays the messages.
  • Spkr - plug the PC speakers into this. Plays the output of the mixer, so you should hear the audio from ACC2 here. It will also play the sounds from the sound card. Need to turn this down while recording because of feedback.
  • Mon Level - Speaker volume control
  • RF Button - keys the PTT on ACC2
  • VOIP - ?

Rear Panel Connector

  • SC Mic - connect stereo cable to sound card Line-IN
  • SC Spkr - connect stero cable to sound card Line-OUT
  • PTT - OUTPUT can be used to key sequencer. Relay contacts only.
  • RS-232 - not really used for much, other than controlling the PTT via RTS
  • PWR - 12VDC, center pin hot
  • AUX - another input to the ULI mixer, not used