Monday, December 10, 2012

Best Morse Decoder

For several years now  I have been of the opinion that the best Morse decoder for Windows PCs is MRP40 by Norbert Pieper. A few days ago Paul PC4T commented to one of my posts that he thought CW Skimmer was better so I thought I would give it a try in case I was missing out.

MRP40 decoding some Morse
I ran both programs simultaneously decoding the same signal. After listening to many QSOs I am still of the opinion that MRP40 is the best decoder. It decoded text more accurately and the spacing between words was better - CW Skimmer would often run words together then insert a space in the middle of a word. Skimmer also seemed on occasion to insert an spurious E at the beginning of some words or calls when I didn't hear an extra dit.

MRP40's decoder is less laggy than CW Skimmer's - text appeared sooner after it was sent. I also found MRP40's AFC useful in locking on to signals. It could track drifting stations and would adjust itself precisely to the signal if you didn't click exactly on the trace. CW Skimmer seemed more fussy and didn't decode a signal unless you got it spot-on. This is perhaps understandable given that Skimmer is intended to be able to distinguish between multiple signals in a pile-up.

CW Skimmer is the better program if you want to decode all the calls in a swathe of spectrum and if you want to link to your logging program so as to highlight new countries or prefixes and mark stations you've previously worked. That is, after all, what it has been designed to do. But as a morse decoder pure and simple MRP40 is still the winner in my book.
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