Mar 09 2009

HamMorse iPhone app in development

Published by at 12:31 pm under Ham radio,Morse Code

small screenshot of iPhone AA9PW Ham Morse applicationI’ve been beavering away behind the scenes figuring out how to program the iPhone and I’m happy to say Im just about ready to release the first application – HamMorse. Its essentially the functionality you get on the current morse code practice page only now its available from your iPhone wherever you may be. Its not quite finished, a few last minute bugs to iron out but I’ve put some more information and screenshots here.

Any comments, thoughts, etc. very welcome.

Simon, AA9PW.

26 responses so far

26 Responses to “HamMorse iPhone app in development”

  1. john l clarke IIIon 16 Mar 2009 at 11:00 am

    This is wonderful. I’ve begun to come back to amateur radio after a 10 or so year absence. I have an old grandfathered tech plus license and am about to take up study again to recall that which I’ve forgotten and work my way up to extra.

    I also got an iTouch (not the iPhone – won’t give a cent to AT&T but that’s a long story). This should work fine on my 32gb iTouch. If you need beta testers let me know.



  2. Matt McFaddenon 17 Mar 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I was considering doing this myself – but it looks like you are the right man for the job!
    The screen shots and your feature list look great.

    Let me know if you need a beta tester :-)

    Matt kc7kcv

  3. Simonon 17 Mar 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Matt, Hi John – thanks for the words of encouragement. I’ve made a few more tweaks, the speed now goes up to 25wpm and I have the top 100 and top 500 most frequent English words available – this is a good way to develop your ability to copy these common words and ultimately to recognize the shorter ones as individual words, rather than just the letters that make up the words.

    I’m currently working through the AppStore set up to get to the point where I can upload the application and get it into the approval process. In the meantime some beta testing would be very useful – I’ll pop a note on here when I have that in place.


    Simon, AA9PW

  4. Steve N9SZon 18 Mar 2009 at 10:43 am

    Great idea — and the screenshots look wonderful! Please don’t limit the max speed to 25 wpm. I’d like to see at least 30. Also, why not enable playing text from some of the ARRL bulletins? These are available on their website.

    Steve N9SZ

  5. Simonon 18 Mar 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Steve – Thanks for the idea of using the ARRL feed too, I can certainly add that in. Right now Im only playing the titles for each of the news stories though I could have the option to play the full text too if people would like that. The downside is that some RSS feeds have short stories, some have really long ones so its a bit hard to know what you are going to get back once you go beyond the titles.

    The max speed is limited at the moment due to some technicalities of how I’m generating the audio. I had hoped to have 30wpm in there but there were some problems I havent been able to fix yet. Ultimately it will be possible to have any speed, any tone, etc. but for now Im taking the ‘start simple, get it working, then make it more complicated’ route so that fix may have to wait until the next update. I have some really fun ideas for how this could evolve and they will need the flexibility to create whatever audio is needed so I will definitely be addressing that in due course.


  6. billon 22 Mar 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I’d love to see it use the learning feedback feature of ward cunningham’s MORSE program.

  7. Kevin - M0KHZon 24 Mar 2009 at 1:37 am

    Hi Simon – This looks to be the best iTouch app yet! Can’t wait to installing and brushing up on my morse while on the commute :)

  8. Jim - W5EZAon 26 Mar 2009 at 11:52 am


    Hey, this looks great ! I’ve got several Boy Scouts that are interested in this, and it will be fun for me too ! Should be a good way to get from 5wpm to 20wpm.


  9. Simonon 26 Mar 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks for all the positive feedback. I’ve had some great beta testing going on and have squashed a few bugs in the past couple of days:

    - you can now Pause the code if you need to take a break.
    - if you have to jump to a new application while listening, the code is automatically paused so you can start again at the place you left off.
    - if the phone rings while the morse is playing the code is automatically paused so you dont have the code and the ringtone playing at the same time!
    - Ive added in the ARRL news feed as requested

    Still in progress:
    - the audio for speeds >20wpm needs improvement. Its fine on the iPhone simulator but is not great on the real machine.
    - Pushing the (i) button to get to the settings page can be tricky as sometimes it just doesn’t want to be pushed. As a workaround I’ve found if I aim to push the bottom left corner of the button it works much more reliably but this clearly isn’t the optimal solution!

  10. Norman Sarachek, W3GTDon 10 Apr 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Sounds perfect for getting back into CW. PLEASE let me know as soon as it is available for my iPhone. Thanks for your hard work, Norm S.

  11. oscar quinton 14 Apr 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Great, I can’t wait for the app. I have an IPOD touch so I hope it will work. I am returning to HAM after a long absense and need to practice.

  12. Greykellon 21 Apr 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I’m with Oscar. I have an ipod touch but have high hopes that this is the app for me. I keep looking at morse apps in the app store, but this one looks like it’ll be better, and I’m already working the system from these webpages, so there’s consistency.

    How’s it going with the testing? Any ideas on how much longer we’ll have to wait?

    (Oh yes and thanks for doing this. I was having no luck learning morse code until I stumbled upon your pages.)

  13. Simonon 23 Apr 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you all for showing your interest in this project. Things are coming along pretty well though recent travel and other work committments are slowing things down a bit.

    Right now Im working my way through the Apple App Store process and that is currently sitting with Apple to review/approve the paperwork I submitted. I do have a few bugs to fix on the app, Im hoping to clear those out of the way in the next few days.

    Once the paperwork is approved and the bugs fixed then I can submit the app itself, it then has to go through an approval process and assuming it passes, it will then appear on the app store some time after that. I would guesstimate its going to take a few weeks for all these steps to be completed.

    That being said, if anyone would like to beta test the app in its current form, please let me know (email to simont at and I’ll send you the info on how to do this. There are some bugs but I’d be very interested in feedback on the audio and other features that have changed over the past few weeks.


  14. Simonon 24 Apr 2009 at 7:23 am

    Quick update – App Store paperwork was approved and I managed to get most of the bugs fixed tonight. So, pending a bit more testing its hopefully getting a fair bit closer to release.


  15. DotComCTOon 04 May 2009 at 4:28 pm

    This looks really nicely done. I was already starting to plan in my head an iPhone app of this nature. OK. So, I have one feature you might want to think about adding. How about using the iPhone’s built-in mic to receive live CW audio and decode it on screen? I’ve already started to dissect the open source PocketDigi code (which is for a Windows Mobile platform); however, it seems possible to port that code. Thoughts?



  16. Dennis Eberl, K2YTJon 21 May 2009 at 11:57 am

    Wonderful. I’m getting back into ham radio after more than a 50 year absence and operating CW on HF is what ham radio is all about to me. Working to get my code speed up to at leaste 20 WPM and trying to solve apartment dwellers antenna issues. Please keep me informed of your progress and let me know when you iPhone app is ready to fly. Thanks.

  17. Mikeon 27 Feb 2011 at 12:56 pm

    The upgrade broke the app on my iPod touch. Help!

  18. whistleron 27 Feb 2011 at 1:10 pm

    maybe i was born in bad luck, but program cloeses itself after start. what happens after upgrade to last version (1.3) before uprade it works fine

  19. Simonon 27 Feb 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Dear Mike, Whistler and other Ham Morse users.

    I am aware of the bug in the latest release and I am working on a solution to upload to the app store. The problem is due to the preferences stored on the phone from the old version clashing with the new app. The app tries to load these on startup but cant find what it needs and crashes. Fortunately, there is a relatively easy fix you can do to solve this until the update makes it into the app store. I have put the instructions below:

    • Download the new version of Ham Morse to your desktop iTunes (or if you have already downloaded 1.3 to your device, sync this new version over to iTunes on your desktop machine)
    • Delete the old version (and the offending preferences file) from your phone or iPod by holding your finger down until the icon ‘wiggles’ and then clicking the x, confirm that you want to delete the app and its data.
    • Once the old version is gone from the phone/iPod Touch reinstall the new version by resyncing the device with iTunes.

    Give this a try and let me know if you have any success.

    I’m sorry for the hassles this is causing, I appreciate your patience as I work on a fix.


    Simon, AA9PW.

  20. herbon 27 Feb 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Great program. Had problem with new version crashing. Deleated and installed from iTunes x 2 with a iPhone reset in between.
    Now when I start any portion of program it runs through all the words or characters in 1 second with no sound.

  21. Herbon 27 Feb 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Changing the speed solves the issue of any of the sessions running in one second with no sound.
    Thanks Simon.

  22. Simonon 28 Feb 2011 at 10:52 am

    Hi Herb,

    Thanks for letting me know how you solved it, I had narrowed down the likely cause of this problem but this confirms it. Its related to the preferences again and is a straight forward fix now I know for sure what is going on. The app isnt getting the correct speed data from the old preferences and it comes up with some really huge speed value so it blows through the text in an instant and no audio comes out. Once you change the speed slider it resets the speed setting in the preferences and then it should work from that point on. I need to fix it so that it works correctly initially. :)

  23. Evoon 28 Feb 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Hello. I’m unable to work with a desktop iTunes so I’d be grateful if you could tell me if you’re working on an update to fix the crashing or should I start looking for a PC? Thanks :)

  24. Simonon 28 Feb 2011 at 6:07 pm

    If anyone is having problems with the 1.1 -> 1.3 upgrade I do have a new version ready that I believe will fix the problem. If you havent already solved the problem using the fixes described above I would love to send this to you so you could try it out and confirm that it works before I release it publicly.

    In order to do this I would need to know the unique Identifier (UDID) of your iPhone (or iPod/iPod Touch). I have to enter this into the list of approved devices that can run the new pre-release version and then I can send you the app to upload directly onto your device via iTunes. Here’s a web page describing how to find the UDID number in iTunes:

    If anyone is able to help out, please send me an email via the ‘Email AA9PW’ link at the bottom of this page.

    Many thanks!


  25. borreon 01 Mar 2011 at 6:54 am

    What a Genious little app; specially the RSS function that lifts this from all other CW-trainers I have seen. This made me brush up rusty CW skills, and I’ll soon be back on the air after Years of absence! It works very nicely on both ipad and ipod, the only thing i noticed is that tone become somewhat distorded after a while? But that does it maybe even more realistic…! :0)

  26. Simonon 18 Mar 2011 at 8:30 pm

    @Borre – Thanks very much for your comments! If you havent already done so, please check the version of Ham Morse that you have on your iPad/iPod. Version 1.3+ should address the distorted tone problem that was present in version 1.1.

    Simon, AA9PW.

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