CQ-100 is a VOIP ham communications system that puts a working model of an HF transceiver right on your computer screen. You can change frequencies and adjust the mike and speaker volumes from the transceiver's dials. A spectrum analyzer shows the activity on each band. You can just click on a "blip" on the analyzer screen and the transceiver rolls right to that frequency and you hear the QSO in progress. If you so desire, you can join the QSO or just listen. One of the big benefits of CQ-100 is that it has no firewall or port issues like ECHOLINK. It downloads quickly and installs easily on Windows based PC's. The program has a 90 free trial period, but then costs $32/year to maintain your "subscription" to the service. Well, worth it, in my opinion. It is a FUN system.
First, let's take a look at the transceiver that loads onto your PC screen:
The S-meter in the upper left corner shows modulation levels on both xmit and receive. Under the meter are the CW speed and pitch controls ( YES! it does CW and PSK-31 ). You can work VOX or PTT. The picture above shows 4 QSO's going on between 14.120mhz and 14.270mhz. Under the spectrum display are the band switches for the 80 - 40 - 20 - 15 and 10 meter bands. When you click on the callsign on the left side of the blue screen it opens the QRZ.com page for that callsign - a really neat feature.
Below is a picture of a DX station on the system's voice calling frequency of 14.200 mhz: Most hams listen on 14.200mhz for CQ's and then move off freq to another band or just up and down on the 20 meter band to have their QSO.
Below is a picture of one N3RO setup for CQ-100. The microphone is a SHURE performance mike from my guitar studio. The mike feeds a Behringer mixer/equalizer panel before sending the audio the the PC's audio board input:
Below is a closeup of the Behringer mixer/equalizer panel:
A second CQ-100 setup is in my basement office. I was given a golden Peavey microphone for my birthday and it works wonderfully with CQ-100 through a mixer/preamp module. I also setup an Echolink station using a mobile rig ( ICOM 27H ) running 1 watt to communicate with my "link" base station in the radio shack on the top floor. In the picture below I am ragchewing on CQ-100 with the new Peavey mic:
Another view of the basement office CQ-100 and Echolink station:
I have also found a wireless earbud system for use on PC's. This makes getting up from the operating position much easier. It is made by Microsoft and seems to work perfectly with the CQ-100 program. Simply turning OFF the Microsoft ZX-6000 earbud puts the audio back onto the speakers and the PC switches back to the earbud when I turn the earbud back on. Simple and convenient:
If you want to give CQ-100 a try ( free trial period for 90 days ), you will find the program at the website: www.QSONET.com
You will have to scan a copy of your ham license and e-mail it to the system moderator to gain access to the program. This is done to ensure that ham radio operators are the only ones using the system. But if you like to "ragchew" with other hams around the world, this program may be just your ticket!