Using EchoMac with VoiceOver


   This is a supplement to the article EchoMac Accessibility for blind and vision-impaired hams. This page gives details about how to operate EchoMac from a keyboard using the Mac OS X VoiceOver screen reader.


   By moving the VoiceOver cursor around in the EchoMac window, you can (1) select text to be spoken by VoiceOver and (2) operate the EchoMac controls. The cursor is a rectangle that surrounds an item, such as the list of active stations or the button for connecting to a station.

Keyboard Shortcuts

    VoiceOver keystroke commands start with the control-key combination "Control-Option," called the "VO Command." (VO is shorthand for VoiceOver, and it does not represent use of the "V" or "O" key.)  For example, Control-Option-1, written as VO-1, moves the cursor to an item previously chosen by you. If this item, called a "hotspot," is a control button, then the commands "VO-1" followed by "VO-Spacebar" will activate the button.

   In addition, EchoMac has a useful built-in Push To Talk shortcut, "Command-Return," which toggles the Transmit/Receive button.

VoiceOver Hotspots

   Some important items in the EchoMac window are difficult to reach via the arrow keys. Also, the Tab key (which can be enabled in the Mac System Keyboard Preferences) does not function for navigation in EchoMac. Fortunately, VoiceOver hotspots make EchoMac easy to use.

   Any accessible item in EchoMac can be designated a hotspot. For the following example of a QSO, the Station List was defined as one of the hotspots by moving the VoiceOver cursor to the text box around the List and pressing VO-Shift-3.

Example of a QSO

   First, connect EchoMac to the network:

         Step                      Keystrokes           What VoiceOver Says

Go to Online Checkbox   VO-1           "Online. Unchecked Checkbox."
Connect to network         VO-Space   "Check Online Checkbox."

   Next, find out whether KD7CO is connected:

Go to Search Field           VO-2                  "Search Text Field."
Type Call Sign                  KD7CO-Enter   "K-D-7-C-O."
Go to Station List             VO-3                  "KD7CO..."

   KD7CO is online. Next, connect to his node:

Go to Connect Button       VO-4                "Connect Button."
Connect                              VO-Space         "Press Connect Button."
Push To Talk                      Cmd-Return.    
"KD7DO this is AE7PD."
Push To Listen                   Cmd-Return.
Continue QSO.

   When the QSO is over, disconnect from the EchoLink system:

Disconnect                        VO-Space         "Press Disconnect Button."
Go to Close Button           VO-5                 "Close Button."
Close EchoMac                 VO-Space          "Press Close Button."

   The only keystrokes during a QSO are the Command-Return shortcut to operate the Push To Talk button. VoiceOver commands manage the EchoMac connections before and after the QSO.


Author Information

   Peter DeNeef, AE7PD, is an Extra Class amateur radio operator in the U.S. This Web site has no ads or conflicts of interest.
Email:  HamRadioAndVision "at" gmail "dot" com.

rev. 12/29/2013

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