Elecraft K3 Texter Program

 

   This article is for blind and vision-impaired amateur radio operators interested in the K3 Texter Program, which provides screen reader access to the control settings and menus in an Elecraft K3 radio.

   The software is developed and distributed by Mike Reublin, NF4L. It is derived from the Elecraft K3 Voice program, which has a similar user interface. The main difference between the programs is that K3 Texter is designed for use with a screen reader, and K3 Voice is a stand-alone program not designed for screen-readers.

   The HamPod K3 Reader is a stand-alone device that is described in a separate article.

What K3 Texter Does

     • Provides plain text for screen reader feedback when K3
               controls are changed.
     • Reports the radio menu configuration in plain text.
     • Provides graphical buttons to query the radio about
               control settings.

What K3 Texter Does Not Do

     • Does not access data in the radio channel memories.
     • Does not control radio operation or menu selections.

The Software

   K3 Texter is free software that can be downloaded from the NF4L Web site or from Elecraft. The Help menu describes how to configure and use the program.

Connection to the K3

   A serial connection between the RS-232 jack on the K3 and a Windows computer is required. If the PC has a serial port,  you can use a standard serial cable. For a computer without an RS-232 port, a serial-to-USB adapter can be used.

The Graphical User Interface

   A plain text report is displayed in the Text Box when you operate a control on the radio front panel or when you query the K3 using the graphical user interface.

   A query is made as follows: Standard Windows commands—Tab, Arrow Keys, etc—can be used to select a button on the page. The screen reader automatically tells you the name of each button. Pressing [Enter] queries the corresponding control in the radio. Selecting the Band Button, for example, might result in the plain text reply, "Band 160 meters." At this point the focus is in the Text Box, ready for the screen reader.

K3 Multi-Meter Readings

   K3 Texter can report the current reading for four multi-meter functions: ALC, Compression, Power, and S-meter levels. For the ALC reading, for example, select the Multi-Function tab and click on the ALC button while transmitting in a mode that uses ALC. You can also select ALC from the Multi-Function menu.

   Selecting COMP returns the compression reading when the COMP knob is adjusted.

 Visibility

   Partially sighted hams who use a screen reader may want to magnify the graphical user interface and navigate with a mouse. Figure 1 shows the program window with the Primary Tab page displayed. The Text Box is at the bottom.

Figure1. K3 Texter window.

   Here are the window dimensions without magnification:

   On a typical 22" display set at 120 dpi, the window is 5.9" W x 5.6" H. The plain text is 0.1" high.

   At a setting of 96 dpi, the window is 4.6" W x 4.3" H, and the plain text is proportionally reduced to less than 0.1" high.

Summary

   The K3 Texter Program provides screen reader access to the control settings and menus in an Elecraft radio. It sets a high standard for ease of use and for quality of documentation in a ham radio program.

Acknowledgment

   Special thanks to Mike Reublin, NF4L, for developing this important program and for answering my questions.

Author Information

   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. 6/15/2012

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