Mmm! very interesting!
by Ernie Mills, WM2U.
Please print this article and use it as a hand out at Club talks and lectures

One day I received e-mail of my friend Mike, KF4HEY who was helping me with the hook-up information on the Ten-Tec Omni 546 for my Interfacing web page. He invited me to be a Hellraiser. Eh! a Hellraiser! What the Dickens is a Hellraiser? Keep reading, all will be revealed.
ellschreiber was invented by Dr Rudolf Hell in the early 1930's. This page is based on the software written by Nino Porcino, IZ8BLY and can be downloaded from his web site at IZ8BLY, from the Fuzzy Modes web site at ZL1BPU, or Download Hell here.
he software is free, comes as a self extracting file, hellsetup.exe, and uses the computer sound card. For detailed interfacing instruction please go to the Hook-up page where you will find a lot of information on Radio to Computer interfacing. It is important that you uninstall older versions of this software if you are upgrading.
he received text is reminiscent of a ticker tape. You will note that each line of text is printed twice, one over the other. This is because the transmitted phase is unknown at the receiver and it varies anyway because of propagation time and other small timing errors. Note however that although the text is printed twice it is only transmitted once.
o understand this mode you need to think Fonts. For instance, the font FELDHELL.FON, which is the standard Hell fontset made by G3PLX, has a 14 column x 7 row pixels matrix. In transmission the 'dots' or pixels are sent by scanning columns from bottom to top and from left to right at 122.5 baud. Each font is designed for a specific function. Some, like the FELD-DX.FON set are double width which makes them longer to send but are much more readable in poor conditions. The FELDLITL.FON is only 4 pixels wide. It is very fast but not readable in poor conditions. There are 14 different Special Hell Fonts.

Screen shot of main window

The following page is only a guide to the various Hell modes available. There is an excellent explanation of these modes, and indeed all the other features available with this program, in the Help file. I recommend printing it off now and use it as a manual. It is also very important to check out the Fuzzy Modes web site for an indepth treatise on Hellschreiber.
irst let us go through some of the features of the main screen.

File Menu

  • Load Font(CTRL+F): This is where you select the font to be used for transmission. Although Windows fonts are supported it is recommended that the Special Hell Fonts be used. These were designed to give very readable text when transmitted as well as occuping less bandwidth. It is recommended that you use the standard fonts FELDHELL or FELDNARR, as they are fast and noise resistant.
  • Load Palette(CTRL+L): You can change the color of the receiver display.
  • Preferences(CTRL+P): Configuration window access.
  • Stand by(CTRL+B): This puts program in Stand By mode. It releases the sound card to allow you to switch to another program. (ie. PSK31)
  • Exit: Closes the program.
Hardware Requirements
  • A computer with Windows 95©, Windows 98©, or Windows NT©.
  • A 16 bit sound card that works with windows.
  • A HF transceiver.
  • Sound card interfacing and PTT control as per my Hook-up page.

Mode Menu

Menu showing different modes

  • Feld Hell(F1): Traditional Mode.
  • PSK Hell(F2): It has the same traits as standard PSK31 including it's great sensitivity. Great for DX work in bad QRM. It is however sensitive to drift.

  • C/MT Hell(F3): Not very sensitive but has great noise immunity.
  • FSK Hell(F4): Very good reception in noise bad conditions but has a very wide bandwidth. Do not use in crowded bands. LSB only.
  • Duplo Hell(F5): Wide shift but better immunity to noise. LSB recommended.
  • CW(F6):Normal morse code. No decoding is offered. Must be decoded by ear.
Operating Frequencies
At the moment most Hell activity is on: 3.559MHz, 3.590MHz, 7.063MHz, 10.135MHz, 14.063MHz, 18.063MHz, 21.063MHz, 24.963MHz, 28.063MHz and 28.110

Transmit Menu.

  • Stop(CTRL+X): Stop transmitter.
  • Clear Tx Buffer(CTRL+C): Stops transmission and clears buffer.
  • Send File(CTRL+S): Inserts text file into Tx buffer.
  • Send CW(F9): Sends out CQ message.
  • Send Tune Signal(F8): Sends out a 980Hz sinewave. Use for tuning, adjusting volume, and setting output power.
  • Send CW-ID(F10): Send out Cw Iden.
  • Set 'Other' operator callsign(F11): Enter 'Other' callsign. Use with F12 key.
  • Send QSO 'Over' phrase(F12): Sends a standard message at the end of an 'Over'

Receive Menu.

  • Start(CTRL+R): Starts Receiver display and sampling.
  • Clear Tx Buffer(CTRL+C): Stops transmission and clears buffer.
  • Stop: Stops the receiver.
  • Enter filter Bias value: This acts like a contrast contol on the receiver. Numbers 0 to 1 for lighter text and greater than 1 for darker. It also increases receiver sensitivity.
User Definable Buttons
These are the buttons placed below the Tx buffer. If you right click on one you can edit it and/or change the label on the button. You can write Text and if needed, embed Metacommands. Simply left clicking on one later will send it.

Tools Menu .

  • Pause Mode: Allows you to fill the Tx buffer and it will be transmitted when you hit ENTER. (same as putting an asterisk(*) at the beginning of the Tx buffer) Normally each word is transmitted when the Space Bar is hit.
  • Auto save bitmap snapshots.: Will automatically same a 400k bit map image of your QSO into the \snapshots\ folder once every 2 minutes.
  • Change Speed: A Menu pop-up allows you to select the text speed for Feld-Hell, FSK Hell and Duplo Hell.

  • Actual frequency calculator: A simple, on the fly, method of calculating your actual frequency.
  • Slant correction mode:To correct sound card inaccuracies which can result in slanted text being printed. Tune to a standard time frequency, WWV,CHU,JJY OR RWM, and observe the moitored signal. If it is horizontal your sound card is precise. If the line slants up or down, type a number or move the arrows until you have the right correction factor, and the line is horizontal. The higher the value the less the correction.
  • Slowfeld receiver: Lets you receive G3PPT's SlowFeld signals.
  • Who is...(CTRL+(W): Searches the Hellschreiber Call Book. To enter your data goto the Hellschreiber Callbook Web Page Database and enter your data.
  • View callbook: Opens the local hard disk copy of the Database.
  • Log program(CTRL+G): Launches your log book program defined in the configuration window.
  • PSK(CTRL+K): Hellschreiber goes into standby mode and PSK31 is loaded. You can switch quickly between the two. They both use the sound card so close PSK31 before returning to Hellschreiber mode.

The Tool Bar.

  • Paper Button: Starts and Stops decoding the Hell signals.
  • Set Input/Output : This call the windows soundcard control set. It is very handy and the input and output leves can be set easily. Make sure the sound card is not overdriven.
  • Preferences: Opens the Configuration window..
  • Small/Big Letters display: Doubles the size of the text on the receive window.
  • DX Mode button: Each column of the transmitted character
  • Send CW-ID(F10): Send out Cw Iden.
  • Set 'Other' operator callsign(F11): Enter 'Other' callsign. Use with F12 key.
  • Send QSO 'Over' phrase(F12): Sends a standard message at the end of an 'Over'

Rx and Tx Window.

  • The Receive Window: This window displays a ticker-tape type band of double-printed text. Each character is printed twice, one above the other. This ensures that the text is readable even though the phase of the signal is unpredictable. As one Band is completed, the display scrolls up and a new line is started. There is a line wrapping option which can be set in the configuration file.
  • The Transmit buffer: This is the single line below the receive window intowhich you type the text to be transmitted. The text will be sent whenever a word is completed with a space character but don't forget when your text is finished you must hit the ENTER key to ensure that the last word will be sent and the receiver will switch over and start decoding the incoming text. If the pause mode is enabled or the text in the Tx buffer is started with an asterisk(*), you will be able to type during reception and the text will only be sent when you hit the ENTER key. Similar to the familiar Type Ahead Buffer You can also include Meta commands within your text and they are denoted by the dollar sign($). They can be typed directly into the Tx buffer text, included with the user defined buttons or used in text files that are sent in the 'Transmit menu', 'Send File' option.

Tuning Display.
The Tuning Display shows a waterfall plot of the received signal, using the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) technique. The red line shows where the 980Hz sidetone should be. You will find that in other modes there will be two red lines. In PSK Hell mode there is one red line in the center and two blue lines either side. You can zoom in and out of the waterfall display using the zoom slider on the right. The numbers show the frequency range that is currently displayed. One really nice feature is the WARNING indication you get if you overdrive the sound card. The display will turn red. To rectify this click the Input Volume button and decrease the line in or mic volume as needed.

OK! Lets do it eh!

Don't forget that this software uses the computer sound card and the Radio must be interfaced to the Computer. That is no big deal, just follow the suggestions on my Hook-up web page. Please print off and read the help files. Theres a lot of great information in there.
he check list below is basic but it should get you up and running in no time.

  • Download the software from IZ8BLY or Download Hell here.
      and install. Simply run the .exe file and it will install.
  • Click File>Preferences and hit the General Tab. Fill in your Callsign and check 'Enable Waterfall Display" and 'Computer Speed'
  • Select 'PTT Port' Tab and select the active com port. If you are using the VOX leave it set to 'none'
  • Click 'Mode' from the menu bar and select 'Feld Hell' mode.
  • Click File>Load Font and select the Feldhell.fon to start with.

  • Turn on your Radio switch the dummy load in.
  • Set the Radio Volume to a comfortable level.
  • Click the 'Set Input Volume' icon and set the slider to about 25%.
  • Click the 'Set Output Volume' icon and set the Volume slider to about 25% and the 'Wave' slider to about 50%.
  • Click on 'Tune Signal' and you should hear a 980Hz tone and the Rig will switch to transmit. Click the 'Set Output Volume' icon and adjust the Radio Power Output to the required level using the 'Wave control'.
  • Tune to 14.063MHz and practice tuning in a station using the Waterfall Display.
  • That's it! The rest you will learn on your own. Please read the Help file. It has so much more important information you need to know.

How Can I send Special Graphics?
If you load one of these fonts: FeldNarr, FeldLow or FeldModern, then right click on the Tx buffer a pop-up menu of all the characters will appear. Simply select the one you want. Don't forget you can include these on buttons or in files.

Go to 14.063MHz and listen around. You should start printing a station very soon. If it's a CQ hit F11 and enter the 'Other Callsign' in the box. Then hit the 'Call Him' button at the bottom. Well.... the rest you know.
his is a very interesting mode. I hope you get the same enjoyment out of being a Hellraiser as I do. Try changing modes. You will find that you will be able to pick the mode to optimize the reception at various propagation conditions. Quite neat eh!
he following table is a list of currently available Hellschreiber software.

Home URL Software Writer Detailed Tutorial


by Nino, IZ8BLY

This page!


by LG Sear, G3PPT


by LG Sear, G3PPT


by LG Sear, G3PPT

Good luck, enjoy and I hope to see you in there.73 Ernie (WM2U)