Contest Voice Blaster
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
The Contest Voice Blaster is a software program that when used with a Sound Blaster card from Creative Labs, Inc. (or compatible sound card) turns your computer into a Voice Memory Keyer. When properly interfaced with your radio, you can use it to record and playback commonly repeated messages, such as "CQ contest from K8CC" or "QRZ is this frequency in use?".
What makes Contest Voice Blaster so unique is that it runs as a TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) program under MS-DOS. Once it's loaded, you are free to run application software on your computer, such as logging software, word processors, whatever you like. It is accessed via HOT KEYS. If your computer has XMS memory available, it will use it to store its messages, using only 30K of conventional memory for itself!
Included with Contest Voice Blaster is a printed manual, describing how to take advantage of the many features of CVB. Also included in the manual is a schematic for an interface to connect the audio output of your sound card to your radio's microphone input.
Contest Voice Blaster was written using the Software Developers Kit from Creative Labs. The plus side of this is that we have their word that as new cards are introduced, software drivers will be supplied that will provide continued compatibility with our software. The down side is that only Creative Labs Sound Blaster cards and compatibles are certain to work.
The key file is CT-VOICE.DRV. This file is supplied by Creative Labs with all their sound cards, a different version for each type of card. Some truly compatible cards also come with one. When the Contest Voice Blaster TSR is loaded, it loads the CT-VOICE.DRV driver and uses it to configure and communicate with your sound card. It is important that the driver file be installed using the manufacturer's installation program. This sets DOS environment variables correctly so that the TSR can find the driver and configure it correctly.
If a CT-VOICE.DRV driver was not supplied with your sound card, but you know that it is compatible with a specific Creative Labs Sound Blaster card, you can obtain the driver for that card. If your card really is compatible it should work. Otherwise, trial and error may be the only way to determine which driver will work for you. We can not legally distribute these files, they are available from Creative Labs.
Contest Voice Blaster is a TSR program written to run under DOS. No guarantee is offered as to its compatibility with any of the Microsoft Windows products. It has been shown to work in certain configurations, but such use is considered to be outside the intended application of the product.
A problem was reported using Contest Voice Blaster with a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Pro (CT-1600) 16 bit sound card. Messages could be played back fine. However, if during playback the message was canceled either by pressing <esc> or by starting another message, subsequent messages had no volume.
The problem was resolved by obtaining updated Sound Blaster Pro drivers from the Creative Labs forum on CompuServe. After installing the updated drivers the problem could not be duplicated. To identify which driver you have, see the table below. Note that we can not distribute these files, they are available from Creative Labs.
|CT-VOICE.DRV||31,866||02-15-94||4:02a||Driver distributed with card, exhibited problem described above.|
|CT-VOICE.DRV||31,842||10-14-94||4:05a||Updated driver, does not exhibit problem.|
Contest Voice Blaster was originally introduced at the 1994 Dayton Hamvention simply as Voice Blaster version 1.0. An enhanced version 2.0 was introduced at the 1995 Dayton Hamvention. This new version was renamed Contest Voice Blaster to avoid confusion with a Voice Recognition program also named Voice Blaster. No other releases have been made.