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Answer Skype Calls with Bluetooth Headset

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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
50+ yrs in computer industry. Everything from programming to sales. OS kernel dev on mainframes. CIO. Document imaging. EE MVE 2015 & 2016.
I recently purchased a Bluetooth headset called the Music Jogger (model BSH10). The control buttons on it look like this:

Music-Jogger-BSH10-buttons.jpg
One of my goals is to use it as the microphone and speakers for Skype calls. In that respect, it works well. However, I also want to be able to answer a Skype call with its Multi-Function Button (MFB), so that I don't have to be sitting at the computer when a call comes in. In that respect, the headset fails.

One possible solution is to configure Skype to answer incoming calls automatically, but I don't like this idea, for two reasons. First, most of the time I am at my computer. In those cases, I may not always want to answer a call – especially when I see CallerID . Second, I may not be at the computer and may not have the headset on, in which case I don't want Skype to answer the call. I could try to remember to enable/disable Skype's automatic answer feature depending on my whereabouts, but that is likely to be error-prone – and a nuisance to boot. The better solution is to configure the MFB to answer a call. Fortunately, there's a way to do this easily – and with free software.

The solution presented in this article should work on many Bluetooth headsets. For example, here's another one from Kinivo (model BTH220) with similar controls (excellent headset – I own this one, too):

Kinivo-BTH220-buttons.jpg
As long as your Bluetooth headset has a Play-Pause button, the solution in this article has a good chance of working. Please post your results here when you try it with your headset – it will be good to know which Bluetooth headsets do or do not work with this technique.

The method presented in this article requires AutoHotkey, an excellent (free!) programming/scripting language. The quick explanation for installing AutoHotkey is to visit its website and click the big blue Download button. A more comprehensive explanation is to read my EE article, AutoHotkey - Getting Started. After installation, AutoHotkey will own the AHK file type, supporting the solution discussed in the remainder of this article.

AutoHotkey allows you to send specified keystrokes when the Media Play-Pause button is pressed (it also lets you do this for the Media Next, Media Previous, and Media Stop buttons). Skype allows you to define keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) for many functions, including answering a call and hanging up a call. In the latest release of Skype on Windows at the time this article was written (Version 6.11.0.102), this is done via:

Tools
Options
Advanced settings
Hotkeys

This brings up the following dialog (testing and screenshots were done on W7/64-bit running the latest Skype):

Skype Hotkeys
The default Skype hotkey for Answer call is Alt-PgUp and the default for Hang up is Alt-PgDn. Of course, you may change those to whatever you want (I kept the defaults). So all that needs to be done is to write an AHK script, telling it to send Alt-PgUp (or whatever key you define in Skype for Answer call) when the Media Play-Pause button is pressed. This is a simple three-line script in AHK, as follows:
 
Media_Play_Pause::
Send !{PgUp}
Return

Open in new window


You may also want a Hang up button on the headset. I chose the headset's Previous button for this, so my AHK code is this:
 
Media_Prev::
Send !{PgDn}
Return

Open in new window


That's it! A simple way to make sure the AHK script runs is to put it in your Startup Program Group (there are other techniques, such as the Task Scheduler or simply running it manually). All you need is a shortcut to the AHK script with the appropriate Target, such as:

D:\My_Batch_Files\hotkeys-startup.ahk

An AHK script is a plain text file. You may create it in any text editor, such as Notepad, but make the file type AHK (not TXT). After installing AHK, it will own the file type AHK, so the shortcut above will work, as Windows will automatically run AutoHotkey on that file type.

Of course, you may put the AHK script wherever you want and name it whatever you want. In my case, my AHK startup script has many mapped keys, as I make heavy use of AHK to define hotkeys. But at the very least, your AHK script would contain the two code snippets shown above.

Enjoy being able to answer and hang up Skype calls from your Bluetooth headset!

If you find this article to be helpful, please click the thumbs-up icon below. This lets me know what is valuable for EE members and provides direction for future articles. Thanks very much! Regards, Joe
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