Learning morse code was getting tedious and I felt like all the listening I was doing was imbalanced. I was inspired to look into what others do to make their own paddles. After a little research I began to see that a “keyer” was an electronic device that turned a typical iambic paddle input (the kind that takes dits from one side and dahs from the other side) and turned it into morse code for CW mode. I understand that most modern transceivers have this feature built in, but homebrew equipment typically does not so it seemed like a natural project to get my hands in the game again and break the constant “learn without doing” cycle.
It wasn’t long into looking that I found the K3NG Keyer project and realized I could scrounge together the parts to put this together and have lots of features to expand into the future. Since the project revolved around an Arduino, it seemed a project catered to my skill set so I dove in and came up with my junk box version from scrounged parts that worked acceptably well.
Next, I needed an iambic paddle, so I slapped together something which works horribly, but works. I’m fairly certain that the paddles are inverted, but I’ve been contemplating something a bit better anyway. I really have to whack the paddles firmly to get reliable contact and even then it is touchy. Also, zinc coated screws don’t seem to take solder very well. I recorded this video to show off the mess and just how simple it is to make something workable as a keyer using scrounged parts. I’d like to figure out how this hobby can be accessible to low-income people.
I did a bit of work on the code to get my Adafruit i2c backpack display working. I submitted my code to Anthony Good (K3NG) for addition to the project. He was very willing to accept my patch and generally a cool guy to work with. Don’t miss his blog either. He has a few other projects that I don’t yet have a need for, but will remember for the future. His Radio Artisan discussion group is also active with others working on projects based on his work.