Finally making something (junk box keyer)

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. IMAG1052I 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.