keyer

Starting to publish the keyer project.

A fully populated keyer dongle

Lots of things have happened with the keyer. I bought rotary encoders and had boards made and populated one and it works like a champ. Only one small error on the board, and it's in the silkscreen so I'm going to ignore it, although you can see it in the photo above. So, if you have an interest, how can you get your own keyer?

Well, start at OSHPark and get yourself some of the boards:

The source for the firmware is on Github

A "Magic Band" Antenna and More Keyer Progress

My six-meter quadrifilar helix antenna

Well, I finally went and did it. I built the 6-meter quadrifilar helix I've been talking about for years. Okay, it's not quite done, I'm waiting for a decent pair of wire strippers to arrive, but a week ago I took a four-inch PVC pipe, some 3/8 inch dowels, some Romex, and adhesive and fabricated a QFH antenna. I used a short Python program I wrote to determine the dimensions and, well, I did it wrong. The short wire in what I built should be the long wire at the operating frequency, so the whole thing is too long for the 52 MHz design frequency.

And the lights on the keyer go blink, blink, blink

The lights on the keyer all light up, but one

I've been working toward this for a while. Since I last visited the keyer project, I rearranged my workbench so my work area is larger. My computer, which used to share half the table of the workbench now covers the entire table, and I got my microscope out and went a little nuts with the surface-mount parts. Having finished that, there was no reason not to put the through-hole parts on the board, either. And now, well, a picture is worth 1000 words, right? One of the red LED's doesn't light, and I don't know why, but there will be time to figure that out later.

Keyer Parts are HERE!

With the arrival of the 0805 LED's, all the keyer parts that I have been waiting for have arrived. A couple of weeks ago, I started to populate one of the boards that I had with the parts on hand, which were the MMBT3904 transistors. So, work can now begin in earnest. More events as they happen.

Keyer Parts on the Way!

UPDATED
A couple of years ago, I wote about a new keyer I was working on. What I meant by "working on" at that point was the software. I got a ways into that project and then essentially no farther. Life intervened and I got interested in other things and ran into some issues that I couldn't immediately overcome and a dozen other wimped-out excuses. So, it might come as a shock, assuming that there's anyone left who is paying attention, that I've not only continued to work on this project, but have actually made progress.

Good Grief! ANOTHER Keyer?

I've been licensed as KA8KPN since 1980. I have sometimes told people that it was 1979, but that's my mistake. My true story about not having an ID for the general test, but having one for the amateur extra test implies that I was licensed the year I turned 16, which was 1980. That whole time, CW has been my mode. First, with a straight key, and then with a set of iambic paddles (I received a nice chrome based set of Bencher paddles for my 16th birthday.) The thing about iambic paddles is that you need a device called a keyer in order to actually use them for anything.

Keyer Project Update - Almost Public

Well, I've been working on the memory keyer and it now can record and play back memories programmed through the keyboard. I can send a serial number that gets updated automatically, and I've fixed the odd bit here and there. I've confirmed it compiles through the IDE on Windows, although I'm still stymied by the IDE under Linux. I also tested to see if it really would key the FT-102. It does.

It's a Memory Keyer!

Well, I've been working on the keyer. It turns out that the Arduino Mega has the I2C bus on different pins than the Arduino Uno. Since my keyer shield doesn't actually have pins for that location on the Arduino, I had to come up with an adaptor mechanism. I bought some extra long pins from Jameco and put two of the wires into a two-pin housing, and now I have a display. The lack of sidetone output was traced to a broken wire going to the speaker. The paddle inputs didn't work, but that turned out to be a software error.

Why I'm re-writing the keyer software

It occurs to me that I never explained why I'm re-writing the keyer software. To recap the project up to this point: I have wanted a CW memory keyer for a long time, and I had wanted to do some project with the Arduino. However, I didn't think that my circuit design skills were up to designing the necessary hardware and I didn't really want to write the software, and it occurred to me that someone else might have decided to use the Arduino as the basis of a memory keyer and have designed hardware and written the software necessary to make it do what I want.

What happened last weekend

What happened this weekend was that I wound up not building any antennas. Instead, I started re-writing the keyer software from scratch. It's an iambic keyer now, with no memory features, but there's a speed control and it displays the speed at which you are keying. Progress has been rapid, but now I'm having to think about how to proceed, so it should be slower.

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