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Author Topic: Use my Key with Computer for CW Contest  (Read 2832 times)
NS8Q
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Posts: 135




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« on: April 26, 2012, 01:36:15 PM »

Currently I have a PC in the shack connected to my FT-757GX2.  One cable is connected to the din port in back for rig control and another cable to connected to the key jack to send code.  I use N1MM for contesting and it works swell for sending quick exchanges during the contest.  However, if I want to grab the key and send another remark, I have to remember to manually switch to the Automatic keying mode on the radio, else I won't be able to send anything.  Then I need to remember to set it back to Manual before I can start using N1MM again.  Does anyone know of a way to allow me to send with the key and the computer without having to switch modes?

73 Chris
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NS8Q
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Posts: 135




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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 01:52:08 PM »

Let me clarify...I know that I need some sort of external keyer.  Does anyone know of a real easy keying circuit that can be build either on a bread board or with Manhattan style construction?  I don't want to spend a fortune on a CMOS keyer that has memories and all the other bells and whistles.  I can program N1MM for that.  I just need a device to sit between my key and the rig.
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VE3WMB
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Posts: 287




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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2012, 05:49:53 PM »

I highly recommend the K1EL Winkeyer USB  :  http://www.k1el.com/

It is a kit that is only $79 and it is an easy build. It functions as both a standalone
keyer as well as a hardware keying interface that is supported by N1MM and other loggers
via USB.  What this means is that N1MM will send data to the keyer and the keyer hardware is dedicated to controlling the timing for the keying the rig. It works just like the setup you currently have except it will give more reliable keying from the computer and it allows you to use the paddles as well as send from N1MM (i.e. allows you to use your paddles for "fills" while contesting with N1MM) . N1MM will control all of the functions like increasing and decreasing sending speed so nothing you do from N1MM actually changes.

If you are not contesting you can use it as a standalone keyer without connecting it to the computer. What is also handy is that you can connect two rigs to it and switch the paddles / keyer between the two rigs via a simple one letter command that you send from the paddles itself after pushing a button on the keyer.

It is an excellent keyer at very reasonable price. I have had mine for about a year and I love it.
I use N3FJPs loggers for contesting and this setup works well.  I know that it is supported by N1MM as well.

Michael VE3WMB

Let me clarify...I know that I need some sort of external keyer.  Does anyone know of a real easy keying circuit that can be build either on a bread board or with Manhattan style construction?  I don't want to spend a fortune on a CMOS keyer that has memories and all the other bells and whistles.  I can program N1MM for that.  I just need a device to sit between my key and the rig.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 05:59:08 PM by VE3WMB » Logged
VE3WMB
Member

Posts: 287




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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 06:28:15 PM »

Chris :

I just thought of another option that is cheaper (I still recommend the WINKEYER USB
for contesting).

If you don't want to spend $79, you could buy a K1EL K12 keyer kit at $17 and put it into
an altoids tin. Radio Shack sells a pig-tail adaptor that would allow you to plug the
keying line from your computer in parallel with the output from the K12. All you need to
do is plug the paddles into the K12 and keep the internal keyer turned off in the rig.
I doubt that you could buy the parts and build a keyer for much less than $17 !

I have a number of K12s in my mono-band QRP rigs. Lots of the same functionality
as the WINKEYER. If you don't care about memories you don't have to use them or install
the extra switches to activate / program them. All you need is one momentary SPST (normally
open) switch to control the keyer. Things like controlling speed are done via direct entry from
the paddles (i.e. push command button on keyer and wait for "R" response, send S followed by 20 to set code speed to 20wpm).

Michael VE3WMB
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2378




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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 11:29:12 PM »

I'm also a happy WinKeyer user.   But it's not cheap . . .

There's a kit for the "PicoKeyer" available for around $20.  It's a perfectly good keyer.  It would work fine wired in parallel to the rig's key jack (according to the previous idea).

See here:

http://www.hamgadgets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=89http://www.hamgadgets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=89

and there are lots of reviews on eHam.net/reviews

        Charles
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K3STX
Member

Posts: 973




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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 11:09:46 AM »

I have a PicoKeyer/paddles that I also use to help out with N1MM-generated sending in contests. I have a simple Y connector between each key line (tops of the "Y") and my rig. Nothing to switch at all, works great.

FWIW, the PicoKeyer is the only keyer I use, it is great.

paul
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