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Author Topic: Best Overall Electronic Keyer (external)  (Read 11296 times)

Posts: 23


« on: August 26, 2012, 08:05:58 AM »

I saw the topic posted in error which the author cannot edit, "Best All Around Keyer" but he used keyer to mean key, so this topic is for the real answer to his question.

== Cuirtis EK-43 == Curtis used EK for Electronic Keyer and the 43 was simply his age when he made the keyer!

I use a Curtis EK-43 keyer which is the Curtis' chip keyer (type A) which I added a CP Clare HGJM series (50 VA) mercury wetted relay to handle the 130 volt @ 300 mA keying line on USA RCA and Mackay Marine/ITT equipped shiips.  I like it because it has a built in AC supply and a loud side tone that could overcome the racket that a ship can make when in motion as the radio room racks rattle around.  The side tone is also adjustable so at home I can make a tone that is harsh with my built-in side tone so that when running QSK I know my signal from the background signals because mine has the harsh tone from the mixing of my keyer and my transceiver's side tone.

David N1EA

Posts: 0

« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2012, 09:46:23 AM »


I feel lucky that you as a well known CW authority have the time available to post here.

Concerning keyers:

You make emphasis on mercury wetted relays, certainly not brand new for sale due to environment requirements, and loud sidetone. I understand that.

However I think a keyer is the best when:
- it is adjustable in speed fast and easy, also during operation
- between 5 and 80  wpm
- has a reliable  indication of the chosen PARIS speed in wpm
- is able to operate in all known keyer modes, iambic a , b, dit priority on dash, dash priority on
 dots, ultimate, cootie, standard vibroplex, standard elbug (mono paddle)
- the timing of decision has to be adjustable at at least 10 positions on the last element
- dot memory dash memory separate switchable on/off
- paddle contact bounce removing over an adjustable time
- shows on LCD the text you are transmitting
- autocorrection of spelling errors with build in word thesaurus
- has the possibility to adjust letter and wordspace
- is able to correct the timing of the first element of the first character in order to compensate for transmitter anomalies
- is able to correct QSK errors adjustable dot and dash length
- is able to work sidetone only
- has a command mode for selection
- has a facility to use the unbelievable lousy lake Erie swing
- also adds, when desired,  random dots to make the lake Erie swing more natural sounding and  authentic
- has a number of memory positions for standard messaging call cq, rst etc
- has a sequence number facility
- memory positions have not a fixed msg length but the total of all msgs is a constant value.
- commands can be embedded in messages with an escape sequence, such that you can change speed, concatenate messages and the like.
- records the transmitted code on a USB stick, with formatting that is readable on a normal PC
- correct non existing characters to the most probably existing one, unless in Lake Erie mode.
- is home designed and build
- is able to generate random chosen words from his thesaurus (dictionary) with a adjustable wordspace and number of repetitions as exerciser HST

« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 09:58:12 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged

Posts: 621


« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 03:02:22 AM »

My definition of what makes a keyer "best" has changed a lot over the years, as logging (both day to day and contest) software and computers (and transceivers themselves) have taken over a lot of the functionality.

Best for me 10 years ago - the AEA MM3. Easy speed adjust, easy memory load for day to day operating. Easy to add incrementing serial numbers for contests. Including code training and contest simulator capabilities. Took a licking, kept on ticking.

Best for me now: K1EL keyer: Easy speed adjust, relatively easy memory load for day to day operating. Easy computer interface to all the software I use that handles all the other stuff. Runs forever on USB power or an internal 9v battery.

I always use headphones and rig or PC generated sidetone is what I hear, not keyer local sidetone. Don't need or want any display, don't want to use a wall wart or power supply - want simple and reliable these days since the complexity has gone into the software.

John K3TN

John K3TN

Posts: 2994

« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 05:18:55 AM »

K1EL's WinKey has been my favorite for quite a while.  See my November 2004 article in the K9YA Telegraph, "K1EL WinKey and DXBase 2005."

I'm currently using the version housed in the microHam CW keyer. 

Chuck  NI0C

Posts: 5210

« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 10:13:30 AM »

K1EL's WinKey has been my favorite for quite a while. 

Quote from: K3TN
Best for me now: K1EL keyer

"Me too". K1EL WinKey USB is what I'm using for the past several years. For both paddles and memory keying (I have some stuff programmed into the internal memories and activated with top buttons) and contest-logger N1MM keying via the computer. Works like a charm.

What I like, is that it is completely transparent to shift from using N1MM keying to paddles and back again, speed always controlled by the keyer speed knob.

Posts: 272

« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 05:39:13 AM »

I have a simple Daiwa DK-210 that is flat out cool to use. Here is a link to look at pics:

Posts: 393

« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 07:35:49 AM »

I would like to enter favorable mention of the Idiom Press CMOS 4.

Posts: 92

« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2012, 06:52:07 PM »

Not necessarily the best but loads of fun is the K3NG keyer. Mostly because it works and can be junked out on an Arduino protoboard in short order. Great for use with N1MM Logger.



Posts: 118

« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 07:33:39 AM »

K1EL WinKey USB for contests. Works stupendously well with N1MM. Took it along on an expedition as well as IOTA and it did a mighty fb job.

Idiom Press LogiKit CMOS-4 for everyday use. A bit biased towards the Logikey as it was my first ever kit and I learnt code on it  Smiley

Deepak VU2CDP
Mumbai, India
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