Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Advantage of external keyer?  (Read 6693 times)
K3GHH
Member

Posts: 42




Ignore
« on: July 12, 2013, 04:45:33 PM »

Could someone please explain why it might be worthwhile to buy an external keyer when modern rigs have keyers built in? Extra memories? My transceiver has 3 or 4 and that's always been enough for me. The ability to key a boatanchor transmitter? Now THAT might be a desirable feature!
Logged
K0OD
Member

Posts: 2530




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2013, 06:13:58 PM »

In my case my external memory keyer (with four memory buttons)  came before any of my current rigs. So there was no additional cost. My paddles plug into the keyer which goes into an old Radio Shack 4-button audio device switch box: a push-button for each radio. That way I only have to deal with one keyer and one conveniently located set of memory buttons.

My homebrew QRP radio which I use frequently has no built in keyer, BTW.

Would like to hear comments on this subject. 
Logged
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1236




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2013, 05:15:43 AM »

I use a Logikey K-1 for portable operating and a K-3 at my main radio in the house.  These keyers are GREAT, IMO.  Extremely easy to use, and they offer much more programming options than the keyers built into my HF rigs.  The Logikeys have a LOT of programmed capabilities (serial numbers, memory buttons calling other memory buttons, etc.) that none of my radios' keyers have.  It takes a few times to get used to the programming, but once you get the hang of it, programming memory buttons (like for contests) is fast and easy.  Changing speed is as simple as turning the knob on the front, instant and easy.  Compared to going through a bunch of menus in the radio, using an external keyer makes CW operating fast and easy, IMO.  See if one of your ham friends locally has one you can borrow--I bet if you give it a try, you'll want a good external keyer forever!  ;-)   73 GL!  --ken ac4rd
Logged
N0IU
Member

Posts: 1252


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2013, 05:48:06 AM »

For contesting (which is where I think most people would have a need for several memory slots, incremental serial numbers, etc.), I use the N1MM contest logger. With that program, I can program up to 12 macros for both running mode and S&P mode which is more than enough to cover just about every situation I might run into. And of course, I can always use key if the need for sending some "free form" information should arise.
Logged
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1236




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2013, 05:55:50 AM »

For contesting (which is where I think most people would have a need for several memory slots, incremental serial numbers, etc.).... And of course, I can always use key if the need for sending some "free form" information should arise.

I do use the memory slots for contests, but I also find them very useful for ordinary operating.  I've got a muscle problem that makes it hard for me to work the paddles very well--sending freehand, I often have mistakes ("EEEEE SRI").  The memory buttons make it a lot easier for me.  I guess I need to look at keyboard CW options one of these days ...  but after 22 years licensed, I only just started using a computer for realtime logging a few months ago. :-)   (I call it being a "traditionalist," my wife calls it being a "butthead.")   Wink
Logged
N0IU
Member

Posts: 1252


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2013, 06:13:28 AM »

My wife calls me a lot of things that I can not repeat on this forum!

But anyway....

Of all the genetic things I inherited from my parents, one of them is arthritis. For higher speed QSO's, its just easier to type than use paddles.

There is a great FREE program called CWType. It also has 12 macros for that standard stuff like name, signal report, QTH, etc. My rig (IC-7410) has a straight key jack on the back (which is where I connect the computer interface plug) and a keyer jack on the front (which is where I plug in my key).

http://www.dxsoft.com/en/products/cwtype/

Even though I have a "newer" computer, I installed a dual serial port card so I don't have to mess with USB-to-serial interfaces. The CW "interface" is comprised of just a single transistor and resistor built "dead bug" style on the back of the DB9 connector. Of course, most sound card interfaces also handle CW.
Logged
N4OI
Member

Posts: 200




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2013, 06:29:59 AM »

Could someone please explain why it might be worthwhile to buy an external keyer when modern rigs have keyers built in? Extra memories? My transceiver has 3 or 4 and that's always been enough for me. The ability to key a boatanchor transmitter? Now THAT might be a desirable feature!

The internal keyers in my FT-920, K3, K1, DSW-II, and even Rockmite all work FB at my speeds up to about 30WPM or so. 

However, I have built a couple of the little PicoKeyer kits from HamGadgets and they are great!  I installed one inside my TenTec Century 21 and hardwired it to the rig's power supply.  The other I put in an Altoids tin using the quarter-sized battery, that I alternate between my old TenTec OMNI-D and QRP rigs that do not have keyers.  Battery life is about six months for me, but the replacements are not that expensive.  The basic PicoKeyer kit cost is nominal -- I will probably build a few more before it is all finished. 


73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI  Grin
Logged
K3STX
Member

Posts: 961




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2013, 06:19:55 AM »

My Kenwood TS-590S has a built in keyer too, and it works fine, but to change speeds I have to go push a button (or maybe its a menu item, I don't remember). With my external Picokeyer, I just turn to knob. It is sitting above my rig, and has a big 2 inch old boatanchor knob. EASY to change speeds in a flash for fills during contest exchanges, changing speeds mid QSO, etc... I rarely use the memories in my external keyer; that't not why I use it.

And yes, for keying boatanchors they are useful. But be careful, cathode keying will kill a keyer if your not careful.

paul
Logged
PA1ZP
Member

Posts: 214




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2013, 09:31:45 AM »

Hi to you all

Like Ken and Paul i use an external Pico keyer from N0XAS.
It leaves me the possibility to use paddles on my TS590 internal keyer port, and I can use the Vibroplex bug parallel to my single lever key on the Pico keyer.

Also I can adjust the speed of the Pico keyer with a turning knob.
Something rig developers "forget" to do and use major stupid up and down buttons in a menu.
As Paul did i screwed a somewhat bigger knob on the Pico keyer.

I also must be a less user of CW as my battery is in use for 5 yrs now.
Also the Pico keyer has an excellent feature to put a few dots of pauze between seperate letters so I can not stick all letters together and I am forced to use a decent and easy to read "handwriting" in CW.
Those very handy things are not possible in my internal keyer of the TS590 and the FT857D.

I also use the Pico keyer at my homebrew christal TX's for 80 mtrs
I never expected the Pico keyer to be as good as it is for the money. but when I go somewhere and it might be neccecary to use CW I always pack a paddle and a Pico keyer and a few plugs so I can handle both 3.5 as 6.3 mm jacks with the Pico.
Logged
K0EWS
Member

Posts: 38


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2013, 05:40:16 PM »

I like my Winkeyer USB by K1EL, as it gives me the best of both worlds. It will run with my computer and most ham radio logging software for contesing, but also has 6 memories and works as a stand-alone battery powered keyer if not plugged in to a computer. Extra added bonus, it has 2 different outputs, so one keyer will key 2 different rigs. It's a great keyer! Both of my rigs have keyers included, and I will use them with paddles sometimes if I'm portable (especially my K-1 if I'm outside and want to take less stuff.) But for normal operation, I like the keyer/computer combo.
Logged
K7MH
Member

Posts: 328




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2013, 11:02:42 AM »

External keyers just have ar more features and flexibility than internal keyers do.
Look at the Logikey features for instance;

1.Iambic keyer with dot and dash memories
2.6 active message memories, +12 banked messages, 1430 characters total
3.Messages may "call" other messages, and contain embedded functions
4.Input queue to call messages sequentially
5.Contest serial numbering 001-9999 with variable formats and easy correction
6.Digital and analog speed control, 5-60wpm
7.Adjustable weighting on dots and dashes-- 25-50%
8.Sidetone (and practice) oscillator with variable pitch
9.Tune (key down) function
10.Selectable automatic character spacing
11.Timed pauses within messages
12.Message loop capability for continuous play
13 Text insertion from the paddle during message play
14. Curtis A/B and eight other timing emulations
15. Ultra speed messages to 990wpm for meteor scatter, etc.
16. Ultra-low power consumption for battery operation
17. Full beacon capability
18. Stored (memory) message editing capability
19. Messages and configuration saved when power is off
20. Keyer can compensate for transmitter shortening
21. Hand Key mode.

Of course some of those are available with internal keyers these days. If you have no need for many of them then the internal keyers are just fine.

From what I remember built in keyers started showing up with all solid state rigs back in the late 70's early 80's or thereabouts. Back then they may have been an optional board.

One thing nice about an external keyer is being able to place it wherever you want to when using it. More convenient than reaching to the buttons on the radio.

For CW contests I use N1MM. I can go through an entire CW contest and never touch the key, just using the macros.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 11:23:03 AM by K7MH » Logged
VE3GNU
Member

Posts: 83




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2013, 12:20:48 PM »

The external keyer I use for my QRP rigs is the Palstar CW50A---allowing me to chose either a paddle-function or straight key-function with both keys plugged in the keyer.
Besides, it can 'tune' the rig with its dedicated button, has 3 large knobs for 'speed', 'volume' and 'pitch', runs on a 9 V battery, is larger than the Idiom Press keyers---but no memory-function (which I don't need), and you don't need to have a 'manual' handy to remind you how to operate it.
Ernie
VE3GNU
Logged
STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 854




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 10:37:48 PM »

There is no advantage at all in the practical world.

Go with your internal keyer, it will produce dits and dahs, usually supports iambic mode if you want, and do everything that is needed.

Buying an external keyer if you have an internal one is not VERBOTEN, but not necessary.
Memories, etc etc, is just feature creep and serves no worthwhile purpose beyond automating the ham operator and isolating him
from having to send CW all the time.

The one good thing about an external key is the ability to quickly twist a knob to change speed.
Some rigs require you to navigate menu's to do this, and so that is a definite usability advantage.
It all depends on how much you change speed while operating CW, something only you will know.

External keyers are a relic of days gone by, and unless you have a lot of older rigs without an internal keyer, are not required.
For a ham with only modern rigs, why clutter up your desk with a redundant piece of technology?
Save the space for a nice key, bug or paddle.

73
Rob


Logged
N4MPM
Member

Posts: 63




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2013, 01:08:55 PM »

I have no desire for a external keyer, in fact, put the two I had in new ownership at a hamfest.
I do not see a need for macros or memories.  I either send faster or slower as needed.  My Vizkey 90 degree paddle works great.

73, and Enjoy!
Logged
K8GU
Member

Posts: 716


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2013, 05:59:16 AM »

Paul, K3STX, hit an important point---changing speed with a knob vs menu.  I'm really surprised that the TS-590S doesn't have this.  Another contesting-related reason to use an outboard keyer is if you have two radios and your keyer supports it (like the K1EL WinKey series).  And, if you want the paddles to track the macro sending speed to say hi to friends or work a complicated fill.  Or, like in my case, you'd rather not rewire your station from contest mode to casual operating mode.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!