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eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: W3OWL on February 10, 2012, 02:03:18 PM



Title: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 10, 2012, 02:03:18 PM
Any suggestions on a keyer to use with a K8RA model P6?  I built the cute little Pico Keyer Plus, complete with case, but I can't get it to work correctly.  It seems overly complicated and I can't figure out what it's telling me to do with the almost inaudible tones.  I need something even an old guy like me can use as I re-enter the world of CW.  TNX.  W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: NI0C on February 10, 2012, 02:48:21 PM
Does your transceiver have a built-in keyer?  Most modern transceivers do.  If you need an external keyer, look at products by MFJ, Bencher, and K1EL.  There are a lot to choose from.

73,
Chuck  NI0C


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 10, 2012, 03:12:00 PM
Yes, I will probably be using the P6 with an Icom 718, which has a built-in keyer.  However, I wanted to do some practicing with the key, keyer, and an oscillator.  TNX.  W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: NI0C on February 10, 2012, 04:02:55 PM
An inexpensive MFJ keyer should do the trick, then. 

Most rigs (I don't know about the 718) can be put in a standby mode so you can key the sidetone oscillator without actually keying the transmitter.  The Elecraft K3 has this feature (it's called "Tx Test" mode).  If your rig can do this, you can use that for code sending practice.  Just be sure when you do this, it's not putting out any RF.  I used to be able to hear faint signals from a close neighbor of mine practicing code on a rig that he thought was in a standby mode. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C
 


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 10, 2012, 04:39:46 PM
Thanks Chuck.  I think I'll get rid of the Pico Keyer and get something a little more user-friendly.
Bill W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: K8AXW on February 10, 2012, 09:52:04 PM
I built and use the CMOS III keyer from Idiom Press and like it quite well, except it does a lot more than what I want.  As an old guy also, I not only have a hearing problem but also a memory problem.  These menu driven keyers require a "cheat sheet" predominately posted to help.  The audio is adequate.


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 11, 2012, 05:34:26 AM
Thanks to all.  I think I'll stay away from the heavily menu-driven keyers and try to find something with a few knobs/switches which might be a little more user friendly.  W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: KB5JOF on February 11, 2012, 06:27:22 AM
I just purchased an MFJ-407D that will do exactly what you described. Price is reasonable.  No memorys and controls are OM compatable.


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: N3QE on February 11, 2012, 06:45:17 AM
Any suggestions on a keyer to use with a K8RA model P6?  I built the cute little Pico Keyer Plus, complete with case, but I can't get it to work correctly.  It seems overly complicated and I can't figure out what it's telling me to do with the almost inaudible tones.  I need something even an old guy like me can use as I re-enter the world of CW.  TNX.  W3OWL
I'd suggest the K1EL Winkeyer USB. It comes as an easy to build kit, and works straightforwardly without any programming (just one knob, turn it for CW speed).

Later on when you want to program it or plug it into a computer for contest keying, it'll do that too :-).

Tim.


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 12, 2012, 11:36:16 AM
"OM compatible"....now that's a perfect description of what need...funny too.  Maybe one of the amateur manufacturers could actually market a line of "OM compatible equipment."  One option might be some fake tubes inside which would give us the nice familiar glow.  TNX for all the keyer suggestions. Anyone interested in a three week old Pico Keyer Plus?  W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: K3STX on February 13, 2012, 09:55:53 AM
Wow, the Pico-Keyer is a great keyer; don't give up on it so easily. Make sure the speed is slow; it is easy to figure out. The only adjustment to make is the speed, and you use a pot for that, right?

The memories are not hard either.

Keep it AT LEAST as a spare, you never know when your other keyers will die.

paul


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 13, 2012, 10:45:38 AM
I guess I can keep the little Pico Keyer as a spare due to its reasonable cost.  However I spent nearly an hour yesterday trying to get it to work with my P6 key....no joy.  Yes, speed is at a comfortable level (adjusted with pot), but speed isn't the problem.  Even with the "cheat sheet" I can't figure out what it's telling me to do. It's a rather lengthy aural menu, and if you miss what you are listening for, you have to repeat the entire sequence again.  TNX.  Bill W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: N3JJT on February 13, 2012, 04:37:12 PM
Bill:  On the IC718, turn the break in off, and keep the keyer on.  The break in can be turned off by pressing the select key for 1 second, and use the up down buttons to get to the "Break In" settings.  Turn the vfo knob until you see off.  This will enable the sidetone only while you practice with the built in keyer.  If you are unable to hear the sidetone, there is also a setting for sidetone volume as well.  The manual is very clear on those settings. There are 2 different menus on the 718.  One that requires the select button to be pressed with the power, and one that is accessible with power on, like I mentioned above.  The keyer in the 718 is a fairly decent keyer.  Adjust the keyer speed as desired. The nice thing about using an external keyer with this rig, is that you can adjust the keyer speed on the fly, without going in to the menu. User preference. Good luck and have fun!

73..de N3JJT  Scott


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 13, 2012, 06:04:06 PM
TNX for the information Scott.  I will work with the 718 tomorrow and see if it will recognize the P6 key. I will continue searching for a keyer which will also function properly.  73.  W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: K3STX on February 13, 2012, 07:20:53 PM
I am NOT trying to be rude here, but what problems are you having? The speed is set with the pot; does it not send dots and dashes when the keys are depressed? I have memorized the order of the letters "U     S      M" and the "M" means Memory. You send "R" and then it sends "K" and you send your message, it is in memory 1. Etc... for memory 2, etc...  Not really too hard. But there should be nothing to set up, you ARE using a 3 pronged mini-plug, right?

paul


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: VE3GNU on February 14, 2012, 06:12:10 AM
Bill---Have a look at the Palstar Keyer---model CW50A.  It has all the functions on the front panel that you need---i.e. Speed, Volume, and Pitch, Power, Tune.
It's a 'stand-alone' model that can be powered by a 9V battery---is well-built and quality piece of gear.
GL---Ernie VE3GNU


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 14, 2012, 09:57:30 AM
OK, we have made some progress here.  For those of you who have followed my semi-interesting saga of key and keyer difficulties, I am happy to report that, after a little investigation, I discovered the connection cable (supplied with the key) was wired opposite from what is shown in the instruction guide which came with the key.  The K8RA model P6 manual shows the biding posts connected like this (when facing the key in the normal operating position, looking left to right): red-white-black.  Since we are always instructed to "just read the directions, the manual is your friend", that's the way I connected the spade lugs to the screw terminals on the P6.  When I tried the P6 with the Icom 718, I had the same problem as with the keyer; only one side of the key was producing a tone.  I figured that the problem  was either with the key and/or the connecting cable.  I unscrewed the barrel of the 1/4" plug and discovered that the red & white wires were reversed (black was OK).  So I simply attached the spade plugs like this on the key: white-red-black.........bingo !  Turns out the photo in the instruction showed an incorrect conection.  I'm still not crazy about the little Pico keyer, but I'll give it a few weeks.  And I still need to convince myself that CW is going to be my "thing."  If not, I'll either sell my CW stuff or donate it to the local school club.  Anyway, many TNX to everyone for their suggestions. W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: K3STX on February 14, 2012, 06:25:49 PM
I am really happy for you that you got that MAJOR problem figured out! I was worried that you had it wired with a simple MONO plug; if that were the case the keyer would be in straight key or bug mode, not what you want!! You COULD have simply chosen to REVERSE the dot and dash keys (from the menu), but what you did was fine.

It is a great little keyer, and most importantly its keying is GREAT even at high speeds. Most internal keyers in rigs suck, they really have problems above 40 wpm. The Pico-Keyer will do 60 wpm without a sweat.

Keep the keyer, and do yourself a favor, put a BIG KNOB on that pot that controls speed! Instead of that little skinny 1/4" wide "knob" I have  a 2 inch knob. Now THAT is a man-sized keyer knob. Have fun and PLEASE don't give up. And if you EVER feel like "giving it away" give me a buzz, I will buy it and install it in one of my QRP rigs.

Great job on the detective work!

paul


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on February 15, 2012, 06:19:13 AM
Thanks Paul.  Yes, the Pico keyer has a very teensy knob and is difficult to adjust with any accuracy.  I have some extra knobs laying around here and will try to slip one over this little one.  Now I just need to build upon my ancient CW skills with the P6 key; I have only used straight keys in the past.  Thanks again for everyone's help and suggestions.  73.  Bill


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: K3STX on February 15, 2012, 08:03:05 AM
The memories are also great. I program a CQ into mine, have not changed it in years. (although now I normally use a bug for ragchewing.

I think a bigger knob will make you happier.

paul


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W2UP on March 10, 2012, 07:17:03 AM
I've used many keyers over the years and my favorite is the Island Keyer II by Jackson harbor Press.  It has more features and memories than you'll know what to do with and the price is great.


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: W3OWL on March 11, 2012, 06:12:09 AM
Thanks for the suggestions on the Island Keyer.  I'll do a little research.  I added a larger knob on the Pico Keyer, but I still don't like this little keyer that much.  Overly complicated menu; if I make a mistake and miss the function I want, then I must run through everything again.  Speed control is very touchy, going from slow....fast....faster....faster.... then is starts slowing down again as it reaches full clockwise rotation.  However, I am making some real progress with relearning my ancient CW skills, so you may hear me on the bands soon, but probably with a different keyer.  TNX. Bill. W3OWL


Title: RE: Keyer Suggestions
Post by: PA0BLAH on March 11, 2012, 09:36:34 AM
Please excuse my American English, it is hard to decipher, somebody wrote on this website recently, and it is not your hamspirit to decipher it but my hamspirit to try you give the advice you asked for.

Buy a 8 pin DIL chip K12 from K1EL he charges you 5 bucks for it and you are all sat.

The circuits and the manual are available for free on his website. It has possibilities to correct delays (shorting) of dits and dashes at the start of a transmission. and the like.

You can key positive and negative keyed transmitters, also vacuum tube keyed ones.

You can build the chip in your tranceiver or make a separate keyer. There are memories which include escape sequences for commands. And a wide selection of keying modes are available, including of course iambic A and B.

Bob