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Author Topic: Best Voice Keyer?  (Read 4215 times)
K2OWR
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Posts: 36




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« on: February 03, 2010, 06:54:11 AM »

:::: I'm looking for suggestions on a good reliable outboard voice keyer for contesting that sounds good, and does not freak out around lots of rf. I need only simple functions and nothing real expensive.
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KF6A
Member

Posts: 225




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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 10:36:23 PM »

I've never used an outboard voice keyer. If you're contesting I assume you're logging with a computer. You can buy a relatively inexpensive sound card interface that can act as a voice keyer and that is what I use. It also gives me the added ability to use the digital modes if I want to. N1MM has a VK built into it (you still need a sound card interface) although I use a free program called "voice keyer".
« Last Edit: February 05, 2010, 10:28:49 PM by Dan » Logged
KU4UV
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Posts: 437




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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 12:57:07 AM »

I have never used one, but Unified Microsystems makes a voice keyer that should be pretty bullet proof.  I have built a soundcard interface kit from Unified Microsystems and always had good support when I had a question, plus the kit worked great.  I am seriously thinking about purchasing their voice keyer.  Just my thoughts.

73,
KU4UV
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KS2G
Member

Posts: 795




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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2010, 03:16:58 PM »

Look around for an old MFJ-432.
Simple and effective.
Been using one ever since they came out -- several thousand contest QSOs each year.
However, early versions were prone to problems with RF saturation frying some internal diodes.
That was cured with Version 2B.
So be sure that's the one you get.
Version numbers are silk-screening on the circuit board.
Good luck.
73,
Mel - KS2G
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K2OWR
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 09:04:59 AM »

After lots of research, and my own personal experience with a rigblaster a few years ago, I settled on the signalink USB device. It has lots of advantages over most of the others, such as a built in soundcard that helps you avoid all the quirky nonsense with internal boards under windows control. It is also relatively bulletproof in terms of RFI, and requires nothing more than plugging in your normal microphone, then plugging it into your radio.

Frankly I cannot see any advantage to the units costing $250 or more, most with a specific number of memories and controls. The Signalink USB was a clear choice for me.
Thanks all who responded.
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N0UY
Member

Posts: 167




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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 10:24:12 AM »

vocal cords work ok in most conditions
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K3AN
Member

Posts: 787




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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2010, 06:57:54 PM »

I wonder if in CW contests N0UY sends his callsign and the exchange info without a CW memory keyer. To each his own, I guess.

In this day and age of computers in the shack, I don't know why anyone still needs an outboard voice keyer. WAV files stored on the hard drive and put out by the sound card work just fine. The files can be created and manipulated as needed using Audacity, a fantastic freeware program.

Suggestion: Use the same mic to record the WAV files as you'll be using during the contest.
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K2OWR
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2010, 07:13:17 AM »

No serious contestor can compete without the aid of the digital devices either for CW or Phone.

As to using the computer sound card without an outboard device.....have you ever tried it? Believe me it is not a simple matter of connecting your pc audio to the mic jack. Typically, without some sort of interface to properly couple and isolate the grounds, it will hum, be subject to lots of rfi if you use an amplifier, and the likelihood of distortion and splatter is very high.

I don't operate like that and try to put out the cleanest signal I can. I had been hoping that the many people who contest and read this forum would provide me with the answer to some of my questions about an interface. If you have any advice, other than telling me it's a simple matter of just hooking the pc to the radio, please tell me.
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N0UY
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Posts: 167




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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2010, 10:52:09 AM »

I guess my comment touched a nerve with a few of you fellows.

Of course I use an electronic keyer and a paddle. I’ve been known to use the computer to send some of the common contest exchanges thru the N3FJP software also.  But I always have the station set up to do it manually as well.  Anyone who has worked me can assure you that I send manually much of the time.  There is no way a computer could make all those mistakes.

I feel that contesting has gotten way too automated.  Just my opinion for whatever that’s worth.  I will never achieve any record setting scores but it won’t be from the lack of effort.  It is the effort part that I enjoy the most and what keeps me involved in contesting in the first place.  I am a member of the Minnesota Wireless Assn. and like many of you on this site, many of the members think I’m a bit of a dinosaur.  Heck I’m only 55 now so I would imagine as I grow older it probably isn’t going to change.

Enjoy this hobby while you can.  Life is too short for most of us.

Ray
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K3AN
Member

Posts: 787




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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 07:13:48 AM »

K2OWR, I have an outboard interface device to connect the sound card jacks to my radio. But my homebrew device doesn't store the voice messages. It just provides the necessary DC isolation, audio path switching, and level controls.
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K2OWR
Member

Posts: 36




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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2010, 07:02:53 AM »

Can you tell me more about your HB device? I'd love to just build my own, but every time I do, it just hums and doesn't match well.
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