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Author Topic: CW Keying Interface  (Read 1407 times)
KM5PS
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« on: April 13, 2009, 08:01:49 PM »

I am trying to find a Interface cable or make one so that I can use my Bencher paddles along with my logging software. I am currently using N1MM, CT and N3FJP logging software. My Radio only has one CW jack in the back. So currently when using the logging software I have to either use only the program or only my Paddles with my internal Keyer. I also have a couple of MFJ memory keyers but that are not working no longer. That is what I was using along with my logging software for an external Keyer. I would like to be able to use my Bencher Paddles along with my logging software but have not figured out yet how to do that, so I thought that I would come here and ask for some advice. I have seen one Interface from the TRLog website-Model 3 but do not know if it is talking about a external electronic keyer or being able to use my current Keyer. I would greatly appreciate any advice on this issue.
73's
John-KM5PS
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K8GU
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 01:19:38 PM »

TR has a built-in software keyer that lets you plug the paddles into the computer.  That's an option; but, the timing is difficult if you're using a multi-tasking OS like Windows to do anything but run TR.

What kind of radio are you using?  If you only have one jack, I assume its behavior is software-defined as either "straight key" or "iambic/electronic" mode.  In that case, you cannot share the key jack in real-time.  Your options are to find/install another key line in the radio or get an external keyer.  
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KM5PS
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 06:04:31 PM »

K8GU-I have and Icom 737A.  I also posted this message in the CW Forum , and got a suggestion on buying a WinKey USB Kit. So I have went ahead and ordered one of these kits. It looks like it does exactly what I need. I have been using a external Memory keyer for Contesting but both of my MFJ -490 are on the blink. Got tired of messing with them and thought there had to be another way around this. So I hope that the Winkey will do the job. Thanks for your input on this.

73's
John-KM5PS
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AB3CX
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 08:22:48 AM »

John,

    I use N3FJP and will tell you what you need to do. You will need an interface for keying between your computer and the rig CW jack on the rear panel. There are several ways to do it. One way is to use a cable between the paralell port of your computer and the rear keying jack on your rig. Be sure to check the HELP menu in N3FJP's  main logging program. If you use the general logger, the explanations and how to set up the cable are in there. N3FJP even sells a ready made cable but it costs $50. Most people probably do not do it that way. I use a Rigblaster Interface. If your computer has two serial ports, you are all set; use one serial port for rig control, and the other for CW Keying and for PSK/RTTY control via the Rigblaster. In my case, I have one computer serial port only. I therefore bought a simple USB to serial convertor for the Rigblaster ($4 on eBay), and use the serial port for rig control. From the Rigblaster, there is a CW out jack, and a standard 3 conductor mini plug cable runs from there to the rig rear CW jack. In your rig menu, the rear jack must be configured for straight key, which is very important. There are various configuring steps for the ports you will need to set up to be compatible with the Rigblaster and the Rig, but the manuals will tell you what you need to set the RTS/DTR settings to. You don't need a RigBlaster, other home made or commercial interfaces can do the same thing.
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W5DQ
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2009, 04:16:19 PM »

It's called a "Y" cable or splitter. 2 inputs and 1 output. No harm in paralleling the 2 keying circuits since you're only supplying a ground to key the xmitter.

Solder the an appropriate size inline jack connector (probably 1/8" or 1/4") to the ends of two short 2-conductor cables. Then solder the 2 cables in parallel to an appropriate plug (usually 1/4" for CW key). Plug digital interface into one inline jack, plug keyer into other jack, and plug the plug into the rig's CW key port. You can then do keyboard CW and hand fills with keyer. Or use either alone or together however you want or need.

Should cost less than $10 if you have to buy all the parts otherwise it could be free if you have a well stocked junk box. You do have a junk box, right?

Do it yourself, save money and take pride in your work! It's called homebrewing and hams have been doing for decades.
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
W5DQ
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2009, 04:19:33 PM »

One other thing I forgot to mention .... this only works for regular 2 conductor keying. If you're trying to key with paddles into the rig and us and internal keyer, won't work. This sort of setup is exactly how I use my digital/keyer into my TS-940S CW port.

Gene
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
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