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Author Topic: USB CW interface for contest logging programs  (Read 5584 times)
AF5CC
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Posts: 813




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« on: March 19, 2013, 07:09:55 AM »

Is there a simple, inexpensive interface to go between a USB port and the CW jack on a radio to allow contest logging programs like N1MM and NA to be used as a memory keyer?

John AF5CC
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N4UM
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Posts: 449




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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 07:44:30 AM »

Yes, first you'll need a usb to serial port adapter and then you'll need a cable connecting the serial port adapter  to the rig's key jack.  K1NU used to sell them but I think he may have stopped.  You can order one from N3FJP.  I forget who makes the ones that K3FJP sells. 
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N7SMI
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 10:37:59 AM »

WinKeyer USB - http://www.k1el.com/ I think this is pretty much the standard contest keyer. Easily set up with N1MM or pretty much any other contesting software.
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K3TN
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 02:58:23 AM »

I also recommend K1EL's Winkeyer. If you want something more general purpose, W3YY has a board kit that is a nice interface for CW and FSK keying  - look here.
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John K3TN
AB3CX
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 01:39:57 PM »

I use a West Mountain RigBlaster
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ZL1BBW
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 02:37:22 AM »

After a bit of thought, I ordered and built the winkeyer, its the best x dollars that I have ever spent.  Use N1MM with it straight off, very little messing about.  Getting used to a all keyboard operation takes a bit of doing, but its a real revolution. Smiley
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
N2IW
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 10:40:21 AM »

If you want to spend $78 for a Winkey keyer, and you can solder, you can make a cable with just a 1k register a 2n2222 a DB9 connector an audio connector and an USB-RS232 adapter of course. I use a cable just like this, if your computer is fast enough, it will work pretty well.

The circuit can be found in N1MM manual. Some USB-RS232 adapter make a lot noise, I use a Keyspan USA-19HS, it is very quiet and stable, but if you use your contest log software in a VM like me, it is a little bit tricky, you can use VirtualBox, you have to use Parallels Desktop ( I haven't try VMWare yet, so I don't know if VMWare will work or not )
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NQ3X
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 07:00:03 PM »

RigBlaster Plug-n-play here.  CW, rig control, and digital modes all in one box.  Works fine with N1MM, which is all I use.

Caveat: It does not do true FSK, only AFSK. 

73 de Bob WP2XX
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K8GU
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 06:18:42 AM »

Another vote for both the WKUSB from K1EL and the serial/parallel port transistor/resistor keying circuit described by N2IW.  I used the simple circuit for many years with DOS-based logging software.  I've never used it with Windows, but I know a number of people who have.  The WKUSB is nice if you are accustomed to sending with the paddles frequently because the speed tracks the memory/software keying speed. 

I now use the YCCC SO2R+ for my contest keyer (which has K1EL functionality) and keep the WKUSB around for Field Day and backup.
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N0IU
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 03:59:20 AM »

You don't say what kind of computer you are using, but I have a "vintage" PC (meaning its more than 5 years old!) that still has PCI slots and I put in a PCI card with 2 serial ports. (I use 1 for CW and the other for FSK RTTY) The last time I checked, Newegg had them for $10. The "interface" for CW uses just one general purpose NPN transistor and one 1k ohm resistor that was built "dead bug" style directly on the back of a DB9 connector and easily fits into the shell.

Here is a link to a graphic with the schematic: http://docs.win-test.com/w/images/f/fa/Schema_COM_InterfaceCW.gif

Yes, it does work with N1MM!
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