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Author Topic: Nature of keyed output to the transmitter  (Read 4562 times)
WA8JNM
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Posts: 172




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« on: March 27, 2014, 04:01:21 PM »

I would appreciate some clarity as to the nature of the output of an electronic keyer. My regular keyer died, so I pulled out my old Logitech K3.  The output jack on the keyer to the transmitter clearly is designed for two wires only.  Used with my Flex 5K (and I clearly have somehow messed up the cabling), BOTH sides of the paddle produce only "dahs" and no "dits" on the air, despite the fact that the sidetone from the keyed sounds fine.

It makes me realize that I don't understand the nature of a keyer output. Looking at various keyers on the web, it appears some are built for three wire output, and some for only two wire output.  On the other end, it appears that some transmitters require a three conductor input, and some only a two conductor input. Can anyone enlighten me?

By the way, be advised that a keyer whose sidetone which makes perfect CW, but which is miswired to produce all "dah's" from the transmitter, substantially reduces the number of QSO's.  :-)
 
Thanks,

Dave
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 04:06:21 PM »

The **output** of an electronic keyer is two wires, key and ground. It looks to the transmitter just like a straight key.
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KI6LZ
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Posts: 586




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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 04:13:55 PM »

3 wire input to radio means radio has built in keyer and does not need external keyer. My keyer has 2 ouputs. 1 to gnd and 1 to either side of a stereo plug. If using external keyer make sure you disable internal keyer, by making it a straight key.
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KI5WW
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 07:19:52 PM »

Every now and then i dust off and smoke test the old TS520. And it hasnt failed in 38 years. But i like to use a twin paddle key. So i found out years ago that i needed a keyer that supported Grid keying. Many new ones dont. Years ago i bought a mfj 401 keyer. It will key anything. It has a Direct and Grid key jack in the back. The reviews on the 401 arent very good. But mines been fine.  But now i see your rig is a flex so this may be a wasted post. But here goes anyhow. Direct works for my newer radios but the 520 needs grid. Good luck.
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WA8JNM
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Posts: 172




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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 08:11:26 PM »

All, thanks much. Problem solved, thanks to you guys. The Flex was expecting to use it's internal keyer, because I had inadvertently checked Iambic, onscreen. I unchecked Iambic, which apparently told the Flex to disable its internal keyer and to expect a straight key (or external keyer) input. Now the external keyer works fine.

Before the problem was solved, I several times tried to answer a CQ, and the keyer sidetone sounded fine. The caller was strong enough that he most certainly heard me. Yet no response, and more than once the caller changed frequency. I even went out in the woods to check the antenna. Now I realize that despite the good CW sidetone from the external keyer, I was just smothering him with a long string of dahs. He must have assumed intentional QRM. It wasn't until I turned on a second receiver that I realized what I was transmitting. Whoever it was, sorry!
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W8MW
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Posts: 326




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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2014, 05:28:06 PM »

Let this be the worst radio crime you ever do.  Remain calm and carry on.

73 Mike W8MW
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KI6LZ
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2014, 06:40:41 PM »

Very odd the keyer sidetone sounded fine, Flex needs to work on that one.
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WA8JNM
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Posts: 172




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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 06:49:04 AM »

As I think about it, I also may have had the cable from the keyer to the Flex wired wrong, as well as erroneously having checked the "iambic" button on the pandadapter.

But, I am still puzzled about the design of the Flex 5000 CW jack input, which is used for both a straight key or an external keyer. It is a stereo jack. The manual says that the tip, ring, and sleeve are all used when inputing an external keyer, but the ring is not connected if using a straight key.

As indicated earlier by someone in this thread, I thought that an external keyer output always looks identical to that of a straight key to the transmitter. Indeed the keyer output for each of  the two external keyers I own provides an output jack for two conductors only.

So, I still don't understand what the Flex input is doing, since it requires only two conductors to be used for a straight key, but three conductors from an external keyer.

Can someone explain this?
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AE5QB
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2014, 08:08:22 AM »

Very odd the keyer sidetone sounded fine, Flex needs to work on that one.

I think he meant the sidetone was being generated by the keyer itself and not the flex radio.  In that case the keyer was probably putting out a very nice sidetone.
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W8MW
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Posts: 326




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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2014, 09:36:34 AM »

The manual says that the tip, ring, and sleeve are all used when inputing an external keyer, but the ring is not connected if using a straight key. Can someone explain this?

Not me if that is exactly what the manual says.  Any chance there is a built-in keyer?  Then it would make sense.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2014, 09:45:53 AM »

Whoever wrote the manual didn't know what he was talking about. Any keyer requires the radio to be configured to use a straight key. A few radios do the configuration automatically by sensing the state of the ring during power-up. If the ring is grounded during power-up then the radio assumes that you have a standard plug (sleeve and tip only) connected and turns off it's internal keyer. If the ring is not grounded then it assumes you have a 3-wire connection with a paddle and it turns on the keyer. Of course this only works if you have your key or keyer connected (with the proper connector) before turning on the radio.


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WA8JNM
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Posts: 172




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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2014, 09:53:37 AM »

MW:

There is indeed an internal keyer in the Flex, which I don't use.  As I understand it, it is switched off in the Flex 5000 when the "iambic" box is not checked in the software, which I have taken pains not to check.  So, why do the 3 conductor connections required for an external keyer as stated in the Flex manual for the CW jack input make sense, as I described above, if I am using an EXTERNAL keyer, rather than a straight key?  Isn't the output of the external keyer, and for all external keyers, to the transmitter, just made of two conductors? I really don't understand the required cabling from the external keyer to the Flex 5000.  I think that confusion was the source of the original problem.  That, and I had initially not disabled the internal keyer.

Dave
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WA8JNM
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 10:07:46 AM »

PB:

We posted simultaneously.  Thanks for the comment.

This confusion for me is more than mere curiosity.  The Flex 5000 with an external keyer has worked fine for me for years. But I got it in my head to buy a new external keyer, and now I can't remember the cabling combination I earlier had used.

I don't mean to take up too much bandwidth here.  Perhaps a Flex group is a better place to dialogue.  But the general info I am learning here about the typical cabling of an external keyer to any rig is helpful.

Dave
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W8MW
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2014, 10:46:11 AM »

What I meant to say Dave is it would make sense that the Flex wants to see tip, ring and sleeve if it has a built in keyer.  I agree with PB that the writer screwed up and should have said all 3 plug combos are used when inputting a paddle ... not an external keyer.

73 Mike W8MW
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AA4PB
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2014, 11:03:16 AM »

I just read the Flex 5000 manual. I think the writer is (mistakenly) calling a paddle a keyer.
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