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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | K1EL WinKey CW Keyer Help

Reviews Summary for K1EL WinKey CW Keyer
K1EL WinKey CW Keyer Reviews: 17 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $30
Description: WinKey brings high functionality, fully featured Morse keying to logging applications. Although designed for Windows-based software implementation, WinKey can add value to all logging programs regardless of operating system or platform. Can also be used as a stand-alone keyer.
Product is in production.
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KI4BBL Rating: 5/5 Jun 15, 2005 19:34 Send this review to a friend
Unparalled customer service!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Put this kit together with little to no hassle in about 30 minutes. I have two young children so I only get about that long to play ham. I hooked the keyer up to the ts 520 and got nothing but carrier tone. Fiddled a little but knew that Steve K1EL would answer any questions so off to the reflector I went. Not more than five hours after posting, I got an email from Steve telling me to change out the output transistor and that the 530 is not the right key bias (although there are additional circuit diagrams available from his site to make it work.) I also wired the pot wrong from the get go and had to send it back to Steve to fix. A week turnaround. Awesome stuff. I now have it hooked to a ts 930 in anticipation of contest season. Works like a dream in regular qso's.
GM0ELP Rating: 5/5 May 5, 2005 12:45 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Kit  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Ordering was a breeze, kit arrived promptly, all parts were present including a very detailed manual. Building the kit took about an hour, plugged it into computer and after the usual fight with windows got it working with the DXLAB suite of tools (winwarbler). Also got it working with SD (similar to CT). Since then it has completed 4 contests without a hitch. I can't believe anyone could give this product less than a 5 as it's such good value for money. I know that a key will interface directly to the computer serial port but then you are relying on the computer to not lower the keys priority and go and scan the hard drive instead, leading to intolerable delays. The winkey incorporates sufficient buffering to smooth these wrinkles out. The result is a smooth keyer with as many memories as your computer software can throw at it. Money well spent! You will not be disappointed.

Douglas Maxwell
W9OY Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2004 13:34 Send this review to a friend
Contest Saver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The 160M contest had already started, the sun was going down and the band was coming alive. I was dying to try out the new antenna I finished putting up the day before. I hit the key and NADA came out of my trusty old Logikey.

I had built the winkey a few months ago, but since I had the Logikey keyer all set up I didn't really use the Winkey much. The only winkey interface I had was N1MM's software, and it was too much hassle to load all that up just to get the winkey running for casual use. N4PY had recently added Winkey support to his radio control software, and since I run N4PY's software, I turned the "winkey" support on from the preferences panel.

I loaded up the memories in the software, and had at it in the contest. The keyer worked flawlessly. Perfect code. It was as easy to use and reliable. It took a little to get used to keying the memories from the keyboard instead of from the 4 buttons on my paddle, but once I got the hang of that it was smooth sailing. I use the Winkey with a USB serial port without a hitch. Many programs now support Winkey including N4PY and N1MM. I still like batting the paddle instead of using a keyboard, and winkey gives me both options. The kit went together in less than an hour, and I like having a knob to turn to control the speed, although N4PY provides a slider on the computer that gives you the same option.

Without my winkey I would have been stuck trying to run the contest with a sideswiper, not a pretty picture in a land where the big guns are pounding out their 5nn's at 50 per.

Bottom line: New Antenna, not too bad: Winkey, super.


NI0C Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2004 11:44 Send this review to a friend
Everything I ever wanted in a keyer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I always wanted to try keyboard cw, but didn't want to clutter my operating position with a stand-alone keyboard. This little jewel provides the following features:

*manual CW with paddles
*Keyboard sending (character or line output)
*standard messages (stored by your logging program) sent at the click of a mouse

All this from a $30.00 kit (you provide your own enclosure). Power is obtained from your computer serial port.

My keyer is controlled by DXBASE 2005 on a small HP laptop with Windows Me. I'm using a Belkin F5U409 USB to serial Adaptor. It all plays perfectly.

After assembling the WinKey kit, I had some problems getting it to work with my logging program and didn't know if I had a hardware or software problem. It turns out the serial port on my laptop was not working (hence my need for the USB/Serial adaptor). I received patient and courteous help from both Steve, K1EL, and Jack,AA4LU, (Scientific Solutions, DXBASE) in troubleshooting this problem. I'd recommend this wonderful keyer and the DXBASE 2005 logging software to CW ops who want it all.

K5WW Rating: 3/5 Mar 8, 2004 13:33 Send this review to a friend
Good product, but...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For once I have to agree with ON5ZO: it's truly unbelievable. Not just the product, but also the problems I had getting it running.

The keyer is fantastic, and for the price K1EL sells it I know you can't buy all the parts and make the PCB yourself.

However I had two "slightly" irritating problems with it.

The first one was that upon arrival of the kit I discovered that two identical transistors were missing. After a not exactly totally pleasant Email exchange with K1EL he promptly sent them to me.

The second problem was that after the completion of the kit the thing didn't work (he has test and demo software on his website). I went over my work half a dozen times but couldn't find anything wrong. Another Email to K1EL, and in his reply he told me that the assembly instructions were wrong! The instructions say that if you get transistor "A" instead of the original "Z" in your package then you should rotate "A" 180 degrees. It turns out the PCB had been redesigned but the manual hadn't been updated. Duh. So much for following instructions.

The finished product is great value. If you're serious about CW contesting and have problems sending 40 WPM then this is a must-have. Read the manual before you get started though. Or maybe: don't read it ;-)


Gert - K5WW
W0NFU Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2003 13:33 Send this review to a friend
Great tool for the CW operator  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned the WinKey module for about 6 weeks now & I haven't been able to detect any logic errors within its programming. The only negative - if I had to dig up one - is that when my Win/NT machine powers up, it must be sending 2 burst of signals which the WinKey sees and lets go with 2 moments of keydown.

The command interface is easy to use. Since I received it, I've developed software for the Sweepstakes contest, normal rag-chewing, and now I'm developing an OCX to facilitate further applications.

Great work Steve
Larry WNFU
ON5ZO Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2003 07:02 Send this review to a friend
Unbelievable!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Steve K1EL has made an incedible product that he sells at an unbelievable price! This keyer is quite an inovative concept, as it accepts ASCII strings from computer software by RS-232, rather than being triggered by logical voltage levels. I suggest you read the manual for a more in depth exlanation.

The keyer comes as a kit, with all parts and PCB provided. You only have to put it in a suitable housing. The kit was complete and can be assembled in half an hour, only modest soldering skills are requiered. If you pay attention, it'll be OK.

If you power WinKey with a battery, you can use it without PC. If you attach it to your computer, you'll need no extra power supply: it gets power from the serial port. Of course you'll need the right software that supports WinKey, or write your own. There is info for programmers on the K1EL website, as wel as a complete free sample program.

I use WinKey with N1MMLogger, to my knowledge (correct me if I'm wrong) the first contest logging software that offers complete support to go with WinKey. Do I like it? You bet! The software and WinKey work nicely together and it sends CW just fine. You can hook WinKey to your PC, connect your favourite paddle and off you go: nice CW, speed is adjustable with a potmeter (also included in the kit!).


* innovative concept
* good quality and all parts provided
* CHEAP yet VERY good
* very good service from Steve K1EL
* complete and clear manual as well as assembling instructions
* no stuttering or hesitation when sending CW (largely depending of the software you use I guess)
* also has PTT output

I already was very enthousiastic about K1EL's K-9 keyer, and I'm very happy with this WinKey keyer. If you want to write your own software but are facing problems with CW keying, WinKey is the way to go. This is one great piece of hardware!

- Franki ON5ZO
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