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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | NorCal QRP Club Keyer Help


Reviews Summary for NorCal QRP Club Keyer
Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $$15.50
Description: Neat little iambic keyer with streight key and bug mode, memories, etc that
fits in an Altoids box
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.norcalqrp.org/nckeyer.htm
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N2UHC Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2012 15:21 Send this review to a friend
Great little keyer chip  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don't know how many of these Norcal keyers I've got. I've put them into QRP radios, made standalone keyers with them, and use one in my 10 meter beacon. These keyers are easy to build and easy to use, and good keyers for the price.

The Norcal kits are no longer available, however you can buy the chips from Jackson Harbor Press. Just download the keyer schematic from the Norcal site, get all the parts you'll need, and build one from scratch.

Jackson Harbor also has a similar chip, the PK4, which is completely interchangeable with the Norcal chip and has the same pinout. The PK4 has a few more features but the menu system is more complicated than the Norcal chip. Either way you'll have a good keyer.
 
K3MD Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2010 16:45 Send this review to a friend
Fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Found kit in the bottom of one of my boxes 2 days ago, got it together, works FB. If I can put it together, it is an easy kit! Extremely cute unit, put it in a plastic box that used to hold screws from Lowe's. Interesting way of sending the 3 memories. Not available any more according to website. Draws 1.5 nanoamps when inactive... you don't need an on/off switch!
 
KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2009 05:01 Send this review to a friend
easy to assemble, a pleasure to use  Time owned: more than 12 months
Quality board, very easy to assemble, operationally is great and many features to learn. The thing missing is that it requires an additional CW keying adapter such as the keyall by Jackson Harbor Press to drive the vacuum tube transmitters and transceivers of yesteryear.
 
KG0WX Rating: 4/5 Jan 8, 2007 06:22 Send this review to a friend
Works great but what about weight adjustment?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I think I got mine in the most compact container of all - a "mints" container from Walgreens. No, this is NOT an Altoid's tin - it's much smaller with dimensions overall about 20% bigger than a 9v battery. Still, I got the pc board, key jack, pushbutton switch & wires inside. I have an external pigtail for the 9v battery but I'm using a TT2 transmitter so I might take power from the key line instead in the future.

I'll save a pic of the installation in my Yahoo! Briefcase so if you want a copy, email me at my call at yahoo dot com.

The keyer has plenty of features but the best part is how the commands go IE: if you want to send mem 3, just hit the menu button. PAH (Pres and hold) the same button then tap it puts you in BE (Beacon) mode - a tap of the paddles starts a loop playback of mem's 1 & 2. Nice.

They include a mini pushbutton switch but I didn't use it - I had a few micro tactile buttons on hand (like what comes in small toys - about the size of a transistor). Saved mucho space!

The only thing I'd like to see is a weight adjustment. I suppose I could put it into bug mode for that but it's not quite what I want. Oh well - it's still a great keyer for the money.

One other caveat - shipping time - The Norcal website advises that your order will be filled 1-2 weeks after they get your payment. They are not kidding! I ordered with paypal on 12/17 and got the keyer on 1-6 (with a postmark of 1-3). Why they take so long is a mystery but I'll betcha they get lots of "where's my order?" e-mails. Don't worry - they might be a tad sluggish but you will get your order.

Overall, a great deal.

Ken KG0WX
 
KI6AZS Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2005 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Wow, This Thing Really Works Well!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Built this in a couple of days, and I must say, for it's size and simplicity, it sure is loaded with features! It has 3 memories of 40 characters each, and various menu options like Iambic Mode, Bug Mode, Speed Adjust, Reverse Paddles, and more. The web site makes a big deal about installing it in an Altoids box. Unless you are really handy with electronic kit construction or are a sado-masochist, I don't recommend going this route. Get a regular kit box for $5 from your electronics supplier. The box I used was more than 2X the size of an Altoid box, and it was all I can do to stuff all the wires and whatnot in IT! As it was, I had to leave out the battery, and put it on top of the box, as I couldn't fit it properly inside. What you get when you're finished (and this kit is really easy to build), is a well thought out keyer that no one on the air will be able to tell is a $16 kit. BTW, they sent me the wrong filter capacitors -- 104's instead of 103's. I got the right ones from the electronics store -- an extra $5.
 
NS6Y_ Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2005 19:25 Send this review to a friend
Looks like a winner!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I built this this afternoon for a little rainy-day kit fun, and although I tried my best to kill it, it survived! This has very few parts, but I still managed to get the battery backwards due to some dislexic interpretation of the battery holder I used. The 78L05 regulator gets really hot when you do that by the way! I got that streightened out and it works FB now. There's room for it, a 9V battery and holder, and room to spare for the mono and stereo jack, pushbutton, and hole(s) for the little speaker too, in a standard Altoids box. Try the licorice ones, they're good! This thing has something like 4 memories and many more neat modes and cool tricks.

In building it, it's pretty easy, there are really very few parts. There's one brown 103 capacitor though, that has to go into the C4 position and I advise you install that one first, then the blue one that's a 104, then the other blue ones that are all 103's. They advise using pins/sockets instead of soldering all the wires directly to the board, and I agree! When I realized I had the batt. voltage backwards, it was easy to unplug and re-plug the wires, and I find the speaker that comes with it is a little quiet, I may want to try a different one, and the plug/socket system makes changes like this simple. I used high-reliability IC pins, that are gold lined, and you can either solder those into the board and just tin the wires and plug them in, or solder pins onto the ends of the wires too and plug those in.

All the keyer kits I've seen are about $40 and up, and seem to be for the most part larger and bulkier. This one's much less and is truly pocket-sized. I'd say it's worth a try!
 


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