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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | HamGadgets MasterKeyer MK-1 Help

Reviews Summary for HamGadgets MasterKeyer MK-1
HamGadgets MasterKeyer MK-1 Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $169.00
Description: The MasterKeyer MK-1 breaks new ground both in features and in ease of operation. Six multi-color, LED illuminated pushbuttons give instant access to stored messages any of five banks -- that's 30 messages in all, over 7500 total characters. Changing colors tell you whether a message is being sent or recorded. A large, smooth operating, machined aluminum speed control knob is used to set the speed within whatever range you decide. The smooth, sine-wave sidetone lets you hear what you're doing at all times. Of course it can be muted, or turned up with the rear panel mounted volume control for room-filling sound - ideal for code training and practice sessions. Commands to change options and messages can be sent from your paddle, or plug into your computer's USB port for easy, text-based setup!

The latest low-power embedded microcontroller technology is used to give you the features you want, with the ease of operation you need. Advanced operating modes such as message pause, auto-repeat (beacon), QRSS and HSCW are a snap -- and with future firmware upgrades, even more features are just a quick (and free) upgrade away.

Of course the MasterKeyer can be used as a top-quality, fully featured stand-alone keyer, with no computer or keyboard. All the operating features you expect, and some you may not, are built in and ready to use. The built-in USB capability can add a whole new dimension to your operating! The USB host connector can be used to load new updates directly from a USB FLASH drive, without using a computer. You can also save all operating parameters and memory contents to a FLASH drive, so you don't risk accidentally losing your settings. Edit the simple text file if you wish to suit your exact needs. The ability to save and load the entire configuration makes this keyer perfect for clubs and contest stations!
Product is in production.
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KE1R Rating: 5/5 Jun 13, 2011 23:07 Send this review to a friend
Innovative keyer  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Over the years I have used a number of CW keys and keyers but the HamGadgets MK-1 is far above anything out there. Very programmable, plenty of memory, store your settings and download any frimware fixes. Control from a key, a dedicated keyboard, or from your computer. Detailed manual and great customer service from Dale, N0XAS, who developed the MK-1. If you like to use CW you will love the MK-1.
S57WJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2011 00:51 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The purpose of buying the MK1 keyer was the Winkey function. Since this is the only keyer on the market, by my knowledge, that does not require external keyboard or numeric pad for standalone operation, the choice was easy.

I got this keyer about one week ago and started to test it and get familiar with its functions. Although I have read the manual before, it was necessary to open it and search for help. The manual is carefully written.

I have found some bugs during the testing and checking. I was upset about the improper function of Winkey in combination with N1MM logging program. The keyer had the latest firmware 1.30 and obviously had some bugs. I have sent my observations to Dale, N0XAS and after two days I got answers and the new fixed firmware.

What else need to say? The keyer is well designed with lot of features and Dale cares about proper function of it. Dale, keep up the good work and let sound CW excellent!
SM5HUA Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2010 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Worlds best keyer?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got my MasterKeyer MK-1 a few days back and it is truly breathtaking to operate it! I've had tons of different keyers during my 33 years as ham, last few years using a LogiKey K5. Nothing comes close to the smoothness and ease to operate as the MK-1.

Iambic-B wich always has been a problem for me with the damn timing, works perfect now. Lots different options in the keyer and I am truly speechless and overwelmed.

Not forgetting the excellen support and kindness from Dale when asking questions.

A very satisfied customer!

73s de Peter SM5HUA
EI7BA Rating: 5/5 Mar 11, 2010 14:01 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Keyers and Paddles are like a disease... I have some really good keyers.. LogiKit CMOS-3 and CMOS-4, Palm Cube, XT4, K1EL WinKeyer etc. ('See what I mean about a "disease") Anyway, I read the QST review, and persuaded myself that I needed yet another Keyer. It arrived about a week ago, and I really love it. It seems to have all the best features of my other keyers, some good new features (e.g.Back up your settings on a USB stick), and the quality and finish is superb.
I still haven't got to grips with all of it's features, but I'm having great fun working it all out. I had a slightly guilty feeling after ordering it, as I was finding it hard to justify parting with the cash. However, after about five minutes using it, I KNEW I had made the correct decision.
N6HE Rating: 5/5 Jan 22, 2010 12:16 Send this review to a friend
Fabulous Keyer and Support  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is one sweet keyer! I've used many of them over the years, and there's none better. The manual is excellent, And Dale, N0AXS, has been great at answering my "How do I ..." emails very quickly and has answered every question completely.

Others have, I see, cataloged all the great features, so I won't do that here. I love them all. My favorite: being able to record messages into the keyer's memory through a USB connection to my computer; now THAT's cool!

It does EVERYTHING I could possibly want, and "keyer wish list" is all in this unit. Being flash-upgradable is so neat!

Thanks, Dale, for your contribution to my enjoyment of our hobby!

Ray N6HE
VA3OL Rating: 5/5 Jan 20, 2010 08:48 Send this review to a friend
Great produce AND service  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is the first keyer that I have ever used that allows me to do it all! Memories (way to many for me to use), straight key, paddles, keyboard!, usb upgradeable, computer interface, AND the service is typically American - Great!
Dale actually listens to what customers tell him and issues a new release of the software that you can upgrade via a USB memory stick.

Thanks Dale!

I should add that I sent an email to Dale about 30 minutes ago with a minor problem.... As I was writing this he responded! Now that is Service.
K5END Rating: 5/5 Jan 11, 2010 11:40 Send this review to a friend
A step up  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought mine at Dayton 2009 and enjoy using it. I can only compare it to the K5, as that is the only other external keyer I have owned. So, for about the same purchase price the MK-1 is far and away better. Now, what I really like the most is the customer service at HamGadgets, including the software/firmware upgrades. I wish all vendors were this user friendly. This company gets an "A+" in my book.
K5PA Rating: 5/5 Dec 30, 2009 08:08 Send this review to a friend
Phenomenal/Top Shelf  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The MK-1 Master Keyer is a phenomenal dual paddle keyer with all the features you would expect in this top of the line unit. In a few fun filled hours I was able to program the keyer with text messages, load drivers for use with the computer, interface to Windows programs for use with MixW, and use an external keyboard.

One really cool feature is loading all setup parameters on a USB thumb drive that permits multiple operators to store their personal menus including call sign, memory text, etc.; this would be very important for club operations and contests where you have multiple operators wanting to save their keyer information.

This is such a fine looking unit on the outside, I just had to open the keyer chassis up to view the construction quality and materials used. Sure enough, the keyer looks as good on the inside as outside. The chassis is 'extremely' well made with high tolerance metal bends, tight fitting joints, and excellent mounting hardware. The re-assembly just confirmed this precision.

The circuit card is first rate with a mixture of through-hole, IC sockets, and a few surface mounted parts. Practically all the components are mounted on the one circuit card with exception of the sidetone speaker.

One of the features that sold me initially was the use of a pure tone for the sidetone instead of a raspy square wave that is used in less expensive designs.

W3PH Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2009 11:51 Send this review to a friend
Best I've ever used  Time owned: months
I've been 99.99% CW for the past 48 years, and I've been using keyers (starting with W9TO-type tube types) most of that time. Given that today's keyers are digital and are software-controlled, you'd think most of them would feel the same, but that's not the case. This one just plain *feels* better to me. Don't know why; it just does.
Things I like:

- it uses a USB keyboard, but use of the keyboard is optional.
- easily programmed from the paddles if you don't want to use a keyboard
- you can easily turn the keyboard on and off
- sidetone sounds great and has an analog volume control on the back
- the buttons on top show different colors depending what they're doing - this is suprisingly helpful
- multiple message banks
- amp line keys up to 400v and has no trouble with sub-1-volt circuits like the Harbach softkey mod
- not fussy about keyer contacts. I have an older Begali (pre-gold-contacts) that some keyers don't like because of the contact resistance; this one has no trouble with it.
- tune mode is controlled from the paddles and you can tune with dots or key-down
- easy to upgrade firmware via USB thumb drive
- you can save/restore your configuration via a thumb drive (saved a lot of time when I got my second MK-1 keyer)
- plug on the back for a straight key
- settable lead/tail time for keying non-QSK amps
- box feels solid; great paint job
- nice-feeling speed knob
- power source polarity doesn't matter
- on/off switch on the back
- deadman timer for those times when your paddles start sending dots or dashes on their own while you're out of the room.
- amazing support from Dale - I found a bug in the earlier firmware version that he figured out & fixed within an hour or so.

I can't think of anything I don't like about this keyer. It's the best I've used so far.
AB7R Rating: 5/5 Dec 9, 2009 19:57 Send this review to a friend
Great Keyer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I second W8TK' comments on this fine keyer. I does everything every other keyer I have owned...combined. Firmware updates are quick and easy using a thumb drive.
The other side to his is Dale's support. When I purchase my MK1 I wanted integration with logging programs. It worked fine for N1MM but had a couple issues with DXLab's winwarbler. I think it was no longer than 15 min then I got an email reply from Dale with modified firmware. This solved the DXLabs problem but introduced a problem with N1MM. Another immediate update solved both problems. Now it works with no problems with either program.
It's also easy to set the keyer's parameters with a terminal program. It's quick and easy to set any of the banks of memories you want.
It is also very convenient to have 6 messages at the ready even when using the logging program's messages...they work independently giving the operator more options.

The keyer also has a quality feel to it with a nice heavy knob for adjusting speed.

It's nice to have a keyer in the shack that is so satisfying that I no longer have a need or desire to look at any others.


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