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Reviews Categories | Digital Multi-mode decoders | Microcode morse reader kit Help

Reviews Summary for Microcode morse reader kit
Microcode morse reader kit Reviews: 4 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $£39.95 ( UK pounds)
Description: The Microcode kit assembles into a versatile Morse Code reader capable of decoding and displaying audio Morse code signals from speeds of 10 words per minute (wpm) to over 40wpm. A sensitive integral microphone combined with a tunable bandpass active filter allow the Microcode to operate effectively by being placed near to a receiver's loudspeaker. Alternatively, a line input allows direct connection to the audio output from a receiver. Direct connection of a Morse key is also supported
Product is not in production.
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NW8Z Rating: 5/5 May 15, 2011 07:07 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Morse Code Reader & More!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I use the Cumbria Microcode all the time now. It decodes CW or Morse code when it's on 800 Perfectly.

It took about 5 hours or so to build. Because a template for building the microcode into a box is provided on the website, I was able to have a box built for the Micocode before it even got here.

Everything fit in the box as planned and I mounted the mic not on the board as per the instructions but on the side of the box and it works wonderfully.

I have videos of the Cumbria Designs Microcode on youtube if you would like to see them.

It also, allows one to key into it and it will decode, so that you can practice code and see if your getting it right.

I would recommend this decoder to anyone as it's fun to build and even better to see your work paying off by decoding perfect (when sent perfect of course) Morse code.

Thanks again to everyone at Cumbria Designs for making an awesome Morse code kit and Decoder.

AD6KA Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2010 22:57 Send this review to a friend
Great Performer, Good Value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Though I have good CW skills and the long discontinued U.S.A. 20 wpm CW Extra Class ticket, I decided to buy this kit as an added feature to a QRP XCVR/Frequency readout/PWR Meter-SWR Bridge/20w PA transciever project I am building around the MKARS80. I initially had reservations about these types of stand alone decoders after poor experiences with the $90 MFJ-461. It's expensive, a lousy performer, and has an *extremely* poorly laid out and awkwardly arranged user button-step through menu. I never actually bought the MFJ-461, but demo'd and sold the when I was working in Ham Radio Retail. 3/4 of them were returned! But after downloading the manual and specs of the Microcode Reader I felt better and decided to go for it.

The kit arrived quickly, well packed (in a BOX, NOT shoved in a padded envelope like some kits), with all top shelf components in ziplock bags and a quality through hole plated PC board and good instructions.

The Microcode went together very well and easily due to the quality board and the thorough and easy to follow written directions. Actually using the unit is a snap, only two buttons, and LED, and an extremely simple 3 step menu. I think a beginner could build this kit if he or she were very careful with parts placement.

It works very well. Features I especially like are the Tuning LCD, and that you can use one of the four on board trim pots to center the CW signal within the on board filter for better close signal rejection.(Within the capture range of the on board PLL decoder) As mentioned before, for Audio Input you have THREE choices: use the supplied on board standar Electret MIC element. Use a wired LINE IN or even a KEY. (Straight key for contact closure only. If used with say an electronic keyer you will have to rig up a one transistor interface to just pull the key line to Ground. No big deal.
And changing choices of input is stupid simple because they are all MOLEX connectors and a menu step!

While a Line Level Out from the receiver seemed to work better for me (only because it avoids over driving the decoder) you can with common sense and care use your rig's Speaker Out, with say an ausio splitter with one line going to the Microcode Reader and the other to an external speaker to monitor received audio. Don't worry about overdriving damaging anything, it will only lessen performance by distortion. The PLL Decoder is very well protected by overdriving by series resistor R10 and the back to back 1N4148 clipping diodes. The LINE IN also has an onboard trim pot for adjustment. For now, before I incorporate the unit in my XCVR project, I chose to drive the Reader with Speaker Out audio combined with a resistive attentuator. One 10k
resistor in series with the audio line, and a 100 ohm resistor to ground.

They thought of everything. The DC, LINE IN, and KEY lines are attached to the PC boards by locking tab MOLEX type connectors. I chose to use shielded audio cable for the line in, only because I plan to use the unit inside a 20 watt transceiver, enclosed in a small metal cabinet.

Another nice feature is the OFF-DIM-HIGH backlight control on the LCD backlight. Also, I like the LCD and main controls on one board facing you, with the compnent board and "set and forget" trimmers on the board facing away from you. You can also chose a two line scrolling text display or text on the top line only and CW Speed readout on the bottom.

The two boards are VERY firmly held together (but easily detachable) by 16 PIN SIL socket & pin connectors and 4 countersunk machine screws qith nylon spacers. The countersunk machine screws and first set of 3mm Nylon spacers are a thoughful feature, which easily allows the unit (Or just the LCD) to be very easily mounted inside an enclosure with a minimum amount of fussing about. Good attention to detail Cumbria!
The 16 pin SIL header pins allow you to switch out a differnt color 16 x 2 LCD if you like. You can get buy very nice unusual (Blue, Red, Yellow, etc)and attractively colored on eBay and

This is one helluva fun kit to build and to use.
Just GET ONE, either for yourself or for a new "No Code" ham to get them interested in CW..and building their own gear! (Find one of those old grumpy guys in the club who always says "Nobody ever builds anything anymore", get one, and hand it to him, hihi)

Sorry to be so windy! Any questions please feel free to email me. My email addy is good at
tnx es 73, Ken Pendarvis AD6KA/5R8GQ

IK3HIA Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2010 23:57 Send this review to a friend
A good Cumbria Design kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This Cumbria Design kit is arrived after a week from the order. I was curious to test it, so after a pair of working evenings it was already assembled. All the necessary parts was supplied inside the envelope, with a good instruction booklet. "After a long breath" I gave power to the Microcode...and all was ok, on the display appeared the Cumbria Design logo and I followed all the set up and calibration instruction as suggested. The calibration was a bit laborious, and I discovered that the CW signal needed was exactly with the 800 Hz tone. After this all was ok, the morse code translations was easy and with a good detail on the two display lines. Interesting also the possibility to connect and use a key for CW learning, good for novices class.
M3LCA Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2010 12:09 Send this review to a friend
nice kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Getting a bit bored with retirement and thought I'd start building a few kits .
kit arrived well packed within 6 days from the UK to sunny Cyprus.
Kit contains quality components plus a well written build manual ~ quick and easy to assemble although I took my time and completed it in two evenings .

will work by direct or mic imput plus there's a connection for a key .

Well worth the money and as my morse understanding isn't good it will help me a great deal ~ it seems to perform much better than some of the available ready built commercial morse readers I've seen

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