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Reviews For: K1EL K44 CW Keyboard

Category: Keyers & CW Keyboards

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Review Summary For : K1EL K44 CW Keyboard
Reviews: 10MSRP: 149.00
The K44 is the Swiss Army knife of CW keyers, it will
provide lots of CW operation and enjoyment. A CW keyboard
interface, CW reader, iambic paddle keyer, backlit LCD
display, and optically isolated keying outputs are all
presented in one compact box. In addition, the K44 will
operate many different modes including QRSS, HSCW, and
conventional CW up to 140 WPM. We offer two versions,
assembled and kit. Most of the K44 logic board is
assembled and tested, only a small number of components
have to be hand soldered on the board.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VE4MM Rating: 2023-05-25
GARBAGE Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Bought one a few years ago and wanted it for satellite. Tried it out on my IC7300 and would only copy strong signals. Anything else just garbled junk. Waste of money and my time.
N4YX Rating: 2021-10-31
As Good as it Gets for a CW Keyboard Keyer Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned two K42 & K44 CW Keyboard Keyers for a long time along with MFJ-495 & 451 units. My experience has been nothing but positive. In fact I purchased a K42 needing attention a while back & it needed one of the programming chips replaced. Steve, K1EL, took care of me!
M0JFQ Rating: 2021-01-18
Waste of money Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Had this for almost a year and my experience is negative.
The CW decoding is just as good or bad as other decoders. Works ok if there is a good strong signal sent by a good hand but as soon as things deteriorate it starts to fail quickly.
The manual, although very comprehensive, is a pain to work through.
On top of this, mine crashed on several occasions and now does not work in CWR at all, despite a re-boot.
N4UE Rating: 2019-11-09
A fun new toy Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Hi. I got one of Steve's (K1EL) K44 CW Keyboards. Being a true OF, my right wrist has taken a beating through the years of competitive big-bore handgun shooting. The 44 Mag is just the start of the power level.
So, my manual CW days were numbered. I pre-ordered a K44 while Steve was building another batch. It arrived when he said it would and the quality is excellent.
I have it connected to the AF line on my 7610's ACC DIN connector. This way the audio to the K44 is fixed and not controlled by the AF Gain control.

Not only is the product first class, Steve's documentation is EXCELLENT. If you own an LP-100A, both Steve and Larry's documentation is the BEST.

have fun

NI0C Rating: 2019-04-03
Versatile Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Although I already have the K1EL WKUSB in my shack, I added the K44 so I could try out keyboard CW. The key and PTT outputs are wire Or'ed with the corresponding outputs of the WKUSB, so either keyer can be used instantly.

The K44 is connected to a miniature (8.75" x 4.25") PS/2 keyboard. I have two paddles connected to the WKUSB, and a bug hooked up to the "dah" paddle input of the K44. This way, the PTT output keys my amplifier and receive antenna accessories when I use the bug key.

With the K44 setup in "bug" mode, the programmable keyer memories put out perfect CW at the selected speed-- independent, of course, from the bug speed. By using the K44 sidetone and muting the Tx output (Shift-F7), I can practice with the bug without the need for a separate code practice oscillator.

Of course, the paddle input would normally be used with an iambic or single-lever electronic keyer paddle, and the K44 keyer has all of the features and versatility that K1EL has developed over the years.

I tried the CWR (CW Reader) feature, and it worked quite well after adjusting audio levels and setting the CW pitch frequency to near the 725 Hz required by the K44. Since I copy CW by ear, and prefer much lower pitch frequencies, I do not use the CWR feature.

There are many really useful commands provided with the keyboard function keys. The user manual is superbly written!
WA4LJJ Rating: 2019-01-31
An Excellent Keyer with enough features for every use! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I ordered my K-44 (assembled model) keyboard keyer just over a year. It is by far some of the best money I've spent! I have never looked back.

I got my first keyboard back in the mid-eighties, a Microlog AKB1. That was an excellent keyboard in it's day. Then a couple of years later, I ordered an MFJ-415 from MFJ.

That was (and still is) a fine keyboard. But it lacks the functions and RFI shielding that the new ones have today. I understand MFJ has added RFI shielding with it's latest model 451.

I believe if you have any stray RF floating around your shack, chances are good it will find your keyboard. I had RFI with my Microlog AKB-1, my MFJ-451, and even some with my new K-44.

But in my case, better grounding and cable routing in the shack has cured 99% of it. Like they say, "your mileage may vary". I also use a ferrite coil on the KB cord for added protection.

As I have become more familiar with my K-44, using it's many features has become very natural and intuitive.

The manual is well written and takes a little study for most of us. But after you become familiar with it, it will become your BFF!

I recommend this keyboard from beginners to the advanced contester.
KJ4LQX Rating: 2018-02-03
Happy! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Got this for Christmas. I had originally sent my wife a link for the K42 several months earlier but when it came time to for her to buy it for me the K44 was out. Mine was the kit version and it was not difficult to assemble. Excellent assembly instructions and the quality of the components are outstanding. When it came time to test I found the rotary encoder difficult to use (pressing on/off took a lot of effort). I contacted Steve (K1EL) and he had a new one out to me immediately. Popped the new encoder in and the K44 worked flawlessly. Steve… that’s how customer service is supposed to work!

I’m using it to practice my CW skills as well as delve in to the world of keyboard keyers. The K44 fits the bill perfectly.
K0KVR Rating: 2018-02-01
Great addition to shack Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought this to use with my FT1000MP MKV for 200 watts CW on 30 meters. Unfortunately, with arthritis, I am unable to use a straight key, bug or electronic keyer any more and send 25 WPM. My primary rig is 100 watts so I needed the extra boost to work DX. It was very easy to set up. You need to read the manual. I found that although it worked great with 100 watts, when I cranked it up to 200 watts I had RF entering either the keyboard line or key line. when I pressed a key on the keyboard it would send the letter plus other spurious dots and dashes. I wrapped both lines around ferrite loops and that resolved the issue. Works great now.
KB3BF Rating: 2018-01-30
Truly the Swiss Knife of Keyers Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
A lot of thought went into the designing of the K44. This second generation keyer has so many features that the manual is almost 30 pages long. It is a very useful tool to practice code especially concentrating on the more difficult characters, which may also be the lesser used ones.
I like the option of using the keyboard on the fly to fill the buffer and practice code by moving to higher speeds and by checking progress.
I will add some features, a tilt base so that the keyer faces upwards to better see the screen, a jack for headphones (as to not bother others nearby), and a battery pack when a power plug is not available.
K1EL does a good job explaining that the K44 requires a PS/2 type keyboard, and although there are USB to PS/2 adaptors, most USB keyboard will not work, as I found out.
Luckily the right ones are cheap and easy to find.
I chose to buy the assembled version. The keyer is rather compact in size but the screen fine and well lit. I have a lot more to master before I can hook it up to a rig which is why I joined the online K44 group.
K7VBY Rating: 2017-11-10
Excellent product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just received the K44 last week and the operation is top notch. I bought the assembled unit for $149.00 plus shipping. There is a kit option for $129.00. No cables are included so a suitable stereo cable is required to key your radio as well as a PS2 computer keyboard. A plug in power supply is included. If you have RF in the shack this unit may not work as intended. I had to make some antenna changes because of erratic results on the 10 meter band.