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View Full Version : Plans for machining a CW Keyer? (Ham Radio)



DMC-VIN2447
01-04-2007, 05:01 PM
Anybody have any drawings or plans for CW Keyers? Looking for ones of the iambic-keyer/paddle variety.

Thanks.

Regards,
Wayne / AA9DY.com

BobWarfield
01-05-2007, 12:01 AM
That would be a fun project. Weren't those called "bugs"?

It's been many many years since I had my ham license, but I recall enjoying it. Got my code speed up to about 20 wpm. I would think it is a dying art these days.

Best,

BW

dp
01-05-2007, 12:27 AM
Are you looking for plans for a pure mechanical bug or one to drive an electronic keyer? I had one of each around here but couldn't guarantee I could find either :)

Here's the Vibroplex drawing: http://www.vibroplex.com/iambic_machine_drawing2.pdf


Edit: Bob - this has CNC project written all over it :)

WA6ZGL

dp
01-05-2007, 12:41 AM
That would be a fun project. Weren't those called "bugs"?

It's been many many years since I had my ham license, but I recall enjoying it. Got my code speed up to about 20 wpm. I would think it is a dying art these days.

Best,

BW

Way back in the mid 1970's I built a CMOS logic iambic keyer. It was the coolest and most complex thing I'd ever wire wrapped on breadboard. It worked great. When I moved from SoCal to Washington I sold all the ham gear to a kid in High School - a Collins 75-A receiver, a Heath SB-101, an electonic TR switch, bunches of accessories, a multi-band trap vertical antenna and a 20 meter yagi with a Ham-M rotator: $200 bux for the lot. Kinda wish I still that that receiver...

DMC-VIN2447
01-05-2007, 12:44 AM
Thanks! Looking to home brew one for an electronic keyer that is built in my rig. I already have a Bencher Paddle, but would like to try to make one by myself for fun without copying the one I have. Looking for something different like the one you posted.

I'm not a hard-core CW fan. I've been dabbling in CW namely for contesting and working on my DXCC.

Regards,
Wayne / AA9DY.com

Evan
01-05-2007, 01:44 AM
One of the first things I did when I bought my original Commodore PET computer in '79 was write a International Morse encoder/decoder for it with an interface to my Comm receiver. It worked pretty well with a clean signal. I eventually also wrote decoder/display programs for slowscan fax and satellite images.

Here is a slowscan satellite image:

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/sat1.jpg

I never did get around to getting my Ham licence. Now CW really isn't very meaningful. The old argument that it can get through when nothing else will no longer holds.

dp
01-05-2007, 02:18 AM
When I still had that old Collins receiver I ran a phone patch for a guy stuck on Johnson Island in the Pacific. His mum lived in the same town I did. He was transmitting with SSB and I responded with cw as SSB was out of band for me on the frequency he was using. After we exchanged pleasantries he asked if I'd call his mum and phone patch her in. She could hear him talk and I transcribed her part in CW back to him. Had I another xmitter I could have had her talk back cross-channel, but the CW/SSB mix worked well and made everyone quite happy.

That was 1974 and I was burning 10 watts on a home-brew solid state rig I'd built from my own design. I still like and prefer CW but I use QRP - less than 5 watts. That 5 watts has been picked up all over the world. Irrelevant for sure as a communications method, but still fun. I also like to use teletype - the old baudot version. Never really cared for using a mic.

Some day I'm probably going to have a stroke and I've already told my wife to expect me to try to use Morse code to communicate when everything else fails. It's an oldie but a goodie.

Mike W
01-05-2007, 02:36 AM
I got my novice license when I was in high school. I think I was on the air every night for 6 months. My code speed went up and I passed the general test with no problems. It is a good hobby and I owe it as a stepping stone to a career in electronics.

Evan
01-05-2007, 03:02 AM
Although I never got my Ham licence I do have a class 2 radio operator licence for Canada with aircraft and marine endorsement. I believe that is equivalent to the technician class amateur licence.

Your Old Dog
01-05-2007, 05:30 AM
Now CW really isn't very meaningful. The old argument that it can get through when nothing else will no longer holds.

LOL! That would be debated in ham circles!! The second day I had my Icom 746 I was on my way to work in the company van (mobile) I had Figi Islands on at about 8:00AM on 20mm CW. The guy was right in the grass as they say but with the filters cut in I could just make him out for a DX contact. That contact sure made the radio feel like a real tool to me! I could never have made that contact on anything but CW. The really funny thing is I had no keyer at the time, I had to use the 4 or 5 programable memorys in the radio to make a standard DX contact.

I later built a wooden case for it. If you go to www.qrz.com and type in NV2A you can see the setup I had in the car. It was a lot of fun and I loved CW having got the speed up to conversational levels at around 30wpm. With that mobile setup I had something like 135 countries worked!

I went from Novice to Extra class in 1 year and 8 days thanks to (I've forgotten the term) having made the liscense more "fair" for people who aren't as bright to get it. The General test I took in the 70's was 10 harder than the Extra I took in 90's.

de NV2A QRZ DX

Todd Tolhurst
01-05-2007, 07:45 AM
The FCC just released a Report & Order (http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/12/19/101/?nc=1) a couple of weeks ago which finally eliminates CW as a requirement for all classes of Amateur licenses.

de WA1M

Your Old Dog
01-05-2007, 07:55 AM
The FCC just released a Report & Order (http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/12/19/101/?nc=1) a couple of weeks ago which finally eliminates CW as a requirement for all classes of Amateur licenses.

de WA1M

Well, that's kind of sad news to me. I had two very good friends who were both Tech Class and could not get the code speed up to become Gen, Advanced or Extra althought they were eminently qualified to be Extra Class in the old sense of the word. By that I mean, when Extra class meant something more than it has in the past 10/15 years. These guys both had mental blocks on speed increase for cw but they were great hams. Both are SK's now.

BobWarfield
01-05-2007, 09:50 AM
The ham world was a haven for leading edge do-it-yourselfers once upon a time, not unlike the sorts of people that haunt these forums fiddling with machine tools. One could as easily argue its as silly to waste time on manual machines versus CNC today as that CW and homebrew gear have no real value anymore. And no, not interested in having the argument, just observing similar trends.

One thing that was a bit sad for ham radio is I saw it go from an era of homebrew gear (all those cool projects in QST and the other mags) and tons of interesting manufacturers (Collins, Drake, Swan, Hallicrafters, Hamerland, yada, yada) to just seeing off the shelf Japanese gear that wiped 'em out. That's another parallel we see in our hobby.

I had my novice license in elementary school, and I still remember seeing someone bring a Yaesu transciever into the ham club meeting. That must have been in geez, 1970, 1969? Everyone marvelled at it. It was small, powerful, had all the goodies, and fairly cheap. In those days, everyone was excited about 2 meters, repeaters, and the like, and that was also a haven for that Jap gear--much harder to build that VHF stuff yourself.

Unfortunately, when it was no longer cool to build your own gear and the brands got down to just the Asians, I sorta lost interest in the whole thing. I think I also discovered girls pretty early on too!

I remember receiving an SOS once, from a boat off Nova Scotia that was in trouble. It was CW, the boat had little power, I had little power, and it really blew the mind of this elementary school kid in 4th grade that something like that happened. He said he'd been hit by something under the water, he thought a whale, and lost his rudder. Just ripped it off. I asked my dad what to do and we phone the US Coast Gaurd. They hooked him up and towed him in. I monitored the whole thing for half the day and the Coast Gaurd actually kept me posted. Pretty cool stuff for a young boy. I got a nice box of chocolates from the guy (he knew what a young fella wanted!) and a nice note.

Best,

BW

A.K. Boomer
01-05-2007, 10:19 AM
Cool story, now a video of the whale carrying off the rudder would be sent around the world by a camera phone hooked to a computer hooked to a satelite and be on U-tube in a matter of minutes, different world...

dp
01-05-2007, 10:32 AM
Bob - another hobby interest crushed under the boot of time is the photography dark room. It's getting more difficult to find supplies - which is what killed the home brew amateur, too. I used to crawl ebay looking for good stuff but finally gave up and put everything away. My Heathkit HX-11 transmitter from high school is sitting on that same shelf.

My last home brew project was a 220mhz amplifier that used a tube of all things. I had to wind my own transformer because power transformers were gone from the shelves and TV's were solid state.

Evan
01-05-2007, 10:37 AM
LOL! That would be debated in ham circles!!

A long time very good friend of mine is VE7IG (http://www.ve7ig.ws/). Reg is one of the best CW operators there is and can send/receive code like a machine. He reads code like most people listen to ordinary spoken language. Check out his equipment at the link above!

He and I have had the discussion about CW many times and he has to admit that it is no longer the last fallback that it once was.

mmambro
01-05-2007, 10:43 AM
Take a look at this:
http://www.wrsmithclocks.com/books.htm

Bill Smith is well known for his clockmaking books (and is a ham).

I earned my Extra license well before ham radio was dumbed down. The FCC even used to provide a special certificate for extra class operators (I forget the form number). I received my K prefix 1X2 when K prefixes were relatively uncommon. All my ham activity after getting my extra was on CW. Too bad the FCC eliminated the requirement; I never would have learned CW or tired to get my speed up had it not been for the requirements. After 20wpm letters became words....I used to copy up to about 40 wpm. I wonder where the future QRP operators will come from. My 17 year old son showed some interest, but he found no one his own age to share it with...just us "old" guys.

I agree, the old-style ham radio is in many ways very much like manual machining. Very, very few have any interest in things we thought were really cool when we were growing up: I remember being a little kid marvelling at the fact that a hole could actually be drilled in a piece of metal; what could be cooler than "pealing" metal off on a lathe? Wow, communicating with two wires and a battery?!?

It's sad to consider how little knowledge of basic electricity or electronics many computer "hardware" types have.

de K2IM
Mike

Scishopguy
01-05-2007, 11:06 AM
It seems to me that the more advanced our technology gets the less knowlege we pass on to our children. Skills and entire trades are being lost these days because nobody is interested in "old ways" of doing things. In the upcoming era of global disasters they are going to wish that they knew some of the stuff they scoff at now.

dp
01-05-2007, 11:32 AM
To demonstrate the decline of home brew and do-it-yourself activities, I had a 2kw PEP amplifier here. It was a stand-alone multi-band unit pulled from a ship. Easily coverted to ham bands. It also came with a synthesized SSB transceiver and a self-tuning antenna coupler. Probably $30,000 US when new. All of it was working fine when it was pulled from the ship and had been carefully maintained by the RO.

I tried to find a home for it. Being a QRP kind of guy, it was a bit of a blowtorch for my interests. Nobody wanted it. I put it up for auction, advertised it in the paper, talked it up on line. I finally took it to the dump.

I still have a couple of SGC autotuning couplers here. I used to work for them in 1978 or so - they're about a block away from where I live now. Those were pretty nice tuners. I got mine from the same source as the above equipment and use them from time to time. When I'm gone they'll probably go to the trash, too.

Evan
01-05-2007, 12:05 PM
Does anybody have any idea what this might be worth for insurance purposes?

It's the communications receiver I used to listen to as a young child. It's a Hallicrafters S-40A with CW and SSB capability as well as receiver standby for Ham use. It works perfectly with all tubes in good condition with the exception of the 80 rectifier which has been replaced with silicon diodes. A number of capacitors have also been replaced to accomodate the higher voltage. Other than that it is in original condition and the mod to replace the 80 is easily reversed.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/halli.jpg

Lew Hartswick
01-05-2007, 12:12 PM
Boy does this thread bring back memories. ( Former W3SLX licensed 1951 )
The last project I built was a pair of 100TH pp on 6 meters linear as a boost
for a Heath kit ( Shawnee ? ) transciever. Prior to that put in a lot of time
on the MARS station in Lockport NY , a Harvey Wells xmtr and a Hammurlund
SP600 rcvr. ( CPS6-B radar site, maintenance )
...lew...

Todd Tolhurst
01-05-2007, 02:55 PM
Here's a few possibilities for you:

http://www.njqrp.org/mbrproj/paddles.html
http://www.chss.montclair.edu/~pererat/mrm.htm

This one's really a bug rather than an iambic paddle, but I thought it was neat:
http://www.spar-hams.org/contests/keymonth/RotoBug6.pdf

DMC-VIN2447
01-05-2007, 03:44 PM
Here's a few possibilities for you:

http://www.njqrp.org/mbrproj/paddles.html
http://www.chss.montclair.edu/~pererat/mrm.htm

This one's really a bug rather than an iambic paddle, but I thought it was neat:
http://www.spar-hams.org/contests/keymonth/RotoBug6.pdf

This is awesome! This is the kind of lead I was really looking for. Good variety to choose from.

Thanks Todd!

Regards,
Wayne / AA9DY

Your Old Dog
01-05-2007, 04:04 PM
I remember receiving an SOS once, from a boat off Nova Scotia that was in trouble. It was CW, the boat had little power, I had little power, and it really blew the mind of this elementary school kid in 4th grade that something like that happened. He said he'd been hit by something under the water, he thought a whale, and lost his rudder. Just ripped it off. I asked my dad what to do and we phone the US Coast Gaurd. They hooked him up and towed him in. I monitored the whole thing for half the day and the Coast Gaurd actually kept me posted. Pretty cool stuff for a young boy. I got a nice box of chocolates from the guy (he knew what a young fella wanted!) and a nice note.

Best,

BW

I had the same thing happen to me when I was 14yrs old. I copied a sos ship in the pacific with damaged rudder in heavy seas. I thought it was someone clowning around. The following morning our family was having breakfast with the AM radio on and the news report said a ham radio operator saved a guy by reporting his sos. I immediately jumped up and ran out to my shack and brought my clipboard into show my dad. He wasn't real happy with me because I didn't report it. At the time I thought if someone was clowing around and I couldn't prove it I would get in trouble for reporting a fake call. Go figure?