Morse Code Keys and Keyers at N2DS
The Schmarder Family Key (1958)
Hi Morse Code fans. I started this page nearly three years ago. It was only recently I remembered that I had started this page, so now it will be finished.
The key above is the Schmarder Family Key. My dad bought this key from the local Lafayette Radio outlet in late 1958. He had just received his novice license and was starting his Amateur Radio career with WV2AEA as his call sign. He later upgraded to General Class. Less than a year after this key arrived at our house, my brother Les became WV2IQY. 6 years later, I earned my novice license and had my first QSO using this key nervously tapping out WN2TCY. Eventually I became the kee[er of this family heirloom.
This is the only other hand key that I have ever owned. It is a replica of the Wehrmachttaste, or German Army key. The key has no metal parts exposed, so it is much safer to use than many keys. The keying operation is very smooth too. I bought this in 1980 from Sigi at UK Elektronik in Esslingen Germany.
CMOS Keyer with Built-in Paddle
Here is a keyer that I built from a German publication called Funkschau. I built this in the early eighties. It features CMOS integrated circuits. The main interest in this keyer is a grid on each side of the board. Finger resistance is what keys this keyer. If your fingers are real dry, there are no dits or dashes. If that happened, I would breathe on my fingers and keep sending. I built this as close as I could to the original design. A fun project.
I built this around 1975 or so. I don't remember exactly when but it was quite a project. There are a lot (25) of TTL integrated circuits in this keyer. I found the project in Ham Radio Magazine. I wouldn't recommend building this as it all can now be done with one chip!
My keyer has four 512 byte memories. There was a set of ni-cad batteries that kept the memory working when the power failed. It was useful for Field Day activities. When making a contact, you could start the memory. Then when it was time to key in a contest number or signal report, the memory would be interrupted while this information was sent via the paddles.
The blue jack on the back was for an external set of buttons that could be pressed to activate a memory. They never worked very well because the rf would mess up the keyer. There were extra features like a sidetone, and positive or negative (cathode or grid) keying.
This keyer is practically a museum piece.
CMOS Accu-Keyer with a Ham-Key Paddle
In the early seventies a keyer design called the Accu-Keyer emerged. It consisted of a half dozen TTL chips and a few transistors. At the time I was using a keyer using a pair of 12AX7 tubes. Compared to my tube keyer, the Accu-Keyer was a wonderful device. I think I built at least a half dozen variations. But they all required an AC powered supply.
Then the keyer was redesigned using CMOS chips. Now the entire keyer would operate
on a single 9 volt battery. The picture above is one of my 70's creations. I used a small
Ten-Tec box and made it even smaller. I cut the box down because I wanted to mount a paddle
on top. I used a Ham-Key paddle in this project.
This was about the best operating keyer that I had ever used. I could send the best with this.
One Tube Code Practice Oscillator
This is a 2007 project that I built. The full description is on my code practice oscillator page. If you are interest in code and battery operated tube projects, here is a good one for you.
73 and good dx. Dave, N2DS