Radio W4KAZ

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Put together a WinKeyer2 in a couple of hours two weeks before Field Day. This accessory was added as part of the plan to have the SO2R station capability operational with either USB or serial ports on the logging computer.  I chose the version with a serial port, and plan to use it with a serial to USB conversion dongle.  In essence, the shack will be forward or backward compatible with the computer hardware, allowing the SO2R to be feasible with whatever crappy piece of computer I have available at any given moment, from an old dos box to brand spanky new.

The keyer kit itself was built with only about 30 minutes of plugging and soldering. The kit was missing a couple of capacitors, but they are common values which I had in the parts box. It took another couple of hours to get the enclosure drilled and nibbled out – including a db9-sized hole in the wrong place.  Oops.  On hindsight, a simpler plastic enclosure would have been easier.

The finished product worked without any re-work.  The WinKeyer2 is the newer release of the serial port version of the kit.  I tested the kit out using a USB to serial converter and the “wktest” program available for download on the K1EL site.  After a quick test and config with the wktest program, I brought up writelog and tested that.  Flawless performance.

Hooking up the paddles was a bit less satisfying.  I’m not terribly proficient using paddles and a keyer, and the WinKeyer2 seemed a bit temperamental with my shaky fist.  Maybe after more practice it will become easier.  But for now, the paddles will be routed through the logikeyer CMOS4, and the paddles will be combined with the computer generated CW from the WinKeyer via a “Y” connector going into the CW input.

I also have the same problem using an MFJ keyer I have on hand.  I’m not sure why that is, but so far the Logikeyer and the keyer built into the K2 are the easiest to use of those available.

One quirk I found with the winkeyer(or my understanding thereof) was related to the pot setting for the keyer speed.  Starting the programs(either logging program or “wktest”) while the speed pot was set to maximum caused a bit of confusion.  To allow computer control of the speed setting, it seemed necessary to disable the speed pot via the software.

Part of the learning curve.

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