K7TPD's CW, Morse Code and Telegraphy Page

For CW, Morse code and Telegraphy Enthusiasts.

Introduction

Hello, my name is Tom Dean, K7TPD. I have been a ham since high school, over 33 years now. I have had a passion for morse code from day one, 99% of my QSO's are CW. I love every type of telegraph aparatus and use them all; the paddle/electronic keyer, vibroplex bug, standard straight key and the sideswiper. The sideswiper I am still trying to master, after using a paddle and bug all these years, it is really testing my patience, but I will master it someday. Anyways, I always wanted to put together a website dedicated to CW, morse, telegraphy or whatever you want to refer to it as, so here it is. I hope you find it interesting. 73, Tom

                           Questions, suggestions, corrections? Email me!  k7tpd@live.com

CW Links

 Free software, plays latest news in morse code!! http://morse-rss-news.sourceforge.net/

 A beginners guide to CW: http://www.netwalk.com/~fsv/CWguide.htm#My%20Own%20Techniques%20for%20Finding%20a%20CW

EXCELLENT ONLINE CW PRACTICE, keeps your progress and scores: http://lcwo.net/ 

 A great site in general for CW http://www.morsecode.nl/

If you are serious about morse code, you will download this free book: The Art and Skill of Radiotelegraphy  http://www.qsl.net/n9bor/n0hff.htm

The Amateur Radio Relay League, to get started in ham radio, check this site out: http://www.arrl.org/

An excellent online cw practice site, goes up to 50 wpm!  http://aa9pw.com/morsecode/ 

A great video on how to set up a Vibroplex Bug  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qekmyx31Uxw

Massive CW info, software, practice aids, etc... http://ac6v.com/morseaids.htm

Free CW decoder  http://www.softpedia.com/get/Science-CAD/CW-Decoder.shtml

Introduction to the Side Swiper  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfLrgYHIpjo

I don't know what to think of this method, but it is very interesting, so here it is: http://www.learnmorsecode.com/

 

I recently found out that I am in the latest edition of the ARRL Amateur Radio Operators Manual. I worked the CW station at Field Day a few years back with the Radio Society of Tucson or RST. The thing I like most about this is that they put me in the section that discusses operating CW!  It's on page 1-28.

                                                 My Keys

                  

                                                                                                                Hover for description, click to enlarge

The Logikey K-5 Keyer
The Logikey K-5 Keyer in my opinion this is the best keyer on the market that you can get for under a hundred bucks! You can get a partial kit (that's what I bought, see below) for 58 bucks. Or you can get it fully assembled for 149 bucks at: http://www.idiompress.com/k5.php
This thing is loaded with features: Fully iambic, can immulate most all keyers, 6 active memories, 12 banked memories over 1500 characters total, 5-60 wpm, automatically sends contest serial numbers, allows break in for paddle inserted text, messages can ''call'' each other, too many features to list here. If you get the partial kit like I did, you will need to provide the 6 switches, potentiometer, jack and case. Two big thumbs up for this dude!

Logikey K-5 Partial Kit

To the right is the Logikey K-5 Keyer that I built. The partial kit was 58 bucks, I got the rest of the stuff (case, switches, jack, pot and speaker) at a local electronics surplus store for about 10 bucks.

The case is an old computer A/B switch painted black. I use 4 AA batteries to power the thing and the batteries really last a long time, like a year or so. I am very happy with how it turned out. Getting the partial kit saved me about 80 bucks, and in my opinion, it's a very nice looking piece of equipment.

Vibroplex Bug Restoration

Below is a Vibroplex bug, this particular bug I bought on Ebay for 35 bucks. As you can see it is in bad condition, but for 35 bucks, I figured I'd take a chance and see if I could restore it. These normally go for 200 bucks used!

 

 Here it is disassembled, ready for cleaning. I was happy to find that none of the parts were broken, just rusty and pitted.

 After totally disassembling, the next step was to get rid of the rust pits without damaging the chrome. I did some web searches and found out that a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil and formula 409 does a great job, I was surprised at how well it cleaned up. Below is the bug cleaned up and reassembled. Not bad for 35 bucks!

The NT7S Twin-T Code Practice Oscillator (CPO)


An important aspect of sending morse code is sidetone. This subject has always annoyed me, not many manufacturers put much effort in producing a clean pure sinewave for their sidetone. They usually go cheap, with a 555 timer chip and what you get is a tinny sounding square wave. I have done a lot of experimenting, found this circuit, (Thank you NT7S!!) built it and was amazed with the sound. It is designed for headphones, so I added an op amp circuit using an LM386 (See Below) so I could use a speaker instead. A note about the transistors, do not substitute the PN2222A's with similar transistors, only use the 2222's.

This schematic is from NT7S, his website is:

http://www.nt7s.com/blog/2008/11/nt7s-code-practice-oscillator/

 


This is the LM386 circuit I added to the Twin-T CPO. Simply remove the J2 phone jack from the side tone oscillator and couple the output capacitor (C9) to the input of the op amp circuit at Vin. Both the Twin-t and op amp circuit can be powered off of the same 9v battery, I was concerned that it would drain it rapidly, but not the case. I also added a switch and a power LED, so that I don't leave it on when not in use. If you do this, be sure to add a 1k ohm resistor between the LED and battery to limit current through the LED, otherwise it will burn up.

Hear what it sounds like >>>>

To the right is the Twin-T Code Practice Oscillator in action. It is connected to the output of my K-5 Keyer. Some quality is lost in this crude recording, but I think you get the point. I think it sounds better than any commercial manufactured CPO. I literally had every part I needed, so the cost was pretty much nothing.

                     Videos demonstrating each type of Telegraph Key
Below are some videos demonstrating each type of telegraph key. From top left: The Sideswiper is very difficult to master but W5PEH makes it look easy.  Next, the Vibroplex, DA of KPH is one of the best, she has what we call ''a great fist''. Then the Bencher paddle  to a Logikey keyer, (in my opinion, Logikey makes the best keyers, it's what I use). Finally a straight key, Drew has an incredible fist, in this video he is in a contest called Straight Key Sprint or SKS.
Me WANT!! Sculpture by Begali

And here it is in action. 50 WPM!

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