Switching quickly between SK and paddles?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KD8ZM, Dec 10, 2018.

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  1. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've been accused of being plugged into the wrong socket for as long as I can remember. :O
    WA7PRC and KD8ZM like this.
  2. K6GB

    K6GB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like the WinKeyer USB, easy to assemble.
    KD8ZM likes this.
  3. KC3RN

    KC3RN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would recommend this one as well. It's inexpensive, easy to build, and works really well. Yes, the side tone volume is low, but you can connect an external speaker if you really need more volume. I actually keep the side tone turned off on mine.

    I use it primarily with my FT-450D. The 450 has a built-in keyer, but speed adjustment is a pain, since it needs to be done through the menu. The UPK is much easier to use. I use a "Y" cable on the output of the keyer to connect my straight key. That way both the paddles and straight key are active at the same time. I also use the same "Y" arrangement with my old Ramsey keyer and my TS-130. Works great.
    KD8ZM likes this.
  4. K2CAJ

    K2CAJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like the low sidetone because I can give it to my 8-year-0ld to play with, and he can dick around with Morse code, without driving me crazy with loud beeps. The downside of course is that I don't get to play with it.
    KD8ZM likes this.
  5. N3PM

    N3PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    AG6QR likes this.
  6. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I received the PicoKeyer and read the manual. I hooked it up to the IC7300 and used a splitter on the keyer output, to effectively splice the straight key into the keyer output. Changed the key type in the IC7300 to "straight key" and voila! I can now switch between a straight key and a paddle.
    On the KX3, no such luck. Yes, I've set the key input on the KX3 to "hand" and am using stereo plugs and cables, but when I plug the keyer into the KX3 it is a nonstop transmit (one neverending dash). In fact, that happens even if the keyer without the straight key is plugged into the KX3. Couldn't find any reason for that in the manual or by Googling. I assume this is another case of Elecraft overthinking things and making the radio so smart that it can sense that things aren't hooked up exactly according to Hoyle, and objects? Or, something else?
  7. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The only thing I can think of is to check the cable male end with a DMM to verify open circuit on Tip/Sleeve.

    Also check for open circuit on Ring/Sleeve. I read somewhere that the KX3 can handle "paddles as sideswiper" by interpreting a straight key closure (internal keyer disabled) from either Tip/Sleeve or Ring/Sleeve.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  8. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm having a hard time understanding what you're saying. Are you are saying that I should check to be sure the cable isn't internally shorted or have an internal broken wire, i.e., it's defective? TU OM
  9. K2CAJ

    K2CAJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    Is this just a stereo-to-stereo cable, or is the ring line completely disconnected?
  10. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am suggesting you connect your cable to the PicoKeyer and, with the paddle contacts open, check to see if the keyer is connecting Tip / Sleeve, using a DMM as an independent check. It should show open. These are the contacts which are normally used to connect a straight key to the KX3. Close either side of the paddles and the DMM should show a closed/open cycle, as you would expect.

    Then check Ring / Sleeve. It should also show open. If it does not, and if your cable is a stereo extension cable with TRS wired straight-thru, then the PicoKeyer is internally connecting Ring / Sleeve for some reason.

    I just connected my paddles to my KX3, set that key input to HAND, and confirmed that closing either the Dit or Dah paddle creates a straight key action by the radio.

    If the PicoKeyer is bridging Ring / Sleeve, then the solution is to make an extension cable for the KX3 which uses a TRS plug with R not connected to anything. If you use shielded pair audio cable and cut the factory plug off for modification, you should be careful with the cut end of the R conductor so that it does not touch the shield braid inside the plug body. If you use 2-cond cable (or a shielded 1-cond cable) and solder both connectors, just skip the R pin on both ends.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018

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