K1EL Keyboard Keyer



The K1EL Keyboard Keyer Project


Here is a project which takes a couple of hours to build but very useful especially for qrp contests.

One day  when I powered up the old trusty MFJ 452X keyboard keyer, the keyer seemed to have lost its brain! It transmitted all the code elements in reverse... I knew right then that I needed a new keyboard keyer which I can build myself, able to operate on a single 9V battery for at least 2 days, accept paddle input, and most importantly, it has to be light and small. Having successfully built the K1EL K9 keyer before, I decided to stop be his web site to check things out. Sure enough, Steven had just released a new keyboard keyer through his web site. The K20 keyer kit comes with a very small PCB board and less than 30 parts. I decided to download the manual (in Adobe Acrobat PDF format) to check it out.

I was amazed about the K20's capability after a brief scan of the  manual. I sent the order to Steven the next day.

The kit arrived two weeks later along with a thank you note from Steven. He must have recognized my call from the K9 customer list!

I started to build the K20 that evening. It took about 2 hours to complete.

Here is a few pictures of the keyer I took during the contruction:

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k20005.jpg (12959 bytes)

k20006.jpg (12359 bytes)

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k20008.jpg (10980 bytes)


The first thing that I wanted to check out as soon as I finish the K20 is to find out how it would handle RF feed back since my old MFJ 452 did not work very well at all when there is a lot of RF around (especially when using a centerfed antenna). Much to my delight, the K20 did not exhibit any ill behavior even when feeding the centerfed antenna at a kilowatts!

Since my K20 can either be powered by either an external 12V source or an internal 9V battery, I often take the K20 out to the field along with a miniature computer keyboard for qrp events. The 9V battery can provide power to the K20 for at least a couple days. I don't have to mess around with connecting an extra power cord for the keyer.

I have been happily using the K20 for casual contest and field day qrp events for the last few months. The keyer also has a internal side tone and will accept paddle input as well as keyboard input. One of my favorite activity is to set the keyer at a certain speed, turn it off, remove the keyboard, then take the keyer and a paddle to the front yard of my house to watch my kids play and work on my CW sending at the same time...

I highly recommend the K20 to anyone wants to build a full feature inexpensive keyboard keyer.

72 es Happy building...

Dan, KE6D


This web page is still under development... 

Last Update: May 02, 2001 at 2100 PDT