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Ron Alspaugh
Morse Keyboard Encoder



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Ron Alspaugh's Morse Keyboard Encoder, featured in the December 1997 issue of QST, is a simple and economical way to create a Morse keyboard.  It's completely assembled, tested, and ready to go. Just plug in any AT style PC keyboard (a computer is not required),  12VDC, and your rig, and you're in business!  It really couldn't be simpler, and it's only $59.95  If you need a keyboard adapter (PS2 to AT), we've got you covered (see below).

The Alspaugh Encoder works just like a typewriter keyboard-- press a key and the equivalent Morse character is generated to key your transmitter. All standard letters, numbers and punction are just as you would expect to find them in typing.  All the common procedural symbols (prosigns) are available, too, and you can even create others by hitting the CTL key to delete the space between two characters. Click here to see a jpeg scan of the special key assignments, or read the full operating instructions in pdf format.

The keying circuit uses a relay, so the board doesn't care if your transmitter has a positive or negative key line.  It will handle most grid-block transmitters.

The encoder's circuit board measures 4" x 2.25" (yes, the image above is considerably larger than life-size!) so you can attach it to the keyboard, or even build it into many radios.  It even comes with two 3.5mm plugs so you can connect it to your radio and get started immediately.

This is version 5 of the encoder software, and it has TONS of features including:

1. CW speed to 79wpm.

2. Optional Farnsworth timing adjustment.

3. Four non-volatile storage buffers (message memories) of 250 characters, 1Kb total.

4. Two external beacon inputs to trigger two of the storage buffers.

5. Manual key input which interrupts automatic sending.

6. Power switch and LED indicator.

7. External side tone oscillator for modified frequency capability.

8. Side tone output jack for headphones or external amplified speaker.

9. Keyboard buffer (type-ahead) 18 characters.

10. Buffer status LED turns on at over 2/3 full and remains on down to 1/3
and correctly shows status when using storage buffers.

11. On power on, encoder turns on buffer LED and waits for keyboard
acknowledge. Improves compatibility with some rare keyboards.

12. PCB has size and component placement to facilitate mounting in
Jameco B5004 die-cast aluminum enclosure.

Order on-line, or call 800-238-8205 for credit card orders
or call 303-752-3382 for more information

What Others are Saying...

I'm in the process of learning code and subsequently getting a
radio operator's license. I saw your Morse Keyboard Encoder Kit on your
website while looking for other items and thought it would be a good thing
for me to try. I purchased the kit because I wanted to get a little more
experience reading circuits and putting some of the theory I've learned to
practical use. I followed the instruction carefully, took my time, worked
slowly and deliberately and in about 45 minutes I completed the kit
including checking my work, testing, and setup. Everything worked exactly
as designed and I couldn't be more pleased! This is a good kit. It's not
too difficult, it's fun, and it works really well. If any one is hesitant
to try this kit just tell them about my experience. 

--Scott Moody

I received the kit of parts and  an hour later had a working unit.  I am
very impressed with the keyboard keyer and it performs as advertised.  The
4 buffers make CW QSO's a breeze and fun.

I am now 66 years old and arthritis is starting to give me problems using
my keyer.  This unit will keep me on the air for many more years of fun
CW.  I imagine it would also be a fantastic way to teach someone CW.

Thanks for the great addition to my ham shack.


--AL,  K8AXW

I have been using the Alspaugh ver. 4 keyboard which I built from the
article in QST of Dec. '97 with a Far board for about a year now and it
has worked flawlessly. With one of the small keyboards 6" X 13" it will
work with a small 9 volt battery. Makes a real nice portable unit. I
recently bought the new ver. 5 keyboard and it also works great. There are
comments on QRP-L about guys with poor cw spacing. With the keyboard I'm
not one of them. The Alspaugh keyboard is a winner. I wish more guys
would use a keyboard.

--Dave, AB5PC

Very pleased with the results. there are so many possibilities for this unit
that it would take up a complete qst edition.

--Bob, W5NWW

If you are a user of the keyboard encoder, your comments could be here!  Write to us via the link below, and please be sure to say specifically that we can use your comments on the web page. 


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