Click on the pictures to view in
use all four of these accessories, all the time. They were
from kits, and each occupied its own enclosure with power supply and
input and output connections It was a
untidy, and to add to the confusion on the operating desk I use a
variety of rigs, paddles, and headphones.
The keyer is the
III superkeyer from Idiom Press, a full featured keyer with 6
memories which can be banked as 18 messages, speed control via pot, and
more features than I will ever use.
The keyer is enhanced
from Jackson Harbor Press. It is an add-on memory system
designed for dumb keyers, but has some features that are useful with an
advanced keyer like the CMOS III. It adds four additional
message memories, and the ability
to record message memories "live" while sending.
On the audio side, I
can switch in an original SCF-1
SCAF Filter from Oak Hills Research, which was discontinued in 1997
when the chips were obsoleted. The Vectronics CW filter
is an excellent substitute and can be mounted direct to the panel.
A one-watt audio
amplifier from Radio Shack (also no longer available, but see the
Rainbow Kit amplifier which is less expensive, better-- and can also be
mounted to the panel.
enclosure is a 10" wide "sloping panel" box available from
Note that while the box itself is plastic, the front panel and rear
panel are removable aluminum plates. I had thought that shielding
requirements would dictate transplantation to a metal box but after 10
years of use with no problems....
In addition to
features of the individual kits described above, the Command Post has the
everything is powered from a single 12V (nominal) connection.
Selection: switches provide for turning the SCAF filter and
audio amp on (or bypassing them) individually, with LED
I/O options: the Command Post has a front panel rotary switch
is used to select the key line of one of FOUR rigs, which can be
connected simultaneously on the back panel by either RCA phono jacks or
1/8" phone jacks. Four paddles and two straight keys can be
connected (the two marked inputs for paddles offer parallel 1/4" and
1/8" stereo jacks, the key input offers RCA phono and 1/8"
jacks). There is also a "tune" switch to key the
rig, mounted at the upper right corner of the front panel.
Audio input is via either RCA or 1/8 phone
jack, from an audio output (e.g. speaker or phones) jack on each
rig. Output is to either stereo or mono 1/4" and 1/8"jacks
the front panel, or a speaker (internal or external, switched on the
front panel). There is a volume control for the audio
amp which can be switched in or out of line. The stereo headphone
jacks are provided for simple
of stereohead phones (tip and ring are connected on the jack), but will
provide for"true" stereo output if and when I get around to playing
with some "spatial effect" ideas. The SCAF filter can be switched in
and out of line, and a rotary switch determines the selected filter
was somewhat reluctant to show the inside of the Command Post because, frankly, it's a
nightmare of point to point wiring and unsupportedcircuit boards. There
was an intention to screw each of the boards onto the base of the box
(posts are provided) but I found I couldn't get at them when the time
came to put the panels with attached electronics into the box.
fact, on the inside at least, this could be the absolute ugliest
construction job I've ever done!
labeling was done with Corel Draw 8. I did the drilling
first, using X's to mark hole positions. Including the speaker
"grill" on the side of the box, there were 64 holesof various
sizes. Then I added the control and jack labels, deletedthe
and printed the resulting panel label on 8.5x11" white label
stock. I applied the label to the drilled panel, covered it
transparent vinyl adhesive book cover material, and cut out
holes from the back using a hobby knife. I've used
method of labeling before, but due to the amount of handling the panels
got after the labels were applied there were some problems with dirt and
such so I regard the result as only marginally acceptible. (Click
for the related Control Panel article.)
were some logistical problems regarding the audio output-- I found I had
to choose beteween having all the "other" headphonesjacks, and the
external speaker disconnect as soon as one headphone plug is inserted,
or leave all the headphone jacks "live" regardless of speaker selection
or actual use. I chose the latter course as it could be handy
plug in two sets of headphones.
The close-upview on the
right is the three DPDT switches that control power to thekeyer,
filter, and amp, and switch the audio through the filter and amp. Now
that I see the pictures, I should explain the copper strips that
are visible. It's copper tape, with conductive
provides a good ground bus that is much easier to solder to than the
Click on the pictures to view in full size.
Clickto view in full size
I wasn't particularly
the small buttons I
had used, and replacing them turned into a major project, including the
Updated, August 1999
- New pushbutton
- New panel label-- I
wasn't happy with the
clear vinyl overlay, and some labels needed to be changed in respect of
mods 3, 4, and 5 below. I've written a separate article on
made the label this time, liberally illustrated. Click here
to see it.
- Replaced speaker
switch with a
center-off switch-- much easier than wiring the headphone jacks to
disconnect the speaker.
- Rewired the audio
that filter and amp work independently.
- Rewired power so that
keyer, amp, and filter are all switchable independently.
- Replaced the CMOS III
faulty, with a relative low resistance to ground on one of the pins, and
the internal fault was evidently creating the RFI problems.
Click to view in full size
I found it was still a
plugging things into
the back, especially since I usually wanted to use the CP for audio
processing as well as keying. The existing key line (rig)
had an unused position, so I re-wired the smaller (1.8" phone) jacks to
use for four separate audio inputs.
wasn't a complete fix, because I am often testing a rig which I don't
want to hook up permanently, so I put parallel keyline and audio input
jacks (parallel with "rig 4") on the front of the panel.
I was at it I also tidied up the the wiring a bit and mounted each of
the four circuit boards on standoffs. The screws for the
standoffs are on the front panel, which is not as pretty as it might be,
but it was an effective solution.
Updated, June 2007
I've reformatted the page and tidied it up a bit, but am happy to say
that the Command Post has been in daily use, without maintenance or
modification, since August of '99.
Meanwhile, I've had to address the "opposite problem." Having set
up a showroom for demonstration of various keys, bugs, paddles, and
etcerteras, I found a need to drive one "rig" with a variety of
keying equipment. So I built a Q&D patch box that I can plug
6 paddles and 6 keys into, with a single connection to the Logikey
K5 keyer (which can also be used as a code practice oscillator). I'll try to get some detail up here soon.