Saturday, March 30, 2013

K1EL Winkeyer USB complete

K1EL Winkeyer ready for action
For some time now I have wanted a stand alone keyer as well as one that integrated with my PC allowing me to change and update messages.  The Winkeyer USB is the perfect match as I am able to add 3 AAA batteries and take the keyer with me on outings or keep it at the desk hooked up to the PC via a provided USB cable. The unit comes as a kit with all SMD components already on the board so there is no worry about having to deal with super small parts and the soldering headache that goes along with it. The kit was shipped out and delivered very fast and very safely boxed for the ridge to my QTH. 
The first day of assembly
 The only thing that has to be downloaded is the instructions. I find this to be a fantastic way of doing things. If there are updates to the build then it's a simple update on the website and you are downloading the current assembly instructions. Take the time to print off the instructions that way you can check components off as you do the inventory.  Do yourself a favor and print the instructions in color as there are some great pictures to assist you. The kit went together very smoothly and KE1EL put thought into the order of  assembly. Follow the order and the kit
Battery holder

 building will be a smooth experience. Take your time building the unit, it's not a race as certain components such as USB connector, 1/8 jack and 4 way RCA jack should be mounted with care. This makes the final assembly of the two metal covers fit without any surprises.
Kit complete
Once the kit is done there are some checks to be done to make sure all is working well. Once that is done you are on your way to hooking up to your PC. Easy to follow documentation is provided instructing you how to have your PC recognize the keyer and what to do if things don't go as planned. The kit also comes with a CD containing programs that will allow you to program the keyer from your PC and download the messages to your keyer. Not to mention all the settings one could imagine for setting up a key as well. The only 2 issues I had with the kit and by no means are they show stoppers.
1. There is a 10k potentiometer and the shaft was just a bit to long and I had to trim it. This was only for looks as I did not like the knob extended away from the keyer.
 2. No hookup wire was provided to go from the potentiometer to the board. This is no big deal either as I did have the would had been nice to include it in the kit.
Pot before mod
Pot after mod


  1. It is a great keyer and works well with contest software.
    Two things I don't like about it:
    1. The four bushbuttons activate upon 'release' of the button, not on actuation
    2. When connected to a computer via USB and operating the keyer via software, the pushbuttons are inoperational. This prevents me from initiating a key-down command (via 1st and 4th buttons) to make RF out adjustments, tune the amp, etc.

    John AE5X

    1. Hi John, I have not had really any on air time with the keyer but having the fourth button act out of character compared to the other buttons can could get confusing. As for the other issue I am not to crazy about that either but maybe contacting KE1EL (which I am going to do) may bring a solution to that issue.
      Thanks for commenting John and have a nice weekend...what's left of it what is.

  2. Hello Mike,

    I'm not familiar with the keyer but WOW...what a beautiful Iambic Key you've got there!! It's a real work of art for a CW operator. Hihi

    1. Good afternoon John, yes the key is fantastic and makes CW a dream. It's the Begali contour key with magnetic return. It's very solid as you can tell from the pick. This way it does not move at all around the table as you are sending.
      A great key very very well made as well.

  3. Hello Mike, I very much like the first picture. It shows your keyer, but also the Hendricks 41 dB attenuator. Very nice set-up. 73, Bert

  4. Hello Bert, yes that attenuator is a great device. The only think I want to add is it just attenuates during transmit and nor receive.
    Have a great week