Thursday, March 14, 2013

K1EL WKUSB keyer

About a month ago a new kit arrived and is still sitting waiting to be built. With some thought and over time I ended up selling my Logikit CMOS4 keyer that I built. I sold it not because it's a poor keyer but  being a stand alone keyer made it for me a hassle to program.  I missed just starting up the PC opening a program typing in what I wanted the keyer do and simply saving that sequence.  I do a lot of CW contests and have to keep changing the exchanges. With the CMOS4 keyer I was always taking out the manual and refreshing my poor memory with the proper sequence of buttons to push on the keyer to enter and save morse code in the CMOS 4 memory.
So I sold the Logikit keyer CMOS4 and Julie had purchased me the K1EL WKUSB keyer kit. I am familiar with the WKUSB keyer as some years ago I did purchase a built unit and it worked great. At the time it did seem to have some issues with my contest program N1MM. I ended up selling the unit and as they say hind sight is 20/20 and if I knew then what I do now I would still have it. This keyer has been around for some time now and improvements have been made. To hook it up to the PC is a simple USB cable along with some software and you are off to the races. To change the CW messages you open a program on your PC enter your new message then save to the key and that's it. You are able to enter four separate messages (just great for contests or DXepedtion contacts) The keyer can be connected to two rigs, my K3 and K2 can use the same unit without cable swapping. So back to the software for just one more moment.....not only can you program messages BUT there is a slew of custom settings you can enter such as spacing, weight and tone just to mention a very few extras. I hope this weekend to heat up the soldering iron and point it in the direction of this kit!!


  1. I also build this kit nice.
    But I had some problems with it.
    There is noise generated by the USB connection when data = keying or other commands are transmitted. This was strong at 14MHz.
    I had connected it to the N1MM logging PC Winkey USB active.
    I did never got used to keyer timing like it has not exact timing when sending code.
    Sending a memory message can not simultaneous be taken over by the keyer.
    Now I am using it only for sending CW with the Flex1500. The Flex1500 build in keyer is a joke! I have never been able to send my own callsign with it. So compared to the Flex keyer Winkey USB is great.

  2. Good afternoon Jaap, nice to hear from you and hope your weekend is going well. Thanks for the first hand information regarding the USB problems. Sorry to hear that the Flex does not have a good keyer built in.
    Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

  3. I built the keyer a couple of years ago, and use it every day with my OpenHPSDR transceiver. I wonder if Jaap's problem with Flex was the latency? The sidetone is delayed. That threw me at first too. I made some adjustments and the latency is still apparent, but I guess I am used to it now. The keyer dialog in PowerSDR works just fine, but I find clicking with a mouse on the tiny buttons to activate the memory locations too fiddly. Instead, I just use PSDR's CWX to send a repeating CQ when I'm on 160m.
    The K1EL keyer was a nice evening's construction, and is a quality kit. It went together smoothly and worked right away. I have used it with N1MM at home when activating special event callsigns - I don't do contests - and it works very nicely on DXpedition.
    The only quirk I found with N1MM is that it won't recognise port numbers above 8, so if when you are setting it up, Windoze assigns a USB port number higher than 8, you will have to clear a previous port assignment between 1-8 for N1MM to use.
    Best thing about the K1EL keyer is the Big Red Button! I program the red memory button with my callsign and reach for that one to send my callsign in the pileup.
    The speed knob is far more convenient to adjust one's sending speed than poking around in a dialog.
    Happy building!
    Luke VK3HJ

    1. Good morning Luke, thanks very much for the feedback and great suggestion. In the past I did have this keyer and the problem I found with N1MM was error codes kept popping up. I understand the new chip in the keyer stopped that. I too find the speed control to be a huge advantage as well. Thanks for stopping by Luke and taking the time to comment.