Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quick Iambic keyer using the Arduino micro-controller

With the multitude of inexpensive development boards like the Arduino it has become possible to add micro-controllers to just about everything. Projects that previously required custom designed circuits are now implemented by connecting to the input and output ports on a development board. Programming has become easier as well due to the development of simple and efficient software with libraries of sample code to modify and reuse for your own projects.

Costs have fallen dramatically with the development board featured below selling for approximately $30. At that price it could be the heart of automatic antenna tuners, rotor controllers or a keyer as shown below.

Dimitris Sapountzakis quickly home-brewed a set of touch paddles from spade connectors and perf board. 

Touch paddles made from spade connectors and perf board.
Once connected to the Arduino micro-controller he was able to use those inputs to control they keyer code he wrote. Because the logic is in software rather than hardware he could add automatic ID, contest modes or practically any any other function as simply as changing a few lines of software.

With micro-controller prices being as low as they are now we may start to see a renascence in home-brewing and kit building. Much as ham radio kits educated an earlier generation, economical micro-controllers may allow this generations an avenue to experiment, design and create tomorrow technology.
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