QRA JO01OX, WAB TM23, Fists #16909 GQRP #15161 DMR-ID 2342670

With the intent of using my FT-817ND portable I went in search of a portable keyer. I liked the idea of a touch keyer as it would be light and without moving parts. Searching the internet I found the M0UKD Capacitive Touch key that was available in kit form and available at a sensible price.

The only problem with the kit is the size of the components - they are all surface mount and very small. Especially for eyes that are 50 years old. With only 10 components how difficult can it be?

I'd like to say construction went well but it was remarkably difficult due to the size of the SMD beasts. I had solder blobs everywhere and spent a great deal of time removing them! Luckily, after applying power, the keyer worked so I boxed it up. For the paddle I used a strip of printed circuit board. On reflection this was a mistake as the surface oxidises and needs to be kept clean. Either way I'm happy that it works.

Update: 30th April 2015

The printed circuit board paddle really didn't work too well; it soon became dull and failed to work as expected. I was also missing the ability to put the radio into transmit mode with a carrier being sent. To resolve these issues I reboxed it with stainless steel dome nuts acting as the paddles and a switch to switch the PTT. The whole thing then plugged into the radio microphone socket making use of the UP / DOWN buttons for the di dah paddles.

I decided to re-work the project and make use of the FT-817ND microphone socket that provided access to the UP / DOWN button functinality to send Morse Code and the ability to hold down the PTT. The paddle was replaced with two stainless steel dome nuts and I added a switch for the PTT.