Palm Morse code keyboard

palm morse keyboard

[Tom] was looking for a standard USB interface for a Palm folding keyboard when he stumbled across this Morse code adapter (cache) from 2004. Palm keyboards use a serial connection to talk to the PDA. Since they are low-power and compact, they’re a good choice for ham radio applications. The site has pictures, schematics and PIC code to make the Morse code keyboard.


  1. tylerl says:

    nice i like this.

  2. mike says:

    agreed, this is one of the cooler hacks i have seen here in a while. i may try to build this.

    to continue from yesterdays hack: yeah, i know we used to have hack-a-day extra, i just forgot what they were called. i understand why we dont have them daily anymore, there just arent enough hacks, but weekly was nice.

  3. patrick says:

    now all we need is a pic based morse code decoder.

  4. steve says:

    cool hack was hopeing to do somthing like this with a ir keyboard i got long ago from the bush internet set top box but havent figured it out yet would love a remote keyboard thanks nice hack on another note eliot is there any chance of a t shirt as i live in the uk and carnt get over there plz plz

  5. BronzeG3 says:

    Nice hack. I’ve been meaning to do something with the palm keyboard I have. Maybe I’ll use it to control my iPod or do something else with a PIC.

  6. Liam says:

    If Elliot sends Steve a Tee that isn’t modified with at least fifty LED’s and a set of batteries in the hem, then there really is no justice in the world

  7. cde says:

    Hey TOM, did you ever happen to find some information on using these keyboards with USB? I happen to have a couple of these as well as palm m100 cradles. My keyboards are for the Palm V/Vx as far as I can tell though. If those use the same rs-232 to communicate, I’m sure some programmer can make a USB chip using a usb pic plus a usb-to-rs232 chip, or completly in the usb pic to act as a standard HID keyboard.

  8. MAtthew says:

    Comment on cde
    I have been looking for the same thing but with the clie kb100 keyboard

  9. strider_mt2k says:

    Very very nice!

    explore ham radio today!

  10. strider_mt2k says:

    Very very nice!

    explore ham radio today!

  11. erik says:

    reminds me of a text message race between a war vet and a 14 girl – morse code vs. the ABC2 DEF3 GHI4 style entry. Old man was miles ahead! wish I could rig one up to my phone….

  12. Mike says:

    Here is a diagram and code to attach a palm keyboard to a pc serial port:
    (you may have to refresh to get the page)

    Think Outside has a usb stowaway keyboard.

  13. mathmonkey says:

    Nice hack. I’d also love to see someone put together a one-handed keyboard for a PDA since as a way to get over the input hurdles on these little computers.

  14. Kim Jung says:

    There is code for an Atmel uC floating around for a USB 1 interface, it doesn’t even require USB on chip and uses the standard IO ports to do the job. So if you wanted to convert this over to use USB, I think it would be mostly cut and paste.

  15. Richard - ve3ecm says:

    This is a great hack if you’re a ham (I am)…

    Just goes to show you that it doesn’t take a lot of money to get involved in ham radio… take this, and build a tuna can CW transmitter, and you’re on the air for probably less than 40 bucks.

    Makes me want to get back into QRP.

  16. presidentpicker says:

    anyone know of a cell phone application that would beep incoming SMS messages in morse code? Would be perfect while driving!

  17. Max says:

    now all we need is a pic based morse code decoder.

    that would probably work as well as pic based handwriting recognition

  18. mike says:
  19. ann ring says:

    Palm Keyboards for the m100, III and VII models of the Palm PDA are available on the surplus market ( Ebay example ) for around $20 postpaid. These keyboards are unusual in that they fold up into a compact box about the size of two Altoids tins. The Palm Keyboards also use very little power. The keyboards communicate with the Palm PDA using serial (RS-232) communication. Both their size and low power usage make them ideal for QRP ham radio applications. One obvious application is as a Morse Code keyboard. However there is one problem with these keyboards: they do not use a standard 9 or 25 pin D connector as most serial interfaces do. The Palm Keyboard interface board is an inexpensive way to try out these keyboards with your own PIC or other hardware. I’ve posted a simple PIC based Morse keyboard application using this circuit board along with a PIC and a few other parts housed in an Altoids tin (note that the PIC is NOT on the board for sale, it’s on some perf board). See the source code and pictures of this example project at the bottom of this page.

  20. mathmonkey says:

    Sorry, I meant one of these: BT or serial, I’d be all over it. I’ll look into your link, tho. Looks promising.

  21. mathmonkey says:
  22. Tom! says:

    At the moment I’m currently working on a project. Im modding my 1/6 Scale RC Hummer by like adding a flamethrower and extremely extending the range and adding a camera.

    I saw this hack and thought, If this could be done on an ordinary computer keyboard usb or ps/2. I could redirect the morse code output to an RF transmitter. Then with a reciever inside the car. I could convert to morse code back to like standard letters and direct it to an led screen. Then if could type something and watch it appear on the side of the Hummer.

    Im not sure how practical this would be but it would be cool if i could pull it off.

    Also on a pc could a direct the morse code output to a serial port or something. So that for example what i type would appear in morse code on a light from a serial port.

    Sorry if some of this makes no sence im 13 and im just gettin intrested in some of this stuff.


  23. Mike says:

    a little googling led me to this:

    so there you go a pic based morse code deocoder, i hope i can make a wirless morse code radio link between my house and my friend’s now

  24. n0hr says:

    If you’re interested in PDAs and ham radio, check out

    In particular, the site has a Morse Code utility for ham radio, PPCMorse to learn CW using your PocketPC:

    As well as utilities to do other ham radio things with PocketPC PDAs. For example, log your ham radio contacts on your PDA with MobileLog

  25. raj says:

    can anybody help me.. i wanna check the transmission from com1 serial port.. i m transmitting the text in the from of morse code..
    but i donno if the msg is getting transferred or not.. when i go for a LED test.. i m not getting the expected result…

    can anyone tel me how to do this LED test for message transmittion..??
    please help me

  26. vardenafilll says:
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