Using a touch sensor as a telegraph key

[Sebastian] is learning Morse code and CW radio, and of course he needed a telegraph key. Instead of using the terribly unergonomic paddle style key, he built a capacitive touch iambic key over the course of a few evenings.

An iambic key usually has two switches. When one switch is closed, it will transmit a ‘dit’. When the other switch is closed, it will transmit a ‘dah’. Instead of using mechanical paddles, [Sebastian] brought his iambic key into the 21st century by using a touch sensor. An ATtiny45 measures the time it takes for a single metal plate to fully charge. It’s the same idea behind the wonderful Arduino CapSense library.

This isn’t the first capacitive-touch iambic key we’ve seen; this little guy is just a pair of metal contacts and resistors that plug right into an Arduino. With an ATtiny45, [Sebastian]‘s build is a full-blown iambic telegraph key that plugs right into his CW rig. You can check out the walk through of the project along with [Sebastian] trying out his iambic key after the break.

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Doing it right with a morse code keyboard

Hackaday has seen dozens of Morse code keyboards over the years, but [Hudson] at NYC Resistor finally managed to give that idea the justice it deserves. He built a USB Morse code keyboard with the same type of telegraph key the pros use.

For his project, [Hudson] got his hands on a wonderful iambic paddle that is usually hooked up to CW rigs. Unlike previous Morse keyboards we’ve seen, [Hudson] used iambic paddles, a telegraph key with one lever for dits and another for dahs. Because the dits and dahs are separate electrical connections, it’s extremely easy for the microcontroller – a Teensy – to parse the Morse code and send the correct letter to the computer.

[Hudson] also added some audio feedback for the dits and dahs, and designed a laser-cut enclosure for the Teensy and speaker. Check out the video of the iambic keyer keyboard in action after the break.
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An iambic keyer in 5 minutes

When most people think about a telegraph key, a piece of 1890s tech with a lever that moves up and down comes to mind. These ‘straight keys’ were terrible for telegraphers and led to repetitive stress injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome..Iambic keys came along and move the contacts to a horizontal position. If you ever see a HAM playing with his CW rig, chances are they’re using an iambic key. It’s great, then, that you can build your own iambic key in five minutes using parts you have lying around.

The build [Dimitris] put up is dead simple – just two metal contacts with a pair of 470K pullup resistors. All this connects to three pins on an Arduino. All the micocontroller needs to do is measure the rise time a touch sensor pin when a voltage is applied. If there’s a finger on the pin, the capacitance increases and the rise time is longer. After that, just assign one sensor as ‘dit’ and the other as ‘dah’ and you’ve got an iambic key.

[Dimitris] put all the code for his project up on his blog. His iambic key seems like the perfect project after a tiny Morse trainer. Check out the video of the key in action after the break

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A second life for dead hard drives

[AndyUU1CC] has put together directions on how he built an Iambic Paddle out of some old hard drives. The iambic paddle is a device for telegraphy. More specifically, it is that piece that you always see people clicking with their finger when they send a telegraph. We hadn’t seen an iambic or “dual lever” style before, but we now know that this is not an uncommon design. While it is ultimately just a fancy set of switches, we can’t help but be impressed with the looks of it.

[via instructables]

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