Tiny Morse code trainer

[Eric] wanted to teach his kids Morse code, so he built a tiny Morse code trainer.

[Eric] built the trainer around an ATtiny85, and the rest of the circuit follows this minimalist idea. After connecting a piezo beeper and 6-pin ISP header, the only thing left to do was write a little code and start teaching his kids Morse. The Morse trainer is programmed to repeat the message, “SOS the moon rover has broken down and I am stuck in the trash can in the garden shed,” [Eric] planted a Lego moon rover in his shed as a prize for learning Morse, making him one of the coolest dads ever.

Although learning Morse isn’t required for an amateur radio license anymore, it’s a requirement for continuous wave radio. We think this is a great way to learn Morse the right way – actually hearing the characters – instead of memorizing the Huffman tree of Morse characters.

Lilypad bicycle computer reads back distance in beeps

[Mark Fickett] finished his own interesting take on a bicycle computer. These wristwatch-sized devices normally mount to the handlebars and give feedback for current speed, trip distance, and many have options like cadence and heart rate. [Mark's] has fewer features but it’s clean, simple, and does more than you’d think.

He used some denim to house the electronics which you can see mounted inside the frame of the bike. He’s chosen to use Lilypad components which are Arduino bits meant to be sewn into textiles. We’ve seen a Morse Code keyer using these components and this project is along the same lines. It reads wheel revolutions from a magnetic sensor mounted on the front fork. It has no LCD readout, but when you want to know how far you’ve traveled just press one button and the computer reads it back to in Morse Code played on a tiny piezo buzzer. This package hides one more nice option. Once you arrive home the trip data can be dumped onto a computer for easy graphing. Check out the video after the break to see these features in action.

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Launchpad serial Morse code transmitter


LaunchPad dev boards from Texas Instruments are cheap and easy to program, making them a great Arduino alternative if you can do without some of the bells and whistles. [ech0s] put his to good use by constructing a Morse code transmitter with dual operating modes. The transmitter can not only encode and transmit messages entered in a terminal client, it also allows the user to send messages by manually operating the key switch. Inspired by the high altitude balloon transmitter we featured last summer, this project uses similar components for signal amplification and transmission. Text can be entered in a Putty terminal window, which then is encoded into Morse by the MCU before transmission. At the moment, the speed of the radio transmission is about 15 WPM, which is reasonably quick. Even though his system performs quite well [ech0s] has some improvements planned, including having a proper PCB built as well as some software tweaks to improve buffering and bandwidth. Be sure to check out his video of the transmitter in action after the jump.

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Alternative Morse code keys

Add a bit of interest to your radio equipment with one of these unorthodox CW keys. [OH6DC] has been hard at work posting almost sixty of these hacks. Above you can see an alarm clock whose snooze button acts as the key, and a nail clipper used as a key. There’s a banana , a cross-country ski shoe , and a toaster key. The rest you’ll have to see for yourself. Any of these would work perfectly with that Morse code keyboard you’ve been wanting to build.

Morse code clock

[Johnny Carlo] put another spin on clock displays with his Propeller-based Morse Code clock. He repurposed a tap light, using the tap function as a switch input and actuating the bulb inside with the help of a transistor. If you want to know the time just give it a tap and the device will transmit back to you in a series of flashes. This is great if you’re contemplating a career as a Navy Signalman or just need another way to practice Morse Code.

[Thanks Mike]

USB morse code keyboard

Looking for motivation to practice morse code [BenB] built this morse code keyboard. It uses USB and is recognized as a standard keyboard thanks to the V-USB stack running on the ATmega168. The project is rounded out with a clean look thanks to the chewing gum container that serves as an enclosure.

His design is simple enough that any morse key you have on hand can be used. You could even adapt that glove coder you built a couple of years back.

QRSS: Radio amateurs’ slow-speed narrowband


Host of the Soldersmoke podcast, [Bill Meara], contributed this guest post.

While the rest of the world is moving toward high speed broadband, some hams—including one Nobel Prize winner—are going in exactly the opposite direction. Our ‘QRSS’ mode makes use of an unusual mixture of modern digital signal processing (DSP), ancient Morse code, and simple homebrewed transmitters. Very narrow bandwidth is desirable because this reduces the noise in the radio communication channel, greatly improving the S/N ratio.  But Shannon’s communication theory tells us that narrow bandwidth comes with a cost: slow data rates. In QRSS, beacon transmitters using only milliwatts churn out slow speed Morse ID signals on 10.140 MHz that are routinely picked up by DSP-based receivers on the other side of the globe. Many of the receivers, ‘grabbers’, have visual outputs that are available online in real time. QRSS has been getting a lot of attention on the Soldersmoke podcast and on the Soldersmoke Blog. For more information check out this overview and the hardware involved. Here’s a gallery of received signals.


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