QRSS Keyer

Most operators are aware that Rik ON7YD has a program that will act as a QRSS (very slow morse) keyer down to 120 second dots. http://www.qsl.net/on7yd but many may feel that they dont wnat to tie up a PC for this purpose. There are probably a lot of old computer from the pre-PC ear gathering dust in attics, garages, and spare (junk) rooms. Some of these had a most useful facility called a "cassette interface" ....gosh do you really remember those !! Even the original IBM machine had a cassette interface it was the 7 pin DIN socket alongside the keyboard socket. The real plus for us is that many of the interfaces included a relay to switch the cassette recorder motor on and off. Most of the computers were programmed by utilising an internal rom-based Basic interpreter and the relay can be activated simply with a MOTOR ON/OFF command in the code. The relay is accessed via the lower two pins (near the polarising groove) and is usually 'floating' so it is possible to utilise this as a keying relay.

I have used a NEC 8201 as a QRSS keyer, and a beacon keyer. In fact using a program developed from John Morris GM4ANB's book "Amateur Radio Software" published by the RSGB back in 1985, I have found that the 2MHz (!!) 80C85 will send quite good morse at up to about 15 words per minute. So it could be used for normal speed morse IDs as well, or even a lazy man's morse keyboard. The NEC 8201 has installed Microsoft Basic (version 5...I think) so the source code should be easily modifed to run on any of the machines of this era. The Tandy 1000 is a very similar machine, but I am sure that machines line the BBC B will run the code although a machine with a built in LCD display is an advantage. These things can often be picked up from rallies and flea markets for very little outlay. I suspect that a number of the earlier organisers could be pressed into sevice in the same way.

Click here to download the zipped basic source code as an ASCII text file.

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