Arduino Based CW keyer / FTDI based CAT interface

I recently needed a new CW keyer with Winkey compatibility for use with my N1MM logging setup. K3NG has written some nice keyer code that I compiled and uploaded to one of my Arduino UNO boards that I had laying in the shack (if you want to try it, you need the latest  – above 1 – version of the Arduino “IDE”). Below you can see some pictures from making the prototype thru to ready made keyer with USB interface and adjustable speed button. I did not install the memory buttons, as I control the CW keyer via USB from N1MM or Hamradio Deluxe. It works very well with my Yaesu FT-450D but instead of the UNO I will eventually use a Mini Pro board with the Atmel Atmega 328. You can see more info on K3NGs site

Below is the schematic (remark: full credit is given to to K3NG!). I have modded the design for my own needs. Instead of the 2N2222 I use a TTL tolerant FET of type IRLIZ44N to drive the keyer output. Then I don’t need the 100 ohm resistors in series. I also did connect a piezo tweeter directly to the CPU  without using the 2N222 transistor. It works OK. However, the sound of the piezo tweeter is not the best in the world. Finally, as mentioned above, I did not install all the buttons. I installed only the command button to save space.  There is a need to do a small mod on the UNO hardware due to some reset issues. For that I will have to add another button that needs to be pressed when I want to upload code.


I also needed a CAT interface. It is possible to use a FTDI chip for this task, however the signal levels need to be transformed to +/- 12V. This I solved with a MAX232 board that I had laying around in the shack. So now I have a CAT interface that is compatible with Win XP, NT, 2000, 98, Windows 7, Windows 8 etc since the FTDI chips are widely supported. It looks like … but works like …


Azores Island Hunt. Captioned pictures from CU2ARA

The teams are arriving at the airport in Ponta Delgada at Sao Miguel island. A lot of luggage was brought in. Here the
Danish and German teams are waiting for their taxis. The DARC journalist is checking his photos on the digital camera as well to the left.
A too small car for rigs, linears and antennas when 9  teams arrive at the same time…
A team photo was taken in the backyard of the CU2ARA club station before teams were departing to their individual islands
Antenna and rig discussions are taking place in the backyard. The short CU2ARA tower that we used can be seen in the middle of the picture
Our guide Mr. Rui is also a pro photographer. Just look at all the cameras!
Ghis ON5NT is busy adjusting the inverted vee antenna to resonance
Marius, LB3HC is using his DG8SAQ Vector Network Analyzer to check the multiband antennas before the event.The CU2ARA members CU2IF and CU2CN and are helping out
The organizing committee is formally opening the event!
IMG_1080 Since we had a city location with some noise, we wanted to do a remote hilltop station experiment to learn from that experience for future events. After first checking with the official organizers for  approval, we travelled to one of the points in the island where there is almost 360 degrees negative horizon and no broadcast installations.This would enable a good remote location. On the above picture you can see the takeoff towards Europe. Wow! We did have some technical challenges that were solved, but the main QSO amount by far was made with the main stations down at CU2ARA. The remote station was left operational so the CU2 ops could do more work on it after the event IMG_1127  Above:
CU2CN climbs the tower on the mountaintop to put up the highest point of our sloping antenna. The antenna was sloping towards west (US).
Here is the house where the experimental remote station was mounted. We had a 100mbit/sec WLAN connection down to CU2ARA.
Another picture of the takeoff to the east (against Europe). A pretty good QTH for the remote site.  (The Azores are full of beautiful views like this. Visit to see for youself!)
Our remote station is located inside the hilltop house. A Yaesu FT857 and HRD was used. More dedicated remote systems should be used in a future event it was decided.
Here is the HRD remote screen where we controlled the hilltop remote station. This was done down in the city where the CU2ARA shack is located. (As OH2BH encouraged, we did it the innovative Arcala way!). Notice the Norwegian flag by the way!
ON5NT is working pileup
LB3HC is working pileup
The CU2ARA residents are working pileup
Our antennas downtown at CU2ARA. We used a 3 el yagi for 20 meters and inverted vees for the other bands (17 and 40).


Approx 31000 QSOs made in 24h during the Azores Island Hunt


We are back from the Azores Island Hunt expedition. Approx 31000 QSOs were made during 24 hours of operation from the 9 stations when a hardcore team of DX-ers and contesters visited the islands (unofficial ADIF numbers incl. eventual dupes). Nine stations running pileups on 40, 20 and 17m were on the air on CW/SSB simultaneously. The stations total run rate were in average approx 1300 QSOs / hour. Above I have posted some initial selected pictures from the event. We would like to thank OH2BH, OH8NC, CU2CE, CU2DX and all the local Azores hams that made this event possible. What a great memory for life we all got! What characterizes the Azores is great openings on HF. The reason the major contesters in the world choose to win from the Azores is the location almost in the middle between USA and South America. During daytime 10m, 12m, 15m and 20 meter openings are something else than experienced on more northerly latitudes (extremely good). Please check in later at for official information. Below is the information about the teams and operators:


  • Juha Hulkko, OH8NC
  • Kimmo Rautio, OH9MDV
  • Sérgio Oliveira, CU1AAD

  • Marius Hauki. LB3HC
  • Ghis Penny, ON5NT
  • Guilherme Frias, CU2IF

  • George Tranos, N2GA
  • Diane Ortiz, K2DO (YL)
  • Domingos Cabral, CU3BS

  • Franz Langner, DJ9ZB
  • Richard Gottlieb, DF9TF
  • Guilherme Bento Frias, CU4AB

  • Yuri Onipko, VE3DZ
  • Ed Kulchenko, VE3FWA
  • José Silveira, CU5AM

  • Alex Hansen,OZ7AM
  • Kenneth Hemstedt, OZ1IKY
  • Jorge Dutra, CU6AB

  • Michael Corey, KI1U
  • Richard Boyd, KE3Q
  • Manuel Bettencourt, CU7CA

  • Carine Ramon, ON7LX (YL)
  • Claude van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, ON7TK
  • Frederic Fournier, CU8AAE

  • Nigel Cawthorne, G3TXF
  • Michael Wells, G7VJR
  • João Camara, CU9AC
Azores 9 Islands Hunt Organizing Commitee

  • Fernando Tavares, CU2BV, Chairman
  • Francisco Gil, CU2DX, ATA Representative
  • Jose Melo, CU2CE, Islands coordination
  • Martti Laine, CU2KG, Radio operations

Pictures from OH8X WPX SSB 2012

Here are some pictures from the WPX SSB 2012 at Radio Arcala. Enjoy!

DSC_5491_w800_txtDSC_5510_w800_txtDSC_5437_cpd_w800_lb3hc_v2_txt DSC_5535_w800_txtDSC_5519_w800_txtDSC_5534_w800_txtDSC_5470_w800_txtDSC_5462_w800_txtDSC_5274_w800_txtDSC_5283_w800_txtDSC_5351_w800

                   CQWW WPX Contest, SSB

Call: OH8X
Operator(s): LB3HC, LA7JO, CU2DX, CU2CE
Station: OH8X

Class: M/S HP
QTH: Arcala
Operating Time (hrs): 48

 Band  QSOs
  160:   36
   80:  106
   40:  478
   20: 2259
   15: 1082
   10:  178
Total: 4139  Prefixes = 1379  Total Score = 11,906,286

Club: Contest Club Finland


Great to be back operating from Arcala now that the SSN is higher! All
operators: LB3HC, LA7JO, CU2DX, CU2CE had a great time and a lot of fun (as
usual from OH8X - Arcala). 

Thanks to OH2BH, OH8NC and OH6KN for hosting us! Also thanks to the rest of the
Arcala team for making this possible!

This time we also had time to take some HD video and wide angle pictures of the

This time we had relatively good conditions up here at 65 degrees north
latitude in the ice and snow.

No significant technical issues were experienced.

This station station is professionally built by the extremely skilled guys in
the Arcala team. Kudos!

The Arcala antenna park is nothing less than extreme.

It was nice running with the new Yaesu FT DX 5000. Yaesu did it again! 

We were likely affected by aurora at several time periods during the contest
that affected rates. We were unable to achieve runs at 40 and 80 to DX
locations and that resulted in that the DX runs was worked on 20 and 15. That
cost us 6-3=3 points per DX QSO and our average QSO points were below target. 

Our target was to beat OH10X from 2011 and we wkd more mults, but somewhat less
QSOs corrected by the QSOs/36*48 factor due to condx and latitude (claimed
score). In fact 40 meter did not give good DX propagation at all.  OH10X is
approx 500 km to the south. 

We lost power due to a power company outage / spike at night and lost control
over all tower rotators and the voice keyer. It took several hours to correct

WOW! What a station and what a team. Contesting has got a new meaning. 
Updated pictures will be posted at

On behalf of the team