Iambic Morse Key Practice Oscillator

In deciding that learning Morse Code was something I’d like to pursue, I determined with some advice that I’d get started with an Iambic paddle. The main consideration in choosing this paddle type is that the timing is done automatically. Once mentally ingrained, moving to another key where timing isn’t provided should be easier.


I determined that obtaining an iambic key and a practice oscillator would be a good start. Although most HF radios have a build in practice oscillator, a portable one seemed convenient. (In hindsight I’ve realized the most value is to be placed in listening and decoding rather than sending)


After spending a little time searching for a practice oscillator, I could find none for an iambic paddle. I decided the best bet would be to try and build one. Initially I set out do build one of discrete components, but tired of this prospect quickly. Why code in solder when you can more easily craft code in keystrokes? After breaking out the breadboard and starting on the task, I decided it’d be worth checking to see of someone had already done the work. Someone had. All that was left now, was to put all the necessary components together neatly on a printed circuit board for portability. An LED was added for visual reference of the paddle strokes, and a piezoelectric buzzer for auditory reference.


After this task was done, a cheap decoder board was purchased from Ebay to verify the output of the paddle. The two boards were mounted back to back to make the setup a bit less messy, and a bit more compact. If you’d like to start learning Morse Code, I suggest Learn CW online.