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Project "CW on da road": small portable CW transceiver for 70 cm
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Project "CW on da road": low-power pocket-size CW transceiver for direct amateur radio contacts in the 430 MHz band

Zusammenfassung in Deutsch hier verfuegbar

Resume en francais disponible ici

The Motivation

You're strolling through the city on a warm summer evening, chatting with your friends, when all of a sudden you hear a faint Morse signal out of your pocket. You take out the small device, plug in the earphones, and key a QRZ DE YOURCALLSIGN?

There's a response from your buddy who seems to be in town as well, and you quickly exchange some greetings and QTH information, so that you can meet in a nearby coffee shop in half an hour.

After you've finished, you receive a call on the same frequency from a ham visiting your city, and you invite them along for a coffee. You may just have made a new friend through the air.

You set your device to beacon mode, unplug the earphones, and put it back into your pocket, while explaining to your friends you just did the CW equivalent of a local social web exchange.

All of this should well be possible, except that to my knowledge, such a device is not (yet) available commercially. If you know about something similar, please write me ASAP!

The Problem

  • CW is mostly used on HF (except for beacons) and for contesting and DX, rarely for chatting
  • CW has disappeared from everyday use, and we need to fire up rather complicated rigs for working it
  • HF requires big antennas and is not suited for operation "out of pocket"
  • cheap and simple portable VHF/UHF transceivers are only available for FM voice transmission

The Solution: pocket-sized, USB powered 430 MHz CW transceiver

  • 5 V power is widely available in USB supplies and batteries
  • 430 MHz is a not too crowded band suitable for short range contacts with antennas easy to carry around
  • cheap and small RF systems for 70 cm are widely available (PMR, ISM band remote controls)
  • Arduino and similar solutions provide low-power control facilities

The Dream

  • mobile-phone sized device
  • powered by external USB source, low power consumption in receive mode
  • direct key button for CW transmission included, external possible
  • small loudspeaker included, main operation through earphones
  • user interface through buttons and Morse sidetone, i.e no display required: can be controlled just by pressing buttons and listening to sidetone)
  • transmit power up to 5 W, reduced levels for short range QSOs


This is a very young project, and your participation is highly appreciated, by e-mail or by pull requests to this repository!

(2018-July-19 HB9KNS)

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