Finally gave in and ordered the internal Curtis chip keyer and the internal
audio filter for my MFJ 9020. Had tried unsuccessfully last Summer to find
the accessories at places like HRO. They still don't carry them, so I called
They weren't sure if they were available or back-ordered for two weeks or
more. They knew they had some, but weren't sure if they were promised to
dealers. SInce I'm leaving for Nova Scotia in less than 2 weeks (hooray!),
that wasn't acceptable.
I called AES in Milwaukee, they had both and sent same which arrived
yesterday. That's when the fun began.
These modules require "no assembly, no soldering", etc. You just slip the
shafts for the speed control, paddle jack, and filter in/out switch through
pre-drilled holes in the back.
Then you "carefully" slip the 4 pins on the accessory plugs on the 9020
chassis into holes in the bottom of the PC boards and into matching sockets,
and bolt the units in place.
Close, but......the audio filter went OK, but the keyer would not mate with
the upright/close-spaced pins. I stood on my head, put on bifocals and used
a lamp, cussed and swore but no fit.
That's when I held the PC board up to the light and noticed nothing visible
through hole number 4 on the edge of the PCB. Bingo! The hole in the PCB was
offset by a bunch from the actual hole in the socket. No amount of brute
force would have made it fit!
I carefully placed the board upside down in the drill press vise, used a
timy bit and drilled a new and properly aligned hole through the PCB so the
pin would pass through. After that, everything went in place more or less.
The board was sheared crooked enough that I had to "help" the mounting holes
to get the screws in place. The 1/8" paddle jack was mounted crooked on the
board so that it sits off center to the cabinet hole. The plug fits but juts
out at a wierd angle, I hate it when that happens.
However, when powered up, the filter and keyer do work. The filter is not
very sharp when compared to my DSP-9 or old Bencher audio filter (still my
favorite) but is is small, cheap ($29) and better than nothing.
The Curtis keyer is factory set for a speed range of 5-30wpm. I don't exceed
30wpm too often, but it's nice to have a bit more range for answering those
machine gun operators who won't stoop to answer us pedestrians at 25-30wpm.
By soldering a 100k resistor in parallel with the 68k on top of the board
(as per instructions) I raised the upper limit to 50wpm and 25-30 is about
The clincher was that the paddle jack is wired BACKWARDS with the dits and
dahs on the wrong paddles. At least it is the opposite of all the other
keyers I own or have ever owned. I didn't want to rewire my Shurr Wabbler or
Vibroplex Deluxe since I use them with the Logikey CMOS II, so I made up a
6" cable with male and female 1/8" plug and jack, and I re-reversed the tip
and ring so it works fine now.
Whew! The bottom line is that the 9020 is a great little rig and very nicely
put together, the accessories suck! For $40, the keyer is poorly
constructed. I won't send it back because it works and elimates another box
and 3 cables, but I'm disappointed.
Meanwhile, the SWL30 is 3/4 done and Dave answered my question via the
Internet the same day. That's how things are supposed to work!
12 days until vacation!
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