Mouse keyer lives


From: Tony Drumm (
Date: Sun Dec 31 1995 - 15:50:50 EST

Well, I got a Curtis keyer chip and went to RS to gather the
other associated components to build the keyer circuit in my
'94 ARRL handbook. I tore apart my old mouse, removed all
the components for the junk box (never know when you'll need
tiny resistors). The mouse had three buttons and it died
just because the left switch went bad. I moved the right switch
to the left most position. I sawed the circuit board in half
to make room for the new keyer.

I breadboarded the keyer on one of those white experimenter's
boards for ICs and it worked fine (with some component subs -
couldn't find everything at RS exactly to the number). I then
transfered it to a small board that has a space for a DIP plus
some lands and holes to interconnect. Took my time and tried
it. But, alas, NG. It would come on and stay on. It would
cycle with the dots and dashes then either stay on or off. If
off, it would turn back on in a few seconds. Frustrating!

I had enough components (except for the IC) to build a duplicate
so I rebuilt it on the white breadboard and moved the chip over.
Again, it worked fine. Arg! So I rebuilt it on a spare board
and after some initial debugging, got it working. Still don't
know what's wrong with the original - anyone have any ideas?

Since I removed all the mouse parts, I was able to easily use
the original mouse wires for power and key connections. Drilled
a hole in the bottom to access the speed pot, another in the side
for a key-on toggle switch. I still like the idea of using a
CMOS keyer and surrounding the mouse with buttons like a jet stick.

Anyway, it works so I'm pleased. Now I just have to get used to
keying this way! (I'm still not proficient with "real" paddles.)
I think this will pack up and go with me to camp nicely.

One other note. I've read plenty of times descriptions of Curtis
A vs B modes but I can't keep them straight. My "main" keyer is
a CMOS Super Keyer II. I initially wired the mouse for mode A but
the first time I tried keying CQ, I got a K instead of a C.
Switched it to mode B and got C as I expected.

Best wishes to everyone in 1996!
Tony Drumm

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