Re: keyers and Uncle Alberts Advertisement in QST


From: Bruce Toback (
Date: Mon Jan 10 1994 - 18:36:04 EST

>> Well, I know this isn't really qrp, but keyers seem to be a hot topic lately.
>> Well, It seems to me that the recent article in QST about Uncle Alberts Keyer
>> was nice, but it really should have been in the paid adds part of the
>> magazine.
>> The reason I say this is the quote that was in the notes part that the code
>> for
>> the controller is "unavailable". Well this means that basically it's a kit,
>> and kit alone. I have nothing against making money, but this belongs in the
>> adds part of the magazine. Am I missing something?

>pro: Coders deserve to be compensated for their work!

>I sorta come down on the "it's just a kit" side, but rather than getting
>exercised about it, what I'd really like to do is create some useful uC gadget
>for publication in QST and make a point of making code available (perhaps a
>companion QEX article about software design?). A disadvantage, however, is
>that the usual kitting places might not carry it (since *I* don't particularly
>want to get into the kit business) since the availability of the code would
>make instant duplication easy.

I've been thinking about this issue, since I've been planning a construction
article that will use a number of programmed parts -- not all with
code, but a few. Obviously, there's a substantial benefit to publishing
the source code, or at least the important parts of it. Just as obviously,
it's hard work writing the code, and I'd like to get something more than '
$50/page for it. The work that goes into the keyer articles is tiny compared
to the work that goes into the keyers.

One solution is to publish the code, but retain copyright to it. That means
that readers can make copies for their personal use, but can't sell them.
Those few readers who have access to the hardware necessary to program
the parts can buy the parts themselves, and the rest can buy programmed
parts from a supplier. All who are interested get the benefit of understanding
(or at least perusing) the software that gives the project its character.

By the way, the big distributors like Hamilton (or whoever they are these
days) will sell programmed parts if you guarantee them a minimum order.
That way, you don't have to get into the kit production business. Most uC
projects have few non-junk-box parts _except_ for the uC, so just making
the programmed chip available would probably statisfy most people. In
fact, I suspect that very few people would want to take the trouble to
compile/assemble the source code, figure out how to link it, and then
generate a ROM image with the proper relocation. They'd just buy the
programmed parts.

-- Bruce Toback

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