The CW Projects and Resources of Mike Maynard, K4ICY

Straight Key Century Club member - SKCC #8600
Visit the SKCC at
North American QRP CW Club member - NAQCC #6728
Visit the NAQCC at

What is Morse Code and "CW," you say?

A brief history and overview of Morse Code - And many interesting resources on telegraphy:

Communication Across the Nation - The History of the Telegraph
Brought to you by Samantha, a student in Ms. Smith's 10th grade Social Studies class
 at Brighter Futures Charter School in California. - Thanks Samantha!

The "Ice Box" SW+40 QRP CW Rig   See my Small Wonder Labs SW+40 QRP CW Kit...

   This is a very well designed kit for transmitting and receiving Morse Code communications.

Created by Dave Benson, K1SWL, at Small Wonder Labs (discontinued) and was only $60.
No longer sold by Dave, this rig has very good performance and many of the features found on larger rigs.

Intermediate knowledge of electronics and kit building are required, but well worth the effort to build one yourself.


The Pleasant Code Practice Oscillator - An Amplified Shaped Sine-Wave Oscillator

Pleasant Code Practice Oscillator

The Depot Cootie
- An Easy-to-Build Single-Lever Paddle

The Depot Cootie Key

The Minty Kool Keyer
- A 3 I.C. Fully Iambic Electronic Keyer with Dot/Dash Memory

Minty Kool Keyer - 3 IC Iambic

See my 1-Hour/Junk Bin Challenge!

With only a small bag of junk parts, I create a dual-lever CW paddle...
Dual Lever CW Paddle for Iambic Keying

See how I built this nifty CW filter:  (Updates Soon)

CW Filter in a Mint Tin Here...

Using the formulas in the ARRL Extra manual and some junk parts, this 60hz wide CW audio filter fits in a small mint tin, is powered from a 9v battery and will bring weak and overrun CW QSO's out of the mud...
Schematics and instructions inside...

Learn the code! - Don't be turned off by CW, it will grow on you.

Learn CW Online. With Proven On-Line Methods - will get you on-the-air In no time!
lcwo-banner.png (27525 bytes)

An absolutely must-use site!

- I was able to perfect my knowledge of each Morse Code character, then being able to practice and increase my copy speed.
I discovered that I copy code at different speeds differently. For me to copy a QSO I can handle 15wpm (head copy) effective,
but I can hear characters over and over and copy them individually in the 50's (wpm).
To learn code, you must do it by recognizing the "sound" ONLY,
hear the individual characters as fast as 20 to 25 wpm equivalent but space the characters apart so that the effective speed is a slow as you need it (5 to 15).
Learn each letter one by one additionally and proceed only when you know those letters.
This will yield successful results!

This free software can be run anytime and will help you learn Morse code:
Koch CW Trainer Version 9

Have your brand new Tech or General license? And want to dip you toe in the CW pool? Get ready!: (MUST READS)

A Beginner's Guide to Making CW Contacts  by Jack Wagoner WB8FSV

Learn Morse Code As A Language by Duane Ausherman W6REC

The J-38 WWII Army Signal Corps Keyer

This is my vintage WWII Army Signal Corps straight keyer. It was inherited from my XYL's silent key grandfather.
After a can of Brasso it cleaned up nicely. You can still find these on eBay and at army surplus stores for not much money.

My attempt to build and use a "Pixie 2" QRPp CW Transceiver!

My KD1JV DC30 Altoids Tin QRP Repair:

DC PCB Repair
 A ham friend of mine and fellow kit builder donated this QRP rig board to me.

It's a KD1JV "Melt Solder" DC30 series QRP CW Rig available from
Hendrix Kits. The current version of this kit is called the DCxx, it's only $30 and has been improved upon. (See here:)
It was my friend's practice board used to help him learn to solder back when he first got into kit building.
It wasn't in too bad of shape. It just needed three printed circuit traces to be repaired, along with a bunch of cold contacts and oddly enough, an IC socket.

DC30 Altoid's QRP Mount 1  This little transceiver is a single frequency CW rig using "direct conversion"

It's power input is a full 1 watt with a supply of 13.8 volts. It's 0.7 watts at 12.0 volts. That makes this rig a "QRPp" transceiver.
It's actually a pretty good improvement over my own QRPp attempt (see above link). It boasts good sensitivity and BC/SWBC rejection, along with a 600 Hz Transmit/Receive offset shift.
Shown here, the board was mounted into an AltoidsŪ metal mint tin with holes drilled.
Space is tight, so the RF antenna BNC connector had to be hack-sawed down to fit.

DC30 Altoids Tin QRP Rig Mount
 Final tweaks and adjustments were made to the board.

A piece of plastic was used as an electrical insulator, and basic wiring connections were made.

My goal was not to spend a lot of time and resources to get this one running, but to show others how easy it is to mount a QRP rig like this inside of a simple enclosure.

JD1JV DC30 QRP Rig mounted in Altoid's mint tin
 The final WORKING DC30 QRP Rig installed in a nice AltoidsŪ mint tin.

This little radio, of course will not operate as nicely as a commercial rig costing a grand, but, It is very well designed and implemented, though.

By it's nature, it's intended to be a sweet and simple little kit for anyone to enjoy. A great weekend project even for beginning kit builders.
It'll actually make contacts and many people have enjoyed contacting other hams half way across the globe - even on the side of mountain cliffs!

CW Prosigns
Prosigns CW Meaning
BT A Pause or Separator.
AR End of Transmission.
- when you are sending it back to the other station. Also used at the end when answering a CQ.
SK End of Transmission.
- when you are at the final end of a last transmission of a QSO.
K Go Ahead... Over.
Used when turning it over to another station. Used also after sending CQ.
NOT to be used after just answering a CQ because the other station has not verified contact with you.
KN Go Ahead (Specific Station).
Same as K, but only a specific station and no one else can come back to you.
CL Clear .
Ending last QSO and turning off station. No one else to come back or reply.
(often repeated) Copied last transmission okay
- All information Readable.

International CW Q-Signals
Q - Signal CW Meaning
QRA Call Sign?
QRG Exact Frequency?
QRH Frequency Varies?
QRI Signal Tone Quality? 1-3
QRK Signal Intelligibility? 1-5
QRL Frequency Busy?
QRM Signal Interference?
QRN Static Interference?
QRO More Power?
QRP Less Power?
QRQ Send Faster?
QRS Send Slower?
QRT Stop Transmitting?
QRU Any Messages?
QRV Ready?
QRW Tell (Call Sign) You're Calling?
QRX Standby - When?
QRZ Invite - Who's Calling?
QSA Signal Strength?
QSB Signal Fading?
QSD Defective Keying?
QSG Send # of Messages?
QSK Break In?
QSL Confirmation Receipt?
QSM Repeat Last Message?
QSO Contact Between Stations?
QSP Relay Message To?
QST ~General Call~
QSV Send A Series of "V"'s?
QSW Shall Transmit On (Time)?
QSX Listen on Frequency (x)?
QSY Change Frequency?
QSZ Send Each Word/Group More?
QTH Location?
QTR Correct Time?
QTX Keep Station Open For Me?

Q-signals are three letter combinations used to represent common phrases or sentences for CW operation. They may be used as a question with a question mark (?) or statement without the question mark. For example, "QRZ?" is used to ask for the calling station(s) to identify again. "Please (pse) QRS" is used as a request to send the code at a slower speed. "The QTH is" is used to indicate this station's location.

Although originally used for CW, many Q-signals have become acceptable for phone operation.

Other Non-Q Abbreviations:
73  -  Best Regards
88  -  Love & Kisses
YL  -  Young Lady, Unmarried and any Female Ham Operator
XYL  -  Ex-Young Lady, A Ham's Wife
OM  -  Old Man, Any Male Ham Operator
GE  -  Good Evening
TKS  -  Thanks
TU  -  Thank You
CUL  -  See You Later
ES  -  And (&)

Morse Code /
CW Articles of Interest


Written by K4ICY and others for
The Printed Circuit - Newsletter of
the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society

American Morse Equipment
March 2014 - Page 10

WB9LPU’s Amazing Custom Keys
January 2014 - Page 17

Paddles With Magnetism
August 2013 - Page 11

Anatomy of a Bug
December 2013 - Page 18

Code Practice –
August 2012 - Page 7

The Straight Key Century Club (SKCC)
August 2013 - Page 9