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Morserino-32 A Multi-Functional Morse Code Device (Scroll down for English Description)
This kit will change how people learn and practice Morse code. Based on a previous device (the MetaMorserino) and on the experiences of CW Schule Graz, Morserino-32 features a number of functionalities that are, in its combination, unrivaled by any other morse code practice device on the market:
Echo Trainer (repeat what you hear)
CW Decoder (from a straight key or from audio input)
CW Transceiver, using LoRa in the 70cm band
It comes with capacitive touch paddles, so you can start learning and practicing without the need to buy an expensive mechanical paddle. But of course, once you have learned the basics and are on your way to the High Speed Club, you can of course connect your favorite mechanical paddle.
Almost everything is configurable, from the keyer mode (Iambic A, B or Ultimatic, with Iambic B parameters configurable independently for dots and dashes), over extra space between characters and/or words, to the characters you want to practice (of course it supports the widely used Koch method for learning the code).
The Echo Trainer mode is particularly interesting for practicing to copy code in your head (without writing down what you heard).
Unseen in any previous device is the built-in LoRa transceiver, which allows two or more Morserino-32s to have conversations in morse code, over distances up to several hundred meters, depending on your environment. This works on the 70cm band (around 433 MHz), which, at least in Europe (ITU region 1), also happens to be an ISM frequency, so that you can use it there without the need for a ham radio license.
For those who want to practice in teams spread over a wider area, you can connect the Morserino-32 to a computer (through audio in and line-out) and use iCW (CW over Internet, using the Mumble protocol).
Morserino-32 is built around the extremely powerful IoT module "ESP32 LORA" from Heltec, It features the ESP32 32-bit microcontroller, an OLED display, and connectivity through WiFI, Bluetooth and LoRa.
There are connectors for a transmitter / transceiver (so you can use the Morserino-32 as an external keyer for those; keying is through a MOSFET optocoupler, so you can key voltages of any polarity up to 60 V, and you have full electric insulation between the Morserino-32 and your transmitter), a 4-pole audio jack for audio in (for using the decoder) and line-out (needed for CW over Internet, for example), and for an external paddle.
On board are a rotary encoder with a push-button switch functionality, and another push-button, to give you (together with the OLED display) an intuitive user interface.
The kit is easy to assemble, as all the small SMD parts are already on the PCB, so you only have to solder in a handful of through-the hole parts, like the jacks, speaker, switches and the rotary encoder. Of course, you should have some previous experience with soldering a kit, if not, you should get some advice and/or help from an experienced kit builder. This is also an ideal kit building project for your local electronics or radio enthusiasts' club, or your local scouts group!
The kit comes with a simple case, made from acrylic glass (laser cut and engraved), consisting of a bottom and a top plate and alle the necessary Nylon distance pieces and screws), plus a removable and foldable antenna, together with its connector and cable assembly.
With a little bit of kit building experience you will be able to assemble everything together in less than half an hour.
Power supply of the Morserino-32 is either through its micro USB connector (so you can use the usual mobile phone chargers), or through a small LiPo battery (the battery is not supplied, because shipping LiPo batteries is heavily regulated and therefore tricky and possibly expensive). But you can source the battery easily, as it is a common type for RC models, quadcopters etc. The electronics needed to charge and use the battery are already part of the microcontroller module used, and the battery will be charged through the USB connection..
The software for the Morserino-32 is open source - if you know how to use an Arduino IDE on your computer you can download and modify the software, if you think you need to extend or improve its functionality. One example would be to connect a GPS module (the serial port for communicating with the Morserino-32 is already provisioned on the PCB) and extend the software to use the device as a LoRa APRS beacon...
The documentation (assembly instructions and user manual) will be available in English and German.
This project would not have been possible without the help of friends - those from Metalab Vienna (special thanks to Daniel - OE3MZD, Gudrun - OE1OMA, Harald - OE3HBS, and Herbert - OE1HWS) and from CW Schule Graz (Gerhard - OE6RDD, and Matt - OE6FEG).
Here are some of the more technical details:
Heltec ESP32 LORA Module, with ESP32 Microcontroller, WiFi, Bluetooth & LoRa, OLED Display & LiPo charging electronics
Connections for: Transceiver
Audio in (for Morse decoder; input signal is amplified with a rail-to rail OpAmp) and Line-out (for things like iCW etc; this is filtered through a 3rd order RC low pass filter to achieve almost pure sine wave), Headphone output (for small stereo headphones like used on mobile phones), Capacitive touch paddles (which are included), External Paddle or Straight Key (straight key currently for decoding purposes only), Keyer jack for external transceiver (using a MOSFET optocoupler that can switch any polarity up to 60 V, SMA female antenna connector for 433 MHz antenna (antenna and connector/cable assembly only comes with the case)
600 mAh LiPo battery (standard battery as used in quadcopters etc - will not be part of the kit as shipping LiPos makes it complicated and expensive, but can be resourced easily); battery protected through a polyfuse;USB Power for charging (Micro USB Connector)Deep sleep function (including automatic time out)Battery switch to disconnect battery completely
User interface through one Rotary Encoder (with push button functionality) and one additional push button switch, and the OLED display
Display layout: 1 status line and three scrolling text lines à 14 characters, using a 15 line display buffer for scrolling back
CW Keyer and generator Speed variable with encoder (5-50 wpm)
Polarity of paddle can be changed (dots on left or right paddle)
Iambic A, B and Ultimatic mode
Iambic B parameters (timing) configurable, independently for dots and dashes
Output volume control through rotary encoder
Optional ACS (Automatic Character Spacing)
CW Trainer (Code generator) generates random character groups, call signs, common CW abbreviations incl. Q-Groups, most frequent English words Select which characters to be output (Koch method, or combination of alpha, numerals, interpunction, pro signs) and length of words to be output Optionally Increase inter-character space (like Farnsworth method) and/or inter-word spaceOptional: output each word twice
CW Echo Trainer (Challenge / Response): Morserino-32 prompts you with a word in CW, and you have to respond by repeating it with the paddle. Large variety of words, as in the CW Trainer Ideal for learning to read Morse code in your head!
CW Decoder (from straight key) or with audio input Check and improve the quality of your straight key fist by using the decoder Select bandwidth (wide or narrow) of software-defined Goertzel filter for audio input
Using LoRa (Long Range WiFi) in the 432 MHz ISM Band (this is license-free in ITO Region 1 only)! For transmission over LoRa, encoding of speed, dots, dashes, end-of-character and end-of-word are packed into a LoRa packet, so even unusual - e.g. Japanese - or erroneous Morse characters will be transmitted as sent (no transcoding into ASCII); LoRa packets are sent word by word to achieve high efficiency and low on-the-air time as required by regulations (which means with some small delay; QSK not possible) Great for learning how to conduct QSOs in CW, Ideal for group learning or learning with a teacher / mentor You can also use Morserino-32 for iCW (CW over Internet using the Mumble protocol)
More software features are in the pipeline!
Software will be upgradeable and Open Source!
Risks and challenges
With projects like this there is always the chance of last minute changes, made necessary by changed specifications or availability issues of part suppliers, which could lead to delayed shipping times.
Shipping time on the supplier side is also somewhat risky - after alle we are approaching the holiday season fast!
Finally, there is the risk that lies with you, the kit builder: you might be doing something wrong when assembling the kit, leading to its malfunction or even destruction... Therefore, if unsure about anything, get the advice of an experienced kit builder!
(German translation / deutsche Übersetzung:)
Bei Projekten dieser Art gibt es immer das Risiko, dass in letzter Minute Änderungen notwendig werden, wenn Lieferanten Spezifikationen ändern oder Teile plötzlich nicht mehr lieferbar sind und durch andere ersetzt werden müssen, was zu Verzögerungen bei der Lieferung führen kann.
Die Lieferzeiten der Lieferanten bzw. die Dauer des Transports kann auch ein Problem darstellen - die Feiertage nähern sich rasch!
Schließlich gibt es auch ein gewisses Risiko, das bei dir selber liegt: es ist denkbar, dass dir beim Zusammenbauen etwas misslingt, was zu Fehlfunktion oder zur Zerstörung des Bausatzes führen könnte... Daher: bei Unsicherheit lieber jemanden zu Rate ziehen, der viel Erfahrung hat mit dem Zusammenbau elektronischer Geräte!
For DYI die-hards, or for those, who just want to support the project. You will receive an unpopulated Morserino-32 PCB (plus 2 paddles made from PCB material), signed by myself. Everything else is up to you...
The complete kit, PCB with SMD parts already on board, WITHOUT the case, and WITHOUT the antenna. You supply your own case (and antenna...), and your own LiPo battery. Be among the first to get the kit!