Wilderness Radio
P.O. Box 3422
Joplin, MO 64803-3422
(417) 782-1397

Wilderness Radio

The KC1 Keyer/Frequency Counter

The KC1 Keyer/Displayless Frequency Counter kit, designed and programmed by N6KR, is the perfect accessory for any QRP rig. This micro-miniature unit provides an Iambic keyer with message memory AND a Morse-code-output, universal frequency counter that reports your operating frequency to +/- 1kHz.

The heart of the KC1 is a single chip, 18-pin microprocessor. The PC board is quite small--about 0.8" tall by 2.5" wide--and will work with the NorCal 40, 40A, and Sierra, as well as nearly any other QRP rig. Total current drain of the KC1 module is only 4mA, in keeping with the low-current philosophy of the Wilderness Radio product line.

To simplify installation of the KC1, the Wilderness NorCal 40A and Sierra transceivers provide convenient access to all of the connection points needed. Also, the physical layout of the controls on the KC1 is compatible with both rigs. (There may be a special KC1-compatible front panel available for the '40A; contact Wilderness for more info.) The manual provides installation details for nearly all popular QRP rigs, including those from Heathkit, MJF, OHR, Small Wonders Labs, as well as rigs that have been published in QST or the ARRL Handbook.

Specifications of the KC1


* 7 to 50WPM keyer w/the two most popular Iambic keying modes * multiple variable length message buffers, with a total of 50 characters of message memory and a word-repeat macro to save memory * user-settable weight and QSK delay * optional sidetone pitch (different from frequency/command mode pitch)


The frequency counter does not use a display. Instead, you press a button on the front panel to hear the frequency as three digits in Morse code. For example, if your operating frequency is 7.132MHz, you'll hear "132". The rig is not keyed when reporting the frequency; the KC1 generates an audio tone that is fed directly to the A.F. amplifier.

Another feature of the counter is frequency search. If you press and hold the FREQ button a bit longer, you are prompted with an 'F', at which point you can enter a frequency to search for. As you turn the VFO knob, the KC1 alerts you when you reach approximately the desired frequency.

The KC1 supports multiband rigs, too. You can program in up to four different VFO offsets, then use two pins on the board as band selection inputs. This is useful on rigs that cover both 80 and 40 meters, for example: you'll hear "000" as the band edge on 40 meters, and "500" as the band edge on 80 meters.

Command Mode

The KC1 also has a command mode, in which you can program the VFO offsets, keying weight, frequency reporting speed, and many other parameters. You use the keyer paddle to communicate with the KC1 in command mode, and the rig is not keyed--only an audio output is generated in this mode.

Other Features

The KC1 has a handkey input (for use in keying the rig and optional sidetone only--not for entering commands). It also has a user-definable logic-level control output. The 'A' command toggles this pin from ON (logic 1) to OFF (logic 0). You could use this to turn on a sharp CW filter, panel light, or anything else controllable with a digital signal. In effect, it gives you an extra panel switch.

KC1 Pricing

The KC1 is priced at $45.00 plus $6 shipping US/Canada/Mexico, $8 DX. The kit includes all components, controls, high-quality PC board, and detailed assembly and installation manual.

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