PIC Keyer & Small Paddles
PICs are integrated circuits which are microcontrollers. These are small computers and are used in a variety of equipment and electronic devices. The smallest of these are 8 pin devices which can have 6 I/O (Input / Output) with 1 K of memory.
Pictured above is a keyer that uses a 12C509 - 8 Pin PIC. The cost of the PIC is ~ $ 2. The program is freeway and you can change the code with your call sign. It has 4 messages and you can change the speed etc.
Freeware Keyer Program by K1EL:
click on Free Stuff
One of the more published devices is called a BASIC Stamp which is a board which has several ICs and is programmed in BASIC. There have been several articles published in QST using these devices. Tha advantage to these devices is that you program them directly in BASIC. The disadvantagess are that they are fairly expensive and slow. They are based on PIC technology. The BASIC Stamp BS1 are ~ $ 29 and the BS2 are ~ $ 49 +.
To program a PIC requires some hardware and software. The hardware required is a programming device. This will download the program into the PIC. Some of the more expensive and larger devices you can program directly. You can build one using data from the Internet. I purchased a commercial made unit off the Internet. The price is ~ $ 50+. It comes with with software to download the program to 50 - 100 different PICs. The software used to develope the PIC program is freeware from the PIC manufacturer. The program is done in PIC language and then is will comple it into a Hex file for downloading into the PIC.
PIC Programming devices, other equipment, and PIC information:
PICs comes in different styles, I/O, and memory. The smallest is 8 pins with discrete I/O only (On/Off - input or output). The 8 pin PIC can come with 6I/O and it may have 1 I/O which can be an A/D (analog to digital converter - changes a voltage into a digital value). There are now PIC with many pins with many types of I/O and memory size. If the device islabeled like 12C509, the device can be programmed only once. If the device is labeled like 12F629, it can be programmed and erased many times (the F stands for flash memory).
64 btes RAM
1K X 14 bits EPROM
6 I/O Lines
Currnt Price ~ $ 1.40
Popular PICs used in Amateur Radio Projects - 12C508, 12C509, 12F509, 12F629, 16F84