Palm Radio Infrared Link Technology

In the past, users of the "Mini Paddle / Code Cube" combination repeatedly expressed the desire for a wireless communication system between the paddle or straight key and the radio for convenient operation.

At first this seemed to be an easy task - but wanting to integrate such technology into our existing products, with very little installation space and the desired "minimal power consumption", our requirements were hard to accomplish.

Some existing techniques (RF modules, Bluetooth, ultrasonic, etc.) were considered but turned out to be the wrong approach. Eventually the use of infrared technology proved to be the only feasible way. After much tinkering and many experiments, we have finally developed the "Palm Radio Infrared Link Technology", which consists of the components described below:

Palm Radio IR Link Technology click on thumbnail to enlarge
Code Cube IR:
Our "legendary" Code Cube is equipped with the famous PK4 keyer chip from Jackson Harbor Press, which contains specifically customized software for Palm Radio equipment. An infrared diode at the back of the Code Cube IR allows wireless communication to the IR Receiver or the IR Sensor up to 5 m (16.5 ft) distance. With the Code Cube IR each existing Mini Paddle becomes a wireless CW instrument! Existing Code Cubes (based on software version 83p) can easily be upgraded with an conversion kit to a Code Cube Infrared.
Download Code Cube Manual (pdf-file)
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PPK IR:
Our portable straight key, with retractable mechanism and versatile QuickMount. The IR version includes an integrated sidetone generator which can be muted or set for 7 audio frequencies, making it ideal for practice. Powered by a CR 2032 lithium cell.
Download PPK IR Manual (pdf-file)
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Junker IR:
Module for connection to the most legendary Morse key. Available as a kit or a finished module. As an additional feature, the Junker IR has a built-in tone oscillator whose pitch is selectable in seven steps or can be switched off completely.
Download Junker IR Manual (pdf-file)
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IR Sensor:
Miniature infrared receiver module, to be built inside your favorite rig. Ideal for homebrew equipment, very low power consumption. The circuit board is only 9x18mm (plus 3-pin Molex plug), control LED (SMD) on board. All parts are SMD, connecting cable with 3-pin Molex plug supplied. Powered directly from your rig, use any voltage from 5 to 15V at 1.5mA.
Download Infrared-Sensor Manual (pdf-file)
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IR Transmitter:
The IR Transmitter can be used with any straight CW keyer, or bug (e.g. Vibroplex bug) - just plug in and go! It does not contain a keyer electronic! It features a sturdy aluminum casing and has a built-in tone generator that can be adjusted to seven different pitches or switched completely silent. A red 3 mm LED serves as a visual indication of the Morse code. Power is supplied by a CR 2032 lithium cell. The IR Transmitter works with any of our IR Receiver and IR Sensor models.
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IR Receiver:
Stand-alone miniature infrared receiver 25x25x35mm (1"x 1"x 1.4") for use with the PPK IR, the Code Cube IR or the IR Transmitter. Powered by a CR 2032 lithium cell, the receiver has an auto power-off function. Current load on idle is 1.5mA, with signal 1.9mA. Battery life is approximately 100 hours (equals 600 QSOs of 10 minutes each).
Download Infrared-Receiver Manual (pdf-file)
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Note:
All IR devices mentioned above transmit or receive one channel, ie usually a "finished" Morse signal. No matter how they are generated: if through an e-Bug-electronics, through a hand key or a semi-automatic key.
The following IR devices transmit two channels, which are required for example with the use of paddles of any external E-Bug electronics. Since these paddles do not generate Morse code but merely switching signals, the "Dual IR devices" have no built-in tone generator.
The Dual-IR devices can as well:
  • 1. transmit only one channel to single-channel IR receivers or
  • 2. receive a channel of single-channel IR transmitter.
IR Dual Transmitter MP:
This is the solution to wirelessly connect our Mini Paddle with a transceiver. The TCVR needs a built-in-Electronics (keyer) feature.
For receiving, either the Dual IR Receiver (as a "stand-alone" Device), or a Dual IR Sensor may be used (as a built-in module). For the popular QRP FT-817 devices (Yaesu) and K1 and K2 (Elecraft) we offer special kits on the basis of the Dual IR Sensor.
The IR Dual Transmitter MP is contacted by pushing into the Mini Paddle - Two LEDs indicate the operation of the paddle function. The device requires no on-off switch (0.0001 mA in standby mode), the operating current consumption is only 0.3 mA, which enables 400 hours operation with the CR 2032 lithium battery.
Download IR Dual Transmitter MP Manual (pdf-file)
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IR Dual Transmitter Solo:
The "stand-alone" solution for use with paddles of any manufacturer. Functions like the IR Dual Transmitter MP, but is built into a sturdy aluminum casing (25 x 25 x 35 mm).
At the receiving end, again either the IR Dual Receiver or the IR Dual Sensor can be used. For the FT-817 and K1 and K2, we have, as mentioned above, special kits to.
Download IR Dual Transmitter Solo Manual (pdf-file)
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IR Dual Transmitter Module:
Designed for use with paddles or keys from any manufacturer. Functionally analogous to the IR Dual Transmitter MP, but without control LED. This module is intended for installation in existing keys (31 x 22 x 15 mm). The power consumption is only 0.3 mA at keying, which allows 400 hours operation with the easily interchangeable CR 2032 lithium battery.
Download IR Dual Transmitter Module Manual (pdf-file)
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IR Dual Sensor:
Dual-channel version of the IR Sensor. Without control LED and connection for piezo beeper. Connection via 4-pin connector.
The unit is supplied directly from the transceiver, where an existing voltage of 5-15 volts can be used with a current consumption of 1.5 mA.
For the popular QRP FT-817 devices (Yaesu) and K1/K2 (Elecraft), we offer a special kit on the basis of the IR Dual Sensor.
Download IR Dual Sensor Manual (pdf-file)
click on thumbnail to enlarge
IR Dual Receiver:
Two-channel model as a "stand-alone" Receiver: plug into radio and go! The unit has strong aluminum housing (25 x 25 x 35 mm) and can be switched on and off with 2 buttons. A red flashing LED indicates the operation. A CR 2032 lithium cell provides over 100 hours of operation. No sidetone.
Each IR Transmitter from our program can be used with the IR Dual Receiver.
Download IR Dual Receiver Manual (pdf-file)
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Mounting kits for FT-817 / K1, K2:
IR Dual Sensor Kit for Yaesu FT-817:
A completely solderless and fully reversible installation kit for the Yaesu FT-817, which is done in about 20 minutes.
With this kit the FT-817 can optionally be operated single-channel (paddle with Code Cube IR or manual key combined with IR Transmitter) or two channels (paddle with Dual Transmitter for use of the FT-817 internal keyer). Reaches about 1.5 m. All our products with IR Transmitter can be used.

Download mounting instructions (pdf-file)

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IR Dual Sensor Kit for Elecraft K1 / K2:
Mounting kit for the popular Elecraft equipment. In the K1 the sensor is hidden behind the front panel next to the yellow attenuator LED, at the K2 the sensor sits behind a small hole that is placed in the bottom of the Transciever. Reaches about 1.5 m. All our products with IR transmitter can be used.

Download mounting instructions (pdf-file)

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IR Dual Sensor Kit for Elecraft K3:
Mounting kit for the popular Elecraft equipment. Reaches about 1.5 m. All our products with IR transmitter can be used.

Download mounting instructions (pdf-file)

 

Special notes on infrared links and their limitations

Unlike data communication that uses an RF link (e.g. "Bluetooth"), optical rules must be kept in mind when using an infrared link. That means that the transmitter and the receiver communicate via a straight line or reflected path, that is, "line of sight" or via reflections from bright surfaces. The output power of an IR-LED can not be expanded arbitrarily because this would shorten life time dramatically, also the relatively high internal resistance of the battery doesn't allow current pulses over 100 mA. That means that the range of operation is limited. Theoretically it would be 10 meters (30') with accurate orientation and clear line of sight, but it has purposely been reduced to approx. 5 meters (15'). This reduces the possibility of interference and interrupts of the IR data transfer from direct sunlight for the IR-module TSOP 34840. Despite this attenuation, direct sunlight on the blue cover of the IR-RX should be avoided since it would at least reduce the operating range. Unfortunately most infrared remote controls that are used in consumer electronics use the same range of infrared waves - you should avoid using them at the same time as your IR-RCVR. This also applies to infrared computer mice, IR links used in laptops and transmitters for IR headphones.

Palm Radio Infrared Link Technology - FAQ