Saturday, July 4, 2009


Actually, it's full-auto. Seen at Tom Perera's table at the 2009 Dayton Hamvention:The phono motor runs a worm drive, which has a variable-speed, ninety-degree drive on its output. That provides drive to a pair of clutches that, when engaged by means of the angled levers at the front, drive the 3:1 and 1:1 ratio toothed cam wheels which operate switch contacts (hidden in this view) to produce the actual Continental Code outputs.* Or, possibly, the levers just slide the already-engaged cams over to engage the switch contacts. Love that exposed keep-your-mitts-off fan!

How well it works, how synchronism is maintained between dits ("dots") and dahs ("dashes." This is like "clip" vs. "magazine" only more so) and if it is iambic, alternating between the two if both levers are engaged, remain unknown. The lucky owner had only recently found it and was in the process of discovery.

I have long been of the opinion that one could do much the same thing with a spring-driven clockwork mechanism and were I a better home shop machinist -- or amateur horologist! -- I'd attempt to build one.
* Exercise for The Reader: how can we be certain this device wasn't built for American Morse use?

1 comment:

  1. That is the damnedest thing I've ever seen. Makes me want to build a steam-powered key.