Those of you who follow these blog posts & newsletters may have noticed that there was no February post. We returned from our vacation to start working our way through a huge pile of orders, thanks to a very nice QST review of the PicoKeyer-Plus kit. Along the way I ran out of cabinets… then circuit boards… and so on. And of course there were new orders coming in nearly as fast as I could get the old ones shipped. For those of you who don’t know it yet, HamGadgets is my sideline business — I have a regular full time job, and HamGadgets is pretty much just me. When you call, I’m the one who (sometimes) answers the phone – and if you don’t get a call back, well, that’s my fault as well! I was working my regular job plus 30 or more hours a week on HamGadgets business, and it still took the better part of a month before I got the last of the backlog cleared out. We’re back to normal now, and shipping within a day or so of orders being placed.
Somewhere along the way, I managed to get a new PicoKeyer-Plus firmware release tested and shipped. All kits that have gone out over the past couple of weeks have shipped with an all-new chip and V4.0 firmware. The new PIC chip allowed me to do a lot of things I had been wanting to do for several years. This substantially improved firmware adds a new and easier to use command mode. It also lets you adjust the speed control range, makes it easier and faster to send messages 2-4 (no more holding the button down!), and adds an auto-resume feature to the message pause command. There are a few other new features, but I’ll leave the detail to a follow-up blog post in a few days. I’m also working on a PicoKeyer chip that is designed to be a drop-in, pin compatible replacement for another popular 8-pin keyer chip. This will let you replace the keyer in a number of rigs as well as some of the Whiterook portable paddles, so look for that announcement soon.
The ID-O-Matic firmware is now at Version 3.5. The newer version add a couple of minor features — for example, you can now change the courtesy beep character can be changed based on the ALT MSG input.
We will not be attending the Dayton Hamvention this year. As much as we enjoy meeting and talking to our friends and customers, our youngest is graduating college that weekend, so that has a higher priority. Since HamGadgets is pretty much a one-man show — with a one-XYL helper — there’s no sales staff we can send! Hamvention 2013? I don’t know, we’ll have to decide that later!
There is more news to share, but I’ll have to let some things wait for a later bulletin.