Doing CQ calls can be quite demanding especially on portable activities when band conditions are against you. Not too long ago I had to cancel a Flora and Fauna activation after desperately calling CQ for over 3 hours and only 16 QSO’s in the log. Thanks to ingenious hams like OM Olli, DH8BQA, there are nice gadgets which help to save nerves in such situations … and your voice.
The BX-184 voice keyer is one-of-a-kind: Fully assembled it’s small enough to fit into the Yaesu MH-31 enclosure but it’s also as flexible as to be used with other transceiver types. The memory is large enough to store voice messages with a length of up to 60 seconds and it also got an endless loop function with adjustable pause (default setting: 3 seconds). There are two bundles available at the Funkamateur Online Shop (also stateside): The BX-184 assembly kits’ price tag is at 39 Euros, the BX-184M package with a MH-31 clone costs 49 Euros.
Since the BX-184 voice keyer assembly kit comes with a SMD populated PCB and a colored manual it’s relatively easy to get it completed by soldering the provided components (capacitors, PTT-/ push-button switches, IC socket, etc.). Then it’s best to do a function check with your transceiver. If everything works, all that’s left to do is to cut the pins, place the electret microphone (fill void space around it with hot glue or resin) and reassamble the enclosure. If the function check fails look for faulty soldering spots, incorrectly placed components or wrong jumper wire settings. Also, do the function check with another transceiver: In my case, it didn’t work with a Yaesu FT-857D at first but after a successful test with the FT-817 it miraculously did its job with the 857D.
Now that it’s up and running I’m glad to have a nice CQ parrot for SOTA- and Flora & Fauna activations without the need to carry another piece of equipment with me. Reports about the modulation have been positive so far but testing also showed that the playback modulation is a bit lower than the PTT-modulation.