Tag Archives: Pelican M40

A Case for Making the Morserino Your Ultimate Traveling Morse Companion!

Many thanks to Paul Patsis (W7CPP), who shares the following guest post:

A Case for the Morserino-32

by Paul Patsis (W7CPP)

Morse Code is more popular than ever now. More and more Hams are discovering the joy of CW and the advantages it brings to communications from Parks, Summits, and remote locations as well as in our own back yards and QTH. It’s astonishing to witness how we can reach far corners of the world on only 5 watts with small and lightweight radios and antennas.

CW is a productive and rewarding mode of operation and like all worthwhile endeavors we get out of it what we put into it. It takes commitment and dedication to become a proficient Morse Code Operator and fortunately for all of us we have more tools available to us than ever before.

One of those tools is a powerful and small training and learning tool called the Morserino. It is a very capable little device that incorporates many features designed to help a Ham achieve proficiency at Morse Code.

When it comes to learning Morse Code, there is no substitute for time and repetition. Akin to leaning a new language the more you can immerse yourself the better you will become. Practice tools on the Internet, the Morserino, Organizations like the Long Island CW Club and “Code Talking” every day are great ways to get up to speed and increase proficiency.

Practice, practice, practice is the key.

I have found the Morserino to be a very valuable tool and wanted to find a way to take it along safely on my travels. Borrowing a page from my fellow hams who are activating parks and summits, I sought a way to protect the Morserino  whether traveling by land, sea or air. Whether in a backpack, suitcase, or other travel bags how could I keep the little Morserino protected and yet be ready for use?

To answer that question I started do some research on how people kit out their gear for field radio operations. I’ve seen good use made of the ubiquitous Pelican Micro M40 Case for lots of Ham Radio Gear and most recently for the Elecraft KH1.  I wondered if the mighty little Pelican case would work for the Morserino? I gave it a try and discovered that  with no modifications it is a great option for bringing your Morserino along on all your travels.

The setup that worked for me required very little to make it a nice and safe fit.

The first thing I did was to remove the very small spacers in the bottom of the Morserino Case that comes with the radio.

Those spacers are generally included to give a bit more space under the unit to accommodate the battery that is put underneath to power the Morserino.

I found that by using Velcro to hold the small battery in place those spacers are not needed, and the result is that it lowers the profile of the Morserino by about ¼”. This is just enough clearance to allow the top of the Pelican Case to close and not be obstructed by the dummy load on top of the antenna.

Alternatively, one can leave the spacers on the bottom of the Morserino and leave off the dummy load. My feeling is that it is better to leave the dummy load on just to be safe and with this setup the spacers are not needed.

Although the Morserino comes with Capacitive Paddles I prefer to use my own paddle which in this case is the Bamakey TP-III.  There is a 3D Printed Case for the TP-III and when the key is housed inside the case the entire package nests nicely inside the Pelican Case alongside the Morserino. I store the Capacitive Keys in the space alongside the battery on the underside of the Morserino as a backup Key.

There is also room for the Key Cable which nests nicely alongside the Morserino towards the back of the case.

I generally bring along a set of small, wired headphones and they sit comfortably atop the Morserio in a small plastic bag. I placed a small micro fiber eyeglass cleaning cloth under the headphones just as an added layer of protection for the Morserino Screen. The headphones are a great option when using the Morserino in a noisy environment or in public places like an airport waiting room or on a ferry.

The bottom line is that everything you need to practice CW with the Morserino is in the Pelican Case and ready to go wherever your travels take you. Most recently I have used it while waiting at an airport to catch a plane and on a ferry headed from a small Island to the Mainland. I also found a little bonus use for the case.

After taking the Morserino out of the case, I found it sits quite nicely on the lid at the perfect angle to view the screen with just the right amount of clearance for my headphones and key cable.

The Morserino is a capable little tool to keep you “immersed” in the learning process, sharpen your skills or dust off the cobwebs if you’ve been away from CW for a while.

The Morserino and Pelican Micro M40 Case…don’t leave home without it!


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Seal the Deal: Exploring the Best Watertight Cases for the Elecraft KH1

Well before I actually had a KH1 in hand, I noted the dimensions of the radio from the preliminary spec sheet and started exploring the world of compact, watertight cases.

Why a watertight case?

This Pelican 1060 case houses a complete Mountain Topper MTR-3B field kit including a throw line and throw weight.

I like to have a watertight case option for pretty much any QRP radio I take on SOTA (Summits On The Air) activations.

It’s reassuring to know that if I stumble and fall on my pack, the case will prevent me from crushing the radio. In addition, a good case keeps my radio dry if I get caught in heavy rains or (even more likely) slip on a rock and fall in a river/creek. In fact, many of these watertight cases will float with the KH1 inside so if it goes overboard while kayak mobile, it’ll be easy to retrieve. (For the record: I don’t want to test this theory.)

With one exception, all of the cases I explore here cost somewhere between $25-$40. I consider this cheap insurance for a $500-1100 radio.

My requirements

I searched a few manufacturer’s websites and tried to find interior dimensions that would accommodate the KH1 and all protrusions: 1.4”H x 2.4”W x 5.6”L (3.5×6.1x14cm).

I primarily searched two watertight case manufactures: Pelican and Nanuk. I trust products from both of these companies and both offer compact watertight cases. There are more manufacturers out there, but but both of these companies offer quality products. Pelican cases are even made here in the USA. Many Nanuk models are made in Canada, but not their Nano series included here.

In the end, I was searching for two case sizes:

  1. A compact case to only hold the KH1 “Edgewood” package: the KH1 with paddle attached, Cover/Logging Tray, Whip Antenna, and 13′ Counterpoise. There also needed to be enough room for a pair of earphones.
  2. A slightly larger case that would accommodate the KH1 “Edgewood” package along with earphones, a throw line, throw weight (or rock sack), and a simple random wire antenna.

The idea with the second, slightly larger, case is that it would give me the option to use a wire antenna during an activation and would be fully self-contained (meaning, everything needed for the activation included).

The contenders

I took a total of eight cases to a local park and spread them out on a picnic table for this test. This made the process of comparing the cases quite easy. I actually made a video of this whole process–you’ll find the video further below in this post.

Here are the cases I tested in the order you find them in the video (any Amazon links here are affiliate and support QRPer.com):

Hint: many of these cases are available in multiple colors–prices can vary greatly based on the color. A red case might cost as must as 30% less than a black case, for example.  Always check the pricing of color options, but make sure you don’t accidentally select a different size case in the process (this is easy to do).

Again, you’ll see a lot of detail in the video below, but let’s look at each of these cases with my notes: Continue reading Seal the Deal: Exploring the Best Watertight Cases for the Elecraft KH1