Questions and answers

Purpose of the app

MorseKeyer is a “telegraph key” app similar to a real electronic keyer device with a dual-lever paddle. The app has two keys: to generate series of short and long sound pulses (dots and dashes).

The app can be used to learn Morse code, to practice telegraphy and to make contacts by radio.

The MorseKeyer app may be interesting for those, who are partial to Morse code and would like to have a full-fledged CW keyer.

For those who would like to learn

Perhaps you once wanted to master Morse code — now it has become easier to implement, because all the necessary tools have become much more accessible.

For radio amateurs

Amateur radio operators can connect it to a transceiver and make CW contacts on the air.

For those who would like to regain their skills

Maybe you once studied Morse code many years ago and now would like to refresh your memory, recall the mnemonics for each letter and number and demonstrate to your friends that “skills don’t rust”!

For telegraphy enthusiasts

Even if you are already a skilled CW operator, there is always room to grow. You can practice to increase the speed and improve the quality of your transmission. And you can also deepen and broaden your knowledge learning regional Morse code extensions, e.g., additional German, French or Spanish letters, Japanese Wabun code, etc.

In all these cases MorseKeyer will be useful and bring you a lot of fun!

Advantages and features

From a functional point of view the CW keyer in a smartphone (specifically MorseKeyer) has a number of advantages over a normal physical paddle keyer:

  • The Morse code signals you transmit are decrypted and displayed on the screen as letters, numbers, and special characters. Firstly, it’s useful to have such feedback — you can immediately notice and correct mistakes, and therefore learn faster. And secondly, it’s just convenient in many situations to have the text you just transmitted in front of you.
  • Mobility and autonomy — the key is always with you and no additional external devices (like physical CW paddle or PC) required to practice your skills.
  • The texts you transmitted using the MorseKeyer app can be saved.
  • The mobile device screen and sound can be streamed via video services, thus organizing a modern form of teaching Morse code.
  • The app has a lot of settings that can adapt the key to various preferences.
  • There is a built-in light indicator — for additional control of transmission or training in telegraphy by means of optical communication.
  • The app is developing. With updates, you get additional functionality.
  • The MorseKeyer app is not only functionally superior to physical devices, but it is also much cheaper than any high-quality paddle.

Disadvantages of the app compared to a physical device include the following:

  • The position of keys is unusual for those who used physical CW paddles. However, with a little practice, this disadvantage completely disappears.
  • A real mechanical manipulator is valuable for many radio operators not only functionally, but also aesthetically. It’s an expensive and beautiful device. It is not uncommon for radioamateurs to have several different models in their collections.

MorseKeyer claims to be a professional-grade tool. Its unique features are:

  • The app implements all known keying modes for single- and double-lever paddle keyers: ultimatic, iambic (modes A and B), semi-automatic (a mechanical “bug” key simulation), and additionally an exclusive single lever mode simulated on two keys.
  • The app supports different versions of Morse code and recognizes many of its extentions, including Japanese Wabun code. The nuances of each local version are taken into account, for which a lot of research has been done.
  • There is a “smart” mode for displaying transmitted signals, symbols and words. In this mode Morse code abbreviations, callsigns and other types of special words are recognized among signals you transmit and are formatted appropriately. Similarly some transmission errors are detected and highlighted. As a result, instead of the monotonous boring set of characters in uppercase, you see quite readable text.
  • The audio signal is processed in such a way that the timbre and level of clicks match the sound characteristics of real Morse code, familiar to radio operators from the air.


MorseKeyer is ready to use immediately after installation. There are two keys at the bottom of the screen. Use them to gererate series of short and long sound pulses (dots and dashes). The Morse code signals are decrypted and the corresponding characters are displayed on the screen as text according to the alphabet selected on the switch located above the text area.

The speed control is located directly above the dots and dashes keys. The current speed value is displayed numerically at the top of the screen. Additional controls are also located there:

  • — enable/disable the sound;
  • — enable/disable the light indicator of the transmitted signals;
  • — show/hide the transmitted text;
  • — go to the app settings.

Tap the virtual keys on your mobile device screen just like you would do on a piano. The most comfortable way to do it is by using the index and middle fingers.

Which finger goes to which key (dots or dashes) is a matter of your personal preferences or habits (if you used an electronic CW key before). I as an experienced CW operator feel more comfortable to press the dash key with my index finger, just like I did formerly using the electronic keyer paddle. The dot function went to the middle finger.

It’s possible to reverse the keys in the “Keying mode and paddles” section of the app settings. You can try both options and choose the one that is more suitable for you.

The screen orientation can be any, the app automatically adapts to it. As for the physical location of the mobile device — in most cases, you can just put it on the table surface.

But that’s not necessary. The important thing is that you could freely press the dots and dashes keys with your fingers. It is also convenient when the smartphone (tablet) remains stationary.

The device’s immobility can be ensured, for example, by a device cover made of non-slip material. If you have a special mount for your smartphone, you can try this option too. Alternatively, you can use the app just holding the device with your other hand, or taking it in the palm of your hand.

You can change the font size using the pinch gesture directly on the text. You can also do this in the “Appearance” section of the app settings.

You can clear the screen by swiping to the left. Your text will be automatically saved in the “MorseKeyer” folder available through the “Files” app.

Alternatively, you can double tap the text, and then choose from the context menu that appears to clear the screen with or without saving the text.

The text display is designed to reflect your current activity. Technically, you can keep the texts of your transmissions on the screen as long as you need. On the other hand, it is a good practice to move information that is no longer needed right in front of your eyes to the archive.

Since removing text from the screen is a fairly simple action (just swipe to the left), you can do it every time you start a new training session, or before transmitting a next training text, or after completing a new contact by radio, etc. You can define the size and boundaries of such an information block yourself, based on your convenience.

Texts are saved in separate files whose names contain time of removal from the screen in UTC. Thus, you can keep a log of your activity.

The MorseKeyer app has the ability to recognize the Morse code signals you transmit and display them on the screen as printed characters. Since, in addition to the standard international Morse alphabet, there are many regional extensions of it, the Morse alphabet version being used must be specified in the app to display characters correctly. That’s what the alphabet switch is for.

The switch can contain up to 5 alphabets, which you can choose and arrange in the settings. You can quickly go to the appropriate settings section by swiping the alphabet switch to the left.

You can remove the alphabet switch from the screen by disabling it in the settings.

The light indicator can be turned on together with the sound, or separately. It can be used as a visual feedback channel when transmitting Morse code, or as a signal source for optical communication.

Displaying the characters you just transmitted is a convenient, but not strictly mandatory feature. This option was not available for radio operators who transmitted using traditional CW keys. So, disabling text output can be used for training purposes.

Of course, it is not possible to control the transmitted characters visually in this case, but at the same time nothing distracts the operator from the audio feedback. The transmitted text persists in any case, and you can see it when you enable text output later back.

Your smartphone (tablet) with the MorseKeyer app can be connected to a transmitting device (transceiver) to be used as a CW key. To do this, a special adapter plugs into your mobile device’s headphone jack.

When the smartphone (tablet) is temporarily not used as a key, you can either physically disconnect it from the adapter or turn off the sound in the app as a precaution against activating the transmitter if you accidentally touch the screen.

You can also disable the possibility of accidental transmission in the transceiver. However, that may often require more clicks.


To go to the app settings tap on the icon with three dots ().

Available shortcuts:

  • You can get to the speed settings by tapping on the number that shows the speed.
  • By swiping the alphabets switch panel to the left, you can select up to 5 Morse alphabets for this panel.

The following parameters can be adjusted without going to the settings:

  • The transmission speed can only be adjusted on the main screen.
  • The font size of the transmitted text can be changed directly on the screen with the pinch gesture.

Yes. All the settings and the text on the screen persist between app launches.

Go to the app settings and tap “Reset settings to default”. After that, all app settings will take their default values.

The text on the screen, however, will remain. If necessary, you can clear it here in the settings or on the app’s main screen.

The transmission speed can be measured in characters per minute (cpm) or in words per minute (wpm).

The unit of measurement can be changed in the settings. To quickly go to the speed settings section, tap on the number that shows the speed.

Traditional training texts for CW operators consist of groups of letters or digits printed in columns. To make the texts you send look like this, make the following settings in the “Appearance” section:

  • set the monospaced font type;
  • disable “smart formatting”;
  • disable detection of amateur radio callsigns;
  • disable detection of Morse code abbreviations;
  • select text style “all in uppercase” (or “lowercase”).

Additionally, when transmitting mixed texts (that contain both letters and numbers), it is necessary to distinguish the digit 0 (zero) from the letter “O”. To do this, you can select the appropriate option.

Implementation specifics

The international Morse alphabet recommended by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has a minimum set of characters, that a radio operator must know to make international contacts on the air.

The MorseKeyer app solves the opposite problem — to recognize the maximum set of Morse code characters covering several European languages without switching between them manually whenever possible.

For this reason, the international alphabet (labeled as “int”) in the context of the MorseKeyer app is the ITU recommendation plus the following signs:

  • additional letters from various European alphabets;
  • unofficial, but still used punctuation marks;
  • additional procedure signs (prosigns), used by the Army and Navy, in maritime, etc.

The English Morse alphabet (labeled in the app as “en”) is a subset of the “int” alphabet and mostly matches it. But it does not contain letters with diacritical marks and others that are not included in the English alphabet.

In most cases, choosing the international alphabet (int) instead of English (en) would be acceptable. However, if any non-English letters are supposed to be considered errors during transmission training, you should choose the English Morse alphabet (en).

The “ultimatic” and “single lever” modes behave the same way when both dots and dashes keys are pressed simultaneously: either dots or dashes are transmitted, depending on what key was actually pressed last.

The difference appears after the last key is released while the first key is still pressed:

  • In the “ultimatic” mode, control is passed to the remaining pressed key.
  • In “single lever” mode, this does not happen and the remaining key must be released to switch the keyer to its original neutral state.

For radioamateurs

MorseKeyer is an advanced analogue of a real CW key. It can be used for learning Morse code and transmitting training texts, as well as for operating CW and making contacts on the air.

To connect a smartphone or a tablet with the Morsekeyer app to a transceiver, a special adapter is required. The adapter (CW interface) converts the audio signal from a mobile device into transceiver’s CW keying.

Preparatory actions

Since any audio signal from your mobile device (e.g., incoming call, notification signal, etc.) can turn the transmitter on via the adapter, you should switch the smartphone (tablet) to the “silent” mode before going on the air.

Keeping a traditional log is not provided in the current version of MorseKeyer. But the app can keep a log of your transmissions with timestamps.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. After completing the next QSO, you can move the information from the screen to the archive by swiping to the left. Each time you do this, a separate file is created whose name contains the time of its creation in UTC. With this method of logging, you are guaranteed to get one file per QSO.
  2. Another approach is to output a timestamp at the beginning of each transmission session. In this case, you don’t need to swipe after each QSO, you can do it at the end of work or during a break, thus saving all the QSOs for the period of operation in a single file.
    You can enable the output of timestamps in the “Appearance” section of the app settings.

In both cases only the information you transmit is saved. Obviously, it will contain both the callsign of the station you are communicating with and its signal report (RST). At the same time, among the information you transmit there will almost certainly be neither signal report that the correspondent gave you nor the band the QSO is conducted on. However, these two parameters are mandatory in the log of an amateur radio station.

Nevertheless, even such a log can be extremely useful if you need to clarify something. You can consult it, as a reliable source that contains all the transmitted information bound to time.

Log files are available through the “Files” app. They are stored in the “MorseKeyer” folder.

Some of my amateur radio colleagues, to whom I showed the app, tried to press the virtual on-screen keys the same way as they used to touch physical paddles — with their thumb and index finger. In the case of a mobile device screen, this method is physiologically not suitable for the mechanics of the thumb. It’s much more natural to use the index and middle finger, but at the beginning it may feel unusual.

Based on my personal experience I made the following conclusions:

  1. If you, like me, have been using for many years the classic one- or two-lever paddle, it will take some time to get used to it. In my case, there was no special training and the transition from “unusual” to “comfortable” went unnoticed for me as I developed and tested the app.
  2. If you are new to the field and have never transmitted Morse code on an automatic key, this question will not arise at all. And in general, it will be as comfortable for your fingers as playing keyboard musical instruments, but easier, because only two fingers are involved and their functions are clearly defined.

For beginners

The Morse code training involves two main disciplines: reception by ear and sending with a key. They go hand in hand in the learning process.

To master Morse code on your own, you have to refer to one of the well-known manuals and use the software (or online resources) recommended there to train your Morse code reception skills, going through the lessons step by step. And the MorseKeyer app is perfect to practice Morse code sending.

There is no special “training mode” in the current version of MorseKeyer. But the app is a professional telegraph key with advanced functionality and can be successfully used in the process of learning Morse code.

The following points can be useful in training:

  • The keyer speed range is suitable for everyone: from beginners to high-speed telegraphy sportsmen.
  • It’s useful for everyone who learns Morse code (and most especially for beginners) to see the characters just transmitted on the screen.
  • The “smart formatting” feature makes the CW operation learning even more convenient.
  • It’s important to immediately detect and correct your mistakes during trainings, and the app helps a lot with it.

Learning to receive and transmit Morse code characters always starts at the lowest speeds. The minimum speed set in MorseKeyer by default is 20 cpm (4 wpm), but you can reduce it to 10 cpm (2 wpm) in the settings.

The goal of a beginner is to confidently master the transmission of each international Morse code symbol and gradually increase the speed.

The key words here are “confidently” and “gradually”. And the main goal is to achieve the quality of transmission. Speed, as trainers say, “comes by itself”.

System requirements

The app works on iPhone, iPad и iPod touch running iOS 13 and later.

No, you don’t need an Internet connection to use the app. The app is standalone.

You may need the Internet to view the “Questions and answers” section or contact the author, if necessary.


The current version of the app is available in English and Russian.

Please note that the app’s interface language has nothing to do with the Morse code alphabets supported in the app. The app supports more than 35 Morse code alphabets.

The app supports dark mode, as well as color schemes. In the app settings you can choose between two simple color schemes for the light appearance and three for the dark one.

This use case is not available in the current version. The app can be used as a CW keyer, i.e., as a tool for learning Morse code, to practice telegraphy or to make contacts by radio.

Yes, school-age children learn Morse code with enthusiasm, and successfully master the transmission on CW keyer.

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