Morserino-32 (Version 2) Review

The Morserino is a kit sold by Willi Kraml, OE1WKL of Austria that is a morse trainer, cw keyer, iambic paddle, and an internet and RF connected morse code communications device. It retails for 88 Euros on his website at and ships to the US in 1-2 weeks with free shipping. It can be used to learn the code, to increase your speed in sending and receiving, to develop the ability for "head copy", and also as a keyer for a rig that doesn't have one built-in.

The Build

The kit comes well packaged from Austria with everything you need to build it except for a battery. This is because shipping regulations for LiPo batteries can be difficult internationally. Thankfully there are many options available online, including at All surface mounted components come pre-soldered to the board and all that is left for you to do is to connect the through-hole components. The assembly is relatively straightforward if you have soldered basic electronic kits in the past and the instructions are clear and guide you step-by-step. There are a few 1/8th inch jacks, a power switch, a rotary encoder, a button, a speaker, wiring to the battery you choose, and the headers for the ESP32 MCU that serves as the core of the unit. The kit also comes with an acrylic case that is laser cut and engraved with the logo and labels for the various parts of the kit. I was able to complete the kit in one evening.

The instructions recommend getting a small LiPo battery to power the unit when it is not connected to a USB power supply, I had several 18650 lithium ion batteries on hand already, so I decided to use one of those instead. The case for the kit does not support such a large battery, however, there is a large active community on the site for the Morserino, and I found a thread with a link to a 3D printable case that allowed an 18650 battery to be added and kept safely together while still providing access to all the plugs and components. After a quick print on my Prusa i3 MK3S+ in PETG, I had everything together and ready to go. With this battery I've been able to run the Morserino for several hours, never coming close to depleting the battery. The battery is easily recharged by plugging the Morserino into USB power. A picture of my build is below. The black case and teal battery and holder are my additions to the setup, everything else comes in the kit.

Using the Morserino

The ESP32 MCU comes pre-flashed with the latest Morserino firmware, so you're ready to go immediately after the kit is assembled. After doing a quick battery calibration with a voltmeter to make the battery graph more accurate (an optional, but recommended step), you are presented with the main menu options: CW Keyer, CW Generator, Echo Trainer, Koch Trainer, Transceiver, CW Decoder, and WiFi Functions.

The CW Keyer is very useful for sending morse code. Alone it acts as a practice oscillator, but with an appropriate 1/8th inch TRS jack you can connect it up to the key input of your HF rig and use it as an iambic keyer. I have used it for several QSOs using my Kenwood TS-440s that does not have a built-in keyer and it works great. The rotary encoder allows you to select the speed to send the code between 5 and 60 words per minute. The capacitative paddles are surprisingly good and with a bit of practice you can send quite well with a very light touch. With the key input you can also use an external iambic or straight key. I have used my CW Morse Pocket Paddle (a double paddle iambic key) with it and it works very well.

The CW Generator function generates morse code using different types of output that are played through the speaker (or headphones) and shown on the screen: Random, CW Abbreviations, English Words, Call Signs, Mixed, and a File Player. Random sends random characters. CW Abbreviations shows common terms you'll hear in a CW QSO. English words selects words randomly from a list of common English words. Call Signs gives a random list of call signs that the system makes up randomly. Mixed takes values from all the other modes and puts them together randomly. Finally, File Player allows you to upload a file to the unit to have it play a script of your choosing.

The Echo Trainer may well be my favorite feature of the Morserino. It has helped me get faster at decoding and sending morse code. Like the CW Generator, it gives the options of Random, CW Abbreviations, English Words, Call Signs, Mixed, and File Player. The difference is that when it plays you a word, phrase, or random string it does not echo it on the screen. Your task is to decode the word in your head and then use the iambic paddle (either the capacitative one in the kit or your own external key) to send it back to the Morserino. If you sent it properly, it will give you a cheerful beep and show you "OK" on the screen after the letters it decoded from your code. Otherwise you get a buzz and an "ERR" to let you know you got it wrong. After 4 errors, it shows you what the word was and it moves on to the next one. This mode has been the most helpful to me in improving my morse code. I try to spend time every day on the Echo Trainer and have seen consistent progress in my speed and accuracy. More importantly, it is fun.

There is also a Koch Trainer, which allows you to learn code from the start if you're not familiar with the letters. It uses the Koch method, starting with 1 character at full speed and going up to 50 (with punctuation and prosigns). Within the trainer there is a CW Generator, Echo Trainer, and a Learn New Character function to learn the new character for that lesson. When you get proficient with the current lesson, you move up to the next, until you've learned them all.

The Transceiver function allows you to send code using the built-in LoRa radio to another Morserino unit. With line of sight, LoRa can go a few kilometers, or even more (there are LoRa satellites that operate in the same low power). One thing of note though, this kit uses the 433 MHz band which is an ISM band in Europe, but not here in the US. As long as you are licensed and ID with your call sign, you can probably use it legally, but not otherwise. The most recent version of the kits come with a dummy load to attach to the antenna connector, which I have connected to it since I don't have any other units to connect with. The Morserino also supports connecting to the internet over WiFi and there are chat rooms and QSO bots you can connect to if you're so inclined.

The CW Decoder works to decode morse from a straight key or from the audio output of a radio. Getting things dialed-in for the radio part can be challenging, but if you get the sidetone to 700 Hz and have a low enough noise floor, decoding is possible.

Finally, the WiFi Functions menu allows you to find the MAC address for the unit as well as configure your device to connect to your WiFi access point. To get on your network, it first makes its own network you can connect to to type in the SSID and password into a web page. It reboots and is then able to connect. That same page also allows you to specify the address of any chat server or bot site you want to connect to via WiFi. The WiFi Functions menu also gives you the ability to upload files for the CW Generator and to update the firmware over WiFi as well.

The Morserino has been a great tool for improving my morse code skills. I look forward to sitting down to practice every day and have been seeing steady improvement in my sending and receiving. Since building and practicing with the kit I've even gotten on the air and had a few check-ins to MVARC's weekend Slow Speed Rountdable and logged QSOs with several POTA operators in parks around the country. My goal is to be able to activate a park with POTA using nothing but CW (so far all my activations have been with SSB). If you enjoy building kits and want to improve your morse code skills, I recommend the Morserino. It is fun to build and fun to use.