Looking around for a simple beacon keyer to use with a QRSS beacon, I discovered the ICs sold for $6 (available via Paypal) from K1EL. This 8 pin IC looks ideal as it allows a variety of pre-programmed messages to be selected and sent at predetermined keying speeds.
See http://k1el.tripod.com/KID.html . At $6 each you can hardly go wrong with this. I shall be ordering a few shortly.