That's a paddlin...

Started by scarr, August 30, 2017, 04:29:40 pm

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scarr

August 30, 2017, 04:29:40 pm Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 04:43:05 pm by scarr
Folks - I've been licensed since late 2012 and have been using CW since then. I actually learned CW before I got my license, basically I had wanted to understand morse code for years and I figured if I could motivate myself to learn CW, then I could learn the syllabus to get licensed. It wasn't a requirement, just something I wanted to do.

But in all that time, I've used straight keys. With the talk of our relay net, I'm thinking about getting a paddle.

Does anyone have a recommendation?

I'd like something reasonably priced, that works nicely and would be suitable for portable operations - so something that doesn't weigh as much as my FT817, but is durable.

I have a Palm straight key and while it's very nice to use, I have concerns over its durability.


swxx

Yes some suggestions:

Keep in mind that a paddle needs the keyer and unless that is built into your QRP rig with long term battery or alt power source, it won't be much good having the paddles post TEOTWAWKI. So, if you are going to have a paddle, I'd make sure you have at least a cootie (side swiper) or a bug.

Now believe me, after a life time of CW on paddles, I can say that bugs are great, and side swipers are awesome! Amazing is that a side swiper can be put together out of a knife, nail file, hacksaw blade, etc, and with simple construction work perfectly unlike most other keys that need good engineering.

It takes a few weeks of practice to get used to the different art of keying but do look for video instructions on this, as if you follow the advice to start with numerals before letters, and some other tips, you will get it in no time! That is really a skill to have for post TEOTWAWKI as well as indestructable cootie.

As to paddle, I use the tiny K9LU Bulldog ($30 kit) and the external keyer with so many features is the ultrapico keyer. Both can be found in search. Both are extremely portable but can be stuck to your desk if you want using supplied chewing gum.

cockpitbob

For a keyer for the field, I suggest the Pico-Keyer.  Small, cheap, works well and will run for years on a coin battery if you don't use its piezo beeper.  Really, most keyers are all the same.  They are just a little processor and some buttons.
http://www.hamgadgets.com/ULTRA-PICOKEYER

For a super-light, cheap and surprisingly durable key, look at the QRPguys stuff.  This one is $20, so what's to lose?
http://qrpguys.apps-1and1.com/iambic-paddle-wbase
I have this one.  I stick it to my clipboard with Scotch Extreme(like Velcro, but very stiff so no wiggle) along with my MTR and battery pack.  The arms are a little spongy, but you get used to that very quickly.  If nothing more, I recommend it as a back-up since "real" keys are heavy, fragile and won't take a drop.

swxx

I'm also using the Ultra Picokeyer and found the battery lasts much less than a year did not think of disconnecting the piezo beeper, it is so quiet anyway can't hear it. Will have to look how to disconnect that!

cockpitbob

Quote from: swxx on September 01, 2017, 10:41:19 am
I'm also using the Ultra Picokeyer and found the battery lasts much less than a year did not think of disconnecting the piezo beeper, it is so quiet anyway can't hear it. Will have to look how to disconnect that!
One problem I've had is if a button gets held down while it's in storage or a backpack it drains the battery.

swxx

Another problem is common to me: any push of the memory buttons and then it plays, the piezo is so quiet I don't hear it, and I have it in beacon mode.

gil

Check out American Morse, they have small well made paddles... I have a Kent but it is very heavy, which on a desk is great, but not for portable operations.

Gil.