Can a Straight Key really Coexist with a Paddle ?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by AA4OO, Nov 7, 2015.

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  1. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Bravo! Been doing that for YEARS. Paddles, straight keys, bugs... and in the past, Cootie Keys as well.

    Just took this shot just now - all are in use all the time, depending on what I want to do.

    CW rules!! :)


  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    duplicate for some reason
  4. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thought I was straight. But I like paddles. Oh dear!
    AA4OO likes this.
  5. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Indeed, they can coexist very well at my station.

    I wrote up a little article on how I managed to get both of them to coexist on my Elecraft KX3.

    Executive summary: the KX3 has a standard 3.5mm stereo jack on the side for a paddle, plus a nonstandard jack on the front for the custom Elecraft paddle. You can connect a straight key to that front jack using a not-terribly-uncommon connector, while keeping paddles connected via the standard side connector. I describe the details in that page, and illustrate with photos.

    It's nice to be able to move back and forth between the two keying devices without having to reconfigure menus, swap cables, or do anything more complicated than move your hand from one device to the other.
  6. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    For Keys without any cables attached, of course it's just a simple case of wiring them all in parallel . . .

    I had a mechanical "bug" key before I was even licensed . . . so when I got my ticket I had the bug wired in parallel with a straight key.

    But after a few years I dispensed with the straight key, as if I wanted to send slower I just used the dah side of the bug key. (operating in the middle of the night in my parent's house, it was also a lot less noisy than the straight key!)

    45 years later, now I have recently changed over to an Electronic Keyer, I included a switch to make it semi-auto . . . so I can also still use the dah side to send manually if I want to.
  7. K5UOS

    K5UOS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have two ham HK5A Ham Keyers like yours. I like them because they have a lot of room in the case to add circuitry. Pretty hardy old keyer.

    BTW, I added a switching mosfet circuit to use with my stand alone homebrew tube transmitters. I kept destroying the small TO-92 keying transistor.

    Nice simple station.

  8. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow! Nice station. Is that a Heathkit paddle/keyer on the left?
  9. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Indeed. I did that as well with my Elecraft KX3

    The Elecraft KX3 has another key input (KEY2) which has a separate configuration from KEY1, This allows one input configured for a straight key and the other for a keyer. The tricky bit is that the input for KEY2 uses a 2x2 pin configuration recessed into the front side of the radio. This is intended to be used by the proprietary paddle attachment for the KX3 which mounts on the front of the radio. When I searched the web I couldn't find anyone who makes a ready-made adapter for this port to a stereo jack. So I decided to make one.

    The nice folks at Elecraft sent me the schematic for the KEY2 input and I ordered the 2x2 header from them used in their proprietary paddle kit.

    KX3 KEY2 pinout

    So when you wire your 2x2 header here's the key (pun intended).

    Looking at the side where the four pin header is located:
    • Upper right is ground
    • Lower right is "dit"
    • Lower left is "dah"
    • Upper left is "halt-catch fire"
    By the way. While I'm mentioning Elecraft let me just say I think they have one of the finest customer service groups of any company I've dealt with. They respond to emails in record time and provide you with any information you may need concerning their products.The recessed port for KEY2 is too tight to fit a header covered in shrink tubing so what I have done is connect the cable to a header and then plug that header into the Elecraft proprietary header that has a right angle set of pins coming out. The Elecraft header seems slightly deeper than a standard header and has the right angle pins.

    So sacrificing a male to female stereo cable we have the following:

    Resulting in:

    That solution was what I was looking for to enable my Ten-Tec Century/21 to do the same thing...

    Thus the HK5A HAM KEYER for old rigs with no internal keyer...

  10. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, no you can't just wire them in parallel if you wish to use a keyer for paddles on the same input.

    If you wire a straight key in parallel with a paddle and both inputs go into the same input then the keyer is going to interpret the straight key as either dits or dahs or an iambic squeeze depending on how it's wired. You would have to enter a menu or change some setting to tell the radio / keyer to turn it's electronic keyer on/off. That is what I wanted to avoid.

    For instance in the KX3 if I use the single key input on the front for both paddle and straight key I have to go into the menu and change the setting for KEY1 back and forth between it's iambic KEYER mode and HAND mode. This requires pushing the menu button, rotating the selector to the proper menu item, then rotating a different knob to choose KEYER or HAND mode. That's just too much effort during a QSO.

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