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Homebrew CW Paddles/Keys

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by KC0WTS, Aug 1, 2008.

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  1. KC0WTS

    KC0WTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd like to get started in cw but don't want to spend a lot on a paddle or key. Does anyone know of a good "recipe" for a paddle or key that I can easily make myself?
     
  2. KC8OJU

    KC8OJU QRZ Member

    iambic paddle

    I remember selling 1/4inch phone plugs with screw terminals to some hams once I asked them what they needed so many for? They said they was making iambic keys out of the plug and some brass shim stock.

    But the cheapest I seen and heard of is the key made from a blank PCB.
    The PCB acts as a spring so all they needed was a contact adjustment
    You can use a screw into a piece of PCB. The PCB paddle is soldered to a back plate PCB which in turn is soldered to a base PCB. And the 2 pieces of PCB that are used for the adjustment screws are soldered to the base, so that the adjuster screws almost make contact with the paddles. All the seperate pieces of PCB have to be isolated by cutting paths in the PCB so they don't all get connected together electrically. Though only the adjustment screws have to be isolated.

    In youtube.com there is some touch sense keys shown. Search for morse code key.

    A straight key, I use the PTT mike button. Once the rig is in the CW mode I key it with the PTT. Works great once you learn how to key the PTT just right.
    I could even use 2 pieces of wire but I don't have a 1/4inch plug to plug into my rig.
    I seen 2 pieces of brass shim stock used as a key, taped under a tin of altoids on youtube too.
     
  3. KC8OJU

    KC8OJU QRZ Member

    iambic paddle

    I remember selling 1/4inch phone plugs with screw terminals to some hams once I asked them what they needed so many for? They said they was making iambic keys out of the plug and some brass shim stock.

    But the cheapest I seen and heard of is the key made from a blank PCB.
    The PCB acts as a spring so all they needed was a contact adjustment
    You can use a screw into a piece of PCB. The PCB paddle is soldered to a back plate PCB which in turn is soldered to a base PCB. And the 2 pieces of PCB that are used for the adjustment screws are soldered to the base, so that the adjuster screws almost make contact with the paddles. All the seperate pieces of PCB have to be isolated by cutting paths in the PCB so they don't all get connected together electrically. Though only the adjustment screws have to be isolated.

    In youtube.com there is some touch sense keys shown. Search for morse code key.

    A straight key, I use the PTT mike button. Once the rig is in the CW mode I key it with the PTT. Works great once you learn how to key the PTT just right.
    I could even use 2 pieces of wire but I don't have a 1/4inch plug to plug into my rig.
    I seen 2 pieces of brass shim stock used as a key, taped under a tin of altoids on youtube too.

    73
    n8zu
     
  4. KB1LQC

    KB1LQC Guest

    I built a set of the PC board paddles called the "NB6M Paddles" and was featured in QST a few years ago. I still used them as my main CW paddle! I've tried to make a second one but didn't like how it came out the second time and don't use it haha I must have gotten it right the first time! Check them out!
     
  5. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can buy a decent key for under $20 you just have to either be patient or do a bit of digging. I'm pretty sure that I only paid about $15 for my J38. That was recently,BTW, not back in the day.

    Here's some cheap keys on auction. I don't know how high they will go:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Morse-Code-Tele...ryZ48706QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Surely someone here has a key that they're not using that they could let go of at not too dear a price?
     
  6. W4HAY

    W4HAY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The J-37 is another nice key. It's not as well known as the J-38 so can be often found at a better price. I have both and personally prefer the feel of the J-37 over the J-38.
     
  7. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've never tried a J37 but I don't really like the J38 I just don't have anything better right now. I do have a british military key that's in need of some work and I like how that feels. One of these days I'll get around to putting it back together and working on it.
     
  8. KB1KIX

    KB1KIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just ran a small buildathon here where people built the N0XAS PicoKeyer (which is really quite nice). I am moving things around here and lost my nice paddle, so..... I improvised.

    I use an old PC mouse. All I had to do was cross over the two button contacts in the middle and connect my ground there. Then I connected the other two to the appropriate buttons. I reused the existing mouse cable (nice fit and look). Just chopped of the other end and put a phone plug in and voila!

    Not to mention..... it's rather ergonomic and handy when I'm relaxing on the couch.

    Works real well with the keyer. 3 people ended up making one the same day they saw mine.

    Jonathan
     
  9. KC0WTS

    KC0WTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was unaware that you could do that.:cool:Hmm.
     
  10. KC0WTS

    KC0WTS Ham Member QRZ Page

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