Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Paddle your own boat!

Here is the latest addition to my shack. A Kent Paddle key, which will connect to the keyer mentioned in my earlier blog entry. For someone like me who a) Is re-learning CW and b) Has only ever used a straight key in the past learning to use the paddle is quite a challenge, but it is fun. So far I have not ventured on the air with CW, and I wont do so for a while yet, not until I feel relaxed with the mode. In the meantime I will practice off air with the paddle.

A local amateur has recently purchased a Flex Radio transceiver. This is one of the new generation of transceivers that is controlled entirely by the PC. I had a quick test QSO with him on 10 metres this evening and it sounded very nice indeed. He tells me that the receive side is excellent, pulling out signals that he can barely hear on his more traditional HF rigs. I hope to get over to his place and take a look at the rig sometime this week and hopefully find out a bit more about it. However personally I would not want to have to use a PC to control all of a rigs functions, sometimes it is nice to switch the computer off! It may be though that this is the way of the future, who knows?


  1. Is that a magnetic key? If so, how do you like it?

    John N8ZYA

  2. Hi John,

    Its a twin paddle Kent Key, made out of Brass. I am not sure what a magnetic key is, but I don't think this is one, but I am noexpert on keys!

    73 Kevin

  3. Nice Key, Kevin. I like the look of that keyer too.
    Iambic keying takes a while to get used to, the main advantage is less user fatigue and extra speed, I guess.
    I'm ready for a cuppa after 10mins on the straight key I have here :)
    Have a wire out the window at present here if you fancy a QRS QSO on 80m sometime?


  4. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for the offer. It would have to be QRS at the moment. I am still working on my receive, taking a lot longer to click than it did the first time-over 20 years ago.
    I am very pleased with the keyer by the way, seems better to usethan the one built into my FT1000MP.

    73 Kevin

  5. I've never had the chance to use one but there are some paddles that don't have "springs" to pull the levers back and forth. The use "magnets" to control that action. I don't see "springs" in this paddle.

    I've heard they're very quick and are "light touch". I'd love to get the chance to try one sometimes. I don't see much these days except the "standard" iambic paddles and some old "bugs". The last "hamfest" I attended, I saw ONE old "bug" in the entire building.

    Looks like you have a nice key there!

    John N8ZYA

  6. Hi Kevin,

    I only use a pump key here so it's QRS all the way, I like to keep it simple ... see you on 80m

    73 Ian

  7. Hi Keviin:

    I have used paddles from day one - I have a Bencher Chrome Paddle here (But yours truely Dropped it)... one paddle now cracked - it can be replaced but have not got around to it yet - I bought a Palm mini - paddle for use with the ft817 and its really good I use it all the time that has a magnetic base - I have a big lump of polished steel plate to attach it - it does NOT move :-)
    Stick with the CW !

    73 Peter