Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another home-brew project - a leg-strapped morse paddle


The rain clouds had been gathering all day. The forecast says there's going to be heavy rain, strong winds and flooding. Not a day for the great outdoors. However, the indoors suited just fine! Having disassembled two old bits of computer hardware over the past couple of days, I had lots of bits and pieces and odds and ends lying around.

Said items were a very old CD writer and an old film scanner. I retrieved those parts which I thought might be useful and will discard everything else. There were some nice bits of plastic which suited some sort of homebrew project. So I set about putting together a project. I have already made two single-lever paddles on blocks of wood, one of which I use here in the shack as the main CW key, and one which is my mobile/portable key in the car.

This new one would become a leg strap-on, if I ever needed it ! I managed to retrieve a jack and cable for this key from a broken headset (mic and headphone combination). Other bits of that might come in handy later too! I had a gazillion little screws in a box, or something approaching that number ! Having tried a couple of scrap metal objects from the defunct computer hardware, I finally settled on the old hacksaw blade as the most reliable material from which to fashion the paddle. You can see the blade in position in the above photo which shows the construction in its early phase. Some drilling into the plastic was required to get screws into the correct position to not only hold the paddle in place, but to give it some security and keep it in position.

Wiring was a bit tidier than in my previous projects. I managed to solder the wires to two screws which are holding some M-shaped metal strips into place either side of the paddle. Further to all this, I found another piece of plastic into which I drilled holes for screws which made a "lid" or cover for the key so it doesn't look too messy. You can judge the finished product for yourself.

I have found after putting out a CQ on 40m and working eight or nine contacts that it is quite "dainty" and light to the touch. It requires the gentlest of manipulation and works like a dream. I also fashioned a leg strap from a velcro strap which came with one of the kids scooters! You never know where you can pick up materials from a home-brew project!

That's all for now. Comments, constructive criticism etc welcome below.

PS: I will not be mass producing these items for the ham market. This is truly a unique one-off construction!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anthony, never seen anything like this. That's really one of a kind homebrew morse paddle. Wow!
    73, Bas


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